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ACC Operation Basketball

Oct. 26, 2008

Head Coach Paul Hewitt

On sophomore Maurice Miller’s Progression as a player last season….

“It clicked in early in the ACC season. I thought in the preseason he had his hands full in terms of the speed and intensity of the game, and the level of condition you have to have in order to compete at this level. I thought early in the ACC year I started to see him adjust and really come into his own. So far this year he has gotten off to a good start. He is playing well and it’s nice to see him and Iman Shumpert go up against each other. He is also teaching Iman a lot about the game and what pitfalls to avoid.”

On his relationships with Maurice Miller as a point guard…

“He is learning to be more vocal as a leader. He is a very smart basketball player and he learned a lot from a very good basketball coach in Jimmy Adams at Raleigh-Egypt. He needs to learn how to be more vocal and give instructions to other guys.”

On Miller’s comparison to some of the great Tech point guards…

“He is probably a better shooter than most of those guys. Coming in as a freshman, he understood the game better than those guys. What he still needs to do is get his physical prowess to catch up to that. Those other guys were physically superior, so now he has to make sure physically he is up to the challenge. But in terms of skill and intelligence, he has all of it.”

On the expectations of the team…

“I think we have a very talented team. If we have to point to two areas that are really strong, I would have to say the point guard position, because of Moe [Miller] and Iman [Shumpert], and our big guys. We have five big guys that can really run and contribute. Now in terms of depth at the perimeter, with the loss of D’Andre Bell, it certainly is not where we would like it to be. But I think it’s a talented group that should be capable of getting back to the NCAA tournament.”

On the team’s competitiveness…

“I am not sure how much more competitive we can get. Last year we were a very good team, we just played a very demanding schedule. We played the second toughest schedule in the country, and that probably robbed us of some confidence early in the year. If you told me last year that we were going to win four road games in the ACC all year, I would have said we are going right to the NCAA tournament. We had our troubles closing out some close games at home. Some of that was attributed to a lack of confidence at the beginning of the year due to a tough non-conference schedule.”

On freshman Iman Shumpert

“Iman is one of those guys you don’t have to worry about talking. He is very outgoing and he is confident, but not to point where he is cocky and doesn’t listen. He loves to play the game and he loves to compete. Yesterday in the intra-squad scrimmage that came through loud and clear. He went right at Moe [Miller] and Moe came right back at him so it was fun to watch.”

On Zachery Peacock’s play at the three (small forward) spot…

“Where I think he will really be effective on the perimeter is defensively. Losing a guy like D’Andre Bell, who was our best on-ball defender, we are looking for someone that can be that lockdown guy. Right now for tomorrow I would say he’d be the guy and I like the depth of our front-court offense.

On what the team has worked on to avoid losing close games…

“One of the points of emphasis we have worked on this year is not fouling the guy you are guarding, especially when he is shooting the ball. We made some fouls last year that were inexplicable. We also have worked on attacking the basketball a little more. Last year, as the year went on we started to play some really good basketball. We were a victim of our schedule and our inexperience at the point guard position. I would argue that once it got past January 15, we were playing as well as anyone in the conference and then we went and lost a very tough and physical game in Connecticut and then turned around and played at Clemson in a blow-out. We were playing very well down the stretch, but I think the foul disparity was a combination of us fouling too many jump shooters and also not having the quickness and aggressiveness at the point guard spot to get into the teeth of the defense.”

Senior guard Lewis Clinch

On the longer three point line this year…

“As a shooter, you really don’t think about the line. You just have to get your shot set up and stick to your normal routines. You just have to watch out for the line and keep your spacing on the offense.”

On this season’s non-conference schedule…

“I think it will give a lot of our guys a chance to get experience early. The early schedule is not as rigorous of a road schedule, so it will help us build confidence. Getting that confidence early will help us getting into the big games later on in the season.”

On having Moe Miller at point guard…

“It helps that he is familiar with everyone. He knows where and when to get the ball to players, and he understands all of our tendencies. He now understands our game after having a year under his belt, and that’s important because it helps us with our team chemistry. It’s like having a quarterback coming back and knowing what receiver to hit with the ball.”

On the loss of D’Andre Bell

“It is a very tough and emotional loss. D’Andre is a great locker-room guy, and he will still be there for us, but it’s a different presence when he is playing. It affects us emotionally, but guys are stepping up and we are very close and have a great attitude this year. Losing D’Andre is like having a fallen soldier. I came in as a freshman with him and his locker has been next to me since. On the days when he is not there, no one sits beside me and it hits me that he isn’t there.”

On the expectations of the team this year…

“I think we will overachieve. People doubt us because we have lost players, but we have been working very hard and close as a team. This is the closest we have ever been as a team, and I think it will help us down the road.”

On freshman guard Iman Shumpert

“Iman (Shumpert) is a player you can tell he has been well coached. If you tell him something to do, he does it right away. Has a high basketball IQ and learns things very quickly. “

On his personal expectations this year…

“I have been handling the ball a lot more and coming off more ball screens. I feel I am being more of a vocal leader on the team this year. Communication is the key to our defense so I have been working on being loud and making sure the team hears me. The key to screens is being vocal. People can’t always see what is going on.”

On the type of play the team has been working on…

“Run, run, run. We did a track work during preseason and coach wants us to get up and down the court quickly. We have been working on our transition and the big men have been dominating on the track, so we will look to keep the pace going this year. We have been working on execution and coach Hewitt has been teaching us to pay more attention to detail.”

Junior forward Zachery Peacock

On playing the three-guard spot…

“I think for the most part it’s going well. It hasn’t been much of a change, but I think its going well. The best part about it for me is coming off screens and shooting. The toughest is part is guarding off of screens and trying to avoid big men. Also the running on the wings. It is easier to run a straight line down the court, but chasing guards on the wings is much tougher for me to do.”

On his role this year on the court…

“I look at myself as one who is the loud one on the court and on that aggravates everyone with my energy. I try to get the best out of everyone and make sure they leave it all on the court. They get tired of hearing my voice so they exert it all out there on the court.”

On his expectations of the team for this year….

“I view our team as young, quick and energetic. We are also very athletic. I believe we will be an underdog and we will shock a lot of people this year.”

On point guard Maurice Miller

`He is going to be a big part of the season. He is a lot more focused this year and he has a sense of knowing how and when to get his teammates involved.”

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