Do you see some similarities in how Trevor Lacey and Marcus Paige play the game?
“I’d probably have to study it a little bit more to make that kind of comparison. I think they’re both very competitive. That would the first thing that jumps out at me. I don’t think I can go past that. I’d like to have both of them.”
How big of a factor do you think Paige’s foot issues have played with his shooting struggles?
“He didn’t have it at the start of the season. The plantar fasciitis has only been probably the last three weeks, something like that. So I don’t think you can blame it on that and I don’t think he would blame it on that. But the last three weeks have been very painful for him. We’ve got a whole team full of guys with bad feet. Luke [Davis’s] out and now we’ve got Stilman [White] in a boot for the next 4-6 weeks until they make a decision of what to do with him, too. Point guards in practice are at a premium right now. But I think saying that that’s the reason Marcus is shooting such-and-such a percentage compared to what he did last year, I think that would be laying blame somewhere it shouldn’t be laid.”
What do you think has gone into those shooting woes?
“Basketball. And I’m not trying to be short. You just think, if you knew how to fix it, we would have already fixed it, No. 1. Everybody that’s ever played goes through stretches where the ball goes through the basket. The variance from their low to their high, for some people, is outrageous and for some people they shoot at 55 percent or 53 percent. But technically there’s nothing wrong with his shot. It just hasn’t been going in as much. He’s probably getting more attention from the defense, but I think he got quite a bit of attention from the defense last year as well. He had such a great year last year that perhaps it’s even stronger than it was last year. Steve Stricker misses putts every now and then, too.”
When you see Beejay Anya out there running around, do you think about Kennedy Meeks and maybe giving him that extra slice of pizza?
“No, no, I never think of giving Kennedy another slice of pizza. That has never entered my mind whatsoever. Beejay’s a big dude, but he’s pretty explosive, too. He really is. Kennedy is a finesse guy in a big, big body. Great hands, great feet. Kennedy is not explosive. I’d like for him to get more explosive. I think he can and I think he will. But no, I’ve never thought of offering him anything extra to eat, I can assure you.”
Do you remember using a player for just one play like you did Desmond Hubert on Saturday without somebody fouling out, etc.?
“I do remember one, but it wasn’t for the same reason. I’ve always felt like as a coach I was going to play who I wanted to play at that specific time, regardless. Coach Smith used to have a thing that he wanted to play anybody in the first half that you might need in the second half. I didn’t do that the other day, but I’ve done that most of my life as a head coach as well. Desmond’s the best defensive post player we have. The guards were doing a tremendous job of scoring, but they were getting screens from the big guys all of the time. I think he really did some good things. It was only two possessions, I think, but I think he got two good defensive plays both times. I think it was important to us…
“I got mad at Paul Pierce and Billy Thomas one time and put in a walk-on for one defensive play and one offensive play. He played great defense and scored a layup on a break, got fouled and got an and-1. I took him out and he said, ‘Why are you taking me out now? I’m on.’ But it was just because I was mad at Paul and Billy. I had my own staff looking at me like I was an idiot at that time for putting the kid in, but he was a great kid.”
How much freedom do your players have in calling timeouts, such as if they’re trapped or something along those lines?
“I want the timeouts myself. I don’t want the players to call timeouts. In the first half, it’s a use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing, but in the second half, I want to make the decision myself even though recent history has shown I have a difficult time getting timeouts when I am calling them. Maybe our players should call more of them. But, no, sometimes when it’s a loose ball, I wish that I could have every one of our players know whose arrow it was before they waste a timeout. And if they could do that, then I’d give them complete freedom to do it.”
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