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November 9, 1998

General Remarks
"We're anxious to get started in a game situation tomorrow night against Arkansas Express. They're 2-2 going into this game. They played Mississippi State their last ball game. I'm looking forward to see how our new players respond to game conditions. I've been pleased with our practices. We had a good scrimmage on Saturday morning, much better than the one we had on Wednesday. We're pleased with the progress, but there is still a long way to go. Our new players are learning the system, learning how to play without the basketball, quit making the little small mistakes, making sure they focus and concentrate. We feel like at this point that our rebounding has improved. I'm anxious to see how our defense is going to respond, those are two areas I was really concerned about. Also, you always want to minimize turnovers anytime you play an up-tempo game. If you're not careful you make too many careless turnovers and that's an area from Saturday that we certainly want to improve on."

"Some individuals really played well for us, Cliff has improved his offensive game and his presence in the block. We certainly need that. His free throw shooting, his shot from about 12 feet facing the basket has been consistent. Johnny has become stronger, we feel like a better rebounder and more of a defense presence on the interior. Brodney Kennard is a young man who we feel like can rebound, score, and defend. He had a very good scrimmage on Saturday as did Jevon Banks."

"We will start tomorrow night with Rayford at the point, Stanley at the two, Mario Lane at the three, Cliff at the four and Johnny at the five. Everyone should see considerable action. We want to get a feel for all of our players."

"For the days that Andy Ellis has been on the court, he's been very impressive. He just has not been there enough. His knee has continued to respond to treatment. We hope that we will get it completely well as soon as possible."

"Mario, who we will start, is really starting to understand the system, playing within himself. He's a tremendous athlete, explosive. He gives us a new dimension that we haven't had in a couple of years at the three position."

"We still have a long way to go. Chemistry is going to be important in terms of scoring from the perimeter as well as on the interior. Two areas that we have always been concerned about is the defense and the rebounding."

"We'd like to get in a rotation of eight, maybe even nine, depending on who plays well. Certainly there are some players who have some strength. James Ware is a tremendous shooter, he can really fill it up from the outside. We've got to get him to where he does a better job off the dribble against the man. He defends better in a man situation, but I think there are certainly times that we're going to need him because he is just such a threat. The big thing is meshing all of these players together, finding out what their talents are. I like the closeness of our basketball team. We've just got to have everybody understanding their roles and we'll be defining those before the first ball game."

On the exhibition game
"I've looked around the country. Some teams have won big, others have had some close games and some have even gotten beat. We need to see where we're at. I'd like to win, but I'm more concerned with how we execute. I'm not as concerned with how much we score as how well we defend, how many rebounds we capture, how many offensive rebounds we minimize our opponent to, how many times we turn the ball over. Those are areas that I'm looking to. I think it is important for this team to gain confidence. I really hope we get some challenges."




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