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Opening remarks –
Well, we got off to a very good start with our intensity in the first half. Made shots and made it a little more difficult for them to make the outside shots that they hurt us so badly with last year. I think our defensive play and our play on the backboards was the biggest key to the game. We were able to play a lot of people a lot of minutes and try to keep some fresh people in there. Friday our practice was about as bad as it’s been, well no Friday’s practice was the worst it’s been all year. I gave them a choice yesterday was to practice once in the morning or practice once in the morning come back at 6:00 in the afternoon and they chose just to practice once by the way they played during practice and they continued that today. We’re bigger and stronger and more experienced than Gardner-Webb, but they still do some things that’s scary the way they can shoot the ball and the McPhee youngster who played great against us last year had a tough day. We did try to emphasize him a little bit more and tried to emphasize the three-point line a little bit more than we normally do, but that was because we had such a size advantage inside. It was going to be difficult for them to score from inside, so they were going to try to attack us outside. All in all, the first half I was pleased, we made about three mistakes in our set offensive things, and other than that I was very pleased. Second half things got a little sloppy with the ball and sloppy with some things, but still we have to feel very pleased.
On Wayne Ellington’s play so far this season –
Well, I’ve said all year when people asked about the freshmen, Wayne has an ability to score the ball and I think that is his greatest trait. He’s working extremely hard on the defensive end of the floor. The last couple games he hasn’t graded out as well defensively as we need him to and I told him he needs to grade out better, so it’s easier to keep putting him out there. But I do believe that he learns a great deal from Bobby, Marcus, Reyshawn, those guys, and gets better and better defensively. Every time he shoots it I think it’s going in, so that’s a pretty good feeling for a coach to have, as well.
On the status of Danny Green and his injured ankle –
I would expect that he’d be able to play. He shot the ball and did dummy offense yesterday morning. That’s all he did. He couldn’t plant it and cross over or anything like that when he was shooting, so he just worked free throws and jogging through the dummy offense kind of thing. I don’t think he would’ve been able to play today, regardless of who we were playing. We didn’t make the decision to hold him out as a slight toward Gardner Webb, we held him out because he couldn’t play. I really believe that he will be able to go by Wednesday and I’m hoping he can practice tomorrow.
On the team’s overall defense so far this year –
Well, I don’t feel very good about it to say the least, even though we had great spurts today, we really did. We got to some shooters who have an ability to shoot the ball, and didn’t let them just dribble up and shoot it in our face. We’ve got a long way to go defensively, there’s no question. But still, its 11 freshmen and sophomores and they’re not going to be as good defensively as guys who have been in the program 3 and 4 years. Marcus really gives you some good defensive play out there and the other guys, when they can raise it to that level then we’ll be really, really good.
On his first impressions of freshman Brandan Wright –
I do remember the first time I saw him play. I thought he was a big time youngster with big time potential: smooth, great hands and an ability to run that we really haven’t seen yet. He’s still feeling his way around out there, but I believe with each and every game, he’s going to learn to run a little bit more. Just like Wayne just outran him for that last pitch ahead. I think it was Bobby that threw it there. Brandan was out in front and Wayne just outran him to the ball. If Brandan had just run, he would’ve gotten the lay-up, but I think he’s a marvelous player and a wonderful kid. I saw him play four times as a high school junior. I went to Nashville myself, four trips. He’s got a chance to be very good.