It doesn’t appear that we have any players that can guard explosive shooters. What are your thoughts on double-teaming a player like Clemson guard Demontez Stitt or running a triangle-and-two to defend that type of shooter? It’s painful watching those guys hit wide open 3-pointers.
“You think it’s painful for you? What the [heck] do you think about our staff? We don’t enjoy that stuff, either. It’s a couple of things. I still remember vividly, and nobody else remembers quite as clearly, a conversation in 2009. Tyrese Rice from Boston College was just kicking our rear end and then we went to Wake Forest and Jeff Teague just kicked our rear end, and everybody wanted to know what the dickens was going on with Tywon. And I’m not saying that this year is going to finish as well as that, but you’ve got to look at the whole season. The kids did a great job on Brandon Knight from Kentucky. We’ve had some good moments and we’ve had some bad moments. My philosophy, as well as Coach Smith’s, we very seldom play junk defenses, but we’ve got to play better defensively…
“We do have to do a better job guarding the basketball. We do have to do a better job of guarding the player out on the perimeter shooting the 3-point shot. [Sunday] night, I thought they made every three that they took, and then ended up looking at the stat sheet and they made 7-of-21. The problem we had [on Sunday] was not just our defensive play. We weren’t very good…
“We were trying to double team Iman [Shumpert] in the second half every time he posted a guy up, and we got him double-teamed one time. Sometimes there is communication from the bench to the court, but sometimes the execution of what you want from the bench to the court is not as good as we want it to be.”
When you substitute 5-for-5, doesn’t it get those guys out of a rhythm? Wouldn’t it be better to substitute a couple instead of all five at one time?
“I don’t substitute just for the heck of it. I substitute because a guy is getting tired or something is going wrong. And [Sunday] night, to be honest with you, when it was 8-2, I didn’t see anybody out there that deserved to stay in the game. It would have been pretty easy if one guy would have been doing a great job, I would have left him in the game.
"It’s something that at times during my career of 23 years, I’ve put five in there more or less to see if I could get the other guys enthused a little bit and get them to play better, but at times you put them out there just because they deserve it more than the other group...
"I don't agree that substitutions break down anybody's rhythm."
On the team not showing enough emotion:
“Some of the games we have shown emotion, but not as much as I would like. I’m one of those guys that I want them to show emotion by their play, but I also don’t want them to do anything to put anybody deliberately down on the other team. I don’t like guys that dunk and then stand over somebody like they accomplished something. I had a player at Kansas one time that dunked a 6-foot stubby little guard and he stood over him and I said, ‘My gosh, everybody that’s ever played the game could have dunked over that guy.’
"So I don’t want it like that, but I will say that at the end of the Virginia Tech game when Kendall Marshall makes the two free throws and they take it out of bounds and we intercept it there, the kids did show a lot of emotion there. Are they showing as much as I want them to? No question.
"I don’t want anybody to put somebody down. I don’t believe in this strutting around when you score or anything like that. The way you show emotion to me is by how hard you play on the defensive end of the floor. The way you show emotion to me is when your teammate does something and he’s down on the floor, to run over and pick him up and say thank you to him and that you’re really appreciative for what he did to help you and help your team.
"In fact, I talked about it before the game [on Sunday] and spent a good bit of time at practice on Saturday talking about, ‘We’ve got to come out and have some emotion, we’ve got to come out and have some enthusiasm [and] we have to come out and have that intensity at a high level to where we’re all pulling together.’ And we did not have it [on Sunday] night. If I knew exactly why, I think I’d be able to correct it more.”
Is there anything that’s frustrating for you about coaching this year’s team?
“How we play. There’s no question about that. It’s frustrating to me when you don’t invest enough. I use this analogy all of the time. You know how you make money in the stock market? You’ve got to invest. If you want to make a lot of money in the stock market, you’ve got to invest a lot. If you want to make something out of basketball, you’ve got to invest a lot.
"And you know the old stories about people shoveling snow so that they could play on an asphalt court? I did that. You’ve heard the story – I used to break into the gym so much and the policeman got so concerned that I was going to break my neck, he got the principal to give me the dadgum key. I get frustrated when I feel like my team doesn’t invest enough or cares about it enough or loses itself in the team.
"And in today’s culture, it’s hard. I’ve got half of the guys on my team that their mom and dad and their friends and everything think that they’re going to make $88 million. They could give a flip whether we win a game or not. They want their guy to get 37 shots and play 50 minutes in a 40-minute game. The culture is hard on kids nowadays, and I understand that, but it makes coaching harder…
"It’s something that I’ve told many teams – if you cared one-tenth about it as much as I do, [gosh] it would be a lot of fun.”
Did you think about leaving the reserves in against Georgia Tech and making them the starters for one night? How much worse would it have been if you had done that?
“Yes, it did enter my mind. We were even talking about it as a staff over there. The first bunch, when I put them back in there, they didn’t do that well either. It was 22-4, I think, the way they were outscored. It goes from game to game. One year against Duke, we’re here and I got mad at the first five and took them out and put five other guys in. Buddy Baldwin, my high school coach, said, ‘I wouldn’t have enough courage to do that.’ And I said, ‘The other guys are going to play better when they get back in.’ And most of the time that has happened.”
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