Where do you think Leslie McDonald is in terms of regaining his confidence on the court?
“He’s had some good practices and usually that comes first. There’s no question about that. I’ve never had a guy to have bad practices and then all of a sudden play great in games kind of thing. Some guys are gamers but usually the confidence has to come seeing the ball go in the basket. I think recently Leslie has had some good practices. I stopped practice yesterday because James Michael (McAdoo) made a really nice play to J.P. (Tokoto) and to Leslie and it was a wide-open shot and it wasn’t even close to coming out.
"It was dead center and I think those kind of things help him and I said something about it at that time because I think he’s just been rushing it a little bit in the games. Teams also know he’s a three point shooter so they close on him a lot harder and we can’t simulate that in practice. Blue show doesn’t have the type of athlete to close on him in practice like they do in the games but I think it’s getting closer and closer and we need it to be there.”
Comments on technical aspects of the game offensively thus far this season:
“No, we haven’t been but the easiest way to describe it is that we haven’t been doing any of it really well. We’re getting close to jack-of-all-trades, master of none right now. Post guys need to do a much better job of posting up strong, lower and not meaning just your rear end down but lower in the lane, holding off people, not letting them come around and steal the ball. Then when you get it, making a quick simple move to try to score. We haven’t been scoring as much in the paint as we want to.
"At the same time, we worked one day last week on just feeding the posts so we’ve got to do a better job with that. We’ve known and been preaching since November that we’ve got to do a better job screening and we haven’t done as good of a job screening or using the screens. That’s really been the whole deal. We’ve been continuing to work on everything. There’s not one thing that we’re doing that I’m satisfied with. We say okay, we’ve got that let’s pay attention to it and let’s don’t ignore it but we’ve got that taken care of and let’s move onto something else.
"There is no phase of the game where we haven’t continued to work on even from a technical aspect. The sense of urgency is still the greatest thing I’ve been talking about and the focus, I’ll use your word there and I’m sure I’ve used it too. We’ve got to do everything better and the kids will have a great practice today. I just know we’re going to have a great practice and we need to have a great practice and we need to have a great practice again tomorrow. As long as we keep coming with that attitude and trying to get better then we will get better.”
Does the 56-game home-winning streak against Clemson become of topic of discussion for you team heading into the game Sunday and does it provide any sort of pressure on your team to deliver?
“I don’t think I’ve ever talked to my team about that. It’s just something that they may be aware of and they may not be aware of. I really don’t know because I don’t bring it up. The reason I was hesitating was because I was trying to think if I ever had said something about the streak. With streaks I usually always say it’s going to come to an end sometime but let’s just put it off one more year. When I was at KU we beat Kansas State in their building 15 straight years. Luckily, I wasn’t there after that so that streak lasted. I haven’t talked to the team about it and don’t plan on it.”
What stands out about the Clemson Tigers team thus far this season?
“Well first of all, you look and you say okay they beat Duke, they beat Wake Forest, they beat Boston College at Boston College, they beat Virginia Tech at Virginia Tech. They’re results are the first thing that catches. When you think about Brad’s (Brownell) clubs, they do a really nice job defensively. The team’s shoot like 37 percent against you so you see that but you do notice the success of the team first before you start looking at the statistical part of it.
"They are going to guard us. They’re going to be very physical and do it the right way. Aggressive could be the same terminology, it’s not intended to mean anything negative. They play at a little slower pace but I think if they have a great advantage they’d take a fast break as well. They don’t look to run as much as we do and that’s what Brad feels comfortable with and he does a great job of coaching it. I feel comfortable running like crazy and I haven’t done a very good job of coaching it with this club.
“The defensive end of the ball and K.J. McDaniels’ athleticism just jumps out at you. There’s no question when you see that. The number of blocked shots that he’s got at 6’6”, I think he’s got more than anybody on our team and maybe our whole team. I think he’s got 48 blocks or something like that. You do get down to personnel then with (Rod) Hall and (Jordan) Roper but K.J. does jump off of the screen at you.”
Do you think the week off benefits your team to get some kinks worked out before taking on Clemson?
“It didn’t work the last time we did it. I guess I should turn it this way. We win against Boston College and had one day to enjoy it and then we lose to Virginia and have six days to live with it and not enjoy it so I’ve looked at that part more so than the other preparation I did. Clemson played on Tuesday night so we played Monday night and they played Tuesday night. It’s been basically the same kind of break. We played on Monday night and got our tails kicked and they played on Tuesday night and got their tails kicked so both of us had a long layover.”
Comments on Brice Johnson’s development:
“He’s getting better. He really is and I love him to death but he’s a wacko. He’s got to get better defensively. He’s got to work extremely hard in the weight room to get bigger and stronger because his size height wise and his game dictates that he plays from 18 feet in. If you’re going to play from 18 feet in then you need to be bigger and stronger so he’s got to do a better job there. When he first got here his work habits on a scale of one to ten it was a zero and he’s gotten up to a three or four. Now you can ask him and tell him I graded his work ethic last year and this year and see how it compares to what he says.
"He’s a wonderful kid that’s going to be a big time player but you’ve heard me say this before, I want it to be in my lifetime. He is getting better and he had a good practice last week where he worked really hard. He really did some good things in the Boston College game, didn’t have the same kind of effect in the Virginia game but playing harder, more focused, working on your body doing those kind of things is really going to help him.”