Gillispie talks to media

Texas A&M's head basketball coach, Billy Gillispie, met with the media on Monday. Read his comments on Martellus Bennett, a brutal up-coming week on the schedule, and the zone offense.

Is Martellus [Bennett] a guy who continues to improve in practice?

Billy Gillispie: "He's getting better. He just has to understand, like most freshmen, the value of possessions. You can't give the ball away. That's the same thing with Eddie Smith, Antanas [Kavaliauskas] and those new guys. When your margin of error is so small, like our team's is, then it makes it difficult to allow those guys to play as much as they need to play to improve. They need playing time. But it's hard when you're thinking, 'Well gosh, we can't afford to have a turnover here.' I think all of them are doing well defensively. That gives them a chance. As far as just valuing possession of the ball, that's something that is going to continue to get better. But, all three of them are improving at a rapid rate. We're just getting started. We've played seven games, and we said we're going to play 16, and that's what we're going to do. I wouldn't be surprised if all three of those guys, and some others, made a difference to win a game in the Big 12."

Martellus is probably a guy that you'd like to get playing time, but if the games are so tight it's kind of hard to do?

"Yeah, that's what I was saying about the margin of error. It's very small for us. When Joe [Jones] is playing like he is and staying out of foul trouble, you're definitely going to want to have him out there for a long time. That's just where we are right now. We have great hope though. I think he's an elite player. He just needs some playing time. I'm just pretty conservative without question."

When the Big 12 schedule came out, did you look at this week coming up and cringe?

"You look at every week and cringe. I do. It's difficult. But that's why you want to play in this league. It's a challenge for our team, and hopefully we'll be up to the challenge. You can't look at any week in this league and say, 'Well, we're going to be able to breathe there.' The only week you have a breather is when you only play one game, and that's a killer game at the end of that week. But everybody has a week in there where you only have one game, so you get a Saturday to Saturday off. That's fine, that's the way it is. You've just got to accept it and be up to the challenge."

Obviously with the two teams you will see, rebounding will be a dogfight. Is it important for you to get someone else besides Joe (Jones) to get in there and get the rebounds?

"Yeah, it'll be critical because those two teams are as good as there are in the country. Not only do they have good big guys that rebound, but their guards are very athletic, and they come back and clean up a lot of rebounds and don't give you too many second shots. That's what you have to do is try to battle even on the boards, which is very difficult to do. To have a chance you can't afford to get beat by 12 or 14 boards. We [also] look at it every possession. You better get the rebound the next possession. What's done is done. You can't be concerned about that. Every single possession is the most important one. You've got to think about the next play instead of the last and that's the way we go about it."

Are you having to work on a lot of zone offense this week?

"We've seen some zone, we did okay. I think our zone offense is good. Some people that really didn't pay attention would think that the zone offense got us on Saturday. But we scored on 68 percent of our possessions. The problem was: when they played zone, we didn't stop them. I like our zone offense. I like our guys in zone offense. They understand how to score. We have to penetrate a little bit more from the perimeter. That was something that some people said you didn't do very well zone offense-wise, Well, if we score 68 percent of the time, I'll take it against anybody. We've just got to get some stops. We had to get stops, and we didn't. If we see zone-- and we will see some--but we'll also see some man--we'll try to attack it the best we can."
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