How important was the win over Clemson for the mentally of the team?
No question we needed a win. I say this again, we lost to two teams (Duke and North Carolina) who I think will be cutting down the nets in April. But guys don't want to hear that. I think the expectations grow in the community as well as within our team. We want to be competitive and we want to win. The margin of error in those games is slim. You have to do all of the little things like and we didn't do those things enough to win those games. It was extremely important for us to get our confidence back as we progress through the season.
Is going back to Wake Forest different that going somewhere else?
Yes it is. I have a ton of friends at the university and supporters of the university. There are a lot of close friends there after being there for five years. I met a lot of great people that are dear friends. I would believe that I am their second favorite ACC team.
How well do you know this Wake Forest team from when you were there?
There are still some kids there that we recruited; Jamaal Levy, Vytas Danelius, Taron Downey, and Trent Strickland were all coming in as we were leaving. I am familiar with their personnel. Even some of the guys that they ended up getting the following year, I knew very well like Justin Gray and Eric Williams. So I know their squad pretty well. Plus we played them last year at Texas in a Big Monday game. They are a very talented team that is very gifted offensively. They don't have very many weaknesses. They have a great post-up game and great perimeter shooters, which makes them very difficult to guard.
What makes Chris Paul (15 ppg 6 apg) an effective player?
Number one, he puts the ball on you so fast in transition. You have to get back and keep him out of the paint, but it is difficult to do that. When you watch games he is constantly in the paint creating opportunities for himself and his teammates. Now he has really improved his jump shot from last year. Not only can he penetrate and create, but he also can score himself, which he has done a lot more this year.
Does it help that you have already faced top league competition North Carolina and Georgia Tech on the road this year?
It is another great opponent on their court and I think our kids are looking forward to the opportunity. We know what it is about in this league with playing great teams and you are going to have to travel on the road half of the time. We just have to get ourselves ready to go and compete.
How do you feel the guards match up with the Wake Forest guards?
They don't start the three guards together, but they end up playing them a lot. They will start either Levy or Strickland at the small forward. With their three guards in there I think we are okay. Chris Paul is the x-factor in there. He is just a tremendous point guard. I think Guillermo Diaz (18 ppg 4 rpg) and Robert Hite (17 ppg 4 rpg) can compete with those guys.
Does Eric Williams (16 ppg 6 rpg) remind you of Duke forward Shelden Williams?
He has made a tremendous improvement in his game over the last two years. You can just see how his body has changed. He has lost nearly 40 pounds since when he first got there. He was over 300 pounds when he first got down there and now he is around 270. You can just tell in his game, he is more confident and quicker. He is definitely a factor. He has great low post moves, but he is just more assertive and in better shape.
What do you plan on doing differently against Eric than what you guys did against Shelden, who scored 30 points?
He is a load. We have to anticipate and not let him get deep post position. We have to establish position and get to the spot before he does. We will probably do some different things to help guard him, but it is hard to do when they have great shooters on the perimeter.
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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