Scarlet Report TV: Rutgers Basketball Defense, Big Men & Facilities with Coach Steve Pikiell

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- With a facility groundbreaking and the season tip off coming in consecutive weeks, Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell looks into the details of his preseason camp with Scarlet Report.

Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell  on installing his defense...

It's new to everybody, so they're not picking it up the way I'd like to. More so, we're just trying to tough. We just try to grind them. They're not great when they're tired, so we've got to try to grind them and just get them to defend and not worry about missed shots and turnovers and grind out a win. A lot of the stuff we have going on right now in practice are winners and losers. … Defensively, some guys are catching on a little bit. Fatigue hurts them. We've got to start fighting through fatigue and that's toughness. I'm happy with some. They're in the weight room now, so I think that's helping them a little bit with toughness. They're playing together and stuff. We've still got to get some leaders. I think it's important to have a voice out there. … You've got to have that. I think a couple of guys could emerge in that role, but haven't yet. We'll keep grinding them until they do.”

On Nigel Johnson...

Nigel is important as every player is important but he can really score. He can defend on the ball. He brings some emergency offensive abilities. Shot clock going down, he's really capable of creating his own. We don't have a lot of guys that can do that. He's a fourth-year senior, fourth-year veteran now too. Heading into his fourth year, hopefully he brings some experience and some energy and some excitement. He was excited the other day to be back on the court. Last year was practice all year, now it's ready to play some games and stuff. I think he's figuring out my offense a little bit and how he can score in it. He's got to do a lot of things for us, and he's very capable of being a great defender. He's got terrific lateral quickness. Doesn't always use it on both ends of the floor. He tends to use it more offensively than defensively. Let's switch that philosophy a little bit.”

On developing big men...

I'm happy with the bigs. They've improved the most, so I'm happy with that. Shaq [Doorson] is still in and out with his injuries. When he plays too, he gives us another dimension. Candido is really scoring in the post. He's getting better offensively. DeShawn [Freeman] is doing great. They're starting to learn how to rebound and attack the glass. We had a lot of watchers in the past. Now they're active in going to rebound. CJ [Gettys] is pretty good. He kind of understands how to play. He's huge. He's a good passer. He can shoot the ball a little bit. He brings a dimension. He's got a little leadership skills too. And [Ibrahima] Diallo has been doing a good job just doing what he needs to do. He's done the best job of staying in his lane. Set screens. Roll hard. Rebound. Take post moves when you get the ball.”

On facility groundbreaking...

If we have to dig, I'll get my whole staff out there. We'll be good diggers. That is a lot of work of a lot of people and I'm thankful for Pat Hobbs and thankful for all of the people that made pledges and donations and all of that. It's a huge step for us. It's a game changer. It'll help us in so many ways. If we gotta dig, we'll dig. I've got my construction had on. I've dug a lot of holes, so we'll help out in any way that we can. We're excited about Nov. 1. That's a big day for our program and for all of the programs that are going to take advantage.”


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