How hard are you going in practice this week?
“What else do they have to do? I’m helping out the world. I’m making I take care of the youth and their idle time. Yes, we’re going to go as hard as we possibly go.”
What are you hoping to accomplish in these next few days?
“There’s a lot of thing s to be honest with you. It was frustrating to write things up on the board that we had to make sure we did a good job of and we practiced them the day before and we had talked about it and we had emphasized it, and turning it over was one of them and we were terrible. And playing without fouling was one of them and we were terrible. And we still turned it over against Greensboro the other night unnecessarily. Those two things were very frustrating to me.”
On Ohio State shooting the ball:
“Almost 54 percent. I think that’s top 3 or top 5 in the country, not that you can believe everything you here. But I heard it on the telecast of the game against A&T last night. They really do a good job of guys shooting shots that they can make, and they have good shooters. 09’ and ’90 were the two best shooting clubs I ever had. Everybody could shoot and they took good shots too, they knew their limitations. It’s a little bit of both. It’s a challenge playing them because, man, they shoot the ball so well they turn you over. That was impressive last night. It was 13 at half and it ended up being 42. I think A&T had 12 turnovers in the first half that Ohio state turned into 18 points, and I think A&T had gotten four points from Ohio State turnovers.”
How far away are Kennedy and Brice from being the big-time player that you had hoped emerged?
“You guys see it yourself. You can look at the stats and look at the results, they’re not there. I hope it’s in my lifetime, like I said the other night, I hope it’s this year. But they’re not there. But, they’ll have moments. Brice had 19 and 17 against ECU, and I love Jeff, but they weren’t as gifted as we are. If he gets 19 and 17 tomorrow and then does it again two or three games in the ACC, I’ll be standing up on top of this daggum table. Until he does that, don’t do it against Roy’s boys. And I’m not telling you anything that I don’t tell him, I’m being nice in here.”
Have you seen an increased toughness in your team?
“I’ll learn a lot today by seeing how many show up for practice. C.B. was happy yesterday because he thinks I got a little bit closer to the way I used to coach. I used to coach out of fear. Scott Pollard when he introduced me at the 60th birthday part at Allen Field House, he said I was the only guy in his life that he’d ever been afraid of. And they better be afraid of me again today.”
When did that start changing?
“Everybody said I just mellowed. Nobody thought I had gotten too mellow in the big wins last year when we beat Louisville and Michigan State. When you lose everybody brings jump up. C.B had to do that as a player, so he wants them to suffer as much as he did, human nature kind of thing. Yesterday I showed them what I could be.”
Are you going to revert to the old days?
“Today is going to be that way because I want to see how they react. Being a nice guy is not working. Thad played man-to-man defense his entire life. He had Aaron Craft who was the defensive player of the year the last couple of years, guess what they’re doing? Zone, straight zone. Five games they have played straight zone and haven’t played a single possession of man-to-man. I can’t do that because I dislike it so much and I don’t think are personnel fits the kind of zone that I would like to play, but you’ve got to do something. The question about our effort and our toughness is something that I am concerned about, I really am. Am I concerned about the quality of our kids? Not at all. You cannot have better kids then what I have. I have two grandsons, I’d let every one of my players be babysitters for my grandsons, and it can’t get any better than that. But we have to get tougher on the basketball court, mentally probably more so than physically. I don’t want anybody to go out there and clobber somebody, that’s not the game.”
Why would Scott Pollard so afraid of you?
“There is an equalizer as a coach. If you don’t like it, just put them on the end line. I can blow the whistle all day, they can’t run that long.”
Are you a lot nice now than you were 15 years ago?
“All my former players say I am, but I don’t think so. I think I’m just as demanding but kids change, people change, I’ve changed. I didn’t like that to be honest with you. I’d rather coach Tyler Hansbrough who wants it just as badly as I do. His desire, I didn’t have to scare him. But we’ll see who shows up for practice today.
Can you think of a team you’ve had to do this with that got the message and got tougher?
“It was either 2011 or 2012, I put them through the preseason running program that I did when I was an assistant here. And I tried to bury their butts when I was an assistant. And Michael Jordan was on the team. So everybody wants to me like Mike, and I said do this work out. And this was Harrison’s freshmen year, so I guess it was 2011. And we won a lot of close games down the stretch just making plays. And I think the toughness that they got from the preseason conditioning program helped them. Now guys. Understand that if the ball goes in the basket we’re not even discussing this junk, but as a coach you’ve got to try some things. I thought in 2011 we were going to be really young and have some toughness. What can they say? ‘It’s too hard for me.’ Michael did it, James did it, and Sam did it. But you look back at that club and we hung on and hung on and hung on at the end of Virginia and Clemson, and I happen to think that was good for that team. As a coach you try a lot of stuff. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.”
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