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Listen to Audio (16:16)
What’s the psychological boost for this team coming off a win like Wednesday’s?
“Well, just about all of them have been like that, so I am hoping that they’re getting more confident. And I keep telling them, ‘One of these nights we’re going to play great.’ And I really believe that. I am not a huge Rex Ryan fan, so don’t take this wrong by any means, but I loved what he said about playing New England again. It was 42-3 or 45-3 or whatever it was, and he said, ‘That doesn’t bother me, we’ve just got to play better.’ And that’s what this club has got to do – we just have to play better. We’re doing a better job now in practice than we were six weeks ago. We’re doing some things a lot better in the games, so hopefully that improvement will continue.”
How is the health of the team?
“I haven’t seen Justin [Watts] today. He did not practice yesterday. My guess is that he will not be able to play [on Saturday]. Leslie and Reggie did practice yesterday, and unless something weird happens today that I don’t foresee, then I think we’ll have everyone with the exception of Justin Watts for [Saturday’s] game.”
On N.C. State leading scorer Tracy Smith:
“Tracy is a tough matchup for anybody. And he’s just a skilled scorer in the post, gets your guys in foul trouble, and that’s one of our biggest weaknesses is depth up front. And without Justin Watts, it’s even moreso in this game.”
Listen to Audio (4:01)
Where does the nickname “Black Falcon” come from?
“When I was at the Jordan game, myself, Kyrie Irving and Jared Sullinger had to go up three days earlier than everyone else, so we got to tour ESPN. They gave us each nicknames, and that’s the one they gave me.”
Why “Black Falcon”?
“Well, I said I wanted mine to be an animal because Michael Jordan was named the Black Cat and Kobe [Bryant] was named the Black Mamba. So I said I wanted to be an animal and then they just gave me the Black Falcon.”
When do you remember first getting comfortable in late-game situations?
“I would say after my sophomore year. I hit a big shot then to tie the game, but we ended up losing on a last second shot. That was my first big end-of-the-game shot and that gave me a lot of confidence from there on out.”
Listen to Audio (5:18)
Coach talked about not wanting the team to get into a mindset where you think you can get down and just expect to come back and win. Are the players starting to think that way?
“I don’t really think so. I don’t think we’re there yet, but obviously if we keep doing it, at some point we will be in that mindset. So it is something we need to avoid. I think everybody does a great job. We were down 14 [against Miami] and we just keep playing and playing. Our defense gets stronger and our offense gets a little better and we just chip back into it.”
On N.C. State using the UNC game to put it all together and get back on track:
“You’re always worried about that, especially ACC teams. They’re all very, very talented. Miami was kind of the same way. They were struggling – they had lost three of their last four by single digits. We know we have to be prepared for it and ready to play, but I think we’ll be ready.”