Shaka Smart spoke about several topics at his Monday press conference previewing UT's game at home against UT-Arlington tonight at 7 p.m.
On complications of early travel on UT's schedule:
"I don’t really look at it like that because we knew coming into it that this was the schedule, and travel was what we had," he said. "Anytime you have a new team with a new coach there is transition anyway. Obviously we’d like to be sitting here with 5 games at a better record."
The biggest thing Smart was pleased about was the progress that his team has made, with one another, more than anything.
"I think we’ve made some progress," he said. "We still have a long way to go."
On the emergence of true freshman shooting guard Eric Davis, who earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors after averaging a team-best 15.3 points in 22.3 minutes per game and converting 15-of-24 (.625) field goals, including 7-of-13 (.538) three-pointers, during UT's three contests at the Battle 4 Atlantis:
"This is typical from freshmen, a little bit of a fog over his head," Smart said. "You saw that fog lifted a little in the Bahamas. He still has a lot of growth left in him but I’m really excited about him. He has a spirit about him that, to be honest, we are lacking and need more of."
On the continued struggles of his other two freshmen, Kerwin Roach and Tevin Mack:
"Those three are really good players," he said. "Of the three of them Eric has been the most himself. I think Kerwin and Tevin made some progress in the Bahamas as well. Again there is the result and there’s looking at them and the look on their face. The look on their face is a little more poised. Now you want to make some shots and play well.
"Tevin, if you had a shooting contest, he is one of the top shooters on our team.
"With Snoop, Kerwin, he’s learning the position. To be honest he is playing better when he is with Isaiah [Taylor] and he isn’t the primary ball handler. I’m really excited about him."
On the amount of fouls being called these days and how to overcome them:
"The whole foul situation is fascinating," Smart smiled. "The teams that adjust to the officials the best have a marked advantage, in the game and then from game-to-game. You are going to have a different crew each night. If you compare the amount of fouls we had in the A&M game to the Michigan game it was night and day. It was almost like we didn’t foul enough."
On Kendal Yancy, who did not play in the Battle 4 Atlantis due to a concussion:
"Kendal is making progress. He wanted to play down there. But with concussions, you can’t rush him back. He has not practiced full go yet. But he’s been able to get out there and do some things. I hope he can play tomorrow."
General thoughts on state of the program:
"I think our guys are certainly doing some soul searching from the standpoint of what do we want to be about. I think that’s a good thing. One thing that adversity does is make you look in the mirror."
"It matters to everyone on our team to win. But that’s not enough. What matters is what goes into winning because if you do all the things that create success, you will have success. If you only focus on success and results, what can get obscured is the process."
On UTA and head coach Scott Cross:
"Coach Cross has done a terrific job there. If you focus on names and conferences you are missing the boat. They went into Memphis and won, they went into Ohio State [and won]. They were 90-9 at home the last five years. They went in and beat those teams. It wasn’t like they hit a fluke shot."
On importance of playing well at home:
"Playing at home, you want to establish your home court. We want to keep playing better and better at home. Last week of school. We really need to buckle down and finish strong."
Longhorns freshman shooting guard Eric Davis
Game Notes Per UT
Texas (2-3) vs. UT Arlington (5-1)
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2015 - 7 p.m. Central
Frank Erwin Center (16,540) - Austin, Texas
GameDay Quick Facts
• Television: The game will be televised nationally by Longhorn Network. Lowell Galindo (pxp), Lance Blanks (analyst) and Jane Slater (reporter) will call the action.
• Radio: The Longhorn IMG Radio Network broadcast every UT game on the statewide network. Craig Way (pxp) and Eddie Oran (analyst) will call the action. Check www.TexasSports.com for a listing of affiliates carrying the game.
• Series: Texas leads, 10-0. Last meeting: Texas 63-53 (Dec. 2, 2014; Austin).
• IT'S GOOD TO BE HOME: UT plays just its second home game of the season on Tuesday night. The Horns have spent a total of 13 days outside the country for trips to China and The Bahamas while playing four of its first five games at neutral sites. UT begins a season-long five-game homestand on Tuesday.
• DAVIS SHINES AT ATLANTIS: Freshman guard Eric Davis, Jr. earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors. He averaged a team-best 15.3 points in 22.3 minutes per game and converted 15-of-24 (.625) field goals, including 7-of-13 (.538) three-pointers, during UT's three contests at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
• RIDLEY OFF TO SOLID START: Senior center Cameron Ridley leads the team in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and blocks (11) and ranks second in scoring (11.8 ppg) through the first five contests. He has converted 23-of-31 (.742) field goals and reached double figures in scoring in four of the first five games.