Concerns about his team's play.
"I thought we played about the way I was concerned we would play. I didn't think we practiced the last couple of days the way you have to practice consistently. I'm not talking about doing the two drills or three drills right. I'm talking about doing it from the time you step between those lines and the time you walk off the court. Combine a nine-day layoff with us leaving to go to Arizona and I think that contributed a little bit to the way we played. But, we are not anywhere near the consistency you have to have day-in and day-out. And I just talked to my team about it that that comes from leadership and toughness. It's not where it needs to be on this basketball team. I was very pleased with Dietric Slater's energy coming off the bench. He makes a lot of things happen for us. Basically, they decided, particularly the first half, if L (Lawrence) touches the ball someone else was going to have to score it because they are going to run people at him and double him. We are going to see that all season. We have to get better at handling double teams."
"Give South Alabama some credit. They hung around just enough to keep some confidence."
Talk about you upcoming game against Arizona.
"There is no question that Arizona is one of the most talented basketball teams in the country, year-in, year-out. They should have won the basketball game against Wake Forest, who I think was ranked number 1 in the country, in the preseason NIT game. That tells you have good they are. They have McDonald All-Americans at all positions. And on those first three seats on that bench there are three more of them sitting there. They are as talented as any team in the country."
What does it do for your team and your program to be in that kind of spotlight once again?
"That is one of the big reasons we are in it. If our team hadn't gotten itself to the point where there isn't traditions, then we wouldn't have this opportunity to be in it. The John Wooden Classic is a very prestigious tournament. Very few teams get that opportunity. It only helps your team and your program. That is why we scheduled it."
You didn't play your two big freshmen, Sharpe and Rhodes, tonight.
"I made the decision before the game that I wasn't going to play one of them for sure. And it was about practice habits. He has a lot of ability, but (he is) going to have to learn how to take that ability and put it into every day and every possession. I understand he is a freshman, but there has to be a learning curve and that learning curve has to start again. One thing that will get someone's attention more than anything else is to be sat down. I made that point tonight. Charles Rhodes was the guy that I wanted to play. I wish I could have played him, but that game never got out like we wanted it to get out before we played the young guy."
Dietric Slater didn't have the big numbers tonight. What was it about his game that you liked?
"When he comes out of the middle of that court, you put your seat belt on and hold on and see what is going to happen. Something is going to happen every time. I don't know what. But the thing that he gives you, and the reason he is going to play, is he brings great energy to the game. He'll get better at all of that other stuff with more playing time. But we need his toughness, his energy in that basketball game. That is why he is playing."
Do you expect to see him play more as the season goes on?
"I think if you look at our stats, it has gradually gotten more and more every game. Tonight, Dietric played 16 minutes. That is good minutes for him."
Talk about Shane Power's contribution.
"Shane is just solid. I thought in the first half he was the one doing the best job of anybody of finding those gaps when that ball was kicked out of that double team. That is what you have to do. They weren't going to let Lawrence score. He did the best job of anybody of getting in those gaps and making plays. Shane is going to give you everything he has every night. He is going to make intelligent plays. He is a guy you want the ball in his hands late in that basketball game. I am very pleased with the way he is playing."
Marcus Campbell struggled during the game.
"Well, it wasn't one of his better nights. We were going to set him up for a dunk at the start of the game because we knew they were going to double team Lawrence. We basically cleared everything out and got him right to the basket but it just didn't go in. I think that kind of set the tone for him for the rest of the night. I know it is frustrating to you when you miss the dunk, but you have to learn to put that play behind you. That play is over."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.