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On changes you would like to see for the Smith Center
"I think we're getting the place better and better. I've said all the time, it's a wonderful, wonderful building, but I also want it to be a wonderful home court advantage. I want it to be a happening. And I think we're getting more and fan participation, we're getting people coming in that are investing more – and I've always said the more you invest, the more you have an opportunity to get out of something. The video board has added to it. With me, I'm just thinking home court advantage. That's all I care about.
"I don't want to make anybody mad, but Allen Fieldhouse is the best home court advantage I've ever had the opportunity of coaching in, whether I was the home or the visiting coach. People in the buildings are what make the buildings. I'm being very honest. It was nothing for those people to get in their car and drive from western Kansas for a Tuesday night game at nine o'clock. They took pride in that."
Other than when Marvin Williams hit the shot to beat Duke last year, what is your most memorable moment in this building?
"That moment when Marvin banked in that shot was the loudest I've ever heard any building, whether it was Carmichael Auditorium or Allen Fieldhouse. That's the loudest moment I've ever heard in a basketball game.
"Rashad [McCant's] three-pointer against Connecticut which gave us a three-point lead – that was huge."
Do you fear the young guys hitting a wall at some point?
"I think there is. I think it's a bigger fear when they go to the NBA, because they stretch from 30 games to 82. A lot of kids play about the same number of games in high school as they do in college. But they don't have to play with the same intensity, and I think that's the wall that they hit. There's not as big a difference from high school to college is there is from college to NBA, so I think they hit that wall a lot more in the NBA. But as a college coach, it's something you have to be aware of. You have to see whether they're stale, whether they're worn out or whether they're just having a bad day and whether it's something that will have a lingering effect."
Are you surprised or proud of the way your team has handled different game situations?
"I've been very proud. There's no question, I'm extremely proud of the way they've handled themselves. But with freshmen, you can't get too comfortable whether it's a bad response or a good response. They have really done a nice job in most situations. They've really done a nice job of handling stress, expectations, or whatever. As young as they are, they've been around coaching. They've been around fathers who have been big-time athletes, and I think that also has helped."
What are your expectations for Byron Sanders?
"My expectations for him are to do a really good defensively and help us rebound the basketball. The last couple of games he's done a better job when we've needed him – needless to say with David [Noel] being in foul trouble at Virginia Tech. We're not very big to begin with when our power forward is 6-5, so he's got to be able to give us a lift and not just come in there and let the play go down a great deal. But the last couple of games I think he's done some nice things; again focusing on rebounding aspect of it and the defensive part of it, and taking a shot when it's there. He's not looking for his shot because he's not a very good shooter. I'm not saying that to be harmful – I'm not very tall."