Jan. 13, 2014
(On the loss to Texas A&M) "Tough finish last game. I thought A&M did a great job in the second half keeping their composure, finding a way to win the game. Thought we did a great job in the first half especially with two key players sitting on the bench, just couldn't close it out. Probably playing some of our best defense. I thought we had some break downs in the second half against A&M but I figure as a team we're probably playing our best defense as far as percentages and numbers are, getting stronger and better in that area.
We've got to get key stops obviously last home game. Got to get our turnovers down, I think the last two games 16 turnovers a game so we've got to get that down cause we're a better team than that. Got to take care of the basketball to give ourselves a chance to win games. Whether you're at home or the road you've got to take care of the basketball, so got to tighten it up there. I thought in second half of last game we didn't move as well as we had in the last five games - four and a half, five games - so we've got to tighten that thing up as well. But overall I think we're solid and I like where we are. Just have to tighten up some screws here and there."
(On the offense in the 2nd half vs. Texas A&M)
"I think it was - and give A&M credit - getting out in the passing lanes and normally when that happens we're better as far as getting the ball inside. I don't think we did a good job getting the ball inside but also posting up strong to receive the ball in the last game. When teams extend like that results from any of those drills I need to try to pound that ball inside so when teams extend like that, which is fine, I'm going to go right inside and now the double team can't come as quickly. Now it's 1 on 1 plays so I don't think we did a good job of capitalizing on that opportunity to score inside."
(On Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon getting the ball) "I think in Maymon's case, a lot of actions when the ball is moving so I wouldn't necessarily think of Maymon. I think in Stokes case, when he got two fouls you're always a different player when you got those fouls, so I think for him and just staying aggressive and not getting consumed with - I wouldn't say how the game's officiated from his standpoint - but just how he's moving, how he's cutting, how guys are defending him. I think from start to finish whether he's posting up for facing somebody, I don't think he was aggressive."
(On Jarnell Stokes playing with fouls) "I think he starts thinking about it and of course as a player now you're hesitant to play the game you're capable of playing but you get five fouls, you've got to stay aggressive and when he's aggressive we're a different team."
(On what he thinks their doing well) "I think we're doing a good job offensively. We're shooting the ball well from the three I just think the second half of this particular game we didn't play as well. That's where we wanted to play how we've been playing."
(On not calling a timeout to set up a last second play) "Well I think in that particular situation you'd like to have the ball in [Antonio Barton's] hands for [Barton] to get out on the wing and run but I think in Jordan's case you'd rather have Jordan run and [Barton] push. We'll call a timeout. We've got certain plays we'll throw - long range passes - in the fourth quarter but I thought that was a little too much time to run a certain play we had for that but when I saw Jordan had the ball I thought he had a great opportunity to attack with four plus seconds on the quart to get to the rim but I thought he was hesitant with his dribble instead of attacking."
I thought he had a great position. It's a good outlet, that quick because those things were working - the quick outlet to get it up the court. I thought he had an opportunity for where he got the ball to at least try and get to the rim or get a squared up look."
(On the recent increase in turnovers) "I thought that LSU game we were just careless with the ball with a huge lead, not staying locked in. But I think in this particular game, I guess you would say just careless with the ball. Our bigs both had four fouls. Some of Jeronne's I thought they were uncharacteristic turnovers. In this game you're watching film and some of the calls are four screening calls, you know moving calls - I thought it was a little bit different."
(On the screening fouls) "We'll continue to coach the way we coach on setting screens. I thought maybe one or two was moving but five of them I don't think that was the case. I thought when Jordan set his back screen in the second half, I thought he was moving into a guy."
(On feedback from office on moving screens being a point of emphasis) "The moving screens, no I haven't gotten any feedback about it, but it was just a concern. I thought guys were set for the most part and we've been screening all year."
(On Texas A&M's penetration in the second half compared to the first half) "I just thought it was a breakdown on our part, especially when you watch film and you have two bigs that were around the rim, you got to stop that, I mean, guys will turn corners. I understand from a guard's standpoint, you get one to two fouls, body fouls, and all of a sudden I'm a little passive, but you are moving your feet, you got a guy on your hip, sort of speak, but your bigs have to be there. I don't think our bigs did a good job of being there consistently."
(On Jarnell Stokes playing aggressive with fouls) "I just think you have to move past it, I mean at some point it's past the point of talking about it, it's more doing. It's just playing the game, everybody gets fouls, it's moving your feet, being aggressive, they call a foul, they call a foul. The thing we talk to them about defensively-having great position early, when you're standing straight up, that's when most cases he gets his foul, when he is aggressive, when he is low, moving his feet, playing defense early, he's fine. But I think for him, it is part of the game, just make the adjustments."
(On concerns or doubts in mind of putting the second half behind him) "You don't have a chose, it's basketball, and it's an 18-game schedule in league play. I like to think the guys were hurt and upset about a loss, but now you got to bounce back and play the game. It is part of it."
(On the disadvantage of not having that many seniors to really lead and defend the home court advantage) "I think so. You have to lock in and protect your home court. It has got to always be about Tennessee when there is any doubt or anything creeps in besides that is when you have struggles. If it is not about Tennessee you will struggle as a team."
(On automatically coming out of the game when there are two fouls) "It depends on the flow. I think this year I have put Jordan (McRae) back in the game with two fouls. It just depends on the flow of the game, the situation, how the team is playing and whoever the guy is if I feel good about putting him back in. Not necessarily but there is, I would say, 75% chance I will keep him out the whole half, but it depends on the player."
