Feb. 8, 2010
– On Iman Shumpert’s health (played with a virus Saturday) after the weekend:
“He is doing much better. We did not practice [Sunday], but we practiced this morning. He looked fine, completely healthy.”
On Zachery Peacock scoring in spurts:
“Zach is a guy that has a good feel for what the defense is giving him. He is also a tough match-up, because he can make a three, he can go off the dribble, and he is pretty decent in the post as well. When you have guys like Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal, and certainly the improvement of Brian Oliver’s more consistent outside shooting, Zach just finds a way to fill a gap or niche here and there. You are probably going to see us run more plays for him, but I think he kind of prefers it this way, where he is kind of the guy that gets lost in the shuffle. You leave him alone out there, and he can make a shot from anywhere on the floor.”
On freshman Derrick Favors, who leads all ACC freshmen in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, and is shooting almost 60 percent from the floor:
“He is getting better and better. I am not sure he was ready for the physical style of play in the ACC. Going back to the first ACC game against Florida State to now, he has been getting more and more comfortable. He is making great progress. I expect him to get better and better each time he steps out on the floor, mostly because he is just getting a better feel of how to establish post position, and how hard you have to post up to get the ball.
“Also, his conditioning is getting better. I think there were times he would get tired and ask out of the game. He is doing that less, and he is starting to figure out how to push through the fatigue. The more he stays on the floor, the more numbers he is going to put up.
“Now the big thing for him, if he is going to have a huge last seven games plus the tournament, is his ability to stay out of foul trouble. That is the thing that he and I talk about almost daily, about the adjustments he is going to have to make in order to be an impact player on the floor. The last thing for him, even in the game the other day, he said he was more concerned about fouls. He finds himself thinking about foul trouble more than anything else. He has to understand when he does pick up that early foul, he has to learn to play with that and not pick up a cheap foul. Also, he has to be even more alert and anticipate on defense, meaning moving into position quicker, instead of having him block a shot, he will slide over and give early help. That way he maybe could take a charge or just be disruptive.”
On quirks in the ACC schedule, what you look for when given the ACC schedule, and any improvements the ACC might do in its conference schedule making:
“The first thing I look for are those one-day preps, because when you start building your schedule you need to plan days off. Especially when you play as many freshmen as we are, you have to be mindful of rest. You have to understand most of these kids right now are used to the season winding down in high school. And certainly they haven’t played this sustained level of intensity ever in their basketball lives. So the one-day prep is something I definitely look for. In terms of how the games come up, meaning how often you play one team before you play another team; that is not as important as rest. Right now we are in what I call our toughest stretch of the year. I’m really mindful of trying to keep the guys fresh, especially our four freshmen.”
On what you look for from your team in February:
“This is the time of the year that you really have to be playing your best basketball. Two things: First, from a coaching staff standpoint, we have to realize what we do well, and say let’s stay with it. Also, try to streamline or eliminate things, instead of battling and fighting trying to get certain plays in or certain defenses in. At some point you have to realize this is not good or it comes to a clash of egos with me trying to get them to do something they are not doing well. Two, the players have to become a lot sharper mentally and execute better. Our defense has been very strong all year. With the exception of one half, I think our defense has been outstanding. But we still have to become a better defensive team, and be a little more cohesive defensively and take it to another level.”
On your other two freshmen, Brian Oliver and Glen Rice:
“I think they are two of the reasons our team has a chance to be really good down the stretch, because both of those kids are starting to play more consistently. Brian is starting to understand better shot selection. We want him to stay more aggressive, because if he is open we want him to shoot the basketball. He is one of those guys that can break a game open with his three-point shooting ability. Glen is one of the better all-around, versatile players I have had in a long time. He is an excellent defender, very good passer, he can go off the dribble, and his shooting is really starting to improve. I think if those two guys continue to improve, then you will see this team become one of the stronger teams in our league.”
On Glen Rice’s passion on the court. How do you walk that line with him, where he has that passion and intensity, but doesn’t have some moments like at Duke with his technical foul?
“That was an unfortunate incident, and I talked to him about that the next day. He reacted very poorly, and he knew it. I don’t want him to lose that passion, that spirit that he has, because it really has been a positive thing. It has been great to get him off the bench when he gets his hands on the ball and creates a deflection or gets out in transition and throws the perfect alley-oop pass to Derrick or Gani. I also chalk the technical up to youthfulness. He knows though. When I talked to him the next day, he said `Coach I shouldn’t have lost my cool.'”