Cuonzo Martin Press Luncheon Transcript

Jan. 22, 2013

Reese Press Luncheon Video

(Opening Statement)
"It is always good to come off a win against a very feisty, tough Mississippi State team. I thought they really played hard and competed, so I thought that was good for our guys to get that win, get over the hump and mentally get back on stride as far as competing and being successful. This Thursday, a very talented Ole Miss team, they are playing really well. I think they have all the pieces to be very successful. Good guard play, I think Jarvis Summers does a great job of running their team, directing traffic. Marshall Henderson is really shooting the ball well, very aggressive, he is always in attack mode, that is a great sign for a scoring guard. They put themselves in a position to get offensive rebounds, they have two of the best bigs in the country, averaging four offensive rebounds a game in league play. Which is an amazing stat. Even though their field goal percentage as a team isn't very high, they do a great job of getting offensive rebounds and getting extra baskets, making extra plays, tipping the ball, keeping it alive. That is a great sign for a team. It should be good for us, our guys are really competing in practice, a lot of energy, which is always a good sign. We are looking forward to getting better."

(On if he underestimated Ole Miss)
"Not that I thought. I had seen them last year and when you have those big guys who are that physical and then you have the addition of Marshall Henderson, which I thought he was more of a catch and shoot guy watching him on film because on the games that we saw he is the guy that does a good job of shot faking. He makes his free throws, he knows how to get you on his hip and shoot. He makes good decisions with the basketball. He is a very crafty ball player. He is 6'2" - slight frame but he knows how to get shot fakes and get fouled. I thought they were a good team. I just think what happened from a perception standpoint, I thought they were good. People say, `they haven't played anybody.' They are still a very talented team no matter who they scheduled. It shows now."



(On the team responding to Henderson's persona)
"I hope so. The guy was scoring the basket - he was making plays. If he is allowed to do it, I enjoyed watching him. I hate being on the other side but he is a competitive basketball player, you have to step up to the plate."

(On if he was surprised at Henderson's 32 point night)
"Surprised is after seven or eight points, not 32. After a couple you make some adjustments then you play basketball. When it is time to play you have to be ready to play."

(On Holloway and Buckner)
"It is basketball. When you are trying to be the best you have to go against the best. That is part of it. When you have big guys you have to accept challenges and play basketball. They are very talented basketball players. I think those guys will have long careers after college because they have identified who they are. They do a great job rebounding, they don't do things they don't normally do. Buckner blocks shots, he runs the floor, he has opportunities to score the ball, and he has really good foot work for a big guy. I don't think he gets enough credit for his foot work around the rim. Holloway just makes plays. He attacks, he is aggressive, he is all over the floor."

(On playing Ole Miss for the second time this season so quickly)
"Not really. I like to mix it up, play different teams, and then it comes around. That is what I am used to. It is part of it. You have to make adjustments and deal with it."

(On playing Ole Miss again quickly helping the preparation)
"I think since we played them before it helps. I think going into the season and a new schedule you like to mix it up and have new teams. Then is comes back around, maybe seven or eight games you play the same teams. But it is part of it. But since we played them before it does help with preparation, makes it a lot easier."

(On making defense a priority)
"I think ultimately it is the task at hand. I take myself for example, I was a competitor first before I stepped on the floor I am competing. I know the most points a guy scored on me to this day. I took those things personally, that was just me as a competitive basketball player. I remember that. I felt that if I didn't play well that guy had a great game. The bottom line is you are trying to win as a basketball team. I really didn't think what was said or what Henderson did was a bad thing. It wasn't my focus at all. I was focused on the results. We didn't play well as a basketball team, that was my biggest concern."

(On how many points guards put up against him)
"It wasn't many. Coach Webster seems to think that they played well against us at Wisconsin. He talks about that all the time. I made it tough on guys, I took it personally. There were times that Coach Keady used to tell me you need to look at the basketball and look at your offense. I hate for a team to come down and design plays for my man to get the ball. I took pride in that. I guarded some really good guys."

