USF Head Basketball Coach Stan Heath
What did you learn about the team from the first game of the season?
"I learned that our defense can be pretty good, and our team has a little bit of resiliency. If things aren't going well and we're not hitting our shots, we can still fight through it and weather some storms. I felt that our team utilized our bigger players who are coming along pretty well, and they were giving them easy plays, easy baskets and helped those guys play well."
After last year's slow start, how nice was it to get your first win of the season in the first game?
"I feel good about wins all the time, but haven't really thought about last year and the start we got off to. I thought we played our first game last year pretty well, but we played without Kentrell Gransberry and that was a big factor. More importantly this year with a new team, we wanted to set the tone at home, and to get that first win is a great confidence builder for our team."
Are you comfortable with the effort on the boards from the big men?
"It's a committee effort for us. We loss a big void when Kentrell left, he grabbed a bunch of rebounds and scored a lot of points for us. Not one guy is going to do that but collectively they all got to do that."
Talk about the performance from the ‘committee'.
"I was pleased that even though B.J. didn't shoot well, and started off slow he still grabbed 11 rebounds for us and that was big. I thought Alex Rivas gave us some huge minutes. He played 15 minutes and got 8 points and 6 rebounds. I thought Aris Williams is playing better and better as we keep going and Eladio is coming along as well. We just have to do it as a group and that is how will play it throughout the year."
Was this the first time that you had a healthy Alex Rivas since his surgery?
"He played a little in our second exhibition playing 10 minutes and played better in our last game against SMU. Everyday I'm seeing gradual improvement, and his timing and his strength is getting better. It's one of those things where we want to build him up, take it one step at a time and gradual bring him up so we can have him fully healthy."
How do you feel about taking this young team on the first road game of the season?
"I'm hoping that the leadership of our older guys, our returning guys that have been through it will be a positive thing for the younger guys who are going on their first road trip. I think we've been able to fix and improve some things, finishing, and free throws that we didn't do as well in last game.
What are some of the keys to doing well on the road?
"It's important when you go on the road that you got to be tough, you got to be tough mentally, and defensively, you have to be sure you bring your defense with you on the road. We're going to need our big three, our three guards to play very well all together. They've been a little hit and miss, and need all three of them to play well at the same time."
What is the team's mindset going on the first road game of the season?
"We want to make sure we have a business mentality going on this trip. We want to have seriousness and a focus about ourselves. We want to make sure everybody knows we're there for one reason and one reason only, and that's to beat Virginia."