Bzdelik Sees Improvement

Jeff Bzdelik addressed questions from the media during Thursday's Big 12 media teleconference. Inside, find out what Bzdelik had to say about point guard Marcus Hall, and how he thinks the 7-5 Buffaloes are playing as they prepare to host SMU Friday night (8 p.m./FSRM).

Q: Could you comment about the crunch-time free throw shooting of Marcus Hall? And I wonder in all your travels, who's the best guy you ever saw at that?
Jeff Bzdelik
: I tell you what, it is a remarkable statistic. The way he shoots at other times of the games, I ought to just tell him there's two minutes to go.

Q: Is there a big difference there?
Jeff Bzdelik
: (laughs) Well, it just seems like there is. For whatever reason, he just comes up with big free throws. He has throughout his career.

In answer to your other question, Bernard King is someone that I was associated with when I was with the Washington Bullets many years ago before they changed their name to the Wizards. And Bernard King was just exceptional at the end of a ballgame. He'd literally come back to the timeouts and just demand that the coaching staff get him the basketball.

Whether it be free throws or just making a play, he, too me, was exceptional. His eyes just pierced right through you late in a game like that.

Q: Was it kind of like playing shortstop — you can either do it or you can't?
Jeff Bzdelik
: Right. I think so. There's this certain intangible quality about players who at the end of a game can demand the basketball or can step up and make shots, make free throws. They really separate themselves.

I don't think you can teach that. You can support and encourage, but they either really have it down deep inside of them or they don't.

Q: Could you assess where your team is at right now? You've got a few days left before conference play starts. Are you happy where things are?
Jeff Bzdelik
: All I want my team to do is to continue to get better, and I believe that we are. I think the last two games we've scored 73 points and 93 points. The last three games we're shooting 50 percent or better from the floor. We've had 41 assists in the last two games. And our assist-to-turnover ratio now is in a positive mode.

The last two games we've had four players in each game in double digits. And if you combine that Jermyl Jackson-Wilson and Marcus King-Stockton play about 20 minutes — you combine their stats and in one game they had double digits in scoring. I'm starting to see a sense of unselfishness. We're getting some lay-ups off movement, we're getting some lay-ups off drives. We're getting some drive and kicks, we're manufacturing shots when we need to. We're getting a little bit better defensively.

We've won three road games now. We're 3-2 on the road. And we've never played two consecutive home games.

We have two games here at home now, with SMU Friday night and Tulsa on Monday. Those will be big stepping stones for us, big tests for us.

This first year we need to create an environment of what we're looking for. That's unselfishness, great desperate effort, and getting better individually with our skills.

I see that we're getting better, but I also see that the (conference) competition is very tough. So, we'll just see.


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