On the offensive performance against Florida State:
“It was good for us. We shot 56 percent for the whole game, 64 percent in the second half. We moved the ball well and we got good shots. It was a game where we had better movement than we’ve had in some other games. Kendall [Marshall] did a great job of penetrating the ball to the basket and finding some guys for some easy ones. We had some breaks in the first half where we took it down and were able to do some things with that. Two in 91 games [that an opponent has shot better than 50 percent against FSU], that shows what kind of defense Florida State plays. They’re living on that end of it. We did some nice things.”
On Justin Watts:
“He wasn’t very comfortable last week [due to an ankle injury], but he came out and practiced the last two days as hard as he possibly could. He tried to play in the game and really struggled trying to run back that one time on the defensive end. And I told the team afterwards that it just showed again what you try to do for other people. Justin did that for the team to try to help us get through practice and help us get through the game. He is developing into one of the best leaders that I’ve ever been around and it’s a fun time to be around him.”
On adjustments at point guard:
“It was harder on Dexter probably more than anyone, because all of a sudden, he was going to have to play some minutes at the point guard. He was our emergency point guard. You always think of the third point guard as someone that’s going to do something in case of emergency, and usually you have a little more time. But in that scenario right there, I was more concerned about Dexter and how he was going to be prepared mentally.
“I was going to try to make my substitutions for Kendall around the T.V. timeouts to have a little extra time period there, but thank goodness things a little smoother during the game, so that made it easier. Kendall played 36 minutes and Dexter played 35, or vice versa, is not something we would like every night, but I have no problems with someone playing 30-33 minutes. Every minute you add after that, with the stress and the pressure that we try to put on the ball and the pace that we try to play with, it really gets difficult.
“Raymond Felton in 2005 played about 34 minutes per game in ACC games. I kidded Kendall this afternoon that, ‘You don’t have Raymond Felton’s body yet.” But Raymond Felton is one of the toughest guys that I’ve ever been around… The substitution pattern was something that I spent a lot of time thinking about, but Coach Smith used to say that every game plan is good for the first four or five minutes and then you’ve got to go by the seat of your pants.”
On the team’s mental state heading into the Duke game:
“I think it’s good. We’re playing and we’re doing better things. We’ve had some success and the ball has gone in the basket for us. I think we’re enthused. We had tremendous practices on Friday and Saturday, very enthusiastic practices. We know we’re going to play a very gifted and extremely talented basketball team that is playing well in their home arena. So we know it’s going to be difficult, but I think the kids are in a good frame of mind.”
Please beat Duke on Wednesday.
“You don’t want it nearly as bad as I do, son. I can tell you that.”
On defending Duke’s ball-screen offense:
“Our screen-on-the-ball defense against Florida State was the best we’ve had all year long. It’s a huge part of college basketball now. It’s a huge part of our offense at certain times. The lob that we throw to John Henson, especially with Kendall now, comes from that. But we’re continuing to work on it. It is a part of Duke’s offense. Several years ago we went over there and decided to switch all of the screens. We haven’t made that decision yet by any means, but it is something that we’re going to try to focus on. The thing about it is that you cannot just be concerned about that, because they have so many weapons, so many guys score from the 3-point line and if you decide to double the screen on the ball or something like that, then what you do is just open up so many more opportunities.”
Who’s your third option at point guard now?
“It does hurt that Larry left. I think the best four games that Larry played as a Tar Heel were his last four games. It’s a big blow to our team, but we really pulled together and did a great job on Sunday. As I said, I don’t know if I want Kendall to play 35 or 36 minutes. Dexter would be the next guy, and so today, we had some fun at practice. We let John Henson try it and run it for a set play. We let ‘Z’ try to run it one play. We let Leslie, Justin, Reggie and Harrison [try], so we let all six of those guys try the point guard spot for one play in practice. At the end of that time period, I said, ‘John, you’re the leading contender.’
"But it is something that we have to work on a great deal. We can’t put them out there and expect them to do it for two days and then expect them to do it at Cameron Indoor Stadium.”
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