CP: I don't think any coach thinks his team is ready after only 2 ½ weeks of practice. Especially when we have a lot of uncertainties in the line-up. We had three graduation losses Vytas, Taron, and Jamal and with Chris leaving so I think every coach would like to have a little more time than that to prepare. So, to answer your question we're probably not ready, but it is probably time to play against someone else and see where we go and to prepare for next Thursday when the games count for real.
MJ: I noticed at the scrimmage the other day that the play was somewhat ragged, to be kind. Do you think that was the result of familiarity of the players, knowing what was going to happen?
CP: I just think part of it was just two weeks of practice and trying to integrate so many new guys into what we are trying to do. I would concur that it was ragged, but that's why you do those things to see, okay what is this. It's important to go against somebody else maybe to get a better gauge of where we're at. I think that you're never as bad as you think you are or as good as you think you are. The other night we were pretty bad, so hopefully we?ll get a little bit better.
MJ: Well I noticed, and even in the paper it was noted, that the three point shooting was abysmal. Do you think that is an anomaly or something you are going to have to deal with?
CP: I think we've got to improve that and hopefully it's an anomaly, but only time will tell.
MJ: If you could go through the individual players and tell me what you expect from them this year. Starting with Kyle Visser.
CP: It's a big year for Kyle, he's had a very good off season. He's someone who's very self critical, always worried about the last play instead of worried about the next play. He's one of three veteran guys; He, Chris Ellis, Trent Strickland, that for us to be consistently good those three guys are going to have be consistently good. You're confident that Justin and Eric will play well. You understand that among our other five freshman and Mike Drum are probably going to be some up and down game performances, but those five veterans have to be good for us to be good.
MJ: David Weaver?
SP: Really pleased with his development. He's a guy who comes out of Black Mountain Owen High School, and it's a whole new world for him playing against guy his own size, a little bit older, and a little bit more physical. I really think that he has a chance to be an excellent excellent player.
MJ: He's very young.
SP: Yes, he's 18, just turned 18. He's got a live body and I think he's got a chance to be pretty good.
MJ: What about Big E?
SP: Eric is showing much improvement from last year he's got to improve from a defensive standpoint. He's got to be more mobile. He had a couple of blocks at the end of the West Virginia game that were eye opening and we said, 'Wow, we need to see that all the time.' He's got to become a little more diverse offensively he needs to step away from the basket and also use the left hand a little more.
MJ: What about Chris Ellis?
SP: He has had some injury problems. Stress fracture. But he's bounced back and he's full go now. Like Trent and like Kyle he's got to play well for us. He can't be married to his jump shot and he's got to remember that he's a good inside player as well. Everybody gets excited because he can make a jump shot but his bread's got to be buttered inside.
MJ: Kevin Swinton, I realize he's not going to be available for the first four games.
SP: Yeah, I really like the way he's practicing. He doesn't always esthetically look like he's the most beautiful thing in the park but he gets a lot of things done. He rebounds, he scores, he's very very physical and he's very aggressive and he's getting better, fundamentally he's getting better.
MJ: How about Cameron Stanley?
SP: He's 6'6, he's got to do a lot of things, some of the dirty work type things. I told Cam the three things he's got to do to get playing time. He's got to guard; he's got to run the floor; and he's got to rebound. He doesn't have to make a plethora of three point shots, he's got to be the kind of guy, a little bit like Jamal Levy; you don't really notice him until the end of the game, he has 7 rebounds, 7 points, a couple of steals, and does a good job and acquits himself well defensively. He doesn't have to make three out four three's because of all those other things.
MJ: He seems extremely lean and long.
SP: He is. I think if he gets his nose in there and gets some rebounds, he has a chance to really help us.
MJ: What about one of the new players, Mike Drum?
SP: Mike has a little bit of experience because he came out of Division II, out of Presbyterian. A heady player, a good shooter in practice. He's not often prone to the spectacular but he makes steady plays and rarely, rarely makes mistakes. Again, I think he can work himself into the rotation.
MJ: Will he be primarily at the wing position?
SP: Two guard, he's a two guard.
MJ: What about Trent Strickland?
SP: He has really played well in the preseason. He's been a vocal leader, a consistent player for us. He Chris and Kyle have got to be consistently good for us to be consistently good. Just like I said about Can. he's got to guard, run and rebound. He consistently had some great flashes down through his first three years at Wake Forest on a game in, game out basis.
MJ: What about Harvey Hale; he's 6'2-6'3?
SP: More of a two guard than a point guard. I think he has great potential to shoot the ball a little bit. He will play this year. Out of our five freshman, if you count Cam, our red-shirted freshman, two or three of those guys have to step up and mature; Harvey can be one of them.
MJ: What about the point guard that you're going to play for sure, Justin Gray?
SP: Point guard is the hardest position to play, especially where we play. He's got a very positive course in practice. I've never seen Justin work as hard as he has; this is by far his best pre-season practice. He's winning his sprints, he's doing a tremendous job, he's leading by example; he's also shown good vocal leadership. He and Eric both want this season to be very, very special. For those two guys, plus Chris and Trent this is, their last go around, I think he's determined to do everything he can do, and to this point he's done it, to get our guys playing at a consistently high level.