Is it fair to say that this team is running out of juice in the second half in some games?
Nah. It's just that we had a bad offensive game. That's all I can say.
Was that due to what Wake Forest was doing or was it just a bad game on your part?
Just a bad game on my part and a bad game offensively as a team. We didn't knock down our open shots, and we took some bad shots. I took some bad shots. The shots just weren't falling. The shots we normally take weren't falling. I think the only guy who really had a good offensive game was Jawad. And Melvin had a pretty good offensive game. Overall, we were terrible on the offensive end.
I think we played great defense. That's why we were in the game. But you've got to put the ball in the basket, and we didn't do that tonight.
What did Wake Forest do to prevent you from having a good game?
They just tried to deny me the ball. Once I pass it away, they weren't giving me any open looks and trying to keep the ball out of my hands. That has happened before. I just had a bad offensive night--no exuse. I just had a bad night. I'm not sayin that's why we lost, but I had a bad night.
Did you ever get to the point where you were pressing, trying to get something to go?
Not really trying to get something to go. I was just trying to make something happen. Shots weren't falling. I was trying to get guys open, but Wake Forest did a good job getting in the passing lanes. They really didn't leave their guys, so sometimes you had to take shots you really weren't looking for.
I'm sure you are disappointed with the loss, but it really looks like each game you are improving and taking another small step--maybe the most of all the players on the team from the beginning of the year until now. You told me how you felt like you took your first steps in gaining confidence in Tallahassee and a few more at various points in the season. Where is your confidence level now? Are you to the point of simply reacting and not having to think about what you are going to do beforehand?
Yeah, as far as confidence, I'm to the point where I'm comfortable. As far as everything else, I still have work to do.
With so many young guys on the team who are learning from each experience, what can you see in a senior like Josh Howard that you can take from this game?
Confidence, poise, awareness, just everything. He's a great player, and he had a great game tonight. It was Senior Night, and he deserved to go out that way.
What makes him difficult to defend and such a threat on offense?
He's a triple threat guy. He can pass, dribble, and shoot. It's hard to stop someone who can do all three so well, and he can do them all.
Didn't you play against Eric Williams in high school?
I played against him in AAU's. We scouted him well to get to know his moves.
It looks like every game you are going against some guy in the post who outweighs you--taller, thicker, just bigger. Where does he measure up in terms of strength on the list of guys you've gone against, and what can you do to take advantage of that match-up?
He's at the top of the list. He's the strongest big man I've ever faced. As far as what I try to use against him, just quickness to try to get around him in the post. But when he had me sealed, it was all over for me. I tried to stay in front of him, but he did a good job too.
Do you have anything to say about any of the last three fouls called on you?
I don't want to talk about foul trouble.
Can you talk about how frustrating it is, since you only played 19 minutes?
Definitely. I'm over there [on the bench], then I get back on the floor and then back [to the bench]. It's very frustrating to be in foul trouble. You hit your first two buckets, then you come back out and hit some free throws and a 3-pointer and feel it coming back. Then, there you go again.
Is this a game, after the good start, where you felt like you were going to have a good game?
Definitely. But it happens. Foul trouble happens, and you just have to fight around it somehow... I started out really well. After the first five points, I just knew I was going to explode. My back is feeling good...
Did the fould trouble get you all out of sync with both you and Jawad having to go to the bench at times?
Foul trouble can get a player out of sync from the get-go because you feel like you can't do anything right. You can't play defense as hard as you want and you start to give up little easy lay-ups. Little things like that are frustrating.
Did you talk to Justin Gray before the game and share some old times since you two played in the same backcourt in AAU play?
We didn't share any old times, but I talked to him on my two-way and chatted to him a little bit. I asked him if he was ready. He said he was ready to play. We chatted a little bit on the court, just a friendly rivalry.
I see you have a splint on your right thumb. What happened?
The doctor said I tore some ligaments right here. (pointing to the space between his thumb and index finger.)
Are you going to be able to play anymore this season?
(Tilting head, shrugging shoulders) The doctor said it could take eight weeks.
What exactly happened?
I was going up to block a shot [in practice] and my hand got caught on the side of the rim. It just happened so fast.
Is there any surgery scheduled?
I don't know. It happened late yesterday in practice, and I had to see the doctor after practice. I talked to him this morning--I don't know.
Do you have another visit scheduled?
I don't know yet. When I get back, I'll know more about what is going on.
Is it painful?
Oh yeah! (Nodding head with emphasis)
I saw you shooting in the pre-game, and it didn't look like it bothered you, but I take your word for it.
I just avoided it like this (demonstrating using only his four finger) and I used my left hand.
You are battling a lot of injuries. That must be frustrating.
It's very frustrating. I mean you want to get out there and contribute. You want to do what you can to help the team win, but when you are hurt you can't do much sitting on the bench. It's very frustrating.
Does it almost feel like the team is "snake-bitten," so to speak with all the injuries?
I wouldn't say that. Things just happen. Unfortunately bad things have happened to us, but our time will come.
Is this a lesson in patience for you?
Yeah, I guess you could say that. Like I said before, things happen. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. The chips just aren't falling our way. There's always next year, and we still have a few more games left. We still have two--we have the ACC Tournament so anything can happen.