USF basketball Head Coach Stan Heath
After the seven game win streak what are your impressions of the team?
"We've gotten a lot better since earlier in the season. I know the team a little bit better, and our team knows what we're expecting out of them a little bit better now. We've gotten better at handling close late game situations. We still know that we have quite a ways to go. I think we're starting to play a pretty good temp right now, and were scoring with the ball pretty good. Also were defending the ball, and that's probably the biggest thing right now is that our defense is much farther along then earlier in the year."
The team is playing much different then the first three what do you attribute that to?
"We're just improved the play in our system better. We did go to little zone after the first few games because our defense was so far behind, and in those first three games we really couldn't guard anybody and that helped us kind of stay in games better. Now our man to man has picked up quite a bit, so defensively we're that much better. Another thing is we're converting that much better now. We've had three on twos, or two on ones, and are converting that much better on those. Another thing that has changed from the beginning of the season is the play of Dominique Jones is probably a little different player then he was those first three games. He's more aggressive and playing with more confidence. That could probably be said for a lot of guys, but it has really shown up for him."
Did the way you lost the first game(s) help prepare for how the teams playing now?
"I think so. In the first game we had one of those games that we had a lot of things not go very well. We were playing without one of our best players, Kentrell Gransberry, and that's a big difference. Our inside game wasn't very effective at all and our rebounding wasn't either. Secondly, we were up by eight with two minutes left in the game and just weren't making plays offensively or defensively. We still had a chance to knock down a couple free throws and win it with seconds to go, but things didn't go our way. We learn from that, and that's the most import thing that we learned earlier in the year. We got a lot of young players out there, freshmen and sophomores that are playing for the first time, and they're playing key roles for us. They're still learning and growing. What I'm most pleased about is how much we have grown since the early part of the season."
When you first saw Dominique Jones, did you see the potential and think he'd be this effective this soon?
"I did, I saw Dominique play this summer before he committed to USF, and I saw a very strong, physical, skilled basketball player that had very good basketball instincts on the court. I thought he'd be a very good player, but I didn't think he'd have three games where he went 30, 30, and 25 points. I didn't see that coming this soon. In the preseason we did workouts and he would have moments in practice where we would say this kid has a chance to be pretty special. What were seeing now in his game is that he's much more consistent and more confident in his play."
Does the play of Jones allow you do more things as a coach with the team?
"The only thing that has been a little bit different then we saw earlier in the season is that his teammates look for him more, scream for him more, and I think he knows our system better now where he can find those openings better then early on. One thing that I noticed in the
How about the improved play of freshmen Orane Chin?
"Over the last week or so, Orane has really picked up his play and im very interested to see how he performs over the next few games. I think his confidence has picked up and he's catching on and can be effective on the court. Since the first few games he hasn't played as much for various reasons, but the one thing Orane has done for us even if he's not making a lot of shots from the point, he creates a good spacing for our team. He opens up the middle and takes pressure off of our guards, and our turnovers have really cut down since he's playing more. Even though he's not having games where he's scoring a lot or having big statistical numbers he's helping us in other ways."
Check back with USFNation.com for part two of the Coach Stan Heath interview!
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