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Cuonzo Martin Press Luncheon Transcript 2/25



Feb. 25, 2013

(On Trae Golden's SEC POW award)
"Congratulations to Trae Golden. That is not a surprise in my opinion. Either Trae Golden or Jordan McRae with the way those guys played last week at the guard position. I have said it time and time again, In order to be the best you can be as a team, you have to have good guard play. Those guys are playing well for us. It is just a credit to Trae, bouncing back, keeping his composure, getting in the gym like this morning, working hard on his game. As a result, you cannot hide from hard work and Trae Golden has done a great job of getting back in the gym, refocusing, letting the past be the past but learning from it and I am happy for him."

(On changing the team's practice routine due to fatigue)
"This time of year (changes) are probably out on the floor. We will practice for an hour and there is probably only 15 minutes of contact, but we will not do any contact. We normally take Sunday's off but because of the turnover and because it is a Tuesday game, the guys that played a lot of minutes there was rehab, cold tub, hot tub, which ever one Chad and Nicodemus thought they needed so there was nothing on the floor. The guys that played 10 minutes or less there was a 30 to 40 minute skill workout on the floor, and then after that we just watched film as a team for about a half an hour and talked about Florida and that was it. There really was nothing on the floor. Today we will probably go for about an hour, walk-through, get some shots up and lock in on Florida and what they do offensively and defensively."

 

 

(On the team's conditioning throughout the Arkansas game)
"I think Nicodemus has done a good job with the guys being consistent with them, working with them, keeping them with fresh legs. There is a balance. I do not think anybody is getting big and bulky this time of year because of the legs, but he does a good job of getting the guys in about two or three times a week getting the right lifts, not taking their legs and keeping fresh legs, and constantly communicating with me as a coach on what we need to do with days off, resting their legs, what types of lifts in the weight room so that part is good. I thought it really showed in that game. Not to take anything away from A&M, but I thought our guys down the stretch there would have been a couple of guys last year who would not have been able to finish a game like that, but the way they competed and finished so you have to give credit where credit is due."

(On adjusting rotation because of length of playing time against A&M)
"The most important thing is to try and win the game. You cannot just put a guy out there because you see the guy is fresher. Now you see the fatigue and you see their legs and you have to have fresh bodies, but the bottom line is trying to win a ball game."

(On guarding Florida's Erik Murphy)
"It is the same way as (Kentucky's) Weljer. Even though he probably is a little bigger physically, but he is the same type of guy. If he posts up, then you might send a double at him, but offensively he is a pick and pop type of guy who can make shots. You really play him as a guard."

(On the significance of Tuesday's game against Florida)
"I say it all the time as a coach, what you about players is that they read and see everything they need to see. They identify certain games and situations, match-ups, the exposure of games with ESPN, the lights, you are talking about a potential Final Four team coming in, a team that you beat and you have a great opportunity to enhance your profile as you look at an NCAA tournament team. (Players) understand that part, but as coaches it is just one game at a time. Lets do everything in our power to win this one particular game, which is easier said than done because of the emotions, the adrenalin, you are coming off a four overtime win, five game wins in a row and all of those things create a level of energy and somewhat of a swagger for a young guy in this day and age, but it is all part of it. I would rather be on the winning side than losing."

(On Florida's reliance on 3-point shots)
"If you have two traditional bigs against these guys it is really tough to defend when that other big is not able to switch. When you try to hedge ball-screens and they string you out so much if you try to do that. They try to pick it and pop it and make shots. You have to take them out of an offensive flow when they are running the ball-screens and make those looks tough and make guys make one-on-one plays. They have guys who can do that. You really have to make them extend their offense. If they are able to get the ball to the three point line and run their offense then they are just a tough team to defend."

(On the team's confidence during this 5-game win streak)
"I think confidence is the most important thing outside of what we do on the court and how we do it. When you play with a level of confidence you have a chance to do big things. It is still the same team, still the same players, but when you have the confidence and you feel good about yourself, and you are making shots, and you are talking about a team that was not making three point shots at all. Now you go five-for-five, 10-for-15, and 10-21 from the three point line. It is the same guys. It is just a level of confidence, believing in themselves and more importantly not giving up, and I give them a lot of credit for because you have those tough game, those roller coaster type games where you are up and down, win one, lose two, win three. It is just so emotionally taxing on the body and the mind. It just takes a toll on you. Give these guys a lot of credit for standing and fighting."

(On when he sensed that confidence was returning to the team)
"I thought the South Carolina game did it for us. I thought that was the game that really did it because now you have a road win, and now you can go ahead and push forward. Now you play a rival team in Vandy after that and win another road game and then you have the Kentucky team coming in here. I thought the South Carolina game really started it for our guys. Skylar made two really big threes in the game and he is making his shots the way he did at the beginning of the season so that is a good sign because he is knocking them down in practice as well."

(On the team's mindset fighting through early-season struggles)
"I think one of the things that is overlooked because you are fighting to be an NCAA tournament team and you are continuing to fight and win in your league, but the thing I give our guys most credit for is continuing to compete and not give up. That is a hard thing to do when you are struggling. You can have different types of emotions in the locker room, one guy is going this way and another guy is going that way, but these guys stuck together. I give those guys the utmost credit for that. Just continue to fight, just stay strong. Skylar McBee is a guy who was starting, now out of the lineup. Kenny Hall got a start, now out of the lineup. These guys keep their composure, have a level of professionalism to them, and continue to compete. It just says a lot about them and a lot about the young guys. I give them credit for that. We have the pieces to be successful, but that lasts a lifetime when you are able to fight through tough times and weather the storm. It just says a lot about a program."

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