What a great weekend we had here at the University of New Mexico as not only did the football team defeat BYU 21-14, but also our men's basketball team played 3 games in the NABC classic along with North Carolina AT&T, Santa Clara, and Duquesne here in The Pit. The NABC tournament was a round robin tourney and allowed UNM to play all three teams. UNM scored victory in consecutive nights as they beat NC AT&T 75-59, Santa Clara 93-59, and Duquesne
We also learned this week that UNM has received a verbal commitment from a JC player this weekend. Unfortunately per NCAA rules Coach D. isn't allowed to talk about this recruit until UNM receives his papers, but as soon as it becomes official we will chase Coach D. down once again. (Go to the message board for more information on this player.)
Coach let's talk about this weekend's games starting with North Carolina AT&T. Both Chiotti and Granger had a big game, but the headline would have to be the turnovers, what do you attribute to the amount of turnovers, was it North Carolina AT&T press or just the first game of the year for your players?
#33 Danny Granger
#33 Danny Granger
I think it's a little bit of everything. I think they (UNC AT&T) play a style that is so different from just about anybody that you are used to playing. We knew that going into the game and we prepared for it, but until you really see it, it's hard to simulate in practice that kind of defense. It's so frenetic and so unpredictable that it's hard to just simulate in practice. I do think there were some nerves and guys playing overanxious. Overall I think we had some good things in that game, but there were too many turnovers. I think if you look at Duquesne the next night had like 19 turnovers and Santa Clara 15 the night after that vs. UNC AT&T. Once they were able to see their press live they were able to better prepare for it.
Coach I like the fact that offensively your team changed things up, for UNC AT&T it was the "bigs" coming through, for the Santa Clara game it was a three point barrage that put them away. Looking at the game from where I did it seemed like the Broncos were finished at the end of the 1st half with Mark Walters stole the ball with seconds remaining and buried another 3 pointer. (UNM went 13-20 behind the arc in the 1st half.)
I think it was a game we were really focused on. We had spent a lot of time in the off season getting ready for that game and talking about it with our players and as a coaching staff watching a lot of film. Honestly, because we lost to Portland last year like we did, Santa Clara being in the same league as Portland, and having some similarities with good guards. As a staff we were really nervous about that game and I think it showed in the fact that our guys were really really prepared for it and to our guys credit they executed the game plan really well. Alfred and Mark just made it their mission to not let Doron Perkins get anything going; we had told them that Doron was the key. If Doron could go for 25 and they get things rolling, they were going to feel good and play well. But if they frustrated him and keep him in check they would have a hard time beating us and like I said Mark and Alfred just accepted that challenge and did an incredible job of shutting him down.
And the final game of the weekend was Duquesne, and I felt of the three games, the Dukes played you the toughest. They just wouldn't go away.
That's right every time we made a big basket and it looked like we would pull away a little bit they would make a big basket. To their credit they treated our game as the one they circled that they really prepared for and got ready for and it showed. They did a really nice job and have a good guard in Bryant McAllister who had a good feel for the game and good-looking shot. The thing I liked about what we did in that game was that as frustrating as it was because Danny couldn't get into a rhythm, Dave didn't touch the ball very much, and we had a hard time getting any kind of flow; even though that was the case our guys stuck together. We would have lost that game in years past, and our first two teams here we would have lost that and to our guys credit they have learned from that past and were able to stick and gut a game like that out. Your always going to have games like that where your offense isn't clicking and its going to happen 5 or 6 more times this year where just can't into a flow and your just going to have to gut a game out.
I noticed in all three games your scoring came from different guys, in the first game it was Granger and Chiotti, the second was more Walters and Neale, and the last game was Neale, Walters, and in the second half Kris Collins really asserted himself and showed Lobo fans what they could look forward to for the next few years, but what was constant in all three games was your defense, especially your half-court defense which was good all three games.
#3 Kris Collins
We have challenged Mark and Alfred. They are the two best defensive players in the league and we have continued to challenge them to prove that and they have accepted that. They have prided themselves on that in the off-season that they are going to be this year and it showed. It really did. And we've told our guys bluntly that we think we can score, we don't really feel that offense is going to be a big issue this year. We have weapons. So we told them that if we defend this year it would be a great season because the offense is going to come.
Our first fan question for Coach D. comes from Charles:
Coach do you break down your coaching assignments as 1 coach is the big man coach, while the other is for the forwards, and guards. Or one is an offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator?
We kind of each have our hand in everything. When you only have fifteen guys on your roster you don't have to break it down like that. In football you have to, you have a running back coach and linebacker's coach; you just don't have to do that with only 15 guys on the roster. I tend to work with the big men more and Brad (Soucie) and Duane (Broussard) tend to work with the guards and forwards more, but it isn't a cut and dry thing.
Our next fan question comes from "A Boy Named Agnes".
When you bring a recruit into town, what do you feel is the biggest selling point to get that player to UNM?
I'll give you three selling points. The first one is The Pit, that is the obvious answer, and it is what captures a recruit's attention. They love the idea of playing inside The Pit. The second selling point is the guys that we already have in the program. We feel that when the players we bring get to know our guys that it really makes them feel like man this is a group that I want to be around. The word family is a cliché in sports, but we really try to make them feel that way. Like this is a family that you are joining that we take real serious and we think they are a special group. We hope those recruits feel that. And the last thing I would say is Coach Mc Kay. I really believe he is a great selling point, our players really enjoy playing for him, they really like him and respect him, and for recruits we try to let them spend a lot of time with Coach McKay and build that relationship, and I think most of the time when they do they realize they want to play for him.
I want to thank Coach D for spending some time with The Red Menace and look forward to talking to him the rest of the season. Remember, I don't always ask the best questions or know what you want to hear from Coach D., so please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a question for Coach D., and we will ask him!