“Just to get it straight about Kennedy (Meeks), he was late to shootaround today, so when you’re late, you have to run some for how many minutes you were late, and you don’t play your first run during the game. If you’re a starter, you don’t start. If you’re a substitute, you miss your first time going in the game. I’ve been a head coach 28 years, we’ve had four guys that were late in 28 years. So, that’s all it was. It was no big deal, except I’m gonna enjoy watching him run the next few days. Michael Jordan got caught in traffic in New York City in a holiday festival or some tournament, so we sat Michael down and sat everybody down that’s ever done it. But we’ve only had four in 28 years, so it’s no big deal. So he’s got to understand what the price to pay is to be the best team: be there everyday and not let other things get in the way. But other than that, we played (Meeks) 15 minutes, he was 4-for-5, so he was alright. He was sick on Thursday, didn’t practice then, but that had nothing to do with why he didn’t play.
"Other than that, I thought Joel Berry was really good, you look at his stats, 5-for-10, 13 points, six assists, no turnovers, three steals. I thought he was extremely important to us during the course of the game. We did some good things. You know, we started out 0-for-8 from the free throw line. I’ve been joking with some of you guys, every time you guys say how great we are at shooting the ball, we stink it up. So we talked about it again this week, but we were 11 of the last 14. Look at the stats, the biggest thing is points after turnovers. We had 30 points in that way, and they only had five. We caught them when they were undermanned with the two guys that were hurt, our defense did force some turnovers, and they just had more turnovers than they usually have.”
What’s been the key to Joel Berry’s progression in protecting the ball?
“He had a turnover of the brain one time on an out of bounds play, but you’re right on the other kind. He’s really just played good basketball. I said in the press conference yesterday, that’s when we talked about the pretty blue paint in this room compared to some of the other rooms, that he’s worked harder in the offseason. Worked on his shot in the offseason, and he’s really stepped up and done some good things for us on both ends. He’s been very consistent on the defensive end. But when you have a guard that handles the ball and doesn’t turn it over like that, it’s really important to you.”
Was it good to see the ball go in the basket a couple of times for Marcus Paige?
“Well, for everybody. Joel’s been making some, he was 2-for-5 (from 3-point range) and Marcus was 3-for-8. Theo (Pinson), I was happy to see Theo make his, also. He hasn’t made one in four or five games. He was 3-for-3 against Clemson, but he was wide open and standing still, and it was a good shot, and he shot it and it went in. It was not a relief, because I really do believe we’re gonna make shots. We just haven’t been making them with the frequency that I want us to make it.”
Twelve of Boston College’s 23 turnovers were steals by your team. What did you like in what you guys did defensively?
“We tried to pressure, in fact, we tried to run some scrambles, but every time we did, the double-team was a friendly double-team. A double-team’s supposed to put the guy at jeopardy, take away his vision or his balance. We were double-teaming, and he was looking across the court and throwing it, and they made two open threes. So, more in the second half, we just went straight to our regular man-to-man pressure, and I think Justin (Jackson) and Joel, Marcus, those guys on the perimeter did a really good job fighting through some of those dribble hand-offs.”
You’ve talked about the schedule being imbalanced, is there a sense that now the meat of it starts going into Notre Dame and Louisville?
“Yeah, I think it’s—Do we play Notre Dame next? Dang, I thought I was really wild, I had everybody telling me we were going to Louisville. You know, it’s what it is. We’ve said it all year long, you don’t know that the schedule is until you get into it. You don’t know who’s going to be great. I think Clemson has really done some good things early and beat a lot of ranked teams. But now, we are in the process of going into not just the second half, I think we have ten more games. Six of them are on the road, and a bunch of the games are against those teams in the top half of the league. If we play the way we played the last four games, it will be very, very, very difficult to win any of those games. So we’ve got to play better, and we talked about that. Even before the game today, instead of putting some X’s and O’s up on the board, I said let’s play to get better on defense, let’s play to get better on offense and let’s give the grade-A effort and see if we are mature enough to handle this.”
How do you feel about the way Marcus Paige played today given his recent slump?
“I thought he’s been very, very good except shooting the ball in the other games. I think I said something after the game, I know I did at the press conference, probably the biggest play in the Virginia Tech game was when two of their guys chased Marcus and they left Justin Jackson wide open under the basket, and Joel hit him for a lay-up and took it from a two-point lead to a four-point lead. So, he’s been doing very well except shooting the ball, and the ball went in today. Not nearly as much as he wanted it to or I thought it would, but truly I haven’t been that worried about Marcus’ shot. I really haven’t.”
Aside from the outcome, what were you most pleased about today?
“I think our activity on the defensive end. I was really mad at half. You can’t let a guy pull up and shoot the ball when the shot clock— it’s halftime. So we just stand there and watch a guy, who is their leading scorer, who scored 31 against Pittsburgh, who can score the ball, and we stand there and watch the guy pull up and shoot out of a double-team. I was a little frustrated. It threw me off my game, because Andrew Miller was here at halftime to get honored, and I wanted to say hello to him, and I was so mad at halftime that the only thing I could see was guys standing there letting somebody shoot it. I didn’t see the great pitcher that we had here, so I didn’t get to say hello to Andrew.”
Another double-double for Brice Johnson, what’s been the key to his consistency this year?
“He’s worked harder. There’s no question about that. It wasn’t a great game for him today. When he dribbles down the court and dribbles into three guys, and they take the ball away from him, that’s not very bright. I told him, you’ve got 21,000 people here who think you’re pretty dumb, and you’re not dumb, so don’t play like it. But Brice has really been more active, his defensive grades have been better, but so far, through these first eight games in league play, and in some of the nonconference games, he’s had some phenomenal games. Today was just ordinary, I thought. Early in the game, he missed one of his jump-hooks right there—No, I’ll tell you, his first possession of the second half, he got it on the right block, shot the jump-hook, I said that’s a great shot, and then Justin penetrated and gave Kennedy a lay-up, and then Joel stole it and went down there and laid it up. So the first three shots, I loved them, even though Brice didn’t go in. He’s just worked harder at it and getting more consistent.”
Do coaches have any input into scheduling?
“I think I said yesterday, we have no input. Zero. It’s not like Dumb and Dumber, 1-out-of-1,000, 1-out-of-1,000,000, I’ve got a chance, it’s zero. I get the schedule, and that’s who we play.”