Coach Tom Crean, junior forward Derek Elston and sophomore guard Victor Oladipo met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to preview Wednesday’s game at Assembly Hall with North Carolina Central. Watch both press conferences in the embedded media players below:
Quotes after the jump.
“Our guys have worked hard the last couple of days and we knew they would. I think they see where the mistakes were made on film. I think we saw where our opportunities were, how we didn’t take advantage of them, the mistakes that we made. We made some discipline mistakes in the game and we made some communication mistakes as far as what was switchable and what’s not. At the same time, we were right there in that second half if we do those things right and that’s what they have to understand. We can’t put ourselves in that situation. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or on the road, you’ve got to have incredible discipline defensively, you’ve got to have great ball movement offensively, you’ve got to stay committed to the game-plan, you can’t let the crowd, you can’t let anything become a distraction and that’s part of our learning process and I know it is for others as well, but our guys usually do a very good job of absorbing it.
“I’m glad that we have a game and I’m glad that we’re going to have a tough game because I really believe that it is. I think when you get to this time of year everything matters, everyday matters obviously and if you’ve done your work throughout the year you just continue on from where you’ve been and that’s what this type of game is. It’s a game where they’ve got a couple of high, high major players. They’ve got a guy who is without question an NBA prospect in Dominique Sutton and a guy that has had success. Like we told our guys, a couple of their players like Sutton and (Ray) Willis, they’re high major guys based on the way that they started and for one reason or another they end up going back to North Carolina Central to play, but they’re high major guys. We think that they’re well-coached. We have played them in the past. An example that I gave our guys is one of them scored 15 points in a game last year, he’s probably playing about six to eight minutes a game now. They are a very formidable opponent. They’re dangerous and I’m glad that we get a chance to turn right back around and play. That’s the basis of where you want your team and your program to be. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it doesn’t matter when you’re playing, you just want to be better than you were the last time out and that’s our focus in this game.”
On North Carolina Central:
“They’ve got one of the toughest competitors that I think will come through Assembly Hall in Dominique Sutton. I don’t know him personally, but I’ve watched him a long time. He played at Kansas State and I watched him in the summertime. I don’t think there’s any question why NBA people will be here watching him tomorrow night. Ray Willis is a high level scorer. Ingram can shoot the ball. I think (Samuel) Chasten is a strong physical guy that can shoot the ball from 15 feet to three-point range. Maybe he doesn’t have the size. They’ve got the width and they’ve got the toughness and that’s what we’ve seen on film. They’ve been in some battles. Watching the NC State game again today, they came down and cut that thing after a 15-point deficit to two.
“When the schedule all came down, you look at it and say okay this is not right. We’re not going to have three games in three weeks; that just doesn’t make any sense for a team. So they were the team that we were able to move. Now once they’re here you say wow, man I’m not looking forward to this. I think he’s a really good coach. I’ve thought that for the last couple of years. He’s done a really good job building that team up, building his program.”
Junior Derek Elston
On learning from the Iowa game:
“I know we weren’t very aggressive going to the boards. A couple of guys went, but not with the right intent. I think we just kind of went to go, not to actually do anything. That’s what I really took from the film. It’s just whether or not we’re playing aggressive at the right time. It’s all about being aggressive at the right time.”
On coming back for a mid-week game:
“It’s real nice to go out here and realize what we’ve done and see the guys practice the way we have the last couple of days to know that we’re not really hanging our head on it. It’s a little too late in the season for anybody to really hang their head on the way we played. We’ve just got to come out here and show that we really care about winning and losing, and we’ll take it personal, but once we get on the court, we kind of need to let it go and move on. That’s exactly what we did.”
On getting to 20 wins:
“We’re glad that we’ve gotten to 20 wins and even happier that we were one of the quickest teams to do it so far. But 20 wins, it’s kind of like, `okay we did it, now what can we do past that? How many wins can we get this season?’ is what we’re looking for. The last couple season’s we had 20 losses, so to be able to flip the script and come out here and do this is amazing. We’ll take it after the win and be happy about it, but the next game you’ve got to let it go and see if we can get another one.”
On North Carolina Central:
“They are a very aggressive team. We know they have a couple big guys, a couple who can shoot, may be even a pro prospect, so we know that we need to come out and play hard.”
Sophomore Victor Oladipo
On not having a long break in between games:
“It’s really important, especially after a tough loss like that, to get us looking forward to playing again and leaving it all on the court again. We’ve had high-level practices and we’ve been competing at a high level the last couple of practices, so we’re looking forward to it.”
On the early turnovers in the Iowa game:
“I think the ball sometimes would slip or we would think twice about where we need to get the ball, just being indecisive and making a simple play – I think that’s where most of the turnovers came from. And just our mentality, we played hard, but we’ve got to be smarter and more intelligent while playing hard.”