Can you talking about playing after a week off?
It was tough. It felt a little rusty, especially at practice yesterday. But, we came out good.
Is it tough getting the big lead and keeping up the intensity?
It can be at times, but Coach keeps us in line. He keeps us intense.
How comfortable do you feel in the system?
I feel fine. Do I look fine? (laughter) I feel all right.
What did you do differently in the second half to really shut them down?
We worked harder. Coach said everybody was in the right place but we had to work harder.
Is there anything you know now you didn’t know at the beginning [of the season]?
The intensity. It’s tough. It’s fun and I am having a good time.
How about almost getting your first double double?
I didn’t know about it until Coach took me out, but I got hit in the throat so it hurts a little bit. But, oh well.
What have you learned from Sean [May] in terms of rebounding?
Everything. Good position, being strong, being tough. He’s a great rebounder and I like watching him a lot in practice. I like trying to rebound like him. He’s a lot stronger than me. It’s about strength I guess. He has real soft hands and can tap the ball to himself a lot. He’s a strong guy.
You hit a three today. Is that something you did a lot in high school?
Some. I shot one in the Kentucky game too. I just shoot them when I feel open.
Is there one aspect of the game you feel you need to work on at this point?
Everything. I have to get better and help the team out. Whatever I need to work on to help the team, that’s what I need to do.
You’ve been here since June…..how long did it take to get adjusted?
June 12th….I mean it was recent. Probably about two months ago I was like, ok, I’m so far from home so I’ve accepted it.
Who helped you to get through that?
Quentin [Thomas}. All Quentin. It was easy because I would have bad days, we’d both have bad days but we knew we had each other. The guys helped out a little bit but just knowing my buddy is from the West Coast too really helped out.
Anything different you’ve picked up living on the East Coast?
People are more laid back than back my way. It’s a little bit different but it’s [fine].
I saw an article where J.R. Smith said he’s been watching you on the team and he sees you having all this fun being Player of the Week and all that. It sounds like he maybe wishes he’d gone to college. Are you happy you came?
Definitely. College basketball is something that people that make that jump from high school to the pros never get to experience and that was something I didn’t want to miss out on, you know? I’m sure JR made the jump that was best for him and his family and I’m proud of him, but I mean college is an experience. I wish he could have been here.
In your short time here, what have you enjoyed the most?
Just being with the guys on and off the court. They are such good people. Everybody sees them as players, but everybody’s such good people.
Are you comfortable? More in the flow things with your teammates?
You have to get a feel for them and get a feel for the game also. I mean, it is college basketball. Get a feel for Coach Williams. But I think I am coming along.
You are aggressive out there, especially for a freshman. Is that something that you work on or is it something that comes naturally?
I don’t fear anybody…I don’t want anybody to work harder than me so maybe that it’s it. But I just play basketball.
Does Coach Williams have to do or say anything to you about that?
I make sure he’ll never have to coach my effort. I give 120% every time.
What is the difference in you from the Santa Clara game until now?
I’ve just grown so much more. I grow a little bit more each game. The Santa Clara game was my first game – it was everybody else’s first game of the season, but it was my first actually experience of college basketball so I’ve grown so much [since then].
Is a game like this something that you can use like you would normally use a practice, since this week has been out of your normal routine, to get out there and learn and get better?
Yes. We treat it as a glorified practice. They are a pretty talented team, but we knew we just had to go out there and run our stuff and just play and win the game.
Raymond looked like his left hand was a little more effective today than it was last week. What do you think?
He's far from 100 percent, but he's a soldier and he's going to get through it.
What are your thoughts about scoring 63 points in one half?
We got 63 points, but I think we didn't play really [well] tonight. There are a lot of things we didn't do very [well] execution-wise, just scoring the ball as efficient as we can, but 63 points is pretty good.
Coach Williams said that he was constantly saying to focus on certain things even when the score got out of hand. What were those things?
Just defensive pressure and rebounding.
What are your thoughts about the defensive intensity compared to years past? You seem to be creating turnovers and easy baskets for yourselves.
Coach Williams harps on intensity and defensive pressure. We are just following his lead and learning the system he teaches that helps us play defense better.
Have you always dunked with your left hand?
Not until my sophomore year in high school. I sprained my left ankle really bad, and I had to start jumping off my right [foot] and using my left hand more.
Doesn't it take a lot of wrist and forearm strength to do that with your off-hand?
Definitely. It's just something that I needed to adjust to. When you can't use your left ankle too much and you can't really jump, you have to adjust and I just think that added on to my game where I can jump left or right. I can shoot left-handed lay-ups and things like that.
You go on the road to Virginia Tech next weekend, your first ACC road game. You didn't have the best record on the road last year. What is it going to take to win that game?
Togetherness, being prepared to play, all that stuff is going to be a big factor. We are going to have to pull together because they are going to have however many their arena holds to our 75. We get 75 tickets on the road. It's going to be hard, but we have to go up there and take care of business.
It is their first ACC game ever. Do you feel like there is any extra incentive for them?
Yeah, I think so. You are playing North Carolina in the first ACC game in school history, it's at home, and you want to set that off right. You don't want the first game in history to be a loss. We are going to get their best shot, and we are going to give them our best shot.
How would you describe the difference between the fast break and the secondary break?
Our regular fast break is when you see two or [fewer] men back. If our big man has leaked out, we want to get our big man to the outside. That way, it is three on two. Our secondary break is when we see three or more men back. The first big man down runs straight to the rim. Whatever side the ball goes to, he goes to that side. Then our point guard swings it to the top of the key. Whatever move the four-man makes at the top of the key is what play we will run. Everybody has to read what the four-man does.
How do you approach a game like this, following a game with a national contender like Kentucky, in the middle of exams, against a team that you have out-classed in terms of talent?
You approach it just like any other. I go through the same routine, no matter if it is an exhibition game or we are playing Duke at Duke. I go through the same routine, no matter what. I think that is how you approach the game--you do the same things that you've always done.
In terms of playing, you try not to play to the level of your competition. You try to make them play up to you. A lot of times when you have more talent, they are not able to reach that point. That's what this team has got to learn--in the past sometimes we would play to the level of our competition.
What is Marvin doing better now that he has some experience?
I think he is doing a great job of finding the seams. He seems to be scoring a little easier than he was early on. He is finishing; he's a great finisher. I just think he understands how to pick and choose his spots--when to go one-on-one, when to swing the ball. A lot of times, it's hard to do as a freshman.
You have shown that you can be a good rebounder. What will it take for him to be as good?
If he's not as good, he's right around the corner. He has a great sense of finding the ball, and I think, when it comes to rebounding, that's where you can separate yourself from other guys who are just as big and just as tall--finding it and reading shots off the rim.
Raymond looked like he wasn't in as much pain tonight as last week. What do you think?
I think Coach has done a great job of holding him back a little bit in practice, giving him some time off. That's probably why he didn't play him as much in the second half--because we have a whole week of practice and it will give him a chance to rest that hand. He's doing a great job of staying away but at the same time playing through it. I know it hurts. He has called me a couple of times in the middle of the night talking about how he can't sleep because his hand is hurting so bad. We know it's tough for him, but he's doing a great job of fighting through it.
How tough is that kid?
The one guy I know that he might not be tougher than is Phil Ford because he got his tooth knocked out and kept playing. I don't know anybody who would throw a tooth on the sideline, but he is right up there with the best of them. For him to be able to play through an injury like that--yeah it's on his left hand, but he does so much with the ball. He still looks great out there, so he is incredibly tough.