On Marcus Paige’s performance against N.C. State:
“That was a good win. Marcus was just sensational. He was good defensively, everything he did during that game was really positive for us. In our deal we had him 11-1 [assist-error], so it’s pretty impressive.”
On his decision to foul at the end of the game against State:
“It’s been a discussion everybody has had for years and years…Nate really did a great job with it. He dribbled across the 10-second line before he made a foul. It’s a lot better when you’re not in the double-bonus situation where it’s a 1-and-1. We believe in doing it. I’ve tried it several games, and it worked better this game than any of the other times I’ve tried it. It’s never completely failed us. But we’ve had two games where we tried to foul and the referee wouldn’t call the foul, and both times they attempted a three and missed them. It worked out this time. I’d like to think Marcus Paige making those [free throw] shots was the story of the game.”
On winning ugly against Virginia Tech:
“Buzz Williams and Virginia Tech, they really did a nice job. They muddied up the game a little bit and that’s not meant to be a negative, it’s just that he doesn’t have as much talent right now and he’s trying to milk the clock, he’s trying to scrap and fight and do everything he can to compete, and they did a great job. They controlled the tempo of the game, the physical play of the game. They controlled a heck of a lot more than we did. We were just more gifted and made a few more shots.”
On the oddities in the first half:
“I’ve never coached a game where there were that many interruptions in the first half. They got the wrong shooter on the line, then they got the foul on the wrong guy, and the blood was all over the place.”
On Justin Jackson’s performance vs VT:
“Just a little more effort, just a little more strength. It could’ve been a big game because two or three times he had the ball right on his finger tip for a rebound, two or three times he almost an opening to get all the way to the basket. He did play well, but it was really close to being a big time game for him.”
On the reduction of scoring in the college game:
“I think the fans would like to see more and I know the players would like to score more. No question about that. I think the defenses are allowed to be so physical that you don’t get many open shots. The old timers say that guys can’t shoot like we used to shoot and that’s not true. There are plenty of guys today that can shoot as well as a guy could ten years ago or 30 years ago. The defense is allowed to be so physical, it’s hard to get a clean look.
“I think we’ll end up doing some things to promote more scoring and we’ll get it going a little bit. As long as we let the defense go hand-to-hand combat it’s going to be harder to score. I can’t give you the great answer. I think the game isn’t broken so let’s not try to fix it completely. I think everybody would enjoy more scoring, but some teams are scoring. I think the pace of play is good. I wouldn’t mind taking five more seconds off of the shot clock, but what I’d like to do is let us get to playing as fast as I want us to play and to heck with everybody else.”
On the health of his team:
“It’s hard. It’s probably the most difficult practice time setting since my first year, because at one point my first year we had eight healthy bodies out there on scholarship. Saturday we brought Wade Moody back in to help the scout team because we don’t have any point guard to run the opposing team’s stuff that we do the day before a game. We brought Wade back and he did a great job, brought a little more humor to our practices like he always did. We still have to do that kind of thing because Joel Berry is going to be out a couple more weeks, Stilman [White] is going to be out three more weeks at least, and Luke [Davis] is probably done for the year, so there’s a lot of things that we still have to do.”
On balancing the practice time:
“We need some practice time. We need it badly. We’ve gone backward the last couple of games with our execution and you can’t do that unless you practice. So some of those guys that were sending me texts today about how sore they were is a bunch of garbage because I have never, never worked a team as light as what we’re doing right now.”
On the offensive struggles:
“We’re not as smooth. We have to have better balance from the outside and the inside play. We have to stop turning it over. I have looked at those stats and the analytics and I think they have some value, but if you can’t sit on that bench and figure out how you’re playing without looking at the stats, then you’re not really a basketball coach. I go through the stuff a lot of times. But the majority of the games I don’t look at the score in the first half because I want to make my decision on how were playing by how were playing, not just because of something that’s up on the score board. I know if we’re supposed to be running secondary break, what we’re supposed to do, regardless of what kind of shot you get out of it.
“I know if we’re playing defense how we’re supposed to be playing defense, regardless of what kind of shot the other team gets and that’s the coaching part of it. You know the bottom line is that you have to score. It’s a pretty easy deal. If I score more than you I win. It’s a pretty simple game. The quality of your shot has got to be much better than the quality of your opponents shot, and hopefully you get more of them, which means fewer turnovers and more offensive rebounds. The analytical side of it I think is something that is good. I look at it and think about it, but if you can’t sit there and determine how your team is playing without looking at the stat sheet, you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.”
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