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What's it like going against a guy who is 7-6?
Well, he is long and it obviously changes up a lot of things. [It was] just intimidating--not intimidating--his length makes you think.
I guess the strategy was to make him run a little bit?
Coach Williams always emphasizes that. I don't think he could run--he could run but that's where our advantage was: running. I think we pushed it well at times, and we are going to keep on improving on it.
How was it getting back onto the floor after a week off?
It's great. We have a lot of games in a few days coming up. It feels great. We got our legs, and we are ready to play.
[Coach Williams] said you all worked almost exclusively on defense this past week. Do you think you guys improved?
I think we improved in a lot of ways. The game before this Coach was pretty upset with our stance, everything like that--our defensive stance. That was a big emphasis, always being down low, being ready in a defensive position. I think that is what helped us a lot too. Most of practice the last couple of days have been focused on defense.
With exams the past week, how much have you all been able to practice as a full team?
We had a couple of practices, and we've been doing shorter practices during exams, but once it got toward the end we started to have a full practice and got things back together.
Ty Lawson (4:45)
What was Coach's reaction to you guys on offense? For a game you won by so many points, he didn't sound happy afterwards?
Nah, he wasn't too happy because we were making like dumb mistakes, turning the ball over, and not moving that much, so he was kind of upset about that. We played much better on defense. That's the thing he liked better.
Eight assists and one turnover. You seem to be a lot more comfortable out there. Can you talk about how you are evolving?
I'm just trying to get into the lane and get people open. Rey Terry, he's hitting shots, Wayne cutting backdoor. Tyler, he's making shots, so it's making my job a lot easier.
With Bobby [Frasor] and Quentin [Thomas] out and you getting a few more minutes, are you getting a better feel for what is going on out there?
Yeah, it's helping me out a lot. It's unfortunate, but I'm able to read the offense better and learn my position much better, and get more experience. That's what it's helping me do.
Coach said that he wasn't happy with the offensive execution at times. As a point guard, do you sense that the guys are maybe at times out of synch offensively? Is there anything you can put your finger on, or is it flow of the game, having a big lead, and maybe you lose concentration a little bit?
It might be that. Plus, we weren't moving as much. Our main focus the last three practices was defense, so everybody was like, 'We have to stop people.' We probably weren't thinking that much about offense. We were making turnovers we normally don't make, just crazy stuff.
I understand scheduling High Point and UNC-Asheville during exams. You've got a stretch of games where you all will be overwhelming favorites where the competition won't be what you'll see in ACC play. Can you all improve during this stretch and in what way?
Yeah, I think so. We just have to get up for the games, like get more energized, get the crowd more involved because if they are dead we are kind of dead too. If we do that, that will help out a lot. We just have to get up for them, just play really well--imagine they are Ohio State and we will be much better.
Is that a skill you have to learn too? There are basketball skills in terms of running, jumping, shooting. Is it a skill to try to learn how to manage that emotion?
Yeah, I think so. At Oak Hill, when we played the big teams I would get up for them. If we played somebody not too good, we'd just go down to their level. I think that's the same thing with our team. We have a lot of talent, and sometimes we play down to the level of competition.
Wayne Ellington (3:22)
What's the most important thing you've learned since practice started?
How strong of a defensive team we can be and how strong of a defensive player I can be. We have the potential to be a great defensive team, and we can get our offense off of our defense. I think that is the most important thing I've learned so far this year.
When you go out and see an opposing team in a 2-3 zone do your eyes get a little bit wide, knowing you are going to get some looks?
Oh yeah, definitely. A zone is always what a shooter wants to see. It's spread out, you can get the ball moving, get some easy three-point shots, some easy jump shots.
As you head to the holidays, what does this team need to focus on to continue to improve?
On the defensive end. Coach is emphasizing how good of a defensive team we can be, so I feel that the defensive end is where we need to concentrate the most and get better.
Tell me about managing your time this week with exams and trying to get in basketball workouts for the first time on the college level?
I think it was easy for us because Coach understands that academics is first, and he didn't really kill us too much this week because he understood that we had exams. It's not too hard to adjust because Coach allows us to get the proper times to focus on academics.
Now that you are out of exams what do you expect from Coach in practice the next couple of days leading up to the next game?
We definitely are going to go hard. He's threatened us with six-hour practices if we don't start picking it up on the defensive end. We are definitely going to go hard, and it's going to be really intense. He really wants us to get ready, and he thinks we should be at a certain point so far this year, and we are still trying to reach that point.