(On Armani Moore and Derek Reese)
"They really help. They both can handle the basketball, they can make decisions with the basketball. They can make plays. I just think they are growing. They are growing on the fly. In Armani's case, he has been in practice situations. It was just a matter of toning him down, he has always been aggressive. He has always been tough and hard-nosed. It was about toning him down. Now you are seeing the results. He has always had the toughness and the skill. In Derek's case, he is a guy who hadn't had a lot of practice reps under his belt. He lost about fifteen pounds with his shoulder surgery. So now he doesn't bang at the level he needs to bang. He is so skilled so he makes up for it. So now you have to identify him on the floor, especially on offense side of the ball. He can move it, he can make shots, he can make plays. I think they are doing a really good job, especially in Derek's case because it wasn't the case that he was in practice but no contact. A lot of the times he was over getting rehab so it wasn't even seeing the practice. It was kind of learning as we go."

(On Moore and Reese helping the program)
"The one thing about it is when you play the style we play one of the biggest things we tried to do is take care of the basketball and make decisions. Both of those two guys can make decisions with the basketball, they can make plays with the basketball. It helps your program. In recruiting those are the things you see. You don't see what a star level says about a kid, you see a skill level and if it fits what you try to do. Both of those guys fit what we are trying to do as a team."

(On Reese defending Holloway)
"I think with Holloway, you can ask any big in the league or in the country for that matter, he is a tough match up. He is 6'7", he has a physical presence, he attacks the rim, he does a great job of using his body and getting rebounds. He is strong. I just feel like the only guy who can truly match up with him at the level is Jeronne Maymon. You saw that last season, those guys played well against each other. They have very similar frames. It might be tough as a freshman going against a fifth year guy. Derek will neutralize him because he has to defend Derek on the other end of the floor. You have to make it tough, keep him in front of you and make him shoot over the top of you. Easier said than done."

(On having no true road wins)
"I just think really, the Georgetown, the Virginia, Alabama and the Kentucky games you are right there in the stretch of games. I think there were spurts in there, especially late in there you give yourself a chance to win and there is a turnover, a missed assignment, a missed box out assignment and they make a play. That is what happens when you are at home, those opposing teams they find ways to win games. We put ourselves in position, now you have to close it out. It is hard to say one thing. I just think really, getting key stops when you need to, not turning the ball over in key situations and making key plays. Simple as that in my opinion."

(On players playing time)
"I think that part is understood. You give guys opportunities that have played and have been in your program. That are solid. I go back to Cam Tatum, his offensive production wasn't at the level that we expected it to be back he played hard and competed, and rebounded. He was one of our better assist guys. So you keep a guy like that on the floor. If you aren't bringing any production to the table you have to make adjustments and you have to make changes. But those two guys, they are talented young players. They still have a long way to go. They aren't pressing and saying, `Coach, I need to start and play.' They aren't those kind of guys. It is my job as a coach to put them in the best situation to be successful."

(On the starting point guard)
"Right now Jordan McRae is the starting point guard. I think Trae has a lot more in his tank. I think he showed some good things against Mississippi State. I think he still has a lot more in his tank as a point guard and as a leader. We need that in order for us to be successful."

(On players volunteering to defend Henderson)
"No. I would like to hear it though."

(On guarding in college)
"It was already understood. Whoever the best guy was on the perimeter I was guarding him. It was understood. The team knew that, that wasn't even an issue."

(On the players guarding Henderson)
"I think Josh, Skylar, and Jordan. Those three mainly."

(On keeping the same group defending Henderson)
"The key in my opinion, they are all very talented. When you are pushing towards being the best you have to control their point guard. You have to have a good point guard to put you in a position to be successful. I think Jarvis Summers controlled the game.

(On being defensive minded)
"I think part of it is your makeup. It is just who you are as a person. Because when I was in high school we never played man and when I went to college all we played was man. Defense is a matter of pride. You have to learn some particulars in foot work, help defense, taking charges. For the most part it is just what you have in you. You can teach guys to a level but it has to burn inside of you if you want to be stopper."

(On what was impressive about Ole Miss)
"The thing that is impressive about those guys is that they allowed a guy like Henderson to come in and be the leading scorer on the team. You have two, in my opinion, two potential NBA prospects as big guys and they take a back seat and allow him to take the bulk of the shots. They run the offense through him. They don't mind doing it and they take pride in it. It is impressive as a team. You have two seniors, they have one foot out the door trying to be a professional and position yourself for the next fifteen years of your life and they allow him to come in and take those shots. I think that is impressive as a team."

