Cuonzo Martin Press Luncheon

Nov. 9, 2011

Photo Gallery

Cuonzo Martin TRANSCRIPT:

On what he saw during the exhibitions:

"I think the two games were good games from the standpoint of what we were trying to get from our team. We went against some zone, a team pressed a little bit, we went against man-to-man, a physical team, a team that had great low-post scoring in one game.

"I think against Carson-Newman the way those guys penetrated and cut to the basket was a different look for our big guys more than anything. It made them stand in a stance throughout the game. It really helped those guys away from the ball on defense. They had to be on the edge of ball screens and recover from ball screens when you're guarding smaller, perimeter guys. So it wasn't an easy thing for those guys but I thought they did a good job of making the adjustments.

"In the first half, I thought we did a better job against LMU. I think the key for us now in both halves is being physical. But also the rotation probably has something to do with that. Being able to play a level of defense away from the ball, ball-screen defense, help to recover--there's a lot of things we ask our guys to do. I thought they did a good job. I thought the LMU, especially in the second half, was a great test for our team later in the season."

On Trae Golden's performance at point guard:

"I think he's been doing a good job. The first couple of weeks in practice Trae did a lot of jump passing, a lot of turnovers. For the last two weeks he's been great as far as assist-to-turnover ratio. You saw eight assists in the last game. I think the first game he had five assists to one turnover. So you're seeing 13-to-one ratio--that's very impressive.

"But he also has the ability to score the ball and distribute it, but he attacks the basket. Shots are falling. He's doing a good job with his leadership skills. He gets on guys in practice. He gets after it in practice. He's very competitive, more competitive than I thought he would be. His overall game has been good."

On transition defense:

"Our 4 and 5 will always rebound no matter who our opponent is. But in certain situations against great transition teams, there will probably be two guys back as what we call safeties. When I feel like we have an advantage on the offensive glass, we'll send three maybe four (to rebound). It depends on who we're playing against and what they like to do offensively.

"Sometimes we'll have two jammers--two guys who press the basketball. It will kind of look like we're pressing, but we're not. We'll really get up and then take them out of what they like to do offensively. It just kind of goes according to our scouting report and what feeling the other team's personnel has."

On if rebounding is scheme or hustle:

"I think more than anything with rebounding, with perimeter guys it's having desire and natural ability to go get offensive rebounds. At Missouri State, for example, our point guard was probably our best rebounder so we let him crash the glass. So it just depends. If a guy is a great rebounder, you want him on the offensive glass, but on the defensive side, we've got five guys boxing out."

On team taking care of business off the court:

"They've done a good job, especially from the first day until now of just taking care of business on and off the court. Doing the right things in the classroom, being consistent in going to class--which shouldn't be an option, but just making sure guys go to class every day, with their tutor assignments--making sure they've been better.

"I expect that at this point, when you see guys straddling the line of doing right or wrong, you make those guys understand the importance of getting a degree and being a successful young man. I think they've done a good job and I let those guys know that last week. We've been under the radar so to speak, and that means not breaking any laws, not getting into trouble. That's a good thing for our program and you can't take those things for granted."

On team chemistry:

"I think one of the good things about these guys is they like being around each other and they hang out with each other, which is a good thing. Now, the chemistry comes with playing with each other and going through the fire so to speak.

"We change our lineup everyday in practice. We don't have the same five; it changes everyday. The only time you'll see the same five consistently is in game situation. We try to mix it up with different guys playing with each other, because that's what happens in a game. But I think they're doing a good job.

"I think the next phase for our guys is to go through the fire and continue to learn from each other. I thought it was a great lesson in that second half against LMU to really see guys step up and make individual plays, make defensive plays, Cam Tatum getting big rebounds, Trae Golden make big offensive plays, Jeronne demanding the ball on the block to score baskets--he's a very unselfish guy, but he has the ability to score. I think they're doing some good things as far as team chemistry is concerned."

On UNC-Greensboro:

"They're a good team. They returned about nine guys--four starters returned. Kind of a big guy in Henry, he's a good low-post scorer. Simpson was the freshman of the year last year. He came off the bench for them, started some. He's a 6-4 guy, attacks the basket. They won 7 of their last 16 games after starting 0-16. They actually beat Davidson in the conference tournament. They'll be ready to play. They'll mix it up. They play some man, they plan a lot of zone and they press. They run very set plays in their offensive schemes."

On the distribution of minutes (Golden played 34 against LMU):

"At Missouri State, we had five starters play 30 minutes or more a night. I thought they did a good job. They understood each other, they knew what was at stake and they played well with each other.

"I think once we get in the season, Trae Golden's fatiguing. There were a couple of times he was fatigued in that game, but I wanted to keep him out there to go through it. I think that's the next phase for Trae is when he hits that wall to knock it down and keep going. I thought he did a good job with battling. He got a little complacent in terms of style of ball instead of being consistent in terms of carrying out his assignments.

"As far as minutes are concerned, we don't have a script to say this guy plays `x' number of minutes. If guys are playing well, we'll roll with them."

On his level of intensity on the sideline:

"That's the same way I played. I was very aggressive, very active, very involved. I just feel like I'm that next guy for our guys on the defensive side of the ball. That's just all emotion. That's not something I script or I say, `I need to do this tonight.' That's just who I am when gametime's on or in practice environments. It just comes out; it's just who I am. That's the way I played, but off-the-court I'm just a laid-back kind of guy. I think when you win and you're doing battle, and I'm not consumed with how I look. I don't know how I look. I don't know how my coaching style is. I'm just in and we're trying to win a ball game."

On team's unknowns:
"I think there's a lot of them. Once again you have to go through it in order to find out where you are as a team because you haven't hit that rough patch where all of the sudden you lost a couple of games. How do guys respond? Who's pointing fingers? Who's not defending? Who's not making shots? Who missed the big shot that lost the game, so to speak--which I don't get consumed with that.

"Then you see what they are in the locker room. Who's still leading the team? This is a new team even though you have guys who are juniors, a couple of seniors. This is a whole new ball club. You're talking about guys who, outside Cameron Tatum, haven't played many minutes at this level. This is a big-time level. It doesn't matter who you're playing against and when you're playing them. You saw that against LMU, who's a very talented team, you have to be ready to play.

"It's one of those deals right now where guys are really finding their way, who's the leading scorer, who's the go-to guy, who's going to give us production on the block. There are so many unknowns. That's why we want to be consistent on the defensive side of the ball. That's the mainstay for us while we find our way offensively."





  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago