"Well it's a W. First half we were very active defensively. About as active as we've been at any time this year. I like that part of it – the last 8:22 they didn't score in the first half and that was really the basketball game. Steve [Kirschner] said it was a 25-1 run or something like that. I didn't like the way we started in the second half, but we're trying to get better every day and see if we can do some things. You look down there and you know that Marcus [Paige] didn't score the entire second half, but he had eight assists and one turnover - we like that passing. J.P. [Tokoto] was 4-2, Marcus was 8-1, and Kennedy was 2-0. For us to force 21 turnovers, that's the most I think we've forced this year. Five guys in double figures. If you go down there, Jackson [Simmons] missed one at the end, somebody else missed one right at the end or we could've been 50 percent for the game. But all in all it's a W, and I think we did improve, I think we did get better, and that's our goal right now."
How worried were you, if at all, about a letdown?
"I was worried some because we had a big win at Louisville and then we don't play nearly as well with the activity in the next game. So that's basically what we talked about was great intensity. I didn't talk about winning or scoring or anything, I just talked about having better concentration and more intensity and I think we did that in the first half."
In what ways have you seen Nate Britt grow in recent weeks?
"Well tonight, I see four assists and four turnovers - we can't have that. But that was his second straight game of him getting in double figures. I think he is getting more comfortable. I don't know what happened - one time in the first half when he broke loose, wide-open lay-up and laid it up against the bottom of the board or something. But we need him to work on his assist-error ratio and not have the silly turnovers like tonight - palming the ball with nobody around him kind of thing. But he's getting better and better and I'm pleased - no, no that's a bad way - I'm partially pleased. I am not satisfied with him because I think I think he's going to get better."
Is Kennedy Meeks ahead of schedule of where you thought he would be at this point in time?
“I don’t know if I put a schedule on him like that, but offensively he can do some good things. He really can. He’s got to keep working on his body because he needs to be explosive and he’s not explosive in there. He’s tipping the ball a couple of times and if you’re more explosive, you go up and get it. Get it with two hands and follow and dunk or something like that. But offensively, he really helps us. He does some good things. Now, he’s got a long way to go defensively. I don’t think that we made much of a stand defensively inside today. We’ve got to do a better job of that. And that’s Joel [James] and Kennedy and all of them.”
What are your thoughts on n James Michael McAdoo's performance?
"Well, it's the first game in five games he's been in double figures, you know 4-8, but I like three steals and his alertness. The play that J.P. got the dunk on was because James Michael wasn't being guarded and he screened for Marcus, Marcus turns a corner and then they have to help. So that's the reason everybody's going on about J.P.'s dunk - and it was a heck of a dunk - but James Michael made the play. The team players are really good because the dunk that James Michael had inside, J.P.’s the one that made that play because he just got a finger on it and knocked it loose and James Michael finished.
“I just don't want James Michael to pressure himself, just be a basketball player and do the best you can do. If the shots aren't going in, become a better defender. And that’s one thing I think that I’ve got to get him sold on – being a better defender and let the other things come to you.”
Can you give me a progress report on Isaiah Hicks?
“Isaiah’s not as comfortable as he wants to be or as I want him to be, there’s no question. I told him there at the end, I think Desmond [Hubert] had the ball in the post and threw it out to him, everybody wanted him to shoot it. We had another one where everyone wanted Luke [Davis] to shoot it. But Isaiah’s going to be a really good player. I love him to death. You can’t be a better kid. He’s going to be a really good player… But he’s coming.”
Can you talk about going up against some of your former players tonight?
“I’d like to have had them on my team. Wes made a lot of shots. Jackie was as good of a defensive player on the wing as I’ve ever had and J.B. could shoot the dickens out of it in practice so I know he can do it in a game, too. They all look a little older and I don’t know what kind of shape they’re in, but they could probably help our team as players, too.
“They’re three great guys. You’ve heard me say before – Wes Miller came closer to reaching his potential as a player than anybody I’ve ever coached. He pushed it and pushed it and pushed it and got about as close as he could get. Jackie was extremely important in winning a national championship and they’re going to be very successful as coaches. Just watching Wes’s club warm up today, I said, ‘This is a different team.’
“We scrimmaged them about four or five years ago and Wes was an assistant at that time. They didn’t look like basketball players like they look like right now. They’re more athletic, they’re bigger, the whole bit. Coming in here is hopefully never easy on anybody. I told him I was not going to look down at his bench because I didn’t want to know that he was coaching during the game. That’s exactly the way I felt in Birmingham as well.”