(On some players playing better with two fouls than others) "I think that is the case. Certain guys can play better with two fouls but also you are trying to protect guys for the second half. It depends on how the other team is playing. If they are an aggressive team off the dribble if you have a guard who is defending a guy that goes off the dribble I would be a little hesitate to put that guy back in."
(On Jarnell Stokes playing better with two fouls on him) "I just think you have to do it. Five fouls have been a part of the game for years. Just moving your feet, playing hard and competing. Defensively he is doing his work early because he doesn't get a lot of offensive fouls. That is not necessarily his case. I think defensively doing his work early and staying aggressive, fouls are just a part of the game."
(On Auburn) "They have done a good job as a team. They have gotten better throughout this short season. Any time you have two guys who are hovering over 20 points a night, almost shooting 50 percent from the field as guards that is not an easy thing for perimeter guys to shoot 50 percent from the field. Our guards have their work cut out for them to defend those guys. A lot of things they do is that they run offense through their guards. They will come in aggressive and hungry because they probably feel like they have let two slip as well."
(On the possible rising trend of transfers) "I like it if the guy can help us. Obviously Antonio (Barton) is helping us a great deal. It is going on a lot more because obviously so many guys are transferring from their previous school to find better situations or opportunities to play right away or closer to home whatever the case may be. I think it helps. In their (Auburn) case it is helping and in our case it is helping."
(On being for or against guys playing so many years at one school and transferring playing so many years at another) "Whichever the rule is. The rule is that guys can transfer and I am fine with that. If they say you can't do it then I am fine with it too. I think there needs to be a level of consistency. If a guy transfers I think he should sit out a year regardless of whatever the reason is. I think there are some loop holes in there. I understand the coaching stand point when you recruit a guy for a certain amount of time and he is in your program and unhappy for a reason. He wants to leave and finds a reason to leave. You invest so much time in young guys so I understand that but I think it is a little bit different when a guy graduates because he obviously had to put the work in three years to get a degree. That is not an easy thing to do. If he wants to transfer that is fine. I think either way whatever they say the reason a guy transfers he has to sit out a year I am fine with that."
(On what was said to the guys since the game Saturday) "When you have tough losses, for me I go back to my days as a player, there is not a lot to say. It is just emotional. It is not like the guys didn't put worth an effort. We just didn't play well in the second half. Just learn from it and talk about a few things that took place in the course of the game. Obviously you stick together as a team. You don't want this feeling to happen again so more than anything learn from it."
(On why it might take digging the team in a hole to come back and face the adversity) "I just think as young guys different things motivate you. I think what has to happen is playing for Tennessee has to be the most important thing when it comes to basketball. Nothing else matters. I have to do everything in my power to help The University of Tennessee's basketball team be the best we can be. I think when you truly think like that whether you are starting or come off the bench if you have that mentality you will play on a consistent basis. Then you have a chance to be successful as a team especially when you have good pieces."
(On if playing as a team is an issue) "I think that is an issue, I mean, that was an issue when I played. That will never change. I don't care what program or where you are at, that is always an issue with players. When I say issue, I am not talking about a case where guys in the locker room are battling each other. It is not a case like that. You have to be on the same page, every guy, whether you are playing or not. That is why I make it a focus and emphasis for me as a coach to constantly communicate, even with the guys that don't play to stay ready, stay encouraged, continue to motivate your teammates because it takes a team to win games. Brandon Lopez and Galen Campbell never play but those guys have tremendous energy and motivate guys in practice and they stay ready and that is what it is about."
(On the bench) "For me, if you don't get the production points-wise I like what we got as far as defending in the first half. I thought our guys did a good job. If they are not scoring the ball, as long as they are not hurting, if they are defending, they are rebounding, they are playing hard, they are carrying out those assignments they need to be, and then I am fine with that. When you come off the bench especially when you have guys that already score the ball that is in the starting rotation, that is fine as long as they don't have breakdowns. I think for us guys that come off the bench, I would like to see Darius Thompson scoring the ball more because he is a guy who can score even though he is a tremendous passer, he has the ability to score the ball. So I would like to see him look for his offense a little more."
(On what Texas A&M did to contain Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes) "You would have to ask those guys specifically what they try to do to them. But I thought they had opportunities to get the ball inside. Again, I don't think we were posting as aggressive as we needed to. I think in Jordan's case again, I think he was trying to get it all back at once in the second half."
(On Chris Denson and KT Harrell) "They are two guys that score. Anytime you have two guards on one team averaging almost 20 points a game but shooting at a good percentage, it is not like these guys are shooting under 30 percent and taking a lot of shots, they are obviously shooting the ball well. Their bigs do a good job of screening for them and looking for them. On their team those are the two guys that are taking the shots. You just have to feed off those guys. If those guys are making shots and playing well, their big guys can get put-backs and the duck-ins that they need. The key is to stop those two guys. They do a good job of scoring the ball. Denson is more of a driver, attacking the rim, slashing, making stuff happen. He was doing it last year and did a good job with it."
(On what to tighten up) "First and foremost taking care of the basketball. We have to get it back down to where it is nine or less turnovers a game. I think that is the biggest key. Even though at half we had a 14 point lead I don't think we did a good job pounding the ball inside during the second half or even in the first half for that matter. I think Jarnell (Stokes) did a good job getting the rebounds, but I don't think we pounded it on the inside like we needed to. I think it is also getting it there and the bigs posting and demanding it."