Media Day: Dino Gaudio Quotes

This is the second part of our media day 2008 coverage, this Q&A covers remaks made on Monday by Coach Gaudio.

"On the ball and off the ball defensively, I don't know if there is a better low post defender in the league than David (Weaver) and we are looking for big things out of him as well."

"The biggest adjustment for me was the demands on your time, you are tugged in so many different directions that you can't focus on what you need to focus on. I called Coach Williams at Carolina and said Roy how do you handle all this stuff and he said "when that season starts, I tell people absolutely no speaking engagements, it can be too much."

"I think (defensively) we are primarily man-to-man with the defense we put in last year -- it was a big change. The 2nd year of that defense is always better so we are hoping the older kids can now teach the younger kids and we think our defense we will be even better than last year because it is the 2nd year we have run it."

"It will be difficult with our size back there for people to get to the basket and we will pressure the ball a little more because we have some shot blocking potential back there."

"If none of the freshmen had come in we would be a better rebounding team than last year. Al-Farouq is a terrific rebounder and the other two big kids are terrific rebounders and that will help our rebounding just because of their natural abilities."

I asked him who was the best shooter of the freshmen and he said "Farouq," rebounder "I think Tony," and shot blocker "clearly Ty Walker."

"I told [Dave] Telep that what you guys need to do is one year later, evaluate where those classes were because I don't think that James, Jeff, and Gary were in the top 25 classes in the country. I bet if you evaluated that class a year later, they would be top 5". (Obviously he was trying to point out that, even though this class was rated #1 by one service, let's wait a year for pronouncing judgement.)

"As I told some of you guys there are three big things for us. 1. No distractions on and off the court, 2. Leadership 3.. And then when you have three new young talented guys come in, team chemistry."

"We are going to press a little bit because I think we have good quickness, we can cover a lot of court with our wingspans and we will pressure a little bit. The heart and soul of our defense though will be half court."

"In the workouts, (Farouq) he has been very good. He has a natural ability about him, has a great feel for the game, and I think his handle is even a little bit better than James but is not as good a defender right now as James is."

"He (Ty) is a great help side defender and will block shots coming over from the help side. He is really good when a guy is backing in coming over from the help side and blocking the shot. He is a kid that has terrific timing you know he blocked in High School 18 shots, 20 shots but he is probably not going to do that at this level but I know this, if he can block 4 or 5 shots, change 2 or 3 others… He is very patient because you know most guys, when somebody shot fakes them, leave their feet but he stays down and is always the 2nd guy off the floor and he really has a knack."

"With Jeff and Ish, we can take advantage of mismatches on the floor. Both of those kids are terrific in the open court, they both are terrific off the ball screens too. They know how to play off one another very well."

"We had a meeting the other day and I put Ish's name on the board and he has to learn the 1 and the 2. Jeff Teague has to learn the 2 and the 1. LD, right now with the injury to Ish, has to learn the 3 and the 2,. James Johnson has to learn the 3 and the 4. Farouk has to learn the 4 and the 3. McFarland and Weaver 4 and the 5. I kept the young freshmen bigs just learning the 5 spot". He said he would miss some (and he did, HH and Gary but his point was we will be very hard to match up with because of all the possible combinations available to us. He even said Farouk and James could see short stretches at the 2). He was joking (only halfway IMO) that it was good for the coach too because first time somebody didn't do something, "you're out and you're in."

"The biggest challenge for those guys (James and Farouk playing the 2) as I was telling Farouk is that you are who you can guard. They all want to play 2 numbers down so there is no question on the offensive end they can do that but you are who you can guard. If Farouk is trying to be a 2 then you have to guard a two on the other end, you are who you can guard".

"One area of our defense we need to make significant improvement on is our transition defense and guarding the three point line, we were not a good three point line defensive team last year so we are really concentrating on that this year."

" I don't think there was a better freshman in the last twelve games in the league than Jeff Teague."

"Jeff shot better in the league than in other games last year. Jeff Teague has had a great summer."

Notes
Gaudio is pleased with the rehab for Ish and the operation was a huge success as proven by x-rays showing the pin in perfect position. He thinks Ish will need little time once he is able to play to get back up to speed but he really hates that he will miss pretty much the entire preseason practice time. He reiterated that last year was a very tough year for everyone emotionally and the team really showed some fortitude dealing with all the distractions that hopefully will be absent some this year. You get a sense that Gaudio is optimistic about this team yet also realistic about areas where we still need improvement and is concentrating on those areas. While he is very excited about this incoming freshman class and their potential, he realizes that they are freshmen and will require some time to learn the nuances of Wake's systems, offensive and defensively. While he greatly respects the amount of talent UNC and other teams in the league have coming back and knows they will be coached well, he does not fear them nor anyone else in the league. He is not the sort of guy who will give you a flat prediction, but when I asked him if they could challenge for the ACC title, he smiled and had a little twinkle in his eye.

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