What have you thought of Joel Berry’s progress as of late?
“I think Joel has played better the last two games, he’s done some better things and we need him to do that. Marcus has been playing too many minutes and I’ve been getting on Theo and J.P and Justin because I need them to rebound more, and if they are not going to do that I’m going to play two smaller guys. Joel is doing some good things and he’s going to be a very good player for us. Right now he’s not making his jump shot, but I do believe it’s going to start going in. I just hope it’s in my life time.”
On moving Marcus Paige to the 2-guard more:
“We play him there about half of minutes over the course of the game anyways. If you do that then you’re taking minutes away from Justin Jackson, J.P and Theo, do you really want to do that and stunt their growth a little bit. We’re already playing him there about half the time, and that’s good enough.
Will the Kentucky home-and-home continue?
“We’re playing in a multi-team event. It’s us, Ohio State, UCLA and Kentucky. We’re playing Ohio State this year, we play UCLA next year and then we play Kentucky the following year. I’m not aware of where the status is, but John and I like to play, it’s big for college basketball, so we’ll probably keep doing that.”
Has your schedule been tougher than you’ve wanted it to be so far this year?
“Well it’s only been tougher than we’ve wanted it to be because we haven’t played well. If we played great and we were sitting here 9-0 instead of 6-3, I’d say the schedule is the greatest thing we have going. You have to play on game day. Kentucky had played one game away from Rupp, and a lot of teams don’t play many games outside of their own arena. Thad Matta, the Ohio State coach who is a good friend of mine, his AD came in a couple years ago and said ‘we need you to play 20 home games for budgetary reasons.’ We have 15 home games, so it would help our budget if we had more home games.
“I do like to play the big games, Kentucky, for example, they don’t play any exempt events, they have their own tournament so they make more money and that is something that we always have to be concerned about because we’re trying to support 28 sports. Men’s football and men’s basketball - I guess I should just say football because women don’t play - but football and men’s basketball have to provide a majority of that money, so it’s a little bit of give and take. We have to play enough home games to make our budget be able to work, but at the same time I like to be able to go play some big people.”
What kind of positives did you take away from the Kentucky loss on Saturday?
“I’m one of those guys that to take a lot of positives, you have to play well and we didn’t play well and we didn’t win, so why should I take anything positive when both of them are negative? I think what we have to do is understand. Our two-hour-and-50-minute film session yesterday reinforced what we were telling them and showed the youngsters. Hopefully it’ll be something good that we can learn from that that will make us be more effective down the road.”
With that type of film session, is it breaking down the X’s and O’s or is it more big picture stuff?
“It’s me being an absolute jerk for two hours and 50 minutes. We picked out 20 minutes and 53 seconds of clips that we pulled out. We will show them some good stuff because I want them to understand that here you did what I asked you to do and it worked. Here you didn’t do what I asked you to do and it didn’t work. Two hours and 50 minutes, I’m one of the meanest suckers in the valley.”
What kind of stuff did James Michael McAdoo provide that you still might be looking for from your current team?
“I think the one thing that James Michael gave us was effort. He plays really, really hard. He took the ball to the basket really, really hard. He might miss it, or something might not happen, but he really played so hard. Dive on the floor he was the first guy, he took more charges than anybody else. I think it was that effort and intensity level that this team has to get up to. When we started on the 12-game winning streak in the league, it started because of James Michael.”
In UNC’s Final Four years you have always had a sharp shooter. Is that a priority in recruiting now?
“It is. With all of the stuff going on we’ve had it pretty tough in recruiting. I said before we lost six of our top eight guys that we had indentified early. We’re still looking. You’ve heard me say before that recruiting is like shaving and somebody notices, so we don’t take any days off. This weekend when we left Kentucky Hubert went on the road recruiting. Saturday when we leave Chicago, C.B and I will be on the road recruiting. We’ll be on the road recruiting the 22nd and the 23rd. You can’t recruit the 24th or I would be, and you can’t recruit the 26th or I would be. It’s something we’re continually looking to place.”
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