Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes
February 2, 2001
Coach Tubby Smith
"After coming off a good win over a good Georgia team, our biggest concern right now is just staying focused and continuing to play the way we did in the second half. We need to play that way against the Gamecocks."
"After evaluating the game, I think we played one of the best halves we have played this year, in the second half. The contribution, especially by Erik Daniels, was outstanding. Marquis [Estill] off the bench was outstanding as well as the performance by Tayshaun [Prince] and Keith [Bogans]. I thought it was a good overall team effort. We seem to be playing with a bit more confidence now. The guys seem to be accepting and understanding their roles better. We have some guys that get in foul trouble, especially Jason [Parker], and we have to get him to play without fouling."
"South Carolina had a good win over LSU on the road, though I know they had a tough time against Florida. They were up in that game, then behind, then took the lead and were having a tough time at the end of the game, but it looks like they have settled in since then, especially with Antonio Grant in the lineup. They did have a drop-off when they lost Chuck Eidson but I think Antonio Grant has picked up from there and now Jamal Bradley is shooting the ball better. Frank McGuire Arena is always a tough place to play."
On Erik Daniels
"He has surpassed most people's expectations, including mine, especially after going through knee surgery. He has been very efficient when he does touch the ball, and even when he is not involved, like the steal at half court. At 6-7, he is long and quick, and he has a great understanding of how the game should be played. If he plays like that, he will continue to get quality minutes, although he has had a good year all around. He hasn't had a bad outing from day one."
"The key is getting guys to believe, trust and be willing to do their job when they go in the game and not worry about the credit. We will all get credit if we do our jobs the right way. They have to appreciate the opportunity and what they do contribute. They all have something unique to offer the team."
"We have been working extremely hard on passing. You wouldn't think so the other night since we had only one assist and 11 turnovers in the first half. In the second half, Keith [Bogans] started looking to pass and Erik Daniels also is a good passer. Then people were finishing. Saul [Smith] is a good passer, an excellent passer."
"It is important now that we win and I think winning on the road just made it that much better. We knew that we could play with them physically, it is just the mental hump. We know now that we can play and win on the road, in the league, in a hostile environment. And we can finish the game the right way, by putting the game away. Not finding a way not to lose, but finding a way to win."
"Marquis [Estill] has always been a very skilled post player. He has great hands. He has a different position because he can make jump shots. And if you foul him, he is an excellent free throw shooter. If you can do that, you are in the minority there and it makes you pretty effective. Again, I thought his defense was better in the Georgia game although we did have some defensive breakdowns but his were the least amount of breakdowns he has had this year defensively. He gives a great target to pass to, he has great hands, and he is a long guy. Marquis is pretty deceptive in his wingspan and his ability to block shots."
On Jason Parker
"When you are a freshman post player in anybody's league, you have to be tough because you are going up against veteran post players. He has to learn to stay between his man and the basket. He has to learn technique too."
"I get the biggest feel for guys on defense. We expect the guys to go in ready to play defense. If you are not ready mentally, then that is going to show up there, because you won't be down in your stance, or if you are not boxing out, rebounding, contesting shots. That is where I gauge everyone. If they are not scoring, though, that could affect their defense. But defense is our focus and we feel we can generate a lot of offense from our defense."
"The best thing we have been doing lately is rebounding the ball. The last couple of games we have rebounded better. That will help with shooting percentage as well because you are going to get second shots."
"They were just more aggressively attacking the basket in the open court and that was probably a key. Even though we were out rebounded in the first half against Georgia, we created a lot of turnovers and opportunities in the second half. We created a lot of fast break opportunities from turnovers, like from blocked shots and traps, and that gives you confidence when you get some easy transitions baskets."
"We have to go in ready to play. It isn't like we haven't come in ready to play because we have proven that we can play on the road. But now we are starting to understand that we beat them on defense."
On winning road games
"We've got to keep winning on the road because we haven't had too many of them so far. Georgia was our first road victory in the SEC and we have to continue to win on the road because that is where the SEC Championship is going to be won. You have to win all your games at home and try to steal a couple at someone else's house."
