What do you want to accomplish in the two games this weekend?
I think we'll look for the same types of things we looked for in the two exhibition games. We want to establish our identity. Who are we? What are we going to be about? What type of defense will we be in? What are we going to look like offensively? We are just trying to establish who we are.
Will a run and gun offense affect your defensive style of play?
Playing quick all kind of fits into what we want to do on both sides of the ball. Coach said he wanted to be a team that creates problems for people on the defensive end. If we can do that, it'll give us more opportunities to run. I'm excited about that. I know our guys are excited about that. It frees us up to do a few more things on the defensive end of the floor so maybe we can force some teams to have to do some extra things in preparation and take time away from some other things they want to do.
Is Ben Allen a guy who can guard the wing as well as the post?
He's got work to do there and he would probably be the first one to tell you that. The nice thing you like about Ben is he is so coachable. He wants to get better, he wants to be good and he accepts criticism. He's destined to be a really good one for us.
How much will the depth help the team on defense?
I tell you what, the depth really makes us a dangerous team, because we can play at a pace and when we make substitutions that pace shouldn't change. I think it'll be rare for you to find teams that can sustain that kind of pace for a full 40 minutes with us. We may not knock you out in the first five minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes. But in the 25th and 39th minute are you going to be the same because we plan on being the same.
How much will having Lewis Monroe and Earl Calloway at the point guard position help this team?
Having Calloway and Monroe is big. I would say a year ago we couldn't go out and do some of the things we're doing. We have more quickness at the point and we have some toughness there where we can get after people and make it hard for teams to do what they want to do right from the start. What that does is give us some more chance to use more creativity. Now we can run and trap, surprise trap in different places, isolate their guard so they can't get the ball. It just enables us to do a lot of different things because of that quickness and toughness we have up front.
There were times in both exhibition games that both point guards were on the floor. Is that something you expect to happen throughout the season?
I think so. With (A.J.) Ratliff out we have to move combinations and things around. I think Coach Davis wants to do it a bit because Lewis can move off and Earl really moved off when he played at the junior college level. Both guys are capable of playing the perimeter, can move the basketball and can put pressure on from a defensive standpoint. If they're on the floor they can create problems for the opposition.
How can Calloway help this team?
He's a special kid and that's why I like him so much. I was excited when I saw him and I called Coach Davis and said this is one we have to have. He changes the game because of that speed. You need to account for him at all times on both ends of the floor. I think the thing that we haven't seen from him yet that you will as the season goes on is that he is a really good shooter. To his credit he has adjusted his game to learn how to lead a team. That's what we needed him to do, what Coach Davis wanted him to do, and I think he has adapted well to it.
How do you replace the blocked shots D.J. White brings to the table?
We're a position defensive team more than we're a blocking defensive type of team. Blocks kind of save the day for you and we don't want to be the type of team that relies on that. We want to be a team that is in the right spots 95 percent of the time and the five percent of the time we're not, we're going to rotate our butts off, so hard and so fast that we'll make up for that. We want D.J. when he's in there to be a second-level blocker, the second guy that comes over and helps and gets that block. We don't want that to have to be our first line of defense. We'll be a team now where Sean Kline will sacrifice his body for a charge or Marco Killingsworth will. Those guys will be in the right spots position-wise so we won't need as many blocks.
Will being a position-defensive team help with rebounding?
We sure hope so. D.J. is a big-time athlete who can go way up there and get that thing, but rebounding comes down to positioning, timing and reading the flight of the ball. You have to do all that while the shot is going up. If we can do those things and block people out we should be a better rebounding team. We have to get better there.
The coaching staff set goals during the exhibition games about how many points you wanted to hold the opponent to. Is that something you will do during the regular season also?
No question. We have to set goals and hold the guys accountable to reach those goals. We're going to keep it in house in terms of what those goals are, but we'll have goals for every single game we play. At times it'll be the number of times we put them on the line, how many offensive rebounds they get, how many deflections we can get or how many points they score. We have a number of them and we'll use different ones depending on who we play. We'll be pushing to get those every game.
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