It really looked like there was a lid on the basket today. Is that maybe due to exam week and not being able to practice together as much?
I don't know what was going on out there. We cam out kind of sluggish. Sometimes we'd pick it up in the second half, but it seemed like we kept doing the same things over and over again. We did miss a lot of shots, but we still worked to get rebounds.
How much did you guys practice together this week, or was it mostly individual work-outs?
We practiced as a team just about every day except Monday. It was more like a run-and-shoot. Then we had a couple practices. It wasn't full practice all week. It was kind of laid back because of exams.
How do you feel about your readiness for ACC play? How much have you learned so far?
I feel like I've learned a lot, but I have a whole lot more to learn. We just all have to get better.
The poor shooting--was that due to exam week with everyone feeling a little sluggish, not being able to practice together?
Nah, that's just what you guys want me to say, but, definitely one of those things going down there and hitting shots. [I put] a lot of night time in down here working on my shot getting better and better. Tonight it just didn't go in. You are going to have those nights.
So you don't think exam week has had anything to do with it?
Nah, definitely not. It should never have anything to do with it. You study everyday during the season, pre-season, go to classes everyday. It shouldn't have any effect on your game.
But this is when it all comes to a head at the same time. During the semester exams and papers are spaced out. Could it be that players aren't sleeping as well or something like that?
Not really. We had a lot of days off. We had a lot of times to rest. We just had one of those games were the ball wasn't going in. We didn't have the right intensity. We still got the win, but we don't feel any kind of satisfaction from that win.
If that's not it, could it be that you all didn't take Akron as seriously as you would have a "big name" team or you weren't as focused?
We take everybody seriously. Every game is a big game for us. We just had a bad game. There's no mystery to it and no secrets behind it.
How would you rate the teams performance, particularly on defense?
C-, D+, in that area. We didn't play good defense. We did at times, but we had bad rotation and defensive lapses.
What did Coach Williams say after the game or at halftime?
He didn't say much. He just wanted us to play harder.
As you are getting into the season, how is Coach Williams adapting and how are you all becoming more comfortable with him?
We're totally comfortable with Coach. We're comfortable with everything he says and he does. I think we just aren't doing the things he wants us to do right now. We have to do a better job of listening to him and understanding what he wants from us.
To what do you attribute the poor shooting day?
I think, once I missed my first couple I got frustrated. That's all I can say. I really don't know why. I could make up a ton of excuses, but none of those matter. It falls on my shoulders. I didn't put the ball in the hole; that's part of the reason why we looked so bad today.
I overheard Raymond say that he considers this a loss. Does everyone feel that way?
Definitely. The morale in the locker room is really low right now. Everybody is disappointed in the way we played today. We have to put it behind us. We got a win and it goes in the 'W' column, so that's all we care about. We have to continue to go hard in practice this week and put this one behind us.
How much have you guys been able to practice this week? Typcially, during exam week, it's mostly individual work or three- or four-man drills because everyone is on a different schedule. How much have you been able to have a "normal practice"?
We had two really normal practices this week. We did a lot of up-and-down, run-and-shoot. We worked on a lot of dummy offense; we didn't have a whole lot of contact. Coach wanted us to get through exams, and he gave us a lot of time for our academics. We sent him a bad message today by showing him that he gave us too much time, I guess. I don't think he gave us too much time, but we sent him a bad message because we didn't play well today.
Byron Sanders came off the bench today and gave some good minutes. What did you think about what he gave you?
Byron, he's my roommate and a great guy. Not once has he ever complained about not playing. We talked about it the other night and he said, 'When I get my opportunity, I'm going to go in there and work as hard as I can.' He did that tonight and got a key rebound in the latter part of the second half. He did a great job off the bench and is doing things to help this team. As he develops it will add depth to the bench.
He seems more sure of himself than he has. Is that the case?
Yeah, I think he has a lot of confidence right now. He's playing well in practice going against me every day. He goes to work on me sometimes. Right now, he has a lot of confidence and wants to play. I think Coach is seeing that, and Coach is going to start to try to work him in and give him some more confidence.