How can the fans help your team during games?
“Steve Kirschner said that he has a lot of people hitting on him about that I shouldn’t have said that [on Saturday]. I really said what I thought and I will always stick by that. I don’t think it was quite as negative as everybody said. Steve and I talked and I said, ‘Gosh, I wish the fans had really gotten into it early with the Four Corners, but it happened so quickly.’ My sentiments and what I said was nothing after that. I didn’t even tell my staff and my team until the day before. Somebody said it would have been better before if I told them. I said ‘Why would I want to do that?’ I wanted it to be a surprise. I don’t want to tell 21,000 people that I am going to do something and then act like I am surprised, that doesn’t make sense. I was surprised they didn’t pick up on it as quickly, but it happened so quickly. You’re sitting there and this is my seat and not your seat and then all of a sudden we’re in the Four Corners. That’s the end of the conversation.
“Then there was a completely different conversation that I didn’t do a very good job of, and if somebody is still disappointed after that, then that is their prerogative. Several times during that game I would yell at a player and they would turn around, and over there the other night in Durham I’m screaming my head off, I’m whistling, and I’m stomping my feet and they can’t hear me. And what I said to our guys, probably not very well, is help us. Be invested when you come, and I have zero problems saying it like that. If somebody gets upset then that’s fine, they can handle it.
“Senior Night, in 2013, Duke kicked our rear ends and you know what the first thing I said about it in the press conference? We let our crowd down. The crowd was sensational, they were fired up and they were ready and we as a team let the crowd down. If I can say that about my team, you don’t think I can say that about somebody else? Come on now. It’s a two-way street and we are in this together. I want everybody to be invested. Over at State, over at Louisville, over at Durham, when people see North Carolina come, it is kill, kill, kill. I had a former player say that it reminded them of when the Smith Center first opened. And I said let’s not talk about that. It’s now. We’re going to get better. What I was trying to do was to encourage people and tell them, whether the tone was good or bad, that is their decision, but we do need more help. Take your sophistication and throw it out the freaking door. I want you to yell your ass off. This is competition and I need you on my team.”
On positives against Duke and Georgia Tech:
“The game in Durham was one of the most difficult games in the regular season that I have had as a head coach. Because we needed one more play. We just needed one more play to change and the game doesn’t go into overtime. Yet it was hard to deal with and comes to grips with. The next time at practice I said ‘they are pretty good, they are ranked fourth in the country in their building and we played pretty dog on well. If we make one differently are opinions and attitudes are 180 degrees away, so lets feel good about what we did.
“But I showed them all mistakes too because it is still teaching and coaching. I said, ‘Let’s get better.’ I think Duke would want to play better, we want to play better. I think we gained some things from that game. I wasn’t really worried about a let down because we can be really good, but lets try to be better against Georgia Tech. I was really focused on the game, I really was. I tried to make sure nothing got in my thought process at that time. And I was really pleased with where our guys came out and methodically kept going, kept going, kept going.”
On the difficult schedule and if it has helped:
“It would have helped us a lot more if we had beaten Duke. Every Monday I get the RPI Indexes and right now this week our schedule is ranked as the second most difficult schedule in the entire country. Right now Duke, State, and Miami. There are four ACC schools in the Top-10. I was saying it was a marathon and now I’m saying it is a marathon where you run up hill the entire time. But it is extremely difficult, but long term, it helps you even more if you win some of those games, and we would like to get a few more of those.”
On the development of Isaiah Hicks:
“He has done some nice things. He’s such a great kid. You can’t be a nicer kid and that makes everybody want him to be even more successful. I think he has gotten more comfortable. With his size last year we tried to get him to see if he can be a three-man and that might be better for him long term, but it didn’t work out as much and wasn’t quite as comfortable for him. But he will get some more opportunities as he continues to mature and grow to do some more things out on the court and so he’ll be all right long term with that. He really has bought in to trying to be a really good defensive player. He was the defensive player of the game, for the tenth time I think, against Georgia Tech on Saturday. He can score the ball around the basket and he is getting better and better.”
On N.C. State’s recent strong play:
“That was a big time win. They went in there (Louisville) and really played extremely well the whole game. They got another win this weekend. Cat Barber has started shooting the ball even better from the three-point line. Those three guys out front, Cat Barber, Ralston Turner, and Trevor Lacey really are a load for us on the defensive end of the floor. We need to play extremely well. We need to and we want to.”
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