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Cuonzo Martin Press Luncheon 2/17



Feb. 17, 2014

(Opening Statement)
"First off, I would like to say congrats to the baseball team, softball teams, for getting off to such good starts. Baseball team beat up on Purdue that was a good one, but just congratulations to those guys but for us, we got an outstanding Georgia team that is playing well, doing a great job of getting to the basket, probably as well as anybody in the league as far as dribble penetration, getting fouled, their big guys getting offensive rebounds, if they don't get it in, getting fouled, so doing a good job as a team. Charles Mann is playing as well as any point guard in the league - think he is getting to the free throw line about 11 times a game, which is impressive for a guy that is 6'5" at the point, almost probably 215 pounds. Kenny Gaines has really played well, I think shooting the ball for those guys, attacking the rim, and Djurisic is still playing well for them, coming off the bench, making shots, getting rebounds, posting up, but they are playing well as a team."

(On not dwelling on the missed opportunities last week)
"Well, the one thing that I always try to do as a coach is not dwell on the past, we watched film of the last game, walked through some things yesterday because when you are talking about an 18-game season in league play, a lot of things happen, but you have got to try to focus on the next game which is easier said than done especially for young guys, even for me as coach - you watch film over and over again, figuring out ways you could've tweaked some change, some did some differently, but it's part of it. For our guys, get over it as fast as you can, learn from it, and keep moving forward."

(On Jarnell not seeing the ball much in the second half on Saturday)
"There were definitely plays called for him. I think more than anything, I thought our guys on the perimeter had some good looks and they shot the ball, but you got to do a better job of getting inside to him, even if I have to throw it inside to him myself as a coach from the sideline, and we watched film as a team, there were opportunities, and there were a couple times I don't think he was post as aggressively to get the ball and like I told Jarnell, sometimes you have to come off the block and get it, you might not get the deep post that you would like, just the catch and shoot, but come off the block, you know it's tough because you got to take that double team if it's coming and just find guys. I thought he did a great job of really, especially in the first half of finding guys when they doubled and making plays, he does a really good job with that anyway, but keeping balls alive offensively, but I think from our standpoint, me as a coach, I got to really lock in on that, make sure he gets the ball, very unselfish player, I would like for him to be more selfish and more assertive, especially around the rim because that is not his nature - just to shoot balls, but we got to get the ball to him, our guards got to do a great job of really finding him, and sometimes like I told our guys it is going to be tough passes because the way teams hover around him, but we got to try to punch it in there."

 

 

(On if the loss of Trey Golden is more significant than thought)
"I think when you lose key parts to a team, I mean outside of a guy actually graduating, when you lose key parts, as a chemistry and guys identify with a certain guys, you know guys' rotation, you know their games. So of course that's always the case. When a guy started for you for two years, (it's tough) especially at that position. "

(On the pressure felt trying to make the tournament for the first time)
"Not at all, I just think as a coach you have to do your job, that's the bottom line. You stay locked in on what you need to do to be successful. Because I'm constantly watching film and doing my job to do whatever it takes for our team to be successful. Putting forth the best game plan for your team to be successful, I think that's what you do as a coach. You don't consume yourself with the peripheral whatever pressure, I don't think anybody or anything can put more pressure on me than myself. "

(On the late game breakdowns, especially in the last two games)
"Well, I think in some cases, I mean you can always say execution when it comes down to the stretch of ball games. But I think for us, again we watch film on it, some of the execution on the defensive side of the ball, and I say it all the time. We always talk about execution offensive, but it's the same thing on the other side of the ball. I just think down the stretch getting a key stop, or a guy like Brown, force him to go left as opposed to going right. He made a couple of plays going right. We did such a great job down the stretch of making him go left and forcing him to make plays and it was tough for him. But you allow him to go right, he makes plays. But just different things like that because it goes both ways. It's on both ends of the floor."

(On nerves)
" Nah, I just I go back to my days as a coach- I mean ,I was, I don't know if you call it nerves, but I was locked in on games like that. Nerves, tight, butterflies, whatever the case may be down the stretch of games, but um...I think that's when you get sharp on both ends of the floor, but you got to step up, open shot you gotta knock em' down, gotta take care of the basketball um... gotta carry out assignment whether offense or defense then whatever happens, happens, but you gotta have the execution."

(On Jarnell Stokes)
"Well, Well, that's what I talk to him about all the time, even, last year , his freshman year just really demanding the ball. He's a low-key kind of guy um..., but just be big, demand the ball, throw me the ball uh... whatever the case may be because he's done a great job really scoring around the rim facing up, knocking these shots down, and again he's a good passer, a very unselfish basketball player, but has to do that, he has to demand, because I really don't think they're guys on the team "listen man I'm not passing Jarnell the ball," because really as a ball player, if I play with him I'm passing to him every time down so he could get double so I could shoot wide open shots. You know, so I don't think the guys think that way, but he has to demand that thing more uh... and we have to do a better job of really trying to make tough passes sometime to get him the ball in there."

