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Paul Hewitt Transcript - January 18, 2011

Jan. 18, 2011

On Sunday’s 78-58 win over North Carolina:
“Our guys have been getting better. I’ve been saying that–especially our big guys. I thought Daniel [Miller], Nate [Hicks] and [Kammeon Holsey] did a great job on [North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller], and they got great help from our guards. And the obvious thing is Iman [Shumpert] and Glen [Rice, Jr.] played like big-time players. Iman has had some big games that were stopped because of leg cramps and things like that. On Sunday, he played the whole game and was healthy the whole game. He felt great, and you saw the end product.”

On where the team’s confidence this week came from:
“They’re practicing well. People only see what goes on on the court. Obviously we played two great first halves in our first two conference games, only to play poor second halves. You get judged by what they last see. That’s just the way it is. But these guys know that they’ve been making strides. Now we’ve got to get over the hump from a mental standpoint. Some of the mental breakdowns that we’ve had, we’ve got to clean those things up. But again, a lot of it is attributed to the improved play and what our guys see in our big guys.”

On what to expect from Wake Forest:
“They’re a lot like us. They’re young. They’re a great shooting team. Ari Stewart, a local kid, can really shoot the basketball. J.T. Terrell, C.J. Harris, all of them can shoot the ball. But they’re like us. They’re young. It’s going to be a case of who makes fewer mental mistakes.”

On what to do to sustain momentum:
“Keep practicing the way you play. Keep practicing hard. That starts to build confidence. When you get out on the court, you practice with that game-level intensity, which sometimes it’s tough to get young guys to understand how important it is. Now they see that they get out in the game and it feels just like practice. Basically the practice adjustments, you take it out to the court.”

On telling before a game whether the team will be hot that night:
“There’s some games that you can tell. Let’s put it this way–you can tell most times when they’re dialed in. You can’t tell sometimes when they’re just going to completely flop. We’ve had games where we’ve had walkthroughs and practice the day before where we were just awful, and we went out and played lights out. But you can tell when they’re dialed in and ready to go. But when it comes the other way, you just don’t know. It takes you by surprise.

“Again, we’ve been getting better. I keep saying we’re playing better, we just didn’t have a `W’ to show for it. Now the key is, are we going to come back with that same level of intensity. When you lose a couple in a row, it does create some urgency around your program. It does create some urgency around practices. Now, was that urgency because we were losing, or because we’re figuring it out?”

On support from student body:
“We need that. These guys are hard-working guys. They’re part of this school community. You never read or hear about these guys ever doing anything to really embarrass themselves or the school. I do think they deserve the support of the students and our fans in general. If you have legitimate reasons why you don’t want to come to the game, that’s fine. People understand that. But if you’re not doing anything, these kids would really appreciate the support. That was important to them, that they saw the students out there, and I thought the least we could do was to thank them.”

On Jason Morris improving:
“When [Jason Morris] does come on, he can be as good as any rookie there is in this league. I don’t mind saying it, because he’s heard me say it. We all know what Jason’s capable of. He’s a very smart kid and a very talented athlete, but sometimes he forgets. To be as smart as he is, every once in a while he just has lapses. In the first half, we were running our pressure against Carolina and we didn’t force any turnovers because on his side of the floor, he literally just forgot to trap. In the second half, we started trapping, and we got the turnovers that we needed and we won. But he’s a really good player. He’s got a very bright future. And when the light does come on, eventually he’s going to be a big-time player.”

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