I think it's been more concentration and understanding more than anything; in terms of the intensity level at that time. That's something that, again, we're trying to work with our guys in understanding that. Sometimes our young guys, they don't quite get it right away. I know Courtney was talking about it himself, saying how I talk about the level we play in the first half, you can't play with it in the second half because you know the team's going to come out and make a run. We have to come out and initiate that energy and that level of intensity.
I think it's going to get there, and I say that because we've had some other areas that we had to improve in and we did. Before, we were talking about our starts. We took care of that in our last few ball games and now we have to get to the point where we can come out that first five minutes of the second half. It's just the concentration and the mentality of ‘OK guys let's come out here and get a good start here and get a good run.'
On if he thinks he now knows what he has:
I still don't think we have an identity yet. I don't think that's a bad thing. A lot of teams don't have identities. We're still not there yet. Part of that is the uncertainty in some areas, still positions, still not having that guy who can step up and lead. We have guys who are playing well and playing hard but I still don't think we have an identity. Again, I don't think that's a bad thing. A lot of teams don't have an identity – they just play well.
On what he'd like that identity to be:
I don't know if its necessary to have one but for me I think it'd be ‘they play hard' or ‘they play tough.' Last year it was our execution. We were going to execute you to death. With this team, I think it's more important for us to play hard and play tough. Or that we're just a smart team that doesn't make mistakes. That can happen in time, you never know when that's going to happen for you – you hope sooner than later.
On if the drop-off in the second half is frustrating:
It's frustrating in the end when you don't win the game. I think for me, I still have to look at certain areas and things that we're doing well. It's frustrating to see us come out and play well in the first half and then come out in the second half and not be able to execute offensively or defensively. You're trying to figure out what it is. As a coach, you always want that quick fix, you want your guys to pick up as soon as possible what you're talking about and understand what you're talking about. Maybe it's the frustrating part of them not getting it yet. I'm not frustrated with them, but just frustrated that they haven't gotten it yet. I think they're going to get it. They've accomplished everything that we've wanted to do as far as certain areas of the game and this is the last hurdle so to speak.
On Boston College:
Number one; we're on the road. Number two; we've watched these guys play and they've been in some ball games. We can't look at their conference record. Two, it's what we have to do. I try not to focus too much on the other team other than their strengths, their weaknesses, their individuals but more or less what we have to do.
It doesn't matter what the other team does. I tell my guys, if you're determined that you're going to get to a certain spot or set a certain screen and you're not going to allow anyone to knock you off that path then you're going to get it done. That's what we're going to be facing and that's that hurdle that we have to get over, offensively and defensively …
I told our guys, I want to see someone get upset about their man scoring as opposed to getting upset about missing a shot. When I see you get upset about your man scoring, and you come back down and you do something about it, now we're starting to get it, now we're starting to understand.
On what the 1983 team's identity was:
We were tough. We were just tough. We didn't execute you to death, we ran we had a chance but we weren't running up and down the floor. We were tough but we were very, very disciplined. We didn't make a lot of mistakes. Guys didn't do what they weren't capable of doing. No team would out-tough us. No one did.
On if his players would be meeting the 1983 Championship team's players when they come to be honored 25 years later at the Clemson game:
As much as we can. There's some things they can't go to. I think it's important that our guys see the former players and get an opportunity to talk to them – and again, I say this all the time - what it means to be here at N.C. State. What it means to wear that jersey. What it means to play in this area with Carolina and Duke being down the road and the rivalries and the history. So they hear from other guys and not just the coach. Sometimes the players think ‘Ah, the coach is just trying to pump me up or get me going.' But when they hear from the other guys and see how sincere it is, sometimes that helps. Some of our guys still don't quite get it. They don't quite understand the history of the three schools and that'll be good for them to see.
On the ACC having seven black head coaches, being black history month:
"I think it speaks well for our conference. Obviously, you just hire guys who are capable of getting the job done. That's all you want, you just want a fair chance. I think it's great that that's where we are today. Guys that are getting a chance are getting a chance and it's not because of any reason, because that guy is the most qualified for the job. There's a lot of good coaches out here. To me, I think it's a good thing.
On what being the second black coach in NCSU history means to him:
It means more to me that it's my alma mater than it is being the first African-American [male] coach. I'm a basketball coach. It means more to me that I'm here than it does being the first. Now having said that, being the first, certainly there's a lot more that comes along with that – expectations, likes and dislikes, but I knew that coming in. And I don't let anything fog my focus of what I'm trying to do. I love this university and I wouldn't let anything get in the way of that whether someone said something negatively or what, I wouldn't let that affect me because I know what I'm here to do and I know my love for this university. And they can't take that away. No matter what they do or say about me they can't take that away, and that's what I hold onto.
On 1983 teammate Harold ‘World' Thompson:
I was going to say, don't call him Harold, call him ‘World.' We just had a very close, close team. Everyone got along. Guys didn't complain about minutes, they didn't complain about shots. We had guys who didn't play a lot of minutes like ‘World' who could've certainly gotten in there more but he didn't complain. All he did was he came to practice every day and worked as hard as he could and after practice he would tell Thurl [Bailey] or whoever that he killed them. That the ‘World' killed them today. And that's what he did, and he always made those guys better. He was very important to our team.
On how he got the name ‘World':
I think we were playing somewhere and World B. Free, the real ‘World,' was around and I think someone spoke to him and called him ‘Lloyd' and he stopped and turned around and said ‘that's ‘World.' I think that's where Harold picked it up … and from that point on Harold became ‘World.' We still call him ‘World,' don't ever call him Harold. He'll correct you if you call him Harold anyway.
On the impact the 1983 team had on people:
It had such an impact on so many people. Not just in the Carolinas but just all around. I would go places when I was in the NBA and the first thing someone would say was ‘I loved that '83 game.' I'm thinking, here I am a coach in the NBA, I thought that was big time and they're here talking about that game. I think what it did, I've had people say this to me, that it gave them hope for some of the struggles that they were having in their personal lives to see underdogs to come out and prevail. We just touched a lot of people's lives. You think about it, we had no idea, I had no idea, that it would affect people the way it did. Even today, you have people who can still tell you exactly where they were when that ball went in. To me, that's amazing. It's fun. I enjoy it. Sometimes people think I don't like hearing those stories but I love hearing those stories. The first thing they'll say to me is ‘I know you get tired of talking about it or hearing about it but -- ." I say ‘no, no buts, just tell me what happened' because it was special.
On who he hasn't seen in awhile from that team:
Harold is the one. He's in Dallas right now. He would be the one that I hadn't seen in awhile. I saw George McClain, Mike Warren, obviously Thurl and Derek [Whittenberg]. Lorenzo [Charles], Co[zell McQueen], so Harold – excuse me - ‘World' would be the one I hadn't seen in awhile. It'd be nice to see him and it'd be nice to see all the guys back together.