Coach Haith talks UM hoops

Miami Hurricanes men's basketball coach Frank Haith is preparing his team for another tough ACC match-up on Wednesday night. The Maryland Terrapins, coached by national champion Gary Williams will take the court in Coral Gables and try to pick up a big win on the road. Read on to see what Haith feels his team needs to do to come away victorious.

"We've got a big ball game tomorrow. We play a very good Maryland team that's already beaten a Michigan team, that's already beaten a Michigan State. It's a good thing that we've played teams with a small line up. They have four guards. All of them can shoot the three. As a matter of fact, they put five guys out there that can shoot the ball because their five man, Neal, can shoot the three. It is a challenge for us. We have to guard on the perimeter and guard their guys that can shoot the ball. They're 12-3, 1-0, and they had a big win the other night against Georgia Tech. It's a big game for us. We've got to be ready to play and protect our home court. The other night was an outstanding win for our basketball team going into Boston and competing. If you go back and watch tape, Boston played very, very well and our team played very, very well. We found a way to win that ballgame with some great toughness and some guys stepped up and that was nice to see. Obviously Jack McClinton played well in terms of he had 12 points but it was not a typical Jack night. We had other guys step up and make plays to help us win that ballgame."

What does the win at Boston College mean for this team the rest of the way?

"It's definitely big because it's hard to win on the road. That's number one. You talk about a Boston College team that obviously, they had a hiccup on Wednesday against Harvard but they had a great win in North Carolina. You don't go and beat the number one team in the country on the road if you're not a good basketball team. There's no question beating a quality team who is ranked 17th in the country, on their court, it's got to give us a boost in terms of confidence. You could see our guys are playing with that extra little bit of pep in their step. I was encouraged by that. You're seeing guys playing together, sharing the basketball, doing the little things like drawing charges. Dwayne Collins' charge at the end of the game, that was big. You're starting to see us make those kinds of plays that this team was making at the end of last season when we started to play well."

Now that Eddie is out, when Lance is off the court, do you immediately move Jack to the one or are their other point guard options?

"Yeah, I think that's what we've done. Jack has played some point guard minutes. I think we've got to get Dews to play some point guard but what will have to happen is we have to get DeQuan Jones on the court more and get him more minutes. I think we'll be fine in that regards. It's something we've got to work through. Right now Jack will get some more point guard minutes but Lance will definitely log the most of them."

Greivis Vasquez is the next star guard that this team has to face. What do you think about him?

"I'll tell you the thing that they're doing with Greivis that's different this year is that he's scoring all over the court. They're posting him up. He's probably one of their best low post presences. They do a lot of things for him to get him scoring opportunities. He's one of those guys that if he gets hot from the perimeter he can make shots from three. His percentage isn't great but he always can make big plays. He's definitely a key guy. We've got to stop him. For them, he's their main guy in what they do. Everything runs through him offensively. I think when we play teams with great offensive players we've got to make them play on the other end. It's going to be a key that we do a good job of making him play defense."

Adrian Thomas has been through a lot of tough times throughout his college career. What do you think of his performance against BC?

"It's just a great, feel good story. Obviously you root for all of your guys but you root for a guy that has had all the adversity that he's had from an injury stand point. I think you guys that are constants in this room have heard me talking about Adrian in terms of how I feel about him. I always say, ‘he's coming, he's coming, he's coming'. It's just great to see him have a game like he did the other night against Boston College. I truly believe this young man will have even more nights like that because he's consistent with what he does. He is consistent with everything he does on and off the court. He has rehabbed and been getting himself right and our trainer deserves a lot of credit with that. He has worked very hard to get himself back on the court. You can just see him getting more and more confident with the more playing time he has gotten. I think he's a tough match-up. I think he's a guy that allows us to spread the court a little bit more. He allows Dwayne and Jimmy to have a little more freedom in the post and some one on one opportunities because you've got to guard him on the perimeter."

Do you think his game has changed a lot from the day he first stepped on campus?

"No question. If you ask Adrian when he came here out of high school what he was, he was just a pure, raw athlete. I think he has really developed his game because he has been hurt, to be honest with you, in terms of shooting. We used to give him numbers like ‘hey you've got to make 350 form shots.' He would shoot and shoot. He'd be on the sideline or sitting in a chair and just shoot and shoot to the point that when he came back he became a really good shooter. That's what he is. You're talking about two years of doing that because he's been out basically two years. He's become a really good shooter because he's been on the sideline working and working obviously because of his legs he couldn't do much running and jumping."

He is a guy who could play here six years right?

"Yes. Obviously you can't apply until the end of the year. I think he will apply for one this year. Hopefully he will have the opportunity. He's a very bright young man. I think he will graduate this year. Who knows what he'll be when he graduates. He might end up being a doctor or something. He's extremely well ahead of what he needs to do academically. He's a double major now and he will graduate so we've got to figure out what he's going to do if he wants to stay around."

Was there ever a point in the two years that he was injured that he was really down on himself and maybe doubted on continuing with basketball?

"I don't think so. He's so positive. Even last year when he was hurt I said ‘we've got to have Adrian on the road' because he's such a good teammate. He cares about his teammates. I'm big on watching our guys on the bench during games. He's a rally guy. He's always picking guys up. Even though he wasn't playing, he didn't let that affect him in terms of the purpose of why he was here. That's why I love the kid and I love what he stands for."

You've got three out of the next four games at home. How important are these next few games for Miami?

"It's a big, big run for us. Obviously, there's one at North Carolina on Saturday but this is a good stretch for us in terms of protecting our home court and it starts tomorrow night. In league play, you want to protect your home court and steal a couple on the road. We had the snag against Clemson and hopefully we got that back at Boston College. No we've got to get back to protecting our home court."

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