Opening - “Well, if you follow the Viking from Western this year I’m sure they are going to have a very exciting season. They can really shoot the ball. They go play basketball. They have a lot of weapons out there. They spread us out. We played with our big guys early in the game because of whoever got the most rebounds in the practices that we’ve been having, they were going to start in those positions.
“Right away they spread us out, hit a couple of threes. We finally had to go small against them because we weren’t able to guard them in spaces and make shots.
“We learned a lot. We got to go against zone for a large portion of the game early in the year so we got a lot of reps out of that. I wished we had a chance to play more guys more minutes but we weren’t able to.
“But give Western a lot of credit.”
When you went small, things turned when you went three guards and two bigs and the bigs were able to have some success - “In the first half our bigs were 8-9 in the paint, so we were doing a really good job. Defensively it was tough. In the second half our guys adjusted to how they were playing and our bigs were able to do a little bit better job defensively so we were able to make them pay on the other end.”
What do you take away defensively? - “We right now are not paying attention to the details. Stafford, phenomenal shooter. Robert, really good scorer - and there were a number of times when they shot the ball and our hands were down. You have to contest those guys’ shots like that, good shooters. That burned us a number of times with that. So we just have to get better at the details defensively.”
Did that also show up with the number of fouls? 92 combined foul shots taken tonight - “I’ll stay away from commenting on that one. I don’t want to get fined.”
On playing some zone defense tonight - “Yeah. We’ve been working on it so we wanted to throw it out. I thought our guys were pretty effective in it tonight when we did it. Again, certain lineups we didn’t use it.”
How would you describe it? - “There’s a lot of different coverages than we’ve ever used in the zone. It’s more of a 3-2 look, but it’s not a conventional 3-2.”
On Markelle Fultz’s night - “Markelle did a really good job. I wish he could have played more minutes. We had rested him. Markelle’s done so much, so much. He’s getting a little sore so we rested him and he had been out. He had missed a number of practices and he was working his way back up. When we play next week I’m sure he’ll be able to go 40 minutes but tonight we only wanted him to play the minutes that he played. He makes a difference for our team there’s no doubt about it.”
Does he have an injury? - “Nope. Nothing serious at all. For the last year Markelle Fultz has traveled around the world, literally, playing basketball. He’s a gym rat. He’s always in the gym, training. He was here all summer. So after a while you just get a little sore, so…”
On Markelle Fultz taking over at the end “He’s not your normal freshman. It’s one thing to have freshman that are talented. It’s another one to have one that’s a level above and he’s one of those guys. So when he comes in and does things like that, not just that, he got some key rebounds. He also guarded (Jeffrey Parker) down the stretch. We put him on (Parker) and he did a really good job. So he did a lot more than just make those baskets when he came in the game.”
What led to 16 turnovers? “Negligence. That was disappointing. Not to take anything away from Western but they aren’t a team that’s exactly out there pressuring a lot. In fact, they played zone a lot. There were just too many careless turnovers in the game. That’s going to bite us if that becomes a pattern. It hasn’t been for us, but tonight it was. It helps when Markelle (Fultz) is in there because he handles the ball more in his hands and does a good job of taking care of it.”
Was Noah Dickerson not playing felt? “Noah (Dickerson) has been playing very good basketball, but even without Noah - if Noah was still in the game I don’t know, maybe we score more points. But that would have nothing to do with our not paying attention to detail on defense. Yeah, he would have helped us score more and he would have rebounded the ball more, but we rebounded. We did a good job rebounding and we scored over 100 points. Yeah, Noah would have helped but defensively, that’s the thing that was frustrating and I don’t think Noah would have had less turnovers if Noah was in there. The things we didn’t do well, I don’t know if having Noah would have changed that, so we can’t blame that. You guys know he suffered - he couldn’t go out because of a concussion.”
Will he play against Yale? “Yeah, he’ll practice Saturday. Unless something happens next week everybody will be totally healthy ready to go for the opener.”
Did you sense Markelle was going to take over? “Just seeing him do it so many times. Very comfortable with him and the ball in his hands right now. I think all of our guys are comfortable also. He makes you pay. You make a mistake; he makes you pay. He’s very aggressive without being out of control.”
On Sam Timmins “Sam (Timmins) I thought played very good. Really good basketball. Again, because of the way they were spreading us it made it a little difficult but at the same time Same has gotten quicker. He moves his feet. He was five for five. I thought Sam, his freshman debut, he did a very good job.”
Did Markelle Fultz seem to be at full speed when he was in? “I don’t want to put pressure on Markelle like that. I’ll put it like this: he has more tricks up his sleeve. I’ll put it like that.”
On the big men playing well down low on offense “Oh yeah, there’s no doubt our front line is stronger than it has ever been from top to bottom. We just have more options. I thin those guys are physical down there. Those guys rebound.”
On Dominic Green “7-13, 25 points, seven rebounds. That’s the Dominic (Green) we’ve been seeing. He scored 24 in one scrimmage, 27 in a another scrimmage. When a guy is producing like that you let him play through his mistakes. Whatever he did tonight, whatever he didn’t do, if he’s going to give us 25 points and seven rebounds every game, I say that’s phenomenal.”
What does the team need to improve on? “Paying attention to detail on defense and making sure that that’s what gets us upset if we don’t do a good job. That has to become our identity.”
How do you get guys to do that? “We continue to show film, we continue to talk about it, and put those guys in the game if they’re going to do it.”