What are your thoughts on your team as you enter the ACC Tournament?
“We felt like we made some strides the last couple of weeks, and yet we had some opportunities against Duke that we didn’t take advantage of and that’s always frustrating. It’s a new season now as everybody says. We get to go over there and see if we can play our tails off for four days, and if we do, we’ve got a chance to win the whole thing. When we play really well, we’ve got a chance to beat anybody. And so that’s our goal – to try to play really well.”
Marcus Paige said after Saturday’s game that he played without any pain. He seemed optimistic that he’s getting past the injury. Have you noticed his improvement recently in what he can do in practice?
“We held him out for, gosh, a month of the conditioning at the end of practice. Instead of running sprints, he’s gone over and gotten on the bike. The last couple of days he’s gotten on the court and actually done the sprints because it is more difficult. It’s a more game-like situation running on the court as opposed to riding a bike. Hopefully that’s good.”
Does his recent play give you hope for a return to the Marcus of old this postseason?
“What was he, 5-of-9 from 3, 23 points [against Duke]? He had three turnovers, two of them we didn’t like at all, but at the same time, I thought he was really active offensively and we need him to be aggressive and active offensively. But I was trying to think who we played before Duke – it was Georgia Tech – he was okay down there as well, but just didn’t have many opportunities. We need him to be the player that I know he can be. He’s had some great moments in certain stretches of games this year. He just hasn’t been as consistent as he was last year, particularly the last 20 games last year.”
Kennedy Meeks’s numbers have declined over his past three games. Any reason behind that?
“I have no idea and don’t even know if we’ll have him tomorrow. He was out yesterday, he didn’t practice, and he’s not going to practice today. And so I don’t even know… He’s running a temperature. They got it down last night. It was back up again this morning. They tested him for mono, strep, everything, and everything comes up negative.
“So I have no idea, well, I have a great idea that he won’t play tomorrow and so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see after that. I don’t have any idea if this is related to numbers or whatever being down. He rebounded the ball okay against Duke with nine rebounds, but 1-for-7 wasn’t good. His numbers have been down. You can’t just look at it and say it’s a wall. You have to either get over it or walk around the sucker and get to the other side and play… You guys can look at the numbers. He’s just got to play better.”
It seems like late in games your team has problems getting Meeks and Johnson involved in the offense. Is that a fair assessment?
“It’s a fair assessment; I don’t know if it’s true or not. I think the biggest thing we have is that they need to move better. We tend to stand and as games wind down the stretch, you need to move better, not worse, because the other team’s defense is going to be amped up a little bit more. I think both team – Brice is 57 or 58 percent, Kennedy is down a little bit below that – those are good numbers, but the numbers could be even higher if they would move more effectively without the ball and give us more movement. It’s harder to pass the ball to a guy who’s covered, and it’s easier to cover you if you’re staying still.”
What kind of contributions do you expect from Theo Pinson in the postseason after coming back from his injury?
“I have no idea. I don’t even think he’ll practice today, so I don’t have any idea.”
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