Paul Hewitt - We Have to Play Smart

Coach Paul Hewitt and the Jacket players are getting ready for their first conference game this Sunday with Florida State. Coach Hewitt talks about Florida State adjusting to life without Tony Douglas, their strong inside game, and the when we can expect Iman Shumpert back from his injury.

You've talked about the need to play stronger. Is this going to be one of those games we'll need to do that with the inside game Florida State has?

"We're going to have to play strong and we're going to have to play smart too. I think part of our problem offensively, the more you watch us, is we're a little impatient. We don't know when to go from primary to secondary breaks and half-court offense. We're trying to score fast and out-quick people instead of recognizing if we have numbers and then if we don't have numbers move the ball and see what happens."

It's seems like Florida State is still trying to find their way?

"You're talking to a coach so you'll have to excuse my answer (chuckling). It's not all about Florida State struggling. It may not be all Florida State struggling. Maybe Georgia State had a pretty good night; maybe Auburn had a pretty good night. I look at the stat sheet and Auburn made thirteen threes. That's a lot of three's. If you make thirteen three's you're going to stay in any game. They're going through what any team would go through when you're trying to replace a player as great as Tony Douglas. Tony Douglas meant so much to them in terms of running and setting people in the half-court offense and getting a lot of easy baskets from steals. We're barely a third of the way through the schedule. 9-2, I'm sure Len (Leonard Hamilton) would take that. I'm sure they're making some adjustment to the life without Tony."

With Florida State's strong inside game, do you expect less double and triple teaming of Gani (Lawal) and Derrick (Favors)?

"They haven't shown a lot of double and triples but I'm not sure they've played against anybody that has a combination like Derrick and Gani. I don't think they'll double but we have to be prepared for anything. I think if you watched the Chattanooga game and the game the other night you might think you'd have a chance to turn them over. Our guys have to be prepared for that."

Are you interested to see how Derrick does against the better competition?

"I'm sure he'll be more alert than he was against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Obviously I've only coached him a few games now but I think Derrick is one of those guys that will rise to the occasion. It's good for him to play this game after nine games in so it's not the first time he'll play against physical competition like he did against Dayton. I think he'll respond well. I have a hunch he will."

Is (Chris) Singleton a better matchup for Derrick than Solomon (Alabi)?

"Singleton will probably play the three. That's the lineup they went back to last night so you'll probably see D'Andre (Bell) on him. He'll probably guard (Ryan) Reid or Solomon. I think Derrick is capable of guarding a kid like Singleton. One of the things that have impressed me is that he can guard a perimeter guy very well for a man his size."

Having Zach (Peacock) back will enable you to do some things with your frontcourt rotation that you couldn't do with Pine Bluff?

"With Zach back we'll definitely get back to our rotation. We're toying with sometimes playing small and putting Brian at the four. He does create a matchup problem with his ability to shoot the ball so that's something we're toying with."

With Iman (Shumpert) out Glen (Rice) has gotten more minutes and seems to have responded real well?

"Yeah, he responded really well. He's another guy the more I'm around him the more I see that he responds to challenges. When he gets the opportunity, he's going to make the most of it. He has a bright future for us."

They're expecting around 30 scouts Sunday.

"Is that right? I'm not surprised. It's not just for Derrick. You have Oliver; they're going to look hard at him, Singleton, obviously Gani, and Aladi. It's a game that those guys are interested in how big guys match up against big guys. Florida State is long. You look at their front line; Singleton is 6'9", Reid is 6'9", and Aladi is 7'1". You look at our front and Gani and Derrick are both outstanding players. You know its interesting people keep asking me about Derrick while Gani has quietly put together player of the year stats so far. Derrick deserves the attention because he's playing well but a guy like Gani Lawal coming back; he has a chance to be ACC player of the year."

Gani is still the leader and controlling the tempo inside?

"Yeah, we need Derrick to get more touches. Our guards are aware of that. Part of it though is Derrick has to establish himself more in the low post. He recognizes that and I think he did a good job the other night. He got fifteen shots. I think he was surprised he got that many looks."

Is Iman coming along okay?

"He's coming along real well. We hope to start him back into practice December 26 when we get back from break."

How about Kam (Hosley) are you still expecting him back in January just to practice?

"We're probably going to go slow with him. That's a good question. Our feeling is because he's not going to play until next year let's go as slow as possible. We're pleased with his progress." Top Stories