Jan. 12, 2010
– Paul Hewitt – ACC Teleconference on January 11, 2010
Opening statement – “Wednesday night’s game at Virginia will be an interesting game. We’ve got plenty of size, and our big men have gotten off to a good start this season. UVA plays small sometimes, using Sylven Landesberg at the four, so it should be in interesting matchup for us. Hopefully we can build on the momentum we created with Saturday’s victory.”
On the NCAA’s new proposed recruiting rules – “I’m not sure I agree with all of them. I think the intent is to eliminate things like under-the-table payments or deals that would influence a young man’s decision on where he will go to school. Speaking as a former high school basketball coach, if the rules were this way in 1985, I’m not sure I would have gotten into the business. As a high school basketball coach, I worked the Providence College camp, the Syracuse camp, the Georgetown camp. Meeting people like Jeff Van Gundy, Bernie Fine, Craig Esherick, was a great way for me to network and get into the business. In fact I got my first Division I opportunity through working the Georgetown camp, when Craig Esherick introduced me to George Raveling. Coach Raveling has had an unbelievable impact on my career.
“The intentions are good, but I think there is an awful lot of paranoia involved, and an awful lot of attention being paid to the top one or two percent of the players and how they end up making their decisions. We’ll see how it works out.”
On the top of the league perhaps being more wide open – “it is a little more wide open because there isn’t one team that has a lot of returning veteran players. Duke has some veteran players, but from a depth standpoint, they have their issues. Everybody has an issue or a flaw. North Carolina, the last two years, was talented, and they were deep, so they were clearly were the team (to beat).
“There are some teams out there that are going to get better as the year goes along, and somebody is going to pull away. Somebody is going to emerge.”
On how you took Kyle Singler away from Duke Saturday – “I thought Kyle had some great looks. He just didn’t make them. If he has those looks at Cameron, I don’t think we’ll be as lucky.”
On how different Virginia is to prepare for this season – “It appears out of necessity that they’re playing smaller. They’ve had some success against UAB when they went with the four small guys, and my assistant tells me they really made a run against NC State when they put [Landesberg] at the four. I think they do that because they don’t have Tucker anymore, and they’re just not as big or have as many options. Tony has found a way to make it effective. They shoot the ball very well. They go to the foul line, and they make their free throws. They can spread the floor, and Sylven’s a guy who’s a dynamic scorer. He can score in a lot of different ways. When you put him in the power forward position, he creates a big matchup problem.”
On Sylven Landesberg – “He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever had the chance to recruit. He stays in the gym, and he’s also an excellent student. His work ethic said to me that he was going to be a great player.
“He’s probably added a foot to his jump shot, which makes him even more dangerous. You’ve got to step out on him. Last year, you could give him a little cushion. You can’t do that anymore. He’s always been a terrific penetrator and scorer off the dribble.”
On how much Gani Lawal has been helped by the arrival of Derrick Favors – “That’s helped some, but the biggest thing is that Gani’s making his free throws. Last year, it was hard for him to get his position on the block because people were playing him physically. They just took the chance whether the referees called the foul or not. Now they’re not as quick to bang him or bump him. Now, he’s getting better post position, and when he does get fouled, he goes to the foul line, and since the sixth game of the year, he’s well above 80 percent from the free throw line.
“Also, Gani’s one of the hardest workers on our team. Derrick’s presence has helped him, but we also had a very good front line last year with Alade Aminu and Zachery Peacock. The difference is now he’s making his free throws, and people have to be a little more careful how physical they are with him.”
Paul Hewitt – Pre-Practice Media Session Jan. 11
Opening Statement – “This is a tough matchup for us on Wednesday [against Virginia]. Virginia is playing a lot like Villanova with the four guards. They have Sylven Landesberg who was the ACC Rookie of the Year last year and is an outstanding scorer. He is shooting the ball really well from the outside and is a really good free throw shooter. He’s a really tough matchup.”
On matching up against Virginia – “It’s a serious contrast in styles. It will be really interesting to see who wins out in terms of who has to match up against who.”
On if it will be a challenge to press against Virginia’s guard oriented lineup – “You’ve got to be better in your rotations. I still think you can press them, no question. You just have to be smarter in your rotations, more solid. There have been times where we’ve allowed the last play to effect our concentration on offense or defense or on a turnover. We’ll have a lapse at times and [Virginia] has the type of team that if you don’t have the right rotation against them, you’re going to pay.”
On how the Jackets plan on defending Sylven Landesberg – “You have to put your best on him and then you just have to hope. Everyone keeps asking me what we did against [Kyle] Singler. I thought we played good defense, but I think he had an off night. That’s what you have to hope for against Landesberg, play good defense and hope he has an off-night. Sylven is really a crafty player in that he can draw fouls. He doesn’t score all his baskets from the floor, he gets to the foul line pretty good too.”
On Iman Shumpert’s struggles since coming off a recent knee injury – “He’s struggled and I think he’s having a hard time getting used to the ebb and flow of the game. But, he’ll be all right. I was talking to Doc Rivers and he said when you’re dealing with guys that come off knee injuries usually the first game back they play with a lot of adrenaline. Then, the next couple of games they have to reestablish themselves. I think that’s kind of happen with Iman. The more he plays, the more he will be getting back to playing like himself,
“I would be just short to saying that he is the whole key to our team. He’s huge. I know Gani [Lawal] is going to be consistent and play hard and I know Derrick [Favors] is going to do his thing. But, Iman is the guy that is the wild card. If he is playing well, then we become a very tough team to match up with.”