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November 16, 1998

Opening Statements

I'm anxious to play a real game. I thought Friday night we got a good test and some good lessons. After looking at the film on Saturday and talking with our team, I'm still impressed with the way Global Sports Next Level played. I'm disappointed that we didn't win. I really think this will help us. We'll put that behind us and try to learn from it and get ready for Thursday night, which does count.

They've got a great freshman in Devin Brown, a young man who really played well in their opening game. That was a good win for Texas-San Antonio to get off to a good start.

They've got a good player in Devin Brown. He played well. They've got an outstanding player in Steve Meyer. We'll have to be ready to play. We are not as good a basketball team right now as we think we are going to be. Everything is going to be a challenge. We are excited about being able to open up here at home and get after it Thursday evening.

The thing that happens with new guys, they are up and down. Mario (Layne) played really well against Arkansas Express, didn't play particularly well against Global Sports. That is going to happen with the new guys. That doesn't concern me as much as we've got to get Rayford and Stan locked up. Stan is not shooting the ball as well as we would like for him to.

The other player we've got to get play like he is capable of is Johnny Phillips. We've got to get those players to establish a good inside-out game. Stan shot the ball well late, but didn't shoot it consistent throughout the game. I thought he had some chances maybe to help us out in not getting behind as much as we did against Global Sports. They had some guys who would really make you pay, some guards that know how to play at a high level. That was a good experience for us. Hopefully, that will help us come this week.

What concerns you at this point, four days before the opener? Our consistency and some lack of confidence in our new players. I hope it is expressed to all of our players that you have to get yourselves ready to play. I didn't think we were ready to play on Friday night. There are a lot of reasons for that. But, that's our responsibility to get them ready. I thought we were a little flat early in the game. They came out early and buried some big shots. You've got to get ready to play for, the old clich, of 40 minutes or 60 minutes or ever how many you've got to play. You've got to be ready to hoop.

We need to win every possible game. We are just going to think about San Antonio. I think it goes back to teaching and learning, where you have so many new players understanding what we demand and what we expect in learning the system. It does take some time. We've got four days, we've got to be ready to play. We'll think about doing everything possible to get ready on Thursday night. I heard Jack say on his call-in, 'you are not expected to be as good in the first game as you should be later on.' We probably won't be, but we need to be good enough to win.

Which of the new players are doing the best? Depends on which day, I guess. We are a little inconsistent. Brodney Kennard looks good at times, Mario looks good at times. I tell you a player I should have probably played more on Friday night that I've been really pleased with and that's James Ware. We've got to get him some shots. He has been very solid shooting the basketball. He hasn't taken any bad shots, and he really understands the system defensively. He is someone we are certainly not going to be afraid to get in that rotation. I think one thing that will help our ball club - once we get to playing seven or eight guys the majority of the minutes, we've got a chance to look probably 40 percent better.

Talk about Mario Layne.

I think as he adjusts, you will see him as an athlete that is going to become an outstanding defensive player and rebounded. He is going to be a slasher on offense. We need to get him the ball in scoring position. I don't think right now he is a deep threat in shooting the basketball. We need to get him where he is difficult to cover in that medium-range game.

How is Johnny Phillips playing?

I think right now he feels likes there is pressure, that when we throw the basketball in there, he has got to try to create something. We want to establish an inside game, that's something we've talked about, but we want to do that within the parameters of his game. I thought he took a couple of jump hooks that were probably too far out on Friday night. We need to get him around the block area more. He took a couple, as did Cliff (Owens), of jump hooks where we were higher than we needed to be on the block. There was so much talk about how maligned our inside game was last year. Cliff has really improved. We are going to still throw the ball inside and play the game inside-out. It will help if we do a better job of shooting the basketball from the perimeter, especially Stan.

At this point before the season, what areas are you pleased with. What areas do you need to concentrate on?

Rebounding, I've really been pleased in practice and the first two exhibition games. Defensively, I've been disappointed. That's what we really concentrated on in our film session and we will do in our practice. I didn't feel like against Arkansas Express, especially in the second half, that we played very good defense. We got exploited in some areas.

Global Sports hit some shots where we were right in their face. That just hit some good shots. We've got to do a better job of denying people position. Pleased with our rebounding, not as pleased with our defense. I really believe that it is an area that we can correct and improve on and something that we are going to stress.




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