"We were to treat this game like a practice. Try to get some look at some guys, give them a chance to get in the heat of the battle so we can evaluate our system somewhat, as well as what some of the guys can do. I can say that there were times I thought we rose to the occasion from a standpoint of executing what we intended to execute. And there were times when I thought we were bogged down and I thought we showed that we're a little inexperienced and we still have a ways to go. There were periods where we bogged down offensively and I thought they had a lot to do with it. They were experienced and they took a couple things away from us. Plus, we had some different lineups out there that weren't accustomed to playing well together. But I thought overall we showed some possibilities. It's really difficult for me to totally evaluate where we are because of us being behind in so many different areas. We haven't spent as much time in situations in time and score as we would like to because we are still trying to see different things. Obviously, our defense wasn't nearly as good as I think it will be in the future. They shot the ball exceptionally well, and we probably didn't contest the ball nearly as we will in the future. But I thought even when we made mistakes there was a lot better recognition of what we need to do and some of the adjustments we need to make in order to get better. You are never pleased with a loss. I would have to say this is a start. It gives us an opportunity to evaluate our film and help teach and move this team a little farther in our progress."
What were your thoughts on Tim (Pickett, who scored a game-high 29 points)?
"Well, we felt all along that Tim has the capability of being an outstanding shooter from the perimeter. Not to take anything away from him - you can see he's feisty, he's aggressive and he plays with a full heart and that's what we are gonna need on this team - but we are still going to have to win games by committee. We are not the kind of team that can rely on one person to go out and carry us to win. We need to have contributions from six or seven guys. In order for us to play with the energy that we need to play with, we need to play with at least nine and hopefully 10 players so we can keep players fresh. I think this was a real opportunity for these guys to go at people as hard as they possibly could and I was pleased when they actually came out when they got a little winded. I expected that. We asked the guys to play about four minutes and them give them a blow and try to keep guys fresh. That's a challenge right now for our team to develop that type of depth. As it relates to Tim, if we can continue to keep playing the aggressive style and attacking, it will free him up for good looks. I thought he had to find his rhythm. I thought there were times when he took some quick shots but that's part of what happens when you are trying to adjust to a system that encourages you to get out and run and attack. Then you have to get to the point where you are making good decisions. I thought we settled down for periods of the game I thought we made excellent decisions."
What was the biggest positive that you could take from this game?
"I thought there were times we were able to make adjustments during the game and sometimes even on the fly. I found that encouraging. Like the fullcourt press we put on at the end. We've only walked through it. That was the first time we actually executed the press and they did exactly what we walked through from just watching what we will do in our press whenever we put it in. That was encouraging. I thought we had some sets that we called, when we put some new wrinkles in there during the timeout and I thought they adjusted to that real well. We didn't finish some plays but we got some good looks. We had been encouraging to go to the offensive glass and I thought they did a pretty good job there. For instance, in the first half, they had two post touches. Two direct post touches the entire game. That's the kind of team we want to be. We don't want the ball to go in on direct passes to the post. However, they had 13 dribble-drives into what we call the red zone, which caused us to have to help, recover and they kicked the ball out and took shots. We had bad block-out situations. It was hard to contest. So, that was a problem. We were probably a little more aggressive farther out on the floor than we should have been, which opened up the gaps and we gave up dribble drives. Whereas when we adjust and back off a half of step and do a better job of containing the dribble and then we will do a better job of contesting shot. So, those were the things that I was encouraged by that we made adjustments the second half and during periods of the game."
There was a time in the second half where your team looked like it was playing the kind of defense that you like to see.
"We had stretches where we contested shots, we're down in the stance. That was the time when I thought we dug deep down and played with a lot of courage. They contested, went to the offensive glass and gave up only one shot. That was encouraging. We helped off of shooters, which normally our defense should do. In situations, when we haven't spent any time on, you would not help off of great shooters. You stay with them and contain the dribble and make adjustments with your post. We haven't worked on that. So what did we do? We helped off like we normally work on in practice every day. Trying to stop the dribble and keep the ball out of the red zone. What they did? They kicked it to guys who would knock down the three. Now, when we are a little more experienced playing this style of defense we will make the adjustment of playing no catch on the dribble guys on the strong side. Those are things we need to make adjustments to. But we are a long ways away from being close to where we need to be in order to be competitive this year. But I was encouraged. I thought the guys showed a lot of possibilities."
"That played a critical part of the game because Nate got in foul trouble early. It was important for Todd to go in as a freshman and give you good, solid play. I thought he rose to the occasion and played very solid. He played very good defense and contained the dribble. He made his shots and got us in and out of our offense. For a guy who has little experience at this level against a very experienced point guard like Cordell Henry, I thought he held his own and that was extremely encouraging to know we have two solid point guards that we can go with. I thought Nate is very capable of playing a lot better than he played today, though I thought he did a very good job. You will see he's a very clever guy but I thought getting in foul trouble kind of got him out of his rhythm. But I think he's the kind of guy you will enjoy watching."
For the first time out you had to be pleased.
"When you look at the stats we didn't shoot any free throws at all in the first half. We shot 14 free throws in the second half. We had eight turnovers at halftime. Then we only had four in the second half. That means they adjusted. They listened well at halftime. I thought Tim went out with a little more patience. He was shooting the ball a little too quick. He was catching it and not shooting it in a rhythm. When he slowed down a little bit, I think you saw he shot the ball well. I still think this team, it will be awhile before we really find ourselves. It's kind of hard to evaluate a whole lot right now. There were a lot of positive signs. I was encouraged because we have not practiced especially well because we've been in such a learning mode. We have not have had very much time to go up and down. We've probably scrimmaged less with this team than any team I've coached in a long, long time. We usually scrimmage at the end of practice but we've been bogged down so much with stopping and repeating and teaching and talking. We've been going over things so we haven't been able to get up and down in this type of situation to see where we are. But there was a lot of encouraging signs."
The energy you received from Anthony Richardson in the second half provided this team a lift.
"You are 100 percent right. What we asked of the guys was to go as hard as they can for as long as they could, so it would give them a better understanding of their conditioning level and how we are going to have to utilize our rotation with the type of system we are trying to play. You can see we are trying to push the ball, though we didn't push it nearly as much as I would have liked to but they got back and we didn't handle a few things well. But defensively I thought we got out and pressured well, maybe too much. Maybe we were a little overly aggressive defensively and got ourselves out and created some gaps that gave them an opportunity to drive. But I saw a lot of positive signs. If we can continue to keep being solid and improving, who knows