How did the team respond from the Pittsburgh loss?
“We had a pretty decent practice yesterday. I think Sunday we gave them the day off. Yesterday we had a pretty decent practice. We showed them some clips where we have to do better. We showed them some clips where we did some good things but it wasn’t enough. I think that is part of the learning process to. We have probably shown this team more clips from games than we have shown any other in the past three of four years at least because I think it is still part of the learning process with this group.”
At what point do you feel the Duke-UNC rivalry surpassed all others?
“I think right after Virginia’s run when Mike got there and had the first two or three years and Tom Butters stood up for him. They had Amaker and Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins and those guys and all of a sudden they were really, really good. It has been a long time there where both programs were really, really good, going to so many Final Fours. I think during the mid-'80s is when it took a step above everybody else. When I came to school here people talked about the Duke-Carolina football rivalry and I never felt that. The basketball thing, it was North Carolina State. When I first came back here as a coach it was still that way but it changed over during that time period to Duke and I don’t think it’s stepped back any at all.”
What kind of problems does Jahlil Okafor pose for your defense?
“Your talking about a guy that is 6-foot-11, 270 pounds. I heard one of the commentators say last night he’s a load. But he is very gifted. He’s got great feet, great hands. He turns to either shoulder. He’s got touch when he turns. He’s shooting 66 percent from the floor and 64 percent in ACC play where the competition is really good. You have to make some allowances for him. I said earlier today, I think offensively that they have the best balance of any team in college basketball because they can score inside and they have terrific 3-point shooters and that might make them more difficult to guard than anybody. I’m not saying they are bad defensively at all, but it is just the challenges they pose to you on the offensive end, trying to stop them is really unlimited.”
How much of the loss to Pitt was on your team versus them shooting so well offensively?
“A little bit of both. I don’t think we played as well defensively, especially in the first half. In the second half I thought we had three major defensive breakdowns on three plays. I thought there were several plays where we gave the guy that is guarding the shooter a good defense and they still made the shot. You have to congratulate them. Somebody said that they thought they had a great chance against Virginia. And I said, 'Man, it’s hard to shoot 66 percent two games in a row.' I thought Jamie [Dixon] had them at a peak level for them. You guys have heard me say a lot of things about golf. I’ve always thought the more you make then the more you make. If I make the one on the first hole then I am going to make the one on the second hole and I think they got confidence early.”
Was there something that was alarming to you after that loss, or was it that they were on fire?
“I was not alarmed. I didn’t go off the deep end, throwing chairs or anything like that. It was more matter of fact, that we have to play better. I was disappointed in some of the things that we did and that is what we talked about. But when I showed them the tape yesterday I showed them some good plays, but there just weren’t enough of them. I don’t think it was panic city. We knew going in that it was going to be a big time game and it was. It’s just that we didn’t match their play. I don’t think you can just blow it off though and say they just made a bunch of shots because that’s just the easy way out. I’m one of those guys that I think you are accountable for everything. When guys say my bad it really ticks me off because that relieves you of responsibility and I don’t want it to be that. Yes, they played very well, but we didn’t play the way we wanted to play, and lets take responsibility for that.”
How do you have Kennedy and Brice continue to be productive scoring the ball while being better on the backboards?
“It’s been a challenge for the whole year, not only with rebounding but do it on the defensive end as well. Because at times, they do some good things offensively and now we have to get that same kind of production on the defensive end and the backboards both. If the other team is shooting 66 percent there aren’t a lot of rebounds to get. It's just part of the process that we are going through, but it has been more magnified with Brice and Kennedy, for sure.”
How important is a guy like J.P. [Tokoto] against a guy like Duke’s Justise Winslow?
“He’s very gifted, very strong and explosive. Scary is a good word. Our entire defense has to be aware of that. J.P. has to be aware of that, Justin has to be aware of that. When we have a little guy on him sometimes they have to be aware of that as well. When you talk about the really good Duke teams and this is one of them, they have four guys averaging in double figures, so you have to guard everybody.”
Williams PC Quotes
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