Coach Doherty said that he changed the preparation for you guys, leading up to this game. What did he do differently?
"Everything. Practice was cut short. He wanted us mentally more than he wanted us physically, and I think it worked out."
I'm sure you're disappointed in the loss, but I think you took a step forward tonight. What led up to that?
"I just had to step up and play. Cape got in foul trouble, and I am his back-up, so I had to do what I can do to keep the team in the game."
Did Coach Doherty say anything to you, leading up to this game, about being more aggressive?
"No, I just went out to do what I have to do to make the team better. I can't go out just looking for me to do better. I've got to help the team."
We've talked about how strength will help you to compete on this level. Tonight you were going to the basket and getting pounded, time after time. Why didn't you stop going in there?
"It's part of the game. I can't shy away from things like that. You've got to be able to take a hit and keep going."
Have Jason and Kris helped you to develop as a player this year?
"Yeah, they have. I've learned a lot from them. From Cape I learned to play hard and do the dirty work. They beat me up every day in practice. I've got to guard Kris sometimes, and they give me that physical beating that I took out there tonight."
You looked like a different player out there today. You just looked so confident. Where did that come from?
"Basically, Jason Capel telling me to assert myself, since he wasn't there. I had to do something to pick it up."
What are your general thoughts on this game?
"What I'm proud of is the fans that support us, even though we lost the game. They cheered for us as we came off the court.
"The big thing is that our guys played hard. They didn't quit, and that's all you can ask for – just to play hard and have fun. That's something we did. We had fun. Some things didn't go our way, and we didn't come out with the win. But we had fun."
Coach Doherty said that he changed his preparation for this game. What was done differently, and how did that help you guys?
"Well, we didn't have a scouting report, for one thing. And some little things were changed in practice. We lifted weights before practice, instead of after practice. There were just some minor things – some things he wanted to do to change up a little bit. It felt good to have a change. Practice wasn't as long. It was shorter, but we still went hard."
I also understand that you didn't run any plays. What about that?
"No, we didn't. That's another thing. We wanted just to play a motion offense. We call it three-game. We just pass, and cut, and screen. That's it. No secondary, no plays. Just plain ol' – almost like street basketball."
Did Coach Doherty do anything to ease any of the tension or pressure?
"The big thing was that he said not to worry about the secondary break. The reason why we didn't have the scouting clips was just to play our principles – to play the Carolina defensive principles. And we ran our three-game, which is just straight motion offense –pass, cut, and screen. That's it. No plays."
Do you think that allowed you to just play, as opposed to thinking too much – maybe not you, but the young guys?
"Yes, very much so. I believe the younger guys played with a lot more confidence because they don't have to do so much thinking – just more reacting – and they responded very well to that. Even though we didn't come out with the win, I believe they made a step forward in becoming even better – especially Jawad Williams."
What are your thoughts on the season, as a whole? Have you learned any life lessons?
"I've learned patience, self-control, and I've learned who I really am. When you lose games, you learn who your real friends are. You see who talks to you or not. It's been a great experience, and I wouldn't change anything with the group of guys I'm with. Everyone has a great personality. No one has has any arguments or bickering, like maybe in the past. It's actually been fun with this group of guys, because we've stuck together."
How important is Jawad's offensive emergence to this team?
"It's good. He's capable of doing it. He's just getting a little bit more freedom now, and he's taking advantage of his ability playing the power forward position. Not many power forwards can guard him. He took advantage of it today, and it worked out."
Is that the most impressive that you've seen Jawad play?
"He got freedom. We weren't running plays, and we weren't being so mechanical out there. The guards weren't having to make all the plays. And Jawad was being guarded by power forwards who can't guard him. It's that simple. He took advantage of it and put points on the board. That's the ability he has inside and outside."
Does the second half today help the team with its confidence?
"I think so. I think the guys did a great job. I think we played hard today. Jawad stepped up and played well. We didn't have as many turnovers, and I thought we played pretty good defense. That's obviously a positive."