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Coach Cal's Pre-Northwood Thoughts

Reported by: Alex Risen
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Updated: 10/31/2012 5:46 pm
Hear from Coach Cal coming up on ABC 36 News at 6.

On the starting lineup …
“Don’t know who is going to start yet. Don’t know, still trying to figure some stuff out. What I’m tinkering with is combinations. I’m trying to figure out, when these guys are in together how do we play, when that group is in together how do we play. That’s what we are trying to do.”

On impressions from different lineup combinations …
“None really, I’m just trying to watch tape to see what I am comfortable with and all those kind of things. We just have a long way to go. Defensively, we are just awful right now. We don’t stay in front of anybody. We have guys stopping left and right and thinking it’s OK or not my man, it wasn’t my man, stuff like that. I watched tape of Michigan State and Northwood and you have two teams that play every bounce of the ball that are moving and helping and helping the helper. The greatest thing about playing a team like this, the No. 1 team in the NAIA and a team that was down six the Michigan State at half that made nine threes, has some post-up game, has a really quick guard, is that the weaknesses or the things that we are not doing well will be glaring. As much as I don’t like to play a team this good, this early, this is going to be great for this team because the more I’m watching tape, the more I’m seeing that they have to change and they have to understand that it has to be a habit.”

On the team being more versatile than in years past …
“It may be, put five guys and they got it rolling and leave them out there for eight minutes before you do anything, let them get their run through and then make a couple substitutions, call a timeout. But I don’t know before we start playing. That‘s the other thing with playing Maryland and Duke, you open up your schedule with those kind of teams, even Transy (Transylvania), who have all the seniors. This team that we are playing tomorrow has all seniors and we are going to be playing all freshmen. You’re going to see it. Maryland and Duke, they are going to exploit every weakness we have. Now you come back and show the tape and say if we want to win these are things we are going to have to do and let’s go. We just have a long way to go.”

On playing the two big guys together …
Oh, you’ll see it tomorrow; we started playing them and just wanted to get those two comfortable. What I like about it is, they were talking to each other on the court, Willie (Cauley-Stein) was saying to Nerlens (Noel) and they were talking, that’s what you want. You want a team of guys that are talking to each other, that are looking after each other, that have each other’s back. Who are those five, I don’t know. But we’ll stick different combinations, but you know, I’ve told you many times, for me it doesn’t matter who starts, it’s who is going to finish. I may be starting guys based on the fact that I just think this is the best way to start the game or what the rotation is going to be but when you look at my teams it is who is in the game those last five or seven minutes, that’s who really matters. So we’ll see.”


On what he likes about playing the big guys …
“We went to it with Alex (Poythress) and the other team got three offensive rebounds right away, so then why am I playing you three? What are we talking about here? What I like, is we’re so long, I just told them a simple thing, if Nerlens is out on the floor you get in the lane, I don’t care where your man is. If you’re out on the floor, Nerlens you get in the lane. So you’re always going to have someone like seven foot standing near the goal and then you tell the other guys, make them drive. How about that for genius basketball?”

On Kentucky having 21 players in the NBA …
“Pretty good stuff, guys are playing well. I’m so happy for Eric Bledsoe; you have 15 teams trying to trade for him. They love Brandon (Knight) in Detroit. I’m proud that our guys go in the league and are prepared. Here’s the thing, after two years someone will say, ‘I’m not responsible after they have been in the league two years. The guy goes in as rookie of the year and plays well, unless I’m trying to coach that team and my team...’ Well our jobs and what we’re trying to do is prepare these guys for that, their dream, and life after basketball, both of those. I’m proud of that. My biggest thing is, when I watch them play I want to see that they are having a ball when they are playing like they did here. The hard thing is, if you’re on a team that is losing it’s hard to have joy but you still control it, you control your own joy, no one else does, you do. I saw Darius (Miller) and Anthony Davis on the sideline, not on the court, going nuts when they were playing, they were waving towels, high-chesting, high-fiving guys, running out on the court. My thing is, if they lose games, you still have to have that if you are ever going to reach your potential as a team and as a player. That’s what I got on DeMarcus (Cousins) about, I said, ‘you have to have joy, man. You can’t be playing mad and mean, you have to have fun playing this game.’ We have a bunch of good guys.”

On Northwoods’ coach Rollie Massimino …
“He called me and said, ‘I’d like to play in an exhibition game, the reason is, we won our national title in Rupp Arena and I haven’t been back and this is my last year of coaching, would you play us?’ I said sure, now I didn’t know his team would be this good, I may have just said, ‘why don’t you just come in and watch one of our games, how about that?’ But I’m happy for him. Think about it, he was in the final game of the NAIA Championship, I don’t know if there is anyone that has won an NCAA Championship and an NAIA Championship. I think there have been a couple that has won the NIT Championship and the NCAA Championship.”

On if he is having fun …
“Yeah, it’s just, I’m tired, I’m beat down. Every moment you’re trying to think of ways, how do I get guys better, I’m having more individually meetings than I’ve had collectively since I’ve been the coach here already. What are we in, 21 days of practice but that’s what this team needs and that’s fine. I’m here for them, sometimes I have to do a little bit more, sometimes I can do a little bit less, depending on the team. I like my team; I think we will be good in time. It’s kind of scary, I know you’ll say, us getting dinged is not the worst thing. I’m telling you, for these guys to understand let’s get back down to this, you have to listen, you have to create habits, you don’t have it right now. Nobody is going to foul out, I already called them. We don’t have enough time so I play next week for real so if a guy has nine fouls, remember DeAndre (Liggins) had nine fouls, he almost had a triple doubles, he had 10 points, nine assists and nine fouls. It’s not because I want them to foul, because I know they are going to charge, I know they are going to reach, I know they are going to leave their feet because those are their habits right now. Well I can’t have, OK now you can’t play anymore this exhibition game. I can’t do it or we have to be in scrimmages instead of exhibition games.”

On the players knowing it is going to take patience and hard work …
“I think it’s more hard work than patience. It’s more of a focus on what you’re doing than patience. It’s more taking care of your body, getting your rest, taking care of business off the court, no distractions; let’s go we don’t have time for that. That’s what is going to get us to where we want to go. The one guy that is going to have to have patience is me, and that will only go so far with me, I know. Like I said, I like our team, I like our personnel. Kyle Wiltjer has gotten way better, Ryan Harrow is way better. The young kids are coming along and doing good. Jon Hood is way better, Jarrod Polson, way better. It’s just, they’re better, now getting out on the court against a team that is not going to stop until the possession goes, that will try to offensive rebound every ball, that will block you out if you don’t do stuff. All those things will come to light in this thing. You’re going to say, ‘oh my gosh, he just turned his head and the guy went in and dunked on him. Oh my gosh.’ If you watch the tape, there are many of those right now but when you’re talking young guys that’s what you have.”

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