clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Press Conference

Midnight Madness is under way, beginning with today's press conference.  Coach
K spoke
and focused basically on how to integrate new players, how to
simplify the offense to bring them in, how to teach defense to new kids, the
changes in recruiting, the status of Carlos Boozer (the bone is one again, but
he's still a bit away), and how he thinks the game needs to be handled. He also
praised Wojo, Dawkins and Henderson extensively.

On motion offense, he said "[w]e’re still going to try to score a lot of points and run the ball. But when you teach motion offense, at times it’s difficult to teach a young group to
read everybody. So there might be a little more defined movement early on in an exchange; things like that; what we do with our break. Last year we didn’t do anything with our break, except get it down the court and score and try to attack the hoop. This year, we still would like to do that, but we might do a secondary break. We haven’t really done too much. We’re trying to alter our system to fit this group, which is always exciting."

He talked a lot about marketing the game, pointing out that in the NBA, most
marketing is done for individuals, but in college, they should market the
rivalries and the schools instead.  "They've been taking players from
the top," he said, referring to the NBA and holding his hand up high in the
air. "The minor leagues, you don't know what they're going to do, but
they're going to take from the bottom." He went on to say that no matter
what, you still had Duke, UNC, UCLA, Indiana, UK - a pretty good product.

He also spoke briefly about his hip surgery, and how his schedule had been
backed up by the rehab/down time, and then said that it was a big day today
because A.J. Carr, of the N&O, had worn socks today, which almost no one
understood. Then he said that since Carr had had the same surgery, today was a
landmark in his recovery, because he could put his socks on again.

There were a number of questions about the NBA guys who left early, and
prospects that others might.  Coach K said no one had ever told him they
were planning to leave early, and that he was sure they wouldn't be the last
ones.  

He stressed the positive roles of Battier, Carrawell, and James, saying
they'd have to lead the team. Last year he said he knew Brand and Langdon were
good for 30-45 points per game, and that this year wouldn't be like that. 
But he feels very good about them being the leaders and expressed great
faith.  He also talked about Wojo's contributions, saying what you likely
already guessed, that he's coaching the same way he played and outworking
people.

Here's some comments from indivual players. We haven't been able to go over these carefully yet, so if there are mistakes let us know. 

Jason Williams

  • "I don't think there's going to be one big leader. I think we're all
    going to be leaders and we're all going to help each other out."
  • "AAU helps a lot...your body matures. I've lifted weights and gotten
    bigger."
  • "You find out there are a lot of people better than you, you're not
    the player you thought you were, and that knocks  your confidence down,
    and that's a good thing. It made me work on my game much harder and made me
    better."
  • I'm rooming with Carlos. It's going ok, but Carlos is kind of down because
    he hasn't been able to play...but he's been working his butt off in rehab
    and hopefully he'll be back soon.
  • "It was kind of rough...Chris, Shane, Nate...I guess they know the
    game a lot better than we do. Nate James plays really really good defense. I
    came down one time and tried to do a move I do in high school and things
    that worked in high school don't work here at all."
  • "I think I bring..I'm pretty athletic. I like pressure. I like when
    the game's on the line. I love to make the big play. I love to be in the
    middle of things. "
  • I get really into the game. I love to talk since I've been here. I didn't'
    really talk that much in high school."
  • "I really don't get nervous, but I don't know how it's going to be
    here. I get really pumped up seeing [Duke] on TV."
  • "It was kind of hard adjusting the first couple of days, but...I've
    done really well in school. I got a B+ in  University Writing Course,
    and I'm doing exceptionally well in history. z
  • "I love it here. It's such a family atmosphere...any of my teammates
    will always be there for me. So I think being with them has made the
    adjustment much easier."
  • "I went to sleep at 8 to make sure I'd be rested. I'm pretty pumped
    up [for Midnight Madness]."
  • "It was frustrating [when the players left early last year]. I
    remember when I came here and played with Elton. I first met Elton at AAU.
    There was this big guy on the court and he came right down the middle and I
    fell down and looked at him and thought this guy's a great player. Will's a
    great player. Burgess I thought was a good player.  Me and Corey - I
    think we related the most because he was a freshman and he was telling me J,
    it's so hard here but it's worth it in the long run...I can't wait til
    you're here, and I was like I can't wait 'til I'm there either... then when
    you find out everyone is leaving...it's hard because I wanted to be a part
    of a team with all of them.. even though I was kind of mad when they left I
    wish them the best of luck...[but] there's a lot of room for us
    freshmen."
  • It's always been a dream of mine to the NBA. I'm not worried about rushing
    it. If it comes upon me to go one day, hopefully as a senior, hopefully I
    will go...i love it too much here right now...i love being around all this.
    I want to win four national titles before I go anywhere. [That might not be
    realistic] but I really want to win a lot of games and have a lot of
    fun."