On adjustments made in the second half against Georgia
"I think we defended better in the second half and our shots started falling on offense. Guys were making some shots. We put up 56 points in the second half. We moved the ball around very well and got some good execution on offense."
On pushing the tempo against Georgia
"It was definitely a conscious effort of mine to push the ball. The minute I got the ball, I tried to look up the court. A couple of times we caught their defense sleeping. The fastest way to get the ball up the court is with a pass. I tried to pass it up to Keith and Tayshaun as fast as I could, and they really caught the defense off guard a couple of times."
On the SEC standings
"You want to put yourself in a position to lead the league. With the win against Georgia, we put ourselves in a position to make a strike in the SEC standings. If we lose this game (against South Carolina), we're right back where we started, trying to get back in the position to be in first. If we do win, and we feel like we are going to win, it would really help us out a lot because we would be in control of a lot of things and be coming home for next two games."
On the impact of the Georgia win
"It had been our skeleton, losing on the road in the SEC this season. I think if you look back after the season at what kind of game that was, and at what time over the course of the season it came, I think it really was a pivotal game and it really made a difference."
On the impact of the win at Georgia
"We got our team confidence back up with a big road win and I think it will carry over when we play South Carolina."
On what makes him effective
"I try to make things happen when I come into the game. It feels really good right now to come in off the bench and make some contributions during big games. I look forward to doing the same against South Carolina."
On playing at crunch time
"I realized that coach had a lot of confidence by putting me in at the end of the game. As the season goes on, I think my confidence will continue to rise because of the Georgia game."
On the difference between the way the game is officiated
"In high school you can play more physical by keeping your hands on the offensive player and banging more. In college, they are really focusing on the banging inside this year. You really can't play that physical in the post this year and it hurts me because I am a physical player and it is hard for me to adjust. It is something that I am going to have to learn how to do by getting around the man, fronting him, move my feet and stop trying go after blocked shots."
On getting in foul trouble against Georgia
"I was very frustrated. There were a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I couldn't believe it happened like that. I couldn't believe I got two fouls in 30 seconds. Both came on three point plays. I was just happy we won the game. I was ready to get that game out of my mind."
On whether he has asked the referees about the physical play
"I haven't really asked the referees what I've been doing wrong. I've been going to Coach Smith, Coach Hanson and Coach Hobbs and they've been telling me what I'm doing wrong and I'm trying to work on it in practice. We practice so physical that I carry it over in the game. We really bang in practice, but I have to get out of that mode during the game."
On the win over Georgia
"It was a huge win for us. We wanted to continue to be in the race for first place and we knew that if we won we would control our own fate. We don't have to sit around and wait on anybody to help us out."
On the South Carolina game
"It is going to be difficult. We beat them on our home court and they are not going to want to lose on their home court. They are going to come out ready to play."
On his recent play
"I tried to start the game off by getting some offensive rebounds and getting some easy shots first. In the second half I got my outside shot working because my teammates were finding me when I was open and I didn't rush the shot."
"This team will not have a let down at South Carolina. We know what is expected of us and we know what is at stake. I see myself as a leader and I will not let this team have a let down. We are going to play well at South Carolina."
On what it takes for him to get playing time
"I think that as long as I continue to play defense I will be on the floor. I have offensive moves that are effective and if I continue to work hard on defense and get it done on the defensive end of the floor the minutes will come."
On being the first off the bench
"Sometimes it is hard to tell who is going to be the first off the bench. Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's Marvin (Stone). I just have to be ready whenever I am called on."
On the big win over Georgia
"I think we got a monkey off of our back with the win over Georgia. We have had some trouble on the road in the SEC and it was good to get a win. I think it helped everyone out. The win gave us a chance to catch our breath and get ready for the upcoming tough road games."
On the South Carolina game
"We realize that every loss is going to be a step back. We are going to remain focused and play like we are capable."