Here's what Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart had to say to the media before UT leaves for the Bahamas Monday afternoon

The Longhorns will play Texas A&M at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

On Kendal Yancy's status after hitting his head on the court fighting for a rebound against Texas A&M Corpus Christi: "Still uncertain. He took a pretty hard hit so his status is unclear. He will travel." 

"We are excited about the trip. We played in this tournament a few years ago. It's always a stacked field. It's a really good opportunity to see what our team can do against some stiff competition."

On A&M: "I've heard it a lot from fans that I run into. If you are a fan of college sports having awareness of the rivalry. For me it's really a matter of helping our team take a step. Texas A&M has a terrific team. They are a Top 25 caliber team. They have a really, really good freshmen class." 

"I've been here for 7-and-a-half months. Relationship wise we are a lot further along." 

"I think we took a small but significant step from our first to second game." 

On Battle 4 Atlanis: "Really gives us a great opportunity to grow." 

"You spend a lot of time together. Our trip to China we were together for a solid 7 days all day. When you get into the games there is a whole different set of dynamics in play." 

"The trip back from China has taken a while for our guys to fully recover. Coaches can feel it ourselves."

On Jordan Barnett and the roll he could play moving forward: "I hope he can fit in more prominent than he has but it's a matter of him continuing to improve. He has shown some improvements but we've got 12 scholarship guys on our team. It's tough to play that many. Most we've played in the past is 11. The season is so young."

On who UT's biggest rival is: "I'm still figuring that out. From the fans I've talked to it's obviously the bigger programs within our league. OU is a huge one to the fans, KU from the standpoint of their stature in the basketball world." 

Our focus has to be on following our plan. "We got much better at that from our first game to our second game. We have to focus on the process. Sometimes the emphasis on the result can obscure the process." 

On what he tells Tevin Mack, who has really struggled from the floor: "Get the best shots that he can. Shot quality. The higher quality shots he can get the more likelihood that he can make them. He's missed some maeable shots the first couple of games." 

Shaka went on to say that one of the all-time leading scorers at VCU started his career 1-for-16. They've reminded Tevin of that. 

"We've told Tevin that sometimes from humble beginnings can come great things." 

On freshmen struggles: "They've got to understand to reach their goals you have to follow the process. You are playing against a higher caliber player than you have in the past. They've been really good in practice. It's only going to be a matter of time until that carries over into the game." 

"Mindset stuff. We need to be tougher minded. I don't think our guys realize how much they need each other." 

"Pleased but not pleased: We've actually played pretty good first shot defense. Problem has been giving up offensive rebounds." 

On importance of this game: "It's an important game because of a lot of reasons but most importantly because it's our next game. But we don't want to get outside of what matters most, which is our process, our plan, the things we control. We really took a step with that from our last game from our first game." 

Shaka says that get to practice in the Bahamas tomorrow. 

On shot selection: "It was much better than the Washington game. It still wasn't where we wanted it to be." 

On what he needs to see the team get better at this week: "We still need to finish around the basket much, much better. That will be a key against A&M because they have good size down there." 

On Cameron Ridley's great play early this season: "He can do more. He's very durable for a guy his size. He's rebounding out of his area. There are times when you have to make sure you get that guy the ball. We told our guys at the half we want to get it to him at least eight times." 

On Shaquille Cleare going back home: "Shaq is really excited to go back to the Bahamas. We are looking forward to it for him. Biggest thing for him is just being on the court. He went a long, long time without playing." 


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