“It looked like the third game in five days a lot of times out there, and we caught Long Beach - they’ve had a heck of a travel schedule as well being in Wichita Sunday night, and flying to Charlotte and busing down here. But you’ve got to win some games ugly and they had something to do with making us look ugly. We’ve got to still do a better job on the offensive backboards. They had 13 points on offensive rebounds in the first half, but they had more opportunities. They didn’t shoot it well. In the second half, they shot it a little better and only got four points in the second half.
“Joel Berry was really good – 7-for-10 from the floor, 23 points, six rebounds, four assists, one turnovers. Didn’t like him getting the two fouls in the first half. Had to manage because he had two, Tony [Bradley] had two, Isaiah [Hicks] had two and tried to get into halftime with everybody just having two. That got some other guys minutes, but it was good. We had nine guys play 17 or more minutes. First 10 minutes of the second half, other than Isaiah’s dunk on the fast break on the lob, it was about as bad offensively as I’ve seen us in 31 practices, in three games and one exhibition. But again, we’re more gifted and made enough shots and again I thought that they made us look bad on the backboards. We’ve got to find a way to cure that. We’ve always been a great rebounding team and I know you look and we’ve got 45 rebounds to their 33, but I always look at margin, No. 1, but [also] how many points they get on offensive rebounds, so we’ve got to do a better job there.”
When you mentioned being aggravated by how the team played offensively in the second half, is it sloppiness, is it a lack of attention to detail -
“It was both of those things. It was sloppiness and inattention to detail. Kennedy can’t post up and stay in there the whole time. He’s got to get out so we can have some space to drive. He was in there and Isaiah never went in there because he thought Kennedy was in there all of the time. And then Justin started driving from the wing and Kenny Williams cut in and ran into Justin, so spacing was really bad. Movement was really bad, and that’s what caused the spacing to be so bad. The good news is that we’ve got a couple of days that we can practice a little bit, and then one game and another day that we can practice before we get to Maui. Again, three games in five days is not easy. Losing Luke, and not having Theo to start with, does make us a little short and so we spent quite a bit of time with Justin as the four man.”
How long do you expect Luke Maye to be out?
“He’s got a sprained ankle, we know that. It’s a mid-sprain, I think, is what they’re calling it, so that usually means it’s more than just a regular sprain, the higher up it goes. My guess is that there’s no chance that he’ll play at any level in Hawaii. That’s just a guess, but it’s a pretty strong guess. So I’m guessing probably 2-3 weeks.”
Does that make Jackson’s minutes a challenge?
“I took him out early today and said, ‘you’re going to stay here two-and-a-half minutes and then back in at the four spot.’ We only have four big guys to start with. We had gone through the first eight or 10 practices with Justin and Theo playing some as the fifth big guy. Then Theo got hurt and now Luke’s gotten hurt, so I don’t know who’s going to be… Right now, Justin’s the fourth big guy and I don’t know who the fifth one is, so there’s a lot of adjusting. We’ve got to stay out of foul trouble.”
What’s been the evolution for Joel Berry after Marcus Paige leaving and making the team as his own?
“Well, I think the biggest thing he did is that he had a heck of a year last year. I mean, he was a big-time player. He was the MVP of the ACC Tournament, so that gave him a great deal of confidence, and what he did over the course of the summer, he continued to work, put in time shooting the basketball. I told him I didn’t like him getting the second foul because the second one was just a silly foul and then he ran the guy down from behind, which I love, but would have been called a block in the back if it was football, so it was a foul. He’s really worked hard on his game. He listens. He tries to do what I want him to do. Basically, he’s been setting the tone of the defensive by getting out and pressuring the guy without fouling. First three games, he’s had a heck of a start.”