Nov. 5, 2001
What do you see as the strengths of the three-guard lineup?:
Quickness at the guard spot will be a real strength. We need to have the two threes (forwards) be a little quicker in getting out and covering people. I'm concerned with rebounding with that (the three guard) lineup. We did create a tremendous number of problems for them (EA Sports) in terms of covering the break.
There is no question that Bynum and Stoudamire are going to play a lot. I've been pleased with over the last few days is that Bynum is giving us a more consistent defensive effort now. He was a part-time defender before and tonight there were very few times where he wasn't alert on the defensive end. He is going to be a great defender once he gets some experience because he is strong, he is quick and he does a good job of anticipating. I thought Stoudamire played very solid defense for us also, but that's not a surprise because he's been very solid all along.
Bynum shot it better (last night), but in terms of floor game, both played well and had a lot of confidence out there.
Comment on the play of Isaiah Fox at center:
It's not surprising that Isaiah was in double figures on the boards because he goes after every ball. Other guys have to learn from that. The ball is not going to drop into your hands, you have to go attack the boards. I thought Isaiah did a great job of that. His presence on the boards was there all night. He pursues the ball so well. The good thing tonight is that he selected his shots without forcing anything.
Isaiah has earned that spot for right now. He didn't do a thing tonight to hurt himself. No one is taking that away from him. The reason he is going to be tough to beat out is that he plays that way all of the time. Some of the other guys will have to step their effort up.
What have you seen of Jason Gardner's leadership?:
I thought Jason's leadership was key again. We need to have him communicate more because we have so many young guys out there. He and Luke, in particular, need to be talking these guys through everything that's happening.
Does the ability of rotating lineups help with flexibility?:
We've been playing Luke and Ricky both inside and out, but we don't have a lot of flexibility with the other big guys. They have to be a four or five. Eventually, Latimore has the ability (to step out on the perimeter) down the line. One of the things that is needed for us to be a good team is defensive rebounds.
I think the more we play the better we'll get. I think we have competitive young people and that's transferring over into the things that we do. These guys don't like to be on a losing team, even in practice. They've responded very well to the leadership of the junioirs.
How is the team dealing with the underdog role and being unranked?:
We knew that would be the case. The challenge is to see if they can do a good enough job to eventually become a ranked team. It will take a long time to get all of the parts working together, especially on the defensive end.
Comment on the prospect of facing high-quality teams in New York:
They are going to have to compete. They have to base their progress on how much we improve, how much harder we play, because that schedule is murderous. We just can't lose sight of our goal for non-conference is to be more prepared for conference play. That will be the biggest challenge we will face.
They (Maryland) do a great job of running their offense. Both of their guards are 6-3 or 6-4, so one of the biggest problems will come when the shot goes up with our defensive rebounding. I don't think it would be wise for us to use a small lineup.
They are a veteran team and we know how tough that's going to be...Gary (Williams) does a tremendous job with these guys. This is a team that has a chance to go all the way. They have everything you need to make a run at the national championship.
Comment on the impact of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on you personally:
Coaches vs. Cancer really started after Jim Valvano's death. When we were asked to play in it a couple of years ago, Bobbi had already been through some treatments, so it definitely has a great impact on me, especially in the way the coaches have gotten behind the effort for cancer research.