Cougar Comments

BYU's men's basketball team held it's weekly media day yesterday and TBS was there to hear what the coaches and players had to say. This week Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland and freshman center Chris Miles took questions from the media.

Steve Cleveland

On the effort and intensity his team came out with in the first half against Utah:

If we don't play like that, we will have a very difficult time winning any game. That's the kind of energy we have to play with, that's the kind of determination, that kind of will. And no team does it for 40-minutes, let's not fool ourselves. But, I think you have to consistently do it through both halves. There's going to be slip-ups, there's going to be mistakes made, but that kind of energy is something, that in my mind, we're getting better at. We're getting closer. We'll have opportunities to win when we do play like that.

On what he wants to see from his team for the rest of the season

Right now I'm looking for effort, energy, and execution. Win or lose. If we get those things, then we know at least we're getting better as a basketball team. It doesn't make us feel any better. In fact, it never feels good losing, no matter what the circumstances are, even if you play a great game. We have to start somewhere and I really believe that. We talked about it to start practice – somehow, someway – we got to find an internal will to win, an internal will to just compete right down to the very last moment. And if we do that, I think we'll put ourselves in a position to win games. It may not happen every night out, but I want to put us in positions to win games and that kind of effort and energy we had against Utah is a good start.

On the incident between Chris Miles and Andrew Bogut

It was a reaction; it was a mistake on Chris' part. He was on his way running down the court as a man landed on him. It was more of a reaction than something that he premeditatedly tried to hurt someone. He shook hands with Andrew afterwards and everything was fine. Chris feels bad about it. It was a mistake that he made, but it's not something that was a premeditated deal, it was more of a reaction. Anyone who watches the tape will see that Andrew hung on the rim, pulled himself above it and then fell on Chris as he was running away. Chris reacted improperly. I've talked to Chris and that issue is over. Chris is one of the young men on this team that every day comes to practice with energy and competitiveness. It's something that a freshman has really set the example in our practices. Chris and I have talked about it. I saw what happened. He made a mistake. It wasn't malicious, it wasn't premeditated. He and I have talked privately and that discussion is between Chris and I. He knows that he made a mistake, if I'd have thought that he'd kicked the kid as he was walking away. I'm not sure how any of us would react if somebody had hung on the rim and you're running away from the play and a guy just crashes on top of you. How would you react? It was a reaction, if I thought it was anything else, there would have been disciplinary action. It was a mistake, he admitted it, he apologized and we're going forward. That's the least of our issues right now, as far as I'm concerned.

On whether he feels his team has quit trying this season

Absolutely not. Those people don't know much about these young people. Everyone's entitled to their opinions. This team will never quit. They're going to compete and play. It may be on given nights that they're not good enough. Anyone who says they've quit is pretty uninformed.

On the next game against UNLV

UNLV is as good an offensive team as we've played. Those three players – Blankson, Blassingame, and Beck – are guys that on any given night can score 25 points. They're great in transition. We have to stop their transition. We'll get three back to try and make it more of a half-court game. We'll try to match their energy. They're coming off a frustrating week. Their fans are going to be hungry. This was the team that was picked to win the league. Last year we were in the same, exact situation that UNLV is in. Picked to win the league, 2-4 and we win nine straight games. If UNLV plays together, they're capable of doing that. They've shown that they're capable of playing well and also playing poorly. We're going to go there and hopefully we'll play our best basketball.

Chris Miles

On the decision of Mountain West Conference officials not to suspend him for the incident with Andrew Bogut

I'm really glad that I didn't get suspended. It's better to play than sit. I think it was the right call. Only because I didn't just come out and kick him. The whole thing just kind of happened in the middle of the game. I'm not even sure what happened, I was running the other way and he fell on me. I spun around and that was my immediate reaction. The penalty was justified, it was something that will happen once in a career. I shook his hand and when I walked out the tunnel, we rode up in the elevator together. I said I'm sorry and good game and shook his hand again. He got on the bus and left. He didn't kick me back.

On the reaction of teammates and coaches to the Bogut incident

I haven't been getting subbed much in practice, so that might be part of it. The two older guys have been beating up on me a little more. The coaches said to get on me a little bit. But I need that anyways. Everyone's kind of been giving me a hard time about it. They joke around and say don't kick me and things like that.

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