Postseason Q&A: Dino Gaudio

Earlier this week, DeaconSports had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Coach Gaudio and get his thoughts on the season that just ended and his thoughts for next year.

Michael Jennings: A lot of people, newspapers, coaches and the like have indicated that your half court offense was lacking – how do you respond to that?
Dino Gaudio: We were the #1 field goal percentage offensive team in the ACC at 49% this year and we were the #2 scoring team in the ACC at 81 points per game (UNC was first in the league). Every team in America will tell you that they need to improve their half court offense and we are no exception. We had the same half court offenses when we were 16–0 and #1 in the country as we did at the end of the season.

MJ: Jeff Teague really dropped off in production late in the year? Was that an issue of him and Ish not meshing?
DG: People have no idea and absolutely no empirical data on Ish and Jeff playing together. Here's the numbers:
BYU: Ish 26 mins/ Jeff 37 mins (30 pts, 4 assts, 1 TO); UNC: Ish 24 mins/ Jeff 39 mins (34 pts, 4 assts, 1 steal); Boston College: Ish 21 mins/ Jeff 34 mins (29 pts, 2 assts, 2 steals); Clemson: Ish 15 mins/ Jeff 35 mins (24 pts, 5 assts, 2 steals); Boston College 2: Ish 23 mins/ Jeff 38 mins (27 pts, 8 assts, 3 steals); Duke @ Duke: Ish 34 mins/ Jeff 38 mins (28 pts): Clemson 2: Ish 24 mins/ Jeff 27 mins (15 pts, 3 assts, 2 steals, 4 fouls for Jeff which limited his minutes)
Now having provided the data, Jeff and Ish love playing together.

MJ: Anything new on guys going to the NBA?
DG: No, I think Jeff and Farouq will be back and I am not sure about James (but you get the feeling Dino thinks he thinks he probably will leave)

MJ: What about the turnovers, it seems a lot of them happened when your big men rebounded and tried to bring it up court themselves instead of out letting it to your guards to do so. How are you going to correct that and do you want to?
DG: Yes it is something that will have to be corrected. James had the green light to go up court with the ball but we really don't want them to do that next season but to get it to the guards with quick outlet passes.

MJ: So you still want to play quickly and get points before teams have a chance to set up their defense?
DG: Definitely because that is our strength, what we do best. However, we also want to work on our half court offense in order to be more effective and we will get better in that respect. Improving our outside shooting is a priority for our kids this off season and will go a long way in helping us in that area. If those kids work as hard on their shooting as Ish did on improving his free throws...

MJ: One thing I note about your recruits coming in next season, and some future commits who you can't talk about until they sign, is that they all have good basketball IQ and come from winning programs instead of just being great athletes. Although that does not mean they aren't good athletes themselves and I don't want to give the impression they aren't.
DG: We are very happy to have CJ and Ari coming in next year because besides being good kids and athletes, they also are both State champions this year. Their chance to contribute next season early are really good.

MJ: You had a good season but people tend to remember how you ended. What would you say to those who say it spoiled the season to end like that.
DG: Let me recap the 09 season at follows:
Non-Conference: 13-0
ACC: 11-5 Second Place
6-1 vs Top 50 Teams - Best record of any ACC team
3-1 vs Top 10 Teams - Best record of any ACC team
ESPN/USA Today - Rank #11 end of regular season
24 Wins - 5th most in school history
#21 to #1 (16–0) - Started at #21 and climbed to #1 in AP Poll - Had never been accomplished before in history of the AP Poll
Defensive Statistics:
#25 in Country in Defensive Efficiency (in 2006-2007 we were #241) (Pomeroy ratings)
#1 in ACC in 3 pt FG% Defense - 30.4%
#3 in ACC FG% Defense - 39.8%
#3 in ACC in Blocked Shots - 5.7 per game
Rebounding Statistics:
#2 in ACC - 40.7 per game (UNC 42.4)
#2 in ACC in Rebound Margin - +5.9 (UNC +7.2)
Offensive Statistics: #1 in ACC FG% Offense - 49.0%
#2 in ACC Points per Game - 81.0 (UNC 90.3)
6th Highest Average attendance in the history of the Joel Coliseum
UNC – January 11, 2009 – 14,714 largest single game attendance ever

All of the aforementioned was accomplished with the youngest team in the ACC. Our starting line-up in the NCAA tournament game consisted of 2 freshmen, 2 sophomores and a junior. One game will not taint the accomplishments that these young men achieved the entire year.

MJ: Woods and Walker came in with a lot of hype but had some trouble adjusting to the college game, how do you think they will fare next season.
DG: I told Tony, look if you work really hard in the gym on your moves, shooting touch, his hands, in the weight room, he has a chance to be a truly outstanding player for Wake Forest and further on too. Ty made significant progress in his mental and physical maturity this season and has the same opportunity as Tony does, although he is more skilled than most any big man I've seen. He honestly can score equally well with either hand and really runs well but he needs more strength obviously. By the way, Ty has been a terrific teammate and is always encouraging the other guys and working really hard in practice.

MJ: What can Dino Gaudio improve on?
DG: I need to learn to say no to all the media requests next year once the season starts. Also I would think some x and o work, especially in the half court offense, will be something to work on.

MJ: What are your expectations for next season?
DG: We will have 4 seniors and I sat down with Chas, David, Ish, and L.D. and told them that this is now their team and they need to be leaders and set the examples. Just do that by being in the gym, lifting weights, and doing all the things necessary to make themselves better players and that we would do our part by making ourselves better coaches.

MJ's Notes: There are some things that Dino would change if he ran college basketball like the NBA rule for instance. He (and the other ACC coaches) would like to see the "baseball rule" of either going straight to the NBA or staying for three years if they don't. That would be up to the NBA players association however and the collective bargaining agreement would have to be changed. He likes all the ACC coaches but is probably closer to Roy Williams and Seth Greenberg than anyone else. He got a lot of calls from coaches around the country telling him that, even though the season ended badly, to hang in there and things would be better if he stays consistent. One prominent coach told him to just "keep doing what you are doing" because improvements were made last year. I got the sense he is chomping at the bit to get to next season but that after April 15th, he can not coach the players until official practice starts in October and they will be on their own to improve in their weak areas. I asked about the big man camps and he confirmed that the staff can not help the kids much there and that they are expensive so it is questionable whether any can go at this point but he would love it if they can. All of the players (including the signed recruits) will be on campus for the 2nd summer session again and would likely play on the Rusty league. He did mention that he does not even know how to access the message boards and consequently doesn't read them. He thinks every coach in America will tell you that they learn and grow in every season they coach, and he is no exception and expects to do the same. He does not anticipate any staff changes but would love for any of his assistants to get a head coaching position and will do whatever is necessary to help them advance even though he would hate to lose any of them. Also, he was very straight forward about his willingness to (and he has already) help the kids determine their possible future in the NBA and has even given them notes for pro team practices. In conclusion, I feel that he is very upbeat about the future and proud of what the team accomplished this year but knows we need to improve more and finish better next season.

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