Blue/White Postgame: Doherty

Matt Doherty

"First of all, I appreciate the crowd. We had a little over 9,000. I thought that was great—especially since they bought the tickets. Eight bucks a ticket to watch an intra-squad scrimmage is a heck of a statement about Carolina Basketball.

"We shortened the game a little bit. I apologized to the fans. Jason is nursing a hamstring, Kris's leg is a little sore, Brian Bersticker can't play right now because of his shoulder, Neil's got a sore ankle, and Brian Morrison's got a sore ankle, so we didn't want to go a full 40-minute game and put too much strain on them. We're going to go light tomorrow in practice.

"I thought that after a slow start, even though there were some mismatches with guys playing out of position, I thought it was pretty good. I was impressed. I thought the guys played hard and played team basketball. I saw some things I liked out there."

With the freshmen there was some good stuff and some bad stuff. Do you have to be patient with the bad?

"No question. They probably were a little nervous. They've probably never played in front of 9,000 people before, and it's the first time they put the uniform on. I thought they did a good job after they settled down early in the game."

They certainly aren't bashful.

"No. And there will be times where they can't be bashful. They have to help us this year, and I think Jason and Kris and Brian and Orlando are doing a good job of putting them under their wings a little bit and showing them the ropes.

"Kids nowadays—especially freshmen—are a lot more experienced than they were 20 years ago because they are exposed to a lot more. In today's environment, they are forced into situations where they may have to play a little bit more early on in their career.

"I don't want a young kid to be tentative. I want a young kid to come in and be aggressive. If I need to, I can pull the reins in, but it's hard if a kid's tentative, to get him to be aggressive enough to compete at this level."

It looks like Neil gets up and down the court pretty good now. What are your thoughts on him?

"I think Neil's made great strides over the last year. Last year, he came off of back surgery, and didn't do much, even in practice. The big thing with Neil is his conditioning, and every day, you're seeing more and more out of Neil because he is in better shape each day."

Is the point guard field narrowing yet?

"I think right now, I'm running Brian Morrison mostly at the two, and that's probably good for us. That frees him up to go run and score and attack the basket. Right now, I think Adam, Jonathan Holmes and Melvin are probably the three candidates at that spot."

Do you like Melvin at the point better than at the two?

"Right now, I don't want to confuse some guys playing point and two—especially freshmen. I want him to play one position and stick with that. I like the way Melvin runs the team. I like his presence on the floor, and I like the fact that he hit those foul shots."

Did you expect the presence he has on defense?

"I saw Melvin in the summer time, and I thought that his defense was very good on the basketball, and he's a tough kid, but I think Adam Boone's made a lot of progress over the summer too."

It looks like Jackie just has a way of getting his arms in the passing lanes.

"He has long arms, doesn't he? He has long arms, quick feet, and he's a very good defender. He gets his hands on a lot of balls."

How much more comfortable are all of you now, because this is your second year?

"It's so much more settling this year than it was the last two, because this is the first time as a head coach that I've coached the same team two years in a row. And it's the first summer in three years that I haven't had to move. It's much more settled." <

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