Collins Media Session: 11/8

Quotes from Chris Collins' media session on Friday afternoon.

On the exhibition: "Any time you have a first game and you know the guys are really excited, you don't want to use all your emotion to play in the game before the game is played. You want to be ready, to be at your best when the game starts and I know we're going to play hard. I just want us to relax a little bit, settle down and play good basketball."

"We've had a heavy emphasis on defense all spring, all summer, all fall, and to see the guys go out there and to lock in and to go out there and win a game even when we didn't shoot well. It's a testament to our defense."

On the offense: "What I've tried to do with the guys is set a system where it's communication-based. And to me, if you're talking, if you're getting outside yourself, you're going to forget about what's going on with you, and you're going to be thinking about what we need to do."

"I don't expect to be perfect in every game we play, but I don't want us to beat ourselves, and I want us to play as hard—if not harder—than anybody we play against, and if we do that, it'll put us in position to win some game."

On the centers: "They both have different strengths. I think Alex is a more polished offensive player, and we need to go to him for low post scoring and utilize what he can do on that end, and I think in some respects Niko allows us to be a little more versatile defensively, because he's a little bit more athletic, a little bit quicker if you do have to switch things late in the game."

"I thought Niko was huge down the stretch when we needed to get stops when the game got tight. We went to him because he was playing such a defensive game."

On offense: "I'm just a firm believer that in basketball or in any sport you become better at what you emphasize. So, there's not a day that goes by that we don't do something that's based on rebounding. It's something we talk about everyday, it's something we emphasize every day and for us it's not about just putting it on Niko [or Olah or Lumpkin]—It's everybody. We need Sobo to rebound, we need Drew, we need JerShon, we need Tre–all those guys–and we believe it's a team thing."

"We're not overpowering with our size and athleticism, but if we can keep it even or plus over a couple in a game, that'll be a good thing for us."

On Eastern Illinois: "They're local guys, they're going to be hungry. They're coming home, getting a chance to play in front of their family and friends, and a chance to play in our building. We're going to have to play well to beat them. There's no one on our schedule that we're just going to show up [against] and win. We have to play well to win the game, and we're going to respect everybody we play, and we know they're capable of beating us if they don't play well."

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