Postgame Quotes: Vols 86, The Citadel 60

Nov. 18, 2013

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

(Opening statement)
"Good win for our guys. We were able to accomplish what we wanted to do as far as getting out of the gates and shooting the ball well from the field but also get those key guys rested and get those bench guys some key minutes and I thought we did that tonight. I thought we had good energy outside maybe the first five minutes of the second half. I thought we did a good job start to finish of the game outside those five minutes. Other than that, our guys came out played hard. We have to continue to compete, continue to attack the rim and not settle for 3 point shots. I thought it was an overall good effort from our team."

(On Antonio Barton's play)
"I just think he's an experienced guy. He's made big shots. He's played at this level. So that part helps him, but he's got experienced guys around him to help him pace himself so he doesn't have to do a lot. He makes shots but one thing he does well is drive the basketball. I think if he can get that leg to 100% you'll see that part of his game as well. He's done a tremendous job keeping composure, doesn't turn it over, makes shots, facilitates the offense."

(On team chemistry)
"I think they're good guys and they do a good job of getting along with each other. They work hard in practice, but we still have to get stronger. We still have to get our bench stronger and I think those guys made some strides tonight. We still have a ways to go so we can solidify those wins coming off the bench and right now it's kind of a feel thing. We need to count on guys 15-20 minutes a night consistently."

(On coming out of the gates strong)
"We got stagnant on both ends of the floor and foul calls were being made. We were putting in guys that were attacking the rim, we were fouling, and we were getting calls. I want our guys to stay aggressive. We thought Jarnell had a tremendous size advantage around the rim. We just wanted to power the ball inside and give those guys credit; they did a good job of doubling early but we want to move the ball often. We just wanted to pound Jarnell about moving the ball and make the defense work. I thought we did a better job tonight."

(On 3-point shooting)
"We have some guys that can make shots. We have 4-5 junior guys that can make shots. They key is not settling for 3 point shots. I think we've done a better job of just not tossing shots up, but really driving the basketball and taking what the defense gives us. I think the biggest key for us now is making free throws. If we get to the free throw line, we have to capitalize. More than anything, we're missing more layups than we should be missing."

(On guard play)
"Darius has a real good feel for the game. He can make shots, he can pass the ball, and he has a good pace to his game. But it can't be case of Antonio's in, Darius out. When Antonio is playing 30 minutes, that means Darius is only playing 10 so for us it's about getting those minutes and getting Jordan off his feet so then we have two guys out there that can play and make shots. So that's the way we give Darius minutes. I think he needs to be on the floor because he understands how to play."

(On having guards on the court)
"I've always been a guy to like four guards on the perimeter. It's easier in most aspects. You drive, penetrate and clear the lane. Guys can drive the basketball, and that frees posts up as well."

(On 3-point shooting strength)
"We thought so. We've got to pound the ball inside off a pass or a dribble. We've got some guys, again, who can make shots from the three-point line. We don't want that to be our focus every game, that we've got to make 15, 20 threes. Now, there might be nights where we might shoot 20 or 25 threes. As long as it's in the flow of what we're trying to do, we don't want guys trying to settle for three-point shots."

(On how much the rotation is settled)
"I think right now we've got a solid seven-and-a-half. A solid seven-and-a-half. If we can stretch that to a strong eight or possibly nine -- it sounds like I'm playing cards or something -- we'll be all right. I think we're a solid seven-and-a-half. ... I've never had a problem with playing with seven or eight guys. I just think in a case with Jeronne that you want to have a break where Jeronne can get a rest. The last couple games, I've noticed the physical beating from all the guys banging. We've got to help them."

(On Hubbs' biggest area of progress so far)
"Just going out and playing relaxed. When you come in with expectations, accolades, the pressures, he's done a good job of just fitting in as a basketball player. He's not one of those guys who's vocal about wanting the ball. He just goes out and plays. He just one of those types of guys who just falls in line. He's talented, but he's not one of those guys who comes in and says, `I'm the man.' He doesn't have any arrogance to him. He's the guy that says, `I can't be one of those guys.'"

(On starting the year on the road, freshmen starting their careers)
"One thing about when you play your first game as a true road game at this level: it's something that's probably not fair to the new guys as opposed to a neutral site. You're going into a hostile environment as young guys like Xavier. ... The older guys, you know their strengths. It's not to say the freshmen did a bad job, but you want to give yourself the best chance. We caught a few things late. The older guys were familiar with what the formations are. That was probably on me as a coach to put those guys in that situation. Just getting in the flow. Saturday was a tough, tough matchup on defense. The cuts and moves and screens. You learn some lessons in that game. Just to learn and get some minutes in that game."

(On how team took steps forwards in game)
"Just experience. It was good for Antonio to get some minutes under his belt. Three talented freshmen are trying to get in the flow of the offense, trying to find their way. You have experienced guys trying to get those guys on the same page as them. It's still a work in progress, but it's in a good way."

Tennessee Senior Guard Jordan McRae

(On difference mentally when the pressure isn't high at the tipoff)
"It is never easy to play from behind. The crowd gets a little restless. You keep trying to come back while they hit shots, so we try to start every game strong."

(On Antonio Barton's shot)
"That's Antonio. He takes those shots at practice. He can hit them he just needs to stay aggressive for us out there."

(On Antonio Barton filling the expectations)
"He is pushing the ball for us. We don't push the ball and he gets mad at us and tells us to run with it. He is that kind of a guy we need."

(On the value of Antonio Barton's three point shot)
"These teams right now are doubling Jarnell (Stokes) and Jeronne (Maymon) really hard, but as soon as they are comfortable passing out of the double team I think they way that Antonio shooting along with Josh (Richardson) and myself; I don't think teams will be able to double down on them as much."

