"Two good wins for us last week. Here we are the last week of the season with a chance. It's not the greatest chance in the world, but with a chance to win the conference championship, which is where we've always wanted to be able to position ourselves. Got a big time game, last home game for the seniors against Maryland, of course finishing up over in Durham against a Duke club that's playing very well.
But feel good about the fact that we put them in the right column, but don't feel real good about the way we played, necessarily. We realize we have to play a heck of a lot better this week."
You touched on what I wanted to ask you. Here it is the last week of the regular
season. You control your destiny to win the
regular season title. At this point of the
season, is that about as much as a coach could
"Well, it's all I ask for. I don't know about everybody else. But I think you want to put yourself in position to win the conference championship the last week. And if you do that, you've also put yourself in position to be in the NCAA Tournament. You've also put yourself in position to get a fairly good seed in the NCAA Tournament.
"So if you take care of your business against teams in your league, you'll put yourself in a good position. Now you've got to -- in our case, we have to start playing a little better, because Virginia really made us look bad at times on Saturday and we've got to do better than that."
Is there anything specific this week
you want to see your team do better or that
you're concerned about heading into the final
"Yeah, if I were a football coach, I would add special teams, but I can't do that. So I'll just say offense and defense. We don't have special teams. But you could say special situations. We didn't get very good shots except for Z's dunk down the stretch. So we've got to get better in late-game situations.
"But Virginia exposed us, I thought, defensively. We weren't tough enough or patient enough to guard for 35 seconds. Then we've got to do a better job with our motion and our screening and our execution of our set stuff on the offensive end."
Senior Day means a lot to you. It
means more to you than a lot of coaches. What
is so special about Senior Day? What makes it
so special to you?
"It probably does mean more to me than it does some other coaches, and I think you said something there as well, but you were cutting out. But I'm corny. You've heard me say that many, many times. I think that playing in the Smith Center the last time in front of those fans that supported you for four years is extremely important. The memories that you're going to have from those four years are going to be extremely important. The last time you do it, you want it to be special. I'm dumb enough and maybe intelligent enough to remember the last home game I played in high school, and that was a special thing. It was a special thing for me at that time to have my mom walk out on the court. So that's where it started with me. The specialness that I felt at that moment because I felt like I'd worked awfully hard and tried to give as much as I could.
"So I don't think I'm that unusual. I think that being able to walk over there and give your mom a rose and hug your mom and dad and then walk out on to the court and have those fans be able to say thank you and for you to be able to say thank you for the way that those fans have made you feel for four years, all of that is good stuff. We don't emphasize the good stuff enough in college athletics, and to me, that's a great experience for four years or three years or whatever it is. It's a great experience to be able to do that in front of fans."
How big a deal is this going to be for
Justin Watts? He's done so much for this
program that a lot of people don't notice.
"I hope it means a heck of a lot to him, I really do. Because he's meant a heck of a lot to our basketball team, so much more than someone would interpret by looking at numbers. I'm hoping it will be a special moment for J. Watts, because he's done so much for us."
What do you remember from the
first few times you saw Kendall Marshall play in
person? What do you remember of how he
handled himself on the court?
"Well, I met him two or three different times before I saw him play because he came to games down here. First time he was in my office, he was with Marcus Ginyard's mom and dad. I think that's when he was in the 8th grade.
"So I saw him two or three times here at games before I ever saw him play. I was impressed by -- I found out he's not nearly as mature as now as I thought he was then. But I was impressed by his maturity. Then when I saw him play, that was a little bit of the same thing. I was impressed by his maturity as a basketball player at such a young age, because I guess I saw him the summer after his ninth grade year. He was a mature player at that time. He had an understanding of the game. He was a quarterback who truly was a quarterback that tried to make everyone better. You don't see that a lot at that young age, but I really felt that from him the very first time I saw him."