On his demeanor as a coach on the sideline during games:
“I love being around kids. I love teaching basketball. I never thought about the possibility of being back on the bench at Carolina. Prior to Coach Williams asking me to be a part of the staff, there're so many Carolina players that have had coaching experience whether in college or the NBA and obviously any past Carolina player would love to have the chance I have to be a part of the program again. In terms of thinking about being a coach, there wasn’t really that much thought. I am into the game and the bad part about it is that as a coach as opposed to being a player you can’t do anything about it. You can’t go out there on the floor, not that I can help now at 43 years old. It has been really great being on the staff and being around Coach Williams and being around these kids.”
On the loss to Virginia and early struggles in ACC play:
“Especially the last couple of games, I think there’s a lot of problems that we need to address. I think one of the things that we can fix is that we’ve got to do a better job of finding a way to score more. We’re having difficulty scoring and for the most part teams have figured us out. Teams have understood that the three best ways that we score are getting second chance opportunities, offensive rebounds so they’re doing a better job of boxing us out and limiting us from getting second chance opportunities. They know that we really like to get out in transition. We’ve got a team that really runs and scores well in transition so they’re doing a better job of taking care of the basketball. I think it’s no secret that people know that the guy that we need to score well, not only to score but to create is Marcus Paige. Every time he catches the ball he’s got two or three guys with him so we’ve got do a better job of getting him open and getting him in spots where he can get open shots and also putting guys in places where they can help him out and soften that load for him on the offensive end. Those are things that you can fix, those are things that we will fix.”
On starting lineup and determining a set five to put on the floor each night:
“We’re trying to find the right combination. Kennedy Meeks played extremely well (against Virginia). He’s a guy that’s really a great kid and a very talented basketball player. He did some nice things last night and he’s done some great things this year. He’s a guy that can score down low on the post. His passing ability is fantastic and he’s an outstanding rebounder. We’re very pleased by the way that he played, especially on the road last night and he’s a guy that could be in the starting lineup. This is the type of thing that every team goes through throughout the year. Opponents adjust and now it’s our time to adjust. The great thing about it is that until Sunday when we play Clemson we’ve got three days of practice to work on those things that we need to fix and we’ll be ready to go against Clemson at six o’clock on Sunday.”
On J.P. Tokoto’s play so far this season and the growth of his game:
“Well, one of the things that people have to consider is that these are young kids that have limited experience. When I was in school, you didn’t get a chance to play until you were a junior or senior year. Now you’re asking freshmen and sophomores to step up and play like juniors and seniors. J.P. is another great young man. He’s extremely talented. I really believe he can be the best defensive player not only in the ACC but in the whole country. He’s a guy who can be a lock down defender with his athleticism and his length. He was going up against probably the best player in the ACC in Joe Harris. Not only can he shoot, he’s a very smart player, he uses screens really well and he’s also experienced, he’s a senior. He had a great matchup last night. Virginia is also a great defensive team and they were able to get some turnovers with J.P. and that’s one of the things that he’s got to learn, to value the basketball and understand that taking care of the basketball is huge for us. When we turn the ball over teams get out into transition and that really hurts us. J.P. has had a fantastic year. His growth from last year to this year has been absolutely fantastic and maybe he didn’t play his best game (against Virginia) but he’s been a guy that we feel very confident that can do the job on both ends of the floor.”
On Tokoto’s improvement as a shooter:
“In order to become a good shooter, one you have to have good form, number two is you have to relentlessly be in the gym working on your game and number three is you have to take good shots. If one of those three things is missing then you’re not going to be a very good shooter. One of the things that J.P. has really done is he’s gotten into the gym. He’s one of those guys before and after practice who works on his shot relentlessly. I have told him that you cannot become the player that you want to become if you don’t do anything more than what is required. Just going to practice and practicing hard and going through practice is not enough, you’re not going to reach your goal individually and you’re not going to help us reach our goal as a team. Where you get better as a player and where we get better as a team is the extra work. Are you willing to sacrifice before and after practice to put yourself in the position to succeed and J.P. is learning how to do that. He has some growth to go but he’s learning how to do that and I’m very proud of him.”
Did you like what the big lineup against Virginia with James Michael McAdoo at the three spot was able to do?
“There’s some positives with that lineup. It’s a big lineup so we really like that in terms of rebounding. We feel like it’s a great rebounding lineup, particularly on the offensive end as well and being able to score second chance opportunities. J.P. at the two guard position, he’s a big two guard and he likes to run the floor so we like that. I really like James Michael at the three in terms of he had Joe Harris on him. One of the things we were saying in the huddle is 'Joe Harris is guarding you so let’s get James Michael down low in the post.' You try to find ways, particularly in the half court, to find ways to find shots. We really like that lineup but the only thing that lacks is shooting, perimeter shooting. When teams go zone against us then James Michael goes out on the perimeter and he can play out on the perimeter but I don’t think he feels as comfortable. It’s hard to go against a zone with three big guys so that’s one of the things we look at. We need guys who can shoot the ball consistently from the outside because if you have guys who can shoot the ball from the outside that gives space to Kennedy Meeks and James Michael McAdoo and Brice Johnson and all those guys room to operate down low in the post.”
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