On securing wins during opening weekend:
“You like going in the locker room and winning, there’s no question there. The first night I didn’t think we played very well at all, but Levelle and the Central kids did a nice job. We didn’t move effectively, but then we had a quick practice on Saturday morning, and I didn’t show up to the practice - first practice I’ve missed in 27 years – and they did some things without me kind of thing. [On Sunday] we did some really good things and everybody shared the ball. I think we had 29 assists on 36 field goals. Shared the ball and had so many options and opportunities to get even more assists. J.P. Tokoto had 10 assists and one turnover and the way we count, if a guy misses a layup, J.P. did his job. We had him for 15 legitimate assists, and it was just an incredible game for him passing the basketball.”
On the high field goal percentage over the weekend:
“Both the teams played us the entire game in zone, so you do more passing and have more chances to get assists at that point as opposed to dribble penetration. I still like the dribble penetration even against the zone to break it down because you’ve heard me say before people play zone to get you to shoot from the outside. I don’t want to do what they want me to do. I want to do what the dickens I want to do, and we wanted to get the basketball inside and the guys really did a good job. J.P.’s passing, Brice and Kennedy passing the ball inside, it was really impressive for us.”
On playing better in the second game against Robert Morris:
“Well, the tempo was what we like. They couldn’t stop us from going down the court. Central, Levelle’s group, they came in and ran clock for 15 to 20 seconds before they really tried to get into the offense, so the tempo wasn’t really how we like it. But that’s what the other team is supposed to do. They’re not supposed to do what Ol’ Roy wants to do all the time. But we did play better. We were better on the defensive end of the court, our defensive grades were much better, the whole thing.”
You said this team could potentially be the best offensive rebounding team you’ve ever coached. Why?
“We have athleticism, we’ve got jumping ability and that always helps. We don’t have great size, but we have good size. We have great size on the wings. J.P. and Justin are 6’7 and 6’8. Now what we have to do is get them to visit the rebounding area. And we’ve got to get them to decide to go in there close to that basket. I was so happy with J.P. He said he had 10 assists, and I said son, you probably had 14 or 15 if guys had just made the layups, but I’ve got to get you to get to the offensive boards. That’s his best skill he has. I said you got the same number of offensive rebounds my wife had, and she just got out of the hospital. You got zero. So it’s the kind of thing like that. We’ve got to get [J.P.] and Justin and Theo… those three guys should really be dominant wing players on the backboards.”
On the play of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks:
“The first game neither one played nearly as well as we wanted them to. Kennedy [on Sunday], if I’m not mistaken, had 21 points [and] 12 rebounds in 17 minutes. He needs to get going up and down the court a little more consistently and stay out of foul trouble both, but those guys did set the tone early in the game. We did dominate the backboards early in the game and they really set the tone and it was good for them. And I think it’s good for those guys to see they need to step up. It’s all we talked about in the offseason that those guys need to step up.
“And Marcus got it going in the second half, and if Marcus Paige is my worry, I’m going to be in really good shape. Somebody asked me at the press conference this week do I like to have a lot of guys that can score or just have one leading scorer? And I said no, I like to have a lot of guys. And I said I bet we would have five or six guys this year that could get 20 in any game, and we’ve already had two of them.”
How did you think your three freshmen perform?
“Justin, we’ve talked about, is very efficient, not as flashy as some people would think. But if you look at the end of the game, he scored and shot a good percentage and had a positive defensive grade [against Robert Morris]. Theo is going to just get better and better and better. I got on him one time in the first half because he had the ball at the center of the court and could’ve turned it into a 3-on-2 situation and he was so doggone conservative that he dribbled it over to the side and allowed the other team to set up.
“So he got it at the end of the second half and he started down the side, and I started screaming ‘middle, Theo!’ and he took one bounce and made a bounce pass to Brice and Brice dunked it with the left hand. And he came over, and I said, ‘were you thinking about going before I yelled?’ And he said, ‘yeah, yeah.’ Joel Berry is going to get better and better. I think Joel is feeling freshmenitis a little bit right now, more than the other two guys, but they’re all three going to be very good players for us.”
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