Any idea if Joel James will be able to play on Sunday at Wake Forest?
“I don’t think he will. He did participate in some of our stuff today, but I think it’s a little bit of a push to try to get him there. I’m not going to say completely, but I don’t think so.”
What’s your evaluation of your team thus far?
“Our consistency I have not liked. At times we show some things that we’re going to be okay defensively; I think that would be one thing that I do like. I think I could go back to the first answer and almost explain everything. Sometimes we’ve been a really good rebounding team and sometimes we’ve been a sorry rebounding team. Sometimes we’ve been extremely unselfish and other times we’ve been extremely selfish.
“We’re not running the ball as well as I would like for us to run it. We’ve been able to make some changes in the games - go zone for a few possessions, press for a few possessions, go scramble for a few possessions – that have helped us. So I like the maturity and the fact that we’ve been able to do that. I might be leaving out something really evident, but I’m drawing a blank on it right now. But I’d say the biggest thing that I’ve been displeased [about] is the consistency of our attention and even sometimes our effort. But I’ve got hope. I really do. I’ve got hope that we’re going to be pretty good defensively, to start with, because we haven’t done it yet and yet defense hasn’t killed us many times.”
Do you think this team is better equipped to press/scramble more than other ones that you’ve had?
“With the exception of last year, because last year was just a screwy year – I don’t know how to explain it any better than that – but we’ve been pretty doggone good defensively and really tried to use our scrambles as much more of a surprise and not use it nearly as often. But I’ve got hope for this team to be able to be a good scramble team.”
What impresses you about Wake Forest?
“When you look down and see that somebody is holding a team to under 40 percent on the defensive end of the floor, that’s always impressive to me. The rebounding totals are plus-7.3 rebounding margin – that’s one of the places in the past that I think we’ve been able to hurt Wake Forest. Those are the first two things. The third thing is easy; assist-error ratio - 191 assists, 158 turnovers. So those three things right there are three things that jump out at you. You always are concerned about a team that’s got four or five guys in double figures.”
Is Leslie McDonald fully integrated into the practice rotation now?
“Yes. He’s playing with the white squad almost exclusively during practice. We’ve got eight or nine guys doing that.”
Part of conference play this year will be Monday night games. Do you like Monday night games? Does the specific night during the week matter?
“I like Monday night games. When I was in the Big 8/Big 12 – I don’t remember when it came about that we got the first Big Monday – but we thought it was great. The only problem is that you play Saturday and then play Monday and that’s an extremely difficult turnaround, so we had to fight like crazy to make sure we were never on the road for both of those. Always have one at home and one on the road.
“I dislike Sunday night games a great deal. So if you play more Monday night games and get away from Sunday, I’m very happy about that.”
Why do you dislike Sunday night games so much?
“It’s just screws up the whole week. You’ve got a game and then all of a sudden they’ve got five days of classes. And if you’re playing a Sunday night game, you’re sitting around all day. You’re not in class; it’s not a normal day.”
How prepared do you feel like the freshmen are for ACC play?
“They have no idea. All three of the freshmen – Nate more than Kennedy than Isaiah – have had opportunities to get better, but it is a big-time jump. It really is a big-time jump. I always have the saying to kids, ‘you can’t come in there tip-toeing through the tulips.’ You’ve got to come in and plant your feet and be ready to make a stand. Hopefully those guys will do it right from the start.”