(On getting the ball inside the paint)
"I think from our guard standpoint, the way our big guys did such a good job of getting fouled in the second half, all the sudden the three-point shots were so wide open. Then you get consumed with shooting shots. Every time we called a play for Jarnell [Stokes] and they hovered around him, whatever the case may have been, we didn't get the ball to him like we needed to."

(On cumulative losses affecting team)
"I think you start to think about it. The thing that I always talk about it when we have those type of losses, let's watch film, let's learn from what took place, so hopefully it doesn't happen again. You're out there playing basketball. You have to make plays and take care of the basketball. You've got to be setting solid screens late in the game, which you like to do through the course of the game. Setting solid screens, not getting turnovers, carry out those assignments defensively, just all those things. But I imagine as players you start to think about it but the thing I say- guys there's nothing wrong with thinking about it, but let's try to correct it when you're thinking about it."

(On calling timeouts after three-point shots)
"Two things- one, if you have guys playing long minutes, say for instance Jarnell is out there for a long time. It gets them some rest. Then all the sudden, if we broke down on a previous play offensively, when we're on defense- guys this is what we need to do. Keep this guy going, whatever the case may have been, either way. It's either rest or carry out these assignments on the other end of the floor. I like to do it after a made shot like that, because now the guys are calm, they have a piece of mind as opposed to all the sudden the team is making runs. Let's lock in. Let's get back to where we need to be. Let's focus on certain things and keep moving forward."

(On the University of Georgia)
"I think those guys, all those guys that returned that he played with, I think Kenny Gaines is probably not the level of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a very talented player. He could probably be that between now and the next couple years. The other guys have all returned. Charles Mann is playing really well for them. He's getting to the basket. I think that's the biggest key. They're doing a great job of getting to the free throw line. I think it helps their team. They lost some tough ones early, but you're trying to find your way, learn your way as a team and now they're playing better."

(On losses to Georgia last season)
"Without a doubt. Again, you go into a game plan and you do a scouting report. These are the things, in order for us to be successful, you need to do, not necessarily what you're record is against a certain team. These are the things we need to do to be successful. You watch film. I just watched film when we played them last year, both times- these are some of the things we need to correct, look in on, be conscious of on both ends of the floor. I don't really necessarily say this team has beat this so many times or this is what's happened, unless it's something that's pertinent to what we're doing as far as our scouting report and game plan."

(On keeping the past in the past, each team/opponent is new every year)
"Without a doubt. Again, you go into a game plan when you go into a scouting report these are the things you need to do to be successful not necessarily what your record is against a certain team. Then you watch film when you play them last year both times and see these are the things we need to look into, correct on and be conscious of on both ends of the floor. I don't say this team has beat us this many times unless it is something pertinent to our scouting or game plan."

(On changing the game plan during the game and effect on point guards)
"You have to do that. The thing I said to Darius (Thompson) and Antonio (Barton) I thought they did a good job on Clarkson who is a very talented player. They held him to seven points and made two big pull-ups down the stretch of the game. He stepped up and made plays. I thought they did a really solid job on him with the help of our big guys corralling the basketball. It changes from game to game. We are a man-to-man team but you see some zone depending on how teams play and what they present. We have to find ways to keep Darius on the floor. He is going against some of the best guards. It is a learning lesson for him. He is making the adjustments. He is one of those guys who wants to be great so he will take notes and continue to get better."

(On Antonio Barton's last couple of games)
"He needs to keep shooting. I think in his case there are shots that he has that are open but he passes that shot up then he makes a tougher shot or a play when really he should have just shot that jump shot. So for him just being ready to shoot the ball when the opportunity presents itself. He is the kind of guy that can make shots and again he is in here every morning at 10 working on his shot. As long as he is doing that they will fall for him along with keeping his confidence and not worrying about the last shot."

(On a common theme between the losses to Georgia last season)
"I think one of the things from watching film at our place here it was a game without Trae (Golden) we didn't play well without him here. At their place, we had Trae and we played well and had chances to win the game. We had some breakdowns late in the game. Jordan (McRae) scored the ball really well. It was a little different in both games. Caldwell-Pope made some big shots at our place. He scored well at their place but they had a couple more guys score at their place."

(On making changes to the away game to try to change the outcome)
"We go and watch situations offensively, late game, 2 minutes left, 1:30 left on the clock and then we also show video. It is just part of it. It is just about making the plays."

(On benefitting from the timeouts)
"We always look at our timeout situations defensively, offensively, getting stops and we scour teams two or three things a team might do coming out of timeouts. We have a package we like to run at a timeout. We always analyze that some games are better than others. For the most part we are solid defensively and depending on the situation in the game offensively how it goes."

(On balancing taking timeouts between resting up defensively and killing positive momentum)
"It is just what I feel. How I feel the guys flow of it if we are down, if we are up. It depends on the situation, home or road, just a real feel. For the most part it is how guys physically look, how they feel, exhausted or drained. Let's get a timeout, gather yourself and let's get ready to go."

(On current state of the SEC basketball conference)
"I haven't seen it today but I would imagine there are 6 or 7 teams in the top 100 (RPI) if I am not mistaken, if not more than that. We just need to do our job and win ball games. For us, first and foremost, is to represent Tennessee and winning games for Tennessee. Then going from there, I don't understand why the league is considered down."

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