 

Chris Carrawell

 

  • "Having that responsibility [to come through] is what you work
    for."
  • "If you were a fan you'd rather watch a game come down to the wire..
    don't get me wrong, I like the blowouts. I like the blowouts. 
  • "Pressure packed games - the great players come out for
    those...you're down two, a couple of minutes to go, how you respond..we're
    going to have a lot more of those games this year."
  • "Last year we were up 30 and the other team kind of quit..this
    year...every game we'll be put in different situations."
  • "I don't know what to call him. I call him Wo still.  I can't
    call him Coach Wojo. I think he's going to be a great coach."
  • St. John's: "look on the sidelines and you got Will Avery and Elton
    on the sideline...Trajan had four fouls...I had to make my move right now..I
    didn't have to do that a lot last season because we were already up
    25...that game kind of..any time I look back on last season, and i look at
    this  year, i look at that game, cause there will be more moments when,
    ok, Chris you gotta go right now...you never know if you can do it unless
    you're in that situation..if i didn't get it done..we weren't going to
    win."
  • "Definitely I'm going to razz Elton."
  • "I talk to Will and Elton..Corey he's somewhere else...you couldn't
    understand him a lot...Will and Elton, they're my guys. They were here two
    years, I definitely had a better relationship with those guys. They tell me
    all the time to go out and do it. It's a big opportunity for me this
    year."
  • "You might play against a walkon here. [Those guys] are so
    great...plus you're playing against 35 year old men...and they got
    kids."

 

Nick Horvath

 

  • "Things have totally changed since high school."
  • "We're with each other so much, we're all going through the same
    things...everything' so much different. It's good to have some guys with the
    same experiences."
  • "Yeah definitely gonna have to [play some center]...I need to gain
    some weight."
  • "We lift 3 days a week and we do a lot of Olympic lifts for explosion
    and everything...instead of lifting and resting, we'll do one then
    another."
  • "Once the season is over we'll be able to get a lot more
    explosive."
  • "My teeth went through my lip yesterday. And I have a fracture in my
    eye socket. And I broke my nose once. And I got sick."
  • "It's great, I like it. A lot of smart people, but people aren't
    stuck up. I like it a lot..classes are good, I have a lot of friends...I
    like the weather."
  • "Probably Shane [is the toughest opponent on the team].  I feel
    I learn the most from him...he's always in the right place at the right
    time."
  • "{The Minnesota situation] was something I read about, I didn't have
    any first hand experience. It's unfortunate. Clem really was a good guy and
    a good coach."
  • "The game is different [from high school] - bigger, faster,
    stronger."
  • "[Jason] is definitely good, he's strong, almost 200 pounds. 
    He's really big, looks like a body builder. Defintely demands defensive
    attention."
  • "I played against Laettner and Ferry..they get a lot done very
    efficiently. They just get the job done, they're not flashy, they're very
    efficient."

 

Shane Battier

  • "Yeah, I've kept in contact with all of [the guys who left], tell
    them what's going on around here, and see how they're doing. They're all
    pretty happy.
  • "training camp is a  rude awakening when it's your job...instead
    of getting up and going to class you have to get up and battle 6'8 and 260
    every day...."
  • "I would have loved to have seen some of those assists come my way
    this year."
  • "What I've tried to do early on is to introduce them to what college
    basketball is about early on. The biggest difference for me coming out of
    high school was the stress factor and the consistency factor.  In
    college guys are stronger, faster, and more athletic."
  • "Ice hockey in my area is more of a regional activity. Kids in the
    more affluent neighborhoods played hckey more and basketball less. 
    Kids in the city didn't really play hockey...it's more expensive to play
    hockey."
  • "I think basketball is such a religion around here...there may be a
    little less basketball coverage on the 11 o' clock news, but all in all
    basketball is just getting more popular in this area."

 

Mike Dunleavy

  • "I'm living with Casey & Nick...nice clean roommates...we vary
    [in musical style] but we find time for each."
  • "it's just a good experience to play with them...you can only get
    better...everything's a little better than high school and college.
  • "...The last couple of days people get really crazy about the first
    practice...I never imagined it would be like this."
  • "I've adjusted pretty well..I know what I can get away with and what
    I can't get away with."