Listen to Audio (16:03)
Are you starting to see any signs of fatigue from Kendall Marshall?
"I haven't seen any… Kendall is sneaky; he rests on defense most of the time anyway. We get the shot clock winding down and they don't have anywhere to pass it and they pass it to Kendall's guy and he shots it and he's looking around daydreaming or whatever. It is a concern for us. It's a concern probably more so probably because of the way I felt about his game on Sunday in the tournament last year. Our practices have been cut back really short and it's because all the guys, but Kendall probably more so than anybody else, but I would say for the last three or four weeks our practices have been cut back maybe shorter than any time I can remember."
How important is it for Kendall to stay out of foul trouble?
"He's really an intelligent basketball player and most of the time makes good decisions defensively and not get silly fouls. Guys get in foul trouble not because they're playing defense, but because they get lazy and will make a silly foul. Reggie [Bullock] trying to go up in the air and block Austin [Rivers] first shot of the game was sort of a silly foul and then when [Bullock] gets the offensive rebound and gets called for a charge, that's his second foul. If you don't get the silly foul to start with, the second one doesn't make a difference. So I take him out with 7½ minutes [left] and say ‘I'm not going to make you sit here the whole time, but be smart when you get back in there' and so then they get him for assaulting a guy underneath the basket with his hands… so now it's a silly foul. Kendall doesn't get many of those silly fouls and I guess the best example is at Maryland. I put him back in with eight minutes to play… with four fouls and he got away from one play that could've been a foul. He just got out of it. We need every player to do that. Some guys, their nature is more aggressive and more hands on, those kind of things, and Kendall is not that nature of a defensive player so that helps him too."
What does having a #1 seed mean to you?
"It means you've won a lot more games. I like winning games. I've never been one that thinks it's a drastic difference from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 or 5 to 6 or something like that. I'd like to have a #1 seed. That means you had a much better year. That' s a bad way to put it, because it can't be a ‘much better year' than if you get a 2 seed, for example. Yeah, we would like it. Everybody would like it. Supposedly the 16th seeded team is not as good as the 15th seeded team, so there's a benefit from it as well. We've done fairly well in tournaments from a 1 seed or 2 seed or 3 seed or 4 seed. What were we last year, a 2 [seed]? No 1's and no 2's made the Final Four last year and only one #3 made the Final Four and that was Connecticut if I'm not mistaken, so it doesn't mean everything. Really what it means to me is more satisfaction from winning more games."
How has you team responded to the win against Duke on Saturday?
"Not very well today at practice. I told them we have to have more than that. Last year we had a really nice win at the end of the season and probably surprised people by winning the regular season. I think we were so happy about that we didn't play very well when we got up to the ACC Tournament, so I told them I want to play better and I think we need to play better when we get up there and there are things still riding on it. How they handled it, you know I'm joking a little bit, but we didn't have a great practice this morning and I want us to practice better when we get back out there, but it's human nature, they should feel good. That's a big time win in a big time atmosphere. Duke's crowd has always been really good and I've never heard them as loud as I heard them on Saturday and for us to go in there and win the game says a lot about our team, so they should be happy with what they've done and you can't just click that off, but we got to work better to get ready for this week."
How would you assess James Michael McAdoo's play on Saturday and do you think he's hitting his stride?
"A couple of big-time offensive rebounds for baskets. The follow dunk on the other end, he was up about as high as I can remember seeing anybody and the offensive rebound in the late game situation… we just told him he was the defensive award winner for the game, so he is really doing some nicer things. People say ‘oh gosh, he's only averaging 5 [points] and 3 [rebounds]', but to me, there's been a marked difference in his play in the last 10 or 12 games. He's extremely valuable to us."
Listen to Audio (8:37)
Coach said practice was not good today. What did you guys not do well in practice today?
"We were lacking energy. On one hand you could say it is expected, but at the same time, we're striving for bigger goals, so that is not the first step we want to get out to. Going into these next three games, we have to take it one at a time. Last year we had great comebacks, but at the same time we don't need to put ourselves in those situations. If we come out and play for 40 minutes, we don't have to wait until the last 6 or 8 minutes of the game to expend energy just trying to get back into it. I think that really affected our play going into Sunday against Duke where again we came out slow and they capitalized on it. When you're playing a good team like Duke, you're not always going to be able to come back and that was the case and point."
Are you feeling tired or worried that you might be wearing out considering the number of minutes you are playing?
"I got a little tired against Duke early in the second half, but then again, when it comes to this time of the season it is about heart, not so much fatigue. I think last year going into it I was just out there playing. I wasn't thinking. I'm a lot more mature when I'm on the court this year. Just little things such as breathing techniques. Coach does a great job utilizing timeouts to get me extra rest, so I'm not so much worried about fatigue this year as I was last year."
Why do you think the ACC single season assist record has stood for so long?
"There could be many things. A couple of them could be contributed to kids not staying around. You can argue if Tywon [Lawson] or Ray [Felton] stayed for a senior year, maybe they had chances to break some of those records. A lot of those records are set by four-year players. That can contribute to it as well as maybe in the new generation point guards are a lot more scorers and they're looking to attack the basket. Not saying they're not going to pass, but that's not their first priority because teams need them to score."
Listen to Audio (10:54)
How much better does it make the team when Kendall is playing aggressively?
"I think it makes us extremely tough to guard, especially when Kendall is looking to score as well as pass. When he drives down the lane we now have the threat of him finishing or passing the ball off. A lot of the bigs have been staying on John [Henson] and I not helping off, so if Kendall tried to pass he wouldn't be able to, but he's been doing a great job of finishing when they don't help off and as soon as they do help off, passing the ball off. I think that's what makes him a special player and then he's been shooting the ball extremely well recently, so he's been helping us tremendously."
Are you glad that the regular season is finally over and the goals you set out to accomplish are finally here and in sight?
"Yeah. This is what we play for. A lot of teams play the whole season to be able to get in the NCAA Tournament and then try to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, so it's something we all look forward to and it's a fun time of the year. It's one of those times you actually got time to prepare, you got time to kind of get your legs back and then you just got to go play the best you can play."
How much attention will you be paying when they announce the ACC individual awards tomorrow?
"It's one of those things, that I love personal awards. It's always a great honor to be able to say that ‘I did this' or ‘I did this', but it is a team sport, so being able to say we won Saturday is something I think they'll talk about for longer. If I were to get Player of the Year and they put [my jersey] up in the rafters, that's the proudest I'd ever see my dad, so that'd be a great honor just for it to be that way for my parents. It's something that I think I'll enjoy, but it'll be something that will be quick lived for now."