HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
On the team's main focus with a week between games...
"Really everything. Our press in case we get behind, which is going to happen. We
just spent a lot of time on that yesterday adding some new offense to what we're
doing. We're really just trying to get better in all the sound areas. Defensive
rebounding is an area that we have great concern with our team. Obviously, we are
focusing on exams and finishing strong academically, but we're also able to add some
things. Tomorrow we'll be able to start practicing maybe twice a day."
On having a break...
"The best thing about it is we're not as concerned with APR, which means everybody
during finals or during practice or during the season is held accountable at high
level. If you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, you won't be here. We
have some room to recruit other guys to improve our talent level and to improve our
program. We didn't have that flexibility my first year or really even last year. We
were walking on pins and needles at this time just trying to make sure everybody was
secured eligibly and academically. Because we built some cushion and some guys took
care of business and graduated, I can keep recruiting and press on and put some
pressure on these guys that they're either going to step up and get it done
academically or basketball-wise or character-wise, or we're going to continue to add
to this program."
On McNeese State...
"I just know they are getting their best player back. They haven't had him. They
have been a good program. Dave Simmons is a guy I know, been in the Southland
Conference for a while. They were an NCAA tournament team just a couple of years
ago. It's proven in college basketball that anybody can beat anybody so we'll have
to be ready to play."
On having a floor leader...
"Jordan Green has been our leader. Even the other day against Houston when it got
tight, he made a couple of plays defensively and drove the ball. We need more guys
to do that and more guys to step up on a consistent basis. We still haven't had nine
guys play well and consistently well at the same time. That happens in practice
also. We need to grow up fast because the level of competition is about to pick up
in the next couple of weeks."
On playing as a team...
"We've changed our roster last couple of games. When you having a pecking order,
guys rise up and give you consistency, like Jamal [Jones]. Can he consistently be
that guy to get your fifteen points a game? I hope so. We haven't established that
just with him or with some of the other guys. J-Mychal [Reese] has played really
well the last two games. You know can he do it over course of a season? When you're
in transition with your team and your roster it takes time but I'm wanting it to
happen fairly quick."
SOPHOMORE GUARD Alex Caruso
On J-Mychal Reese and Shawn Smith...
"I knew it would take J-Mychal [Reese] a game or two to get back into the swing of
what he was doing just because there is nothing like real game play. Shawn [Smith],
the roof is the limit on him. He's one of the most athletic players that I've ever
played with. The game is set up for them perfectly. The rule is you can't put your
hands on anybody and they are so quick that if you make one false step, they're by
you. The further along we go in the season, the more comfortable it's going to be.
Our top player could be anybody. It's going to be whoever is playing hot at the
moment. Right now I think J-Mych is starting to get into his groove and Jamal
[Jones] is really playing well for us too."
On new guys gaining confidence and becoming team leaders...
"Jordan [Green] can probably attest to this too but Davonte [Fitzgerald] is making
strides that I didn't think he was going to make until maybe the end of the year.
He's starting to understand the pace of how he needs to play and not just catch and
go one on one every time. For all the young guys and same for Jordan and I, it took
us a little while before we were actually comfortable out there playing in front of
all these people and on TV and just being comfortable in the system. The more time
goes on I think they will be more comfortable and I think they've made great strides
JUNIOR GUARD JORDAN GREEN
On having the 10-day stretch to prepare for rest of season...
"We have two big games coming up with McNeese State and Oklahoma. We are using these
10 days to compete with each other. Coach is mixing up our lineups and doing a lot
of up and downs, five-on-five situation things. I think it's really important and
key for our team because we get to work on special situations and mini scrimmages
with each other. I think it is important just to continue to work on the continuity
of our offense and the placement of our defense."
On new rules...
"What they say is you practice how you play. Coach calls no fouls. We have to go
straight through the contact. If we're practicing like that, I think we practice
maybe triple the amount of time we play and I don't think any of us are worried
about foul calls. We would hope for a consistent foul count in a game situation. In
practice and with how much we practice we play with no fouls, no out of bounds, no
nothing. We're used to contact. I hope it is consistent. It still is hard for the
defender because you can't really put too many hands but if that happens to change
it's going to be a fun year as always."
On staying out of foul trouble...
"We just practice tough and coach is teaching fundamentals. All the coaches do with
chesting up and feet movement. We work with Darby [Rich] so much in the offseason
just being agile enough to keep our defender in front of us. I think what's really
important or what is key for this team is team defense. Coach really teaches being
help and weak side. We're a better defensive team for that."
Weekly Hoops Presser Notes
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