(On allowing Henderson to be the leading scorer)
"No, I think they allow it. You can see body language to see when guys sit out. The games I watch on film, it doesn't seem like it's a problem"

(On a process of learning every week)
"I wouldn't say [it changes] each and every week. Once you get a role, you get a foundation with key parts and then you get a chance. If you go back to the Alabama game, you're right there and you turn the ball over against the press. In this situation in my opinion, the point guard in that game takes over and he directs traffic, takes the ball and takes over that game. In the Kentucky game, you have to get a key box out and you stop it but you have to be able to run the offense. Not that it was bad, but we had a stretch there where we didn't shoot as well. Once again, you have to have key parts. In order for us to be at the level [we want to be at], we have to be consistent. Trae Golden, Jarnell Stokes need to be solid for us. It's nothing spectacular, but they need to be the guys that they are. You have to carry that weight and be consistent with it."

(On the team learning from past experiences)
"If you keep putting yourself in position to win, so now it's just a matter of learning from them and getting yourself over the hump. [It's about] learning what happened and [finding] that key stop and communication. Once we get away from the bench defensively, we have to be locked in- they can't hear my voice, they can't hear it as clearly on the other end [of the court]. Five guys depend on each other to get those key stops and carrying out those key assignments."

(On Ole Miss zone play)
"I look at it like, first and foremost, you're trying to win the game. If they looked at it like [being slapped in the face], then you have to do something about it. Sometimes you'll have sound bites that sound so good and then sometimes you have to step up to the plate and perform."

(On first SEC win)
"I give the guys credit. They've came back and competed in practice and really gotten after it. The thing is, we lost to quality opponents, but now, once we have that win under our belt, we can move forward. Unfortunately, the guys read the paper, they see Twitter and the internet so they know they have to get the win. As a ball player, I just tell the guys to lock in and do what we need to do to be successful and move forward. Don't get consumed with all the other stuff."

(On last year's team versus this year's team)
"I think they're just different teams. It's one thing when you have seniors that leave and another when there's [Jeronne Maymon] who should be playing on the floor and is still on campus. You see him every day and he's still a part of your program and you count on him for production. I think that the guys are fine. [Jeronne Maymon being out] is not a struggle for me. I'm past it and I think the guys are as well. As a basketball player, it's about production for some guys and it's like a big brother for some guys. He's a good player who can tell if you if you are playing well or if you're not and you need to step it up. You have that extra voice right beside you. There's one thing about really good teams: the best teams are player-coached teams and he did a really good job of holding players accountable in certain areas."

(On players not valuing their playing time)
"Value? That's a hard question. [On their production and their effort], maybe sometimes, you just are what you are. I don't think anyone goes on the floor and doesn't compete or play hard. I don't have a guy on our team [who doesn't]. For example, I've never seen Josh Richardson not compete. Some guys, I've never seen at that level. You just are what you are."

(On certain players competing more or less)
"I think each individual player is different. You watch a guy who plays at a certain level and you can always raise your level, go a little harder, compete a little bit better. You see guys make that step and some guys you can sit and keep working on it, but at some point, that's just who he is."

(On increasing minutes in regards to Kenny Hall)
"In Kenny's case, they went so small in the last game and Yemi didn't get as much of a chance to play. In games like that where they're small, we felt like offensive production was needed. Jarnell had a better chance of defending those guys who are small. Yemi is a traditional big [player] and it's hard for him, so when he went that small, you go four guards and you just play that way. It wasn't necessarily what Kenny didn't do; I think Kenny missed some layups here and there and could have rebounded a little better, but it wasn't the case that we sat him down [because of that]. When they went small, we had an advantage of going small."

(On going to four guards)
"We played a lot last year like that and I like it. Especially when you have more guys who can make the shots. With Derek (Reese) out there, I consider him a guard even though he's 6-foot-8 - he can make shots and make plays off the dribble. So now, it's tough for the guard when you're moving and it allows Jarnell (Stokes) so tough to double-team at that point."



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