Ryan Appleby on getting the jitters; "I was pretty comfortable. I had a full year of it now and it's an exhibition game, but it was still good to get out in front of the crowd and have a good second half."
Fellow guard Adrian Oliver felt similar: "Basketball is something I don't get nervous about," he said. "I just went out and got lost in the game and good things happened.
Maybe he needs to talk to his Quincy Pondexter though, because while Oliver came storming out of the gates, his roommate had a rough first half.
"Honestly, I was completely nervous," said Pondexter. "I'm kind of a nervous guy like that when I first get on the court, but I adjusted." He did indeed tallying 18 points to go along with his 13 boards.
Admittedly, the Dawgs had a rough go early on.
"We weren't playing like Huskies in the first half," said Pondexter of the team's first half performance.
Meanwhile, Harvey Perry just seemed pleased to be a party of it. "Since this was my first full game, just getting through the first game without me hurting myself was a great feeling." A stellar defensive performance and high praise from his coach might be contributing to the euphoria. "Harvey Perry played a big game and he was kind of the catalyst in that whole situation," said coach Romar of HP's big return.
Meanwhile, Ryan Appleby talked about the perception of the position battle between him and Adrian Oliver.
"You know, any time there is competition it's good because it makes people better," he explains praising his teammate. "Adrian came out and had a good game tonight. I've said all along that coming off the bench or starting doesn't really matter to me. Whatever happens happens. I'm just going to go out there and play my game."
Oliver isn't concerned either.
"As you saw tonight, we're both obviously going to see a lot of minutes."
But Appleby, Oliver and Point guard Justin Dentmon may find themselves on the court at the same time this season if tonight is any indication.
"We worked well together," said Appleby. "Just having another threat to shoot from outside is good. When I'm out there with JD (Justin Dentmon) guys really like to hug me (guard tight) and try to deny me the ball so it opens up things even more room for JD to penetrate and try and get to the basket because he'll be doing a lot of that you'll see. Any time you have scorers out on the perimeter, it makes everybody's job on offense a lot easier."
Having so many great shooters is a big benefit for Appleby and his teammates as he talked about the freshman sharpshooters joining him.
"It helps to have shooters like Adrian and Phil around and they will gain bigger reputations as the year goes on," he remarks, adding; "you'll see them hit even more outside shots and help our offense run even smoother, especially down low for the big guys to score in the post."
As for the improvements in his game, fans haven't seen anything yet.
"This summer I worked out a lot with guys like Luke Ridnour and Will Conroy playing 1 on 1 and 2 on 2 to help me get better." He's excited about expanding his game. "I'm really working on getting middle penetration from the wing, but they played a lot of zone tonight so it was hard to get into those gaps. You'll see it a lot more this season when teams are playing man defense."
As for Oliver's efforts tonight, the freshman had only one regret; "Fouling out in my first college game was kind of frustrating, but we were up by 25 and it's not about me, it's about the team."
Not that Oliver or Perry needed any help, but the veterans give it anyway.
"These guys are all great basketball players who know how to play the game," says Appleby. "Most of the area's the veterans can help are on defense with some of the plays, especially with the complexity of our defensive rotations." The team performed well on defense in the second half, but there is plenty of room for improvement. "Several times tonight, we forgot some of our assignments on the rotations and than there were times when we didn't box out. It showed because in the second half we did a much better job. We had some guys step up and contain the ball better. In the first half we had a lot of young guys out there with some jitters."
That's okay. Now's the time to work them out.
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