Listen to Audio (16:49)
General update on John?
"We practiced this morning. John did a little more than he did yesterday. We let him in some live situations. He did not shoot the ball left-handed a single time. He did not block any shots left-handed. So I'm extremely concerned about that part of it, because you guys that have seen his play, that's his dominant hand in a big, big way. He did block one shot, it was right-handed, and he took one jump hook right-handed and it fell about three miles short. But he felt like that -- if the game were to be played today, he felt like he could play. I'm not convinced.
"But part of it, as I said last week, it's got to be a two-part thing: He has to feel comfortable that he can play and then I have to decide whether his play will be effective. And I am being extremely honest, I do not know. I talked to my staff after practice trying to see if I could get some input from them as to which way to be leaning and I am not leaning in any direction. So I really don't know."
Understanding that there are several major differences between John and Ty Lawson's situation in 2009, did the experience of having to deal with the uncertainty with Ty help you in trying to kind of decide what's going to happen here with John?
"I thought it would. But I'm awfully uncomfortable talking about it because I don't know what I'm going to do. Ty's was a little different; Ty hurt it and then came back and played and was very successful and then it ballooned up on him again. So it was almost like a recurrence, but he didn't get it hit again. It's just the swelling went up there.
"There is the difference of that and there's also the difference of that with Bobby particularly I knew that we would be very solid at the point guard spot. Bobby is not Ty, but Bobby had played that position before and I had tremendous amount of confidence in him. We had so many weapons with Danny and Wayne and Tyler; we just had a lot of weapons there. But I also know that Ty Lawson came in in the second game against LSU and if he had not played that game, I don't think we would have won that game. His second half performance was about as good as any half I've ever seen a point guard play in any stage. So, yeah, it does, there are some similarities, but it certainly had made me more comfortable in what I'm trying to decide right here."
Can you say-- is this just going to be an actual game time decision with John tomorrow? I would assume you're having a shoot around sometime tomorrow morning? You might watch him and then are you just going to watch him warm up and see how he feels?
"And it will be-- I think it will be a game time decision, to answer your question. And then it will be a second decision, how effective is he in the first part of the game. Ty wasn't very effective in the first half of that LSU game. And then you guys may remember, he hurt it and that took him out of the game in the first half. He was scared to death; he had heard a pop. But then he sat there and realized, well, this doesn't feel any differently and then he came back in. So there will be a second evaluation as to how he plays in the game, if I do play him in the game.
"And with me, I'm being honest, I really don't know what's the best road to take, because you pick two scenarios. Say you don't play him. All right. What are you saving him for? If you get beat, you're going to go home and start working on your golf game. Okay. All right. Now if you do play him and he gets his wrist whacked again, okay, then that's going to hurt you down the road. So to me it's not an easy decision.
"And NCAA tournament play, I never say okay, well, we may be able to handle it without this. That's not the deal. With Ty, I didn't play him in the first round because I was so comfortable with Bobby. And James Michael's done some good things, but who is going to take James Michael's place coming off the bench there?"
Do you feel this group is the best team in the country?
"I said the same thing on October 15th, I think there's seven or eight teams that have a legitimate chance. Now I would probably go to 10 or 11. To me, I think Kentucky and Syracuse have separated themselves a little from everybody else. And they lost last week, so..."
Tyler Zeller & Kendall Marshall
Listen to Audio (4:22)
You said on Tuesday that you were going to watch the Vermont-Lamar game. Did you watch it? And if you did, what did you think of Vermont?
"I did watch it and Vermont is a very good team. They're here for a reason. Obviously, this is a big time tournament. And they do a very good job of playing as a team. One thing that we have to do is not get frustrated. They do a great job of running their offense and really looking for the best shot available. They have no selfish players on their team, so those are the main things I got out of the game."
Did you watch the game last night? And if you did, your observations?
"Very similar to what he said. I watched the first half and then some of the second half, but they did a fantastic job of playing as a team, making sure they ran their offense. And they didn't have a turnover until it was like 12 or 10 minutes left in the first half. That's very impressive. Usually teams have two or three turnovers by then. We can't get frustrated, just got to make sure that you play your game."
Listen to Audio (7:30)
How is the range of motion in regards to your wrist?
"The range of motion is pretty good. It's increasing everyday. We measure by degrees and on Monday I could only bend it like 30 [degrees] and now I'm to like 60, so it's getting better. Hopefully get some rest tonight and feel even better tomorrow and see what happens."
Is it fair to say that you'll be more careful about tomorrow than Sunday with the game on Sunday maybe being a bigger goal?
"Oh yeah, I will be and coach probably will [have me] dress out and try to play and if I cant be effective, like he says, he'll have to sit me down, but I'm going to try tomorrow and see what happens.'"
How effective do you think you can be?
"I think I can be pretty effective. I do have my right hand. I don't use it as much as my left, but get some good rest tonight and some great treatment. I've been going twice a day to Chris [Hirth] and before class and after class and hopefully I can keep it going."
Any particular actions with the ball that hurt more than others?
"Yeah. Gripping the ball and kind of bringing the ball up. I can catch pretty well and dribbling is a little tough as well and I'm just trying to get it better day by day and see how it feels."
How would you classify your status tomorrow?
"See how it feels when I wake up in the morning and if it improves at a rate like it did from yesterday to today, I think I'll be fine."
Are you worried about doing something long-term to your wrist that could affect your draft status?
"Not really. This is what I came back to school for, so I'm going to give it my all. It would hurt me… to not be able to play and help my team out in this tournament and that is what I want to do most of all."
Listen to Audio (3:01)
What is the mindset of you personally and the team as a whole now that you've been through an NCAA Tournament before?
"Just coming out with energy every game and just have fun. I think last year we were all kind of new to this experience and everything was just kind of eye opening. Now that we've been here before it's just about coming out here and playing our game and just realizing that any slow start can possibly end our season."
Do you mindfully try to step up and take over a game at times or do you let the game come to you?
"I think the biggest thing, especially now in the tournament, is getting your teammates going. You always want to get your teammates going, get them confidence, because trying to go just take over the game, it's harder to when your teammates aren't doing it. My biggest thing is going to be trying to feed off them, get them going and, from there, it'll be easier for me to get penetration lanes, get open shots."
Listen to Audio (2:26)
How ready is the bench to step up in the tournament with all the injuries this season and the increased playing time?
"I think we're all ready because when Dex got hurt, that's when I knew, at my position, that I was going to have to step up, because with Strick out that takes out a perimeter player and they started Reggie and moved me up to backing up Reggie and me and ‘J-Watts' had to start playing more perimeter and start playing more every game to help the team. When John got hurt, we knew John was fine, we just knew he didn't injure it anymore than what it already was, so in the ACC Tournament, coach told us we just got to become big-time players… he needed us to do things to help off the bench."
How much of your confidence in each game depend on if your first shot goes in?
"If I shoot my first shot and it goes in I just feel like it's going to be a good day. In warm-ups if I miss my first two jump shots, I know it's going to be a good day… it's like a superstition thing, I just know it's going to be a good game."