Booker, Stitt discuss Missouri

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Trevor Booker and Demontez Stitt discuss Friday afternoon's first-round matchup with Missouri.

Trevor- the Missouri players say they know you because you played for them last year under a different name. His name was DeMarre Carroll. They think that your game is a lot like his. Do you? Are you familiar with what he did?

Booker: I know he was a hustle player. I mean that's the only thing I really know about him. I mean, I go hard. I try to hustle. But that's really the only thing I know about him.

They called him "Junk Yard Dog." As a man in the middle, I mean there's guys that are a lot taller than you, obviously. What makes you so successful in the middle?

Booker: Well, I try use my strength, and like I said, I hustle, I try to go hard into the other player. I know a lot of people say I'm undersized. But I just put that in the back of my mind and let it motivate me.

Trevor, do you think Missouri has an advantage and coach worked with you in the World University Games tryouts. He says he knows you a little bit.

Booker: I don't think so. He coached me probably one or two scrimmages down there. He didn't get to see too much. I didn't think about that he could end up playing against me. But I don't think they have an advantage.

With Missouri's injuries, both with Justin Safford being out with an ACL and also it was revealed that Laurence Bowers is playing with that pretty serious wrist injury, how important will it for to get Trevor in the offense and keep him involved as the game goes on?

Stitt: I think it's going to be very important to get the ball inside. They are going to be scrambling around a lot, doing a lot of trapping. Sort of like we do. But from what we've seen on film, from what I've seen on film, if we get the ball to Trevor on the inside, I don't think that they have the post presence to guard him, and if they do double down, we have to be ready to make shots on the perimeter.

Booker: Like you said, I think it's an important part to the game just to get the ball down low, I know they like to pressure the ball. I mean if we get it down low they're probably going to double team. I have to be ready to pass the ball out and trust my teammates.

Can you guys talk about two things: One, the idea that teams that press don't like to be pressed? And the other one, do you have any concerns that it might be a really tightly officiated game with lots of fouls and that sort of thing?

Stitt: We can't really worry about the officiating. We just have to see how the officiating goes as the game goes. But as far as teams that press don't usually like to be pressed, I mean, we've been playing high speed the whole year since I've been at Clemson. We always played at high speed. So I believe that I mean we're going to be ready for their pressure just as well as they are. It depends on what team imposes their will on the other team.

Like I said, we are used to playing at this pace. We're used to playing a fast pace. So I think if we just control the ball, I mean push it, as coach has been talking about pushing it intelligently, knowing when to pick and choose, when to attack and not to attack, making the smart play, I think we'll be all right.

Just for both guys, third straight year here in the tournament, still looking to get out of this first round. What is the experience the last two years taught you about coming into this game?

Booker: The experience for me, just got to play 40 minutes. You can't play one half and expect to cruise to the next through the next half. I know my sophomore year we played Villanova and had them up 17 at the half and they came back and ended up beating us. We have to play 40 minutes.

Stitt: Pretty much basically the same thing. I mean since I've been here we've been to the tournament twice. This is the third year. I mean both of those years, I mean I felt we could have won both of those games if we would have played Clemson basketball throughout the whole 40 minutes. Like Booker just said. I mean we're more experienced now. Some of the guys, we're a more experienced team. We've been here. Some of the younger guys we have to put them along and help them recognize the significance of this game.

Demontez, so much of this game is probably going to be about ball security. Both teams like to force a lot of turnovers. How important is it to take care of the ball knowing that you got a guy like Trevor inside to go to on offense?

Stitt: It's very important for us to, like I said earlier, to control the ball. I mean these last couple of practices we've been working on pushing the ball, I mean working against pressure. But at the same time when you push, you have to be aware that guys are going to be running behind you, trying to tip the ball. They're going to try to speed you up. And half court offense is very important to keep your poise. Just looking at some of the teams on film that sort of kept their poise, they did a better job against Missouri and their pressure. Controlling the ball and limiting turnovers and getting the ball inside I think that's going to be the key for us to win this game.

There's been a lot of talk about the ACC being down. There's one poll or something where no one felt Duke could even make the Final Four. Is there a little bit of resentment among the players and teams you think trying to prove it's not quite that way in the ACC?

Booker: I think so. I think every ACC team that's in the tournament is going to try to prove them wrong. If you're in that conference, you don't want to hear that type of stuff. So you try to go out and prove everybody wrong.

Guys, Demontez, particularly you, you talked about teams that had success against Missouri, and you're right, teams of that slowed them down. Can you really imagine you guys aren't going to turn into Nebraska all of sudden, are you?

Stitt: No, like I said, pushing the ball intelligently. Just limiting turnovers. When I say controlling the ball as far as that, that doesn't necessarily mean slowing the game down and running at a slow speed. Just we got to be able to limit our turnovers and get the ball inside. We don't want to come down and shoot up a lot of quick shots. That's what we want teams to do, because we play at that pace. Watching it on films that's what they want teams to do so they can get out on breaks. Bad offense turns into good offense for them. I mean, controlling the ball I mean doesn't necessarily mean not attacking. Coach wants us to attack. I mean but we want to limit our turnovers and get the ball inside.

Demontez, will we see more of you and Andre together on the court and have the ball to sort of control the pressure?

Stitt: I'm not exactly sure. You have to ask Coach that. It will probably be most likely we'll probably be on the court together a lot like we've been doing. But who knows, Coach may change up the game plan and have us on the court a little bit more to have two quick ball handlers on the court to sort of break those traps. I guess only Coach knows that.


CUTigers.com Top Stories