I think overall we've had a positive experience with the two exhibition games. I thought it was a good experience for our team, particularly coming into the Gardner-Webb game to open the season. They play similar to EA Sports in that they spread the court and get the ball into their post players. I am particularly pleased with how we responded when we were down by 11 in the second half. It's good to see that we responded that way to adversity. At the same time, we've got a lot of things to work on. I'm happy with the preseason and we've had a lot of fun coaching these guys. I'm pleased with our attitude and we are playing unselfishly on the offensive side of the floor and that always warms a coaches heart.
You seem to get away from the "me first" type of basketball like what we've seen in the NBA. Why is that?
I just firmly believe that's the way the game should be played. That's just the way the game should be played at all levels. If someone is open they should get the ball. That's the right way to play. The best teams in the NBA play with that philosophy.
Any pleasant surprises in the preseason? Any Disappointments?
Steve Allen, towards the end of the preseason has played really well. He struggled out of the gate some, but over the last week, he's played extremely well. It terms of disappointments, no not really, there really haven't been any.
When you say you are a long way from being a good basketball team, what do you mean? What areas do you feel as though this team needs to improve on?
Well, it's the same thing we've said all along, we have to have good guard play. Our decision making there has been a little spotty. We have to make quick adjustments from the point guard. That's one area that we have to improve. Also guarding the ball from the point of attack. Those would be two areas that I can think of right off the bat. We also need to become a better free throw shooting team.
Players last year said they thought they were playing good defense and that they were a little taken back when you said that they weren't. Your thoughts on that?
I thought it was inconsistent, just in terms of one game to the next. In terms of what they were trying to do, I thought it was inconsistent. Our way of playing defense is different. We are a big wall defensive team; we don't overextend one pass away. Everybody is playing the ball in our defense.
So is that like saying you'd rather see a jump shot as opposed to penetration?
You want a tough contested jump shot. That generally makes you a good defensive rebounding team. We want to pressure the ball and deny penetration.
How are you starting to feel personally about finally getting to coach a game at an ACC school?
I was out taking a run yesterday and I could feel the excitement because we have our first game on Friday. Certainly those thoughts will float quickly through my head, but they won't linger. The opener is going to be a challenge.
How do you define success with this team this year if it's not in wins and losses?
If we improve as the year goes along, and play our best basketball at the end, anything can happen in this league, and I believe that will yield some positive results.