Paul Hewitt - Gear It Up for Charlotte

The Georgia Tech defense held Winston-Salem State scoreless the first seven minutes of the second half in route to a 78-43 win Tuesday afternoon. Coach Paul Hewitt comments on the new starting lineup, the turnovers, the play off the bench of Nick Foreman and Lance Storrs, and the possible return of Iman Shumpert.

Too many turnovers this afternoon?

"I'm not sure what to say about that. We've been talking since the Florida State game about getting the next two wins and getting to ten before the start of the New Year and we've done that. Now let's gear it up for Charlotte.

Were you satisfied with the play of your new starting lineup?

"At times we looked really sharp. I think the first four or five minutes were great. We were cutting hard and we moved the ball well. We got great shots even though we didn't make a lot of them. I was pleased with the shots we were making. Then we just, people call it game slippage or going into a funk, we just got off task."

Was it a result of their aggressive play?

"I thought they were very aggressive. They got after us. After we had the stretch there where we held them scoreless for eight minutes, it was almost like they called a top out and got into us. They scored nineteen points in a four minute stretch. We talked about flinching when you see a loose ball. I saw three or four of those situations. I saw guys just running to the rim with reckless abandon. Nobody was stepping in a boxing out. We ended up closing the game out pretty well. Nick Foreman played pretty well. I keep scratching my head. We've got to find a way to play that guy because he does what we want. He's part of what our identity needs to be which is a hard nosed team getting loose balls, running to the glass, box out, and play good defense. We don't' have that identity all the time so I guess we can't claim it as an identity."

Gani (Lawal) has not been taking many shots. Are you concerned about getting him shots?

"Yeah, but there are things Gani knows he needs to do. He's really improved his foul line area jump shot and for the last three days I've been telling him to look for that shot. The first time he caught the ball today he threw it into double coverage. They stole the ball and that kind of took him out of it. His offensive game is getting better. He's a better free-throw shooter and he's a better fifteen foot jump shooter. We talked about catching the ball outside the paint and the first time he caught the ball he turned it over. We can do a better job getting him the ball but I think Gani would tell you he can do a better job of taking care of the ball and making better decisions with the ball."

How is Lance Storrs?

"I haven't talked to the trainer since the game was over. He hurt his hip. He's been practicing really well. He's another guy that I have to figure out how to get him in there. Just like Mo (Miller) was practicing really well and I put him in the starting lineup. I wasn't some stroke of genius on my part. He earned his way into the starting lineup.

Do you like having two ball handlers like Mo and Mfon (Udofia) on the floor at the same time?

"I like to start out with guys that come out with a lot of intensity and get loose balls and play with the intensity and tempo that we like to play at."

Mo how did it feel starting the game and playing more minutes?

Miller – "It felt great. I was very energized. I wanted to do everything. Me and Mfon were just keeping our energy and talking to the complete five. We just wanted to push it down there and set the tempo and set it early."

Mo what do you think was the problem in the first half with the turnovers?

Miller - "I wouldn't necessarily say we were making bad decisions. Mfon and I have confidence in each other. Sometimes we made passes and we (teammates) didn't catch it. It's like high risk, high reward. One day you have eight assists and one turnover and another day you have five and four. It's not that we're making silly turnovers. Some of them we were pitching it ahead. It's a good pass but you just have to run it down and not let it go through your hands. It's something we'll get better at in practice as time goes on.

Hewitt – "Those types of turnovers don't bother you. They're aggressive turnovers. It the turnovers with slow lob passes into traffic that really give coaches grey hair."

How do you feel Derrick (Favors) and Gani can play better?

"There were times when we threw the ball in there and we could have made better stronger moves and better decisions with the ball. At halftime ten of our thirteen turnovers came out of our starting lineup. Some of those were out of the post. We have to keep working on that."

When Derrick gets the open look at the top of the key do you want him to shoot the ball?

"Shoot the ball; Gani has developed a nice foul line area jump shot as well. If you're open shoot the ball. Our team has to have their back when they pull up to shoot it by getting to the glass."

Do you feel you have a deep bench?

"I feel we have a lot of bodies. I keep saying that a deep bench is when you get production off that bench. I measure production in terms of effort; defensive effort, box out effort, loose ball effort, and running the floor effort. If you're running the floor you're going to get your shot. People can talk about offense all they want but if you outrun the defense in transition, you don't have to run an offensive play. I remember talking to a reporter last year about Carolina's half-court offense. In preparing to play them, I watched five tapes and they didn't run one play. They didn't run one play in the five games that I watched because they defended, rebounded, and ran the ball down your throat. I think that is pretty good basketball. That's how I measure depth with the effort and the production."

Do you have a sense of where the team is going into the meat of the schedule?

"We know as a group that we do. I think that has been established over the preseason. I think the George Mason game is the first game that we got a look as to who we can be both the good and the bad. Obviously we have to stay away from the bad and stick with the good."

Have you been surprised by Favor's defense?

"He gets his hands on a lot of balls. We chart deflections and I think Iman (Shumpert) was ahead of everybody else. Derrick has passed him now. He has a good instinct."

Will Iman be back for Charlotte?

"The plan is he'll be back for Charlotte. How much he'll play I don't know. That's the plan. It could be a game-time plan depending on how he feels. He feels better. He just has to get in shape."


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