(On early expectations of the team having a great 3-point shot)
"We just have the shooters. Robert (Hubbs) is a really good three point shooter. Darius (Thompson) is too but he hasn't shot many, but he is a really good three point shooter. Josh (Richardson) has been working on his shot. We just have a team of great shots."

(On pushing Robert Hubbs to be a little more aggressive)
"He is just a freshman in that stage. Sometimes when he has it he doesn't take it while other times he doesn't have it and takes it. It is just time for him to learn. He is learning right now to get ready to attack as the season goes on."

(On maintaining focus after gaining a lead)
"It is tough but as a older team: myself, Jeronne (Maymon), Antonio (Barton) and even Jarnell (Stokes) and Josh (Richardson) we have to make sure we stay on everybody. We have to make sure we stay on ourselves the whole game."

(On Antonio Barton possibly being rusty)
"No, he was working out pretty hard before Southern Indiana and practicing with us a little bit. He probably could have played that game, but better for him not to."

Tennessee Senior Guard Antonio Barton

(On getting adjusted)
"We're just trying to get final rotation. Like Coach said, we have a lot of guys come out and produce in a lot of ways, so we're just coming in, trying to find rotation so we can come in on a regular basis."

(On getting more comfortable)
"Yes, I'm getting more comfortable as the games go on. My teammates- they're embracing me well, allowing me to come in and be that leader."

(On what to improve on)
"Limiting our turnovers and getting more rebounds. Offense- I'm not worried about that too much because we can get that anytime. Our biggest goal is to lock down the limited t's to shots and second chance shots."

(On three point shooting)
"No. I didn't expect to. Normally it's just guys like me and Jordan [McRae] coming out and shooting threes, but a lot of other guys got shots."

(On adjusting to Tennessee basketball)
"It's getting there. It's not fully there- still learning the guys, still learning the coaches, still learning the city, but it's been a comfortable ride and I love it so far.

"Just making me feel like family- not on the court but off the court, hanging out with the guys, laughing and joking. They just want me to feel comfortable."

(On proving himself)
"Yes. This is a perfect opportunity for me. That's why I chose to come here. Come in and be that on the court and off the court. I just want to thank Coach Martin for giving me the opportunity."

(On being dependable players)
"No telling. There's no telling with Coach. He has a different mentality and attitude every day. We have a lot of good guys coming off the bench and producing in a lot of ways."

(On tonight's game)
"I think we came out more aggressively on the defensive end. I think we could have finished better. We turned the ball over a little bit too much, but overall, I think we came out and played good as a whole team."

"That's just coming in and working on our shots. We get a lot of shots up in practice, on our off days and as the season goes on, they're just going to fall for us.

"Just the energy out there- guys having fun, guys coming in like Darius [Thompson], [Robert] Hubbs and freshmen, producing in a lot of ways, setting up a lot of guys up for dunks and stuff like that. Seeing that out there in the young guys, that shows me a lot and made me very happy."

Tennessee Freshman Guard Robert Hubbs III

(On getting to play more towards the end of the game)
"I felt good. I need to go out there and be more aggressive on defense. I wasn't aggressive last game. I have to improve more on moving past screens and staying on the ball."

(On thoughts of tonight's game)
"I thought we played well. We moved the ball well, and we played solid defense. We didn't take bad shots. We got in the lane and made people foul us. We shot a lot of free throws. I think we did pretty good."

(On shooting 3-pointers so well)
"We shoot threes everyday in practice. Everyone gets a turn. We put 2 minutes on the clock and see how many we can make. It is just getting better and better."

(On Coach Martin emphasizing fast breaks)
"He wants us to get up and down. He wants us to push in transition because that is easy buckets. He emphasizes that everyday and game, and we are just going to continue to get up and down to score some easy buckets."

(On most improved part of game this year)
"It has been my defensive side. Compared to my senior year of high school, I have improved a lot, but I still have a long ways to go."

(On toughness in making improvements)
"The speed definitely makes it tough. It is hard to stay with a man coming out of a screen. I wasn't taught that in high school. I just have to continue to work at it, and I am getting better everyday."

(On getting play more)
"It felt good. I got on my groove. I rebounding the ball like I could. I haven't been able to the last two games. I just let the game come to me."

(On being able to show off true potential this game)
"The first two games were a little frustrating because I couldn't get into my groove, but I have to learn from it. You can only get better. I am pushing myself everyday in practice and in the games. I have to get better. I have to go out and play tough defense, rebound, and play hard. That is what coach tells me everyday. If you do those three things, your minutes will increase. That is what I am trying to do right now."

(On biggest adjustment)
"I have to get better on defense. I have to stand in front of the guards. I have to learn from the scouting report and play the man straight up."

The Citadel Head Coach Chuck Driesell

(On Tennessee's size)
"I don't think it hurt us as bad as I thought it was going to. We did a nice job of doubling down in the post and trying to get the ball out of there in the half court offense. I think some of the results were in transition, where it doesn't matter if you're 260 or 200, it;s a different type of defense. I thought our guys did a nice job in the half court of getting the ball out of their hands when they got it down low to take away some of that size difference."

(On cutting into the lead around halftime)
"I think they just started to settle down. If you've seen us play before, we don't normally play like that. I give Tennessee some credit, they pressured us and jumbled us up a little bit. I think we just settled down and were a little bit more confident and played the way we have played in our previous four games."

(On 3-point shooting)
"That's our strength. We're still learning how to get three-point shots, not so much out of the offense, but creating our own shots and finding them. We took some shots that we really should have kicked out against a team like this, not drive all the way to the rim. We've got 5'11 guards going in there against 6'6 guards and big men. Getting there is and accomplishment in itself, now he's got to make a better decision and kick it out to someone open. But we'll get there."





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