UC-Grand Valley State Postgame Quotes

Oct. 29, 2012

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Grand Valley State at Cincinnati (Exhibition 1)
Fifth Third Arena
Oct. 29, 2012

Postgame Quotes

UC head coach Mick Cronin
Opening Statement:
“It was a great practice for us. Grand Valley State is an extremely well coached team that played a lot of guards and took care of the ball. We told them we were going to try and pressure them, so they could be prepared. I knew they’d be prepared because Ric (Wesley)’s a great coach. It was really good for us. We hadn’t scrimmaged because David had been out and Justin has been out with his thumb. We don’t carry a lot of walk-ons, so we really haven’t been able to play in a scrimmage setting.

“We’ve played a lot of four-on-four and doing a lot of teaching. We haven’t had any scrimmages where other schools have had two or three. With Justin out and Titus’ first game playing 25 minutes, there were a few times he looked fatigued. It’s going to take time to get used to that and build up our stamina.

“We got our 40 deflections which I didn’t think we’d get. When we got those, we were able to blow the game open early in the second half. There was a time where we were in single digits (deflections in the first half). That is a credit to Grand Valley State. They did a great job of handling the ball.

“From the center spot, we got really good protection with 11 points, eight rebounds and Cheikh had five blocks. Kelvin didn’t get to play a lot, but he played well in his limited minutes. I was just glad that David was able to play because he was battling some knee soreness.”

On creating turnovers:
“It’s a wearing effect. You won’t always get the steal, but you take teams out of their offense and comfort zone. We were trying to do a couple of different things with our press, and then they went on a little run. It was the coach’s fault. We were trying to change some things and work on our pressure. We had some guys confused. I thought we got tired. I was using it as practice. There were certain things we wanted to try.

On creating fastbreak points:
“This is preparation. We called and told them. I wanted them as prepared as possible. We are playing them for a reason. Ric’s a great coach and extremely prepared. We told him we were coming with the pressure, so be ready to make it harder on us. Teams are going to scout us. I’m not worried about the score tonight. I’m worried about the process. We have to bring in a well-coached team and that takes a great job of taking care of the ball. Our guys did a good job. One part of our style is not to look at the scoreboard and to look at the deflection board. Don’t stress out that the game is close. It is a new thing for our guys. We’ve done it some, but we are totally committed to it.”

On David Nyarsuk:
“I was just happy he was feeling good. He practiced a little bit Saturday and Sunday, and he was feeling great today. I think with the first week of practice at our level, and he had never played that hard in his life.

On UC student section:
“I was really happy with two things. Grand Valley State really helped us get better tonight. You can’t simulate that in practice. I was really happy. These games are a waste if the teams you are playing just shoot on the first pass. They ran a real offense, and it is stuff that we will have to play against. It’s the same reason why we are playing Bellarmine. The second thing and maybe I’m most happy about is the student section. We switched to general admission, which is a great move by our athletic department. Kids can get the ticket and get here early. That matters now. That is a huge step for our program. Talking to the guy who wants to be here and build, recruits are here and see students at every game. I have a checklist of a lot of things we’ve continued to get better and where I’d like everything to get to. I don’t know if I’ll ever get them all, but the students are the key. You’d love to have your fans at every game, but the students are the backbone. They bring the enthusiasm and we represent our student body. They understand that they matter.”

UC Player Quotes
No. 1 - Cashmere Wright, G
On the new style of play being implemented this year:
“I think it is still a work in progress. It was good for the game, we get to see it against other competition and see the other defenses besides the pressure defense, but overall it was good practice.”

On if the team has a ways to go to perfect the new style of play:
“Yeah, you always have to improve every day. We are never done improving, not where we are trying to go.”

On if you were surprised about the number of students here tonight:
“No, because we were on Twitter and people kept Tweeting us and telling us they were coming to the game and Drew (Seidenberger) told us the whole student section was sold out, so we kind of knew before the game, but it was good. I was happy to see it.”

On if the students showing up means a lot to you:
“It means a lot. That means we are improving. People actually want to come see you now. It means you are actually doing something.”

On what you thought of the performance of some of the younger guys like Shaquille Thomas, Titus Rubles and Ge’Lawn Guyn:
“They played good. With Shaq it was his first game. He really didn’t know what to expect coming out there.  All he did was so practice so he was kind of iffy on what to do, but overall I think he is going to be okay. He realizes that the game speeds up a lot. The same things you do in practice, the one-foot layups you can’t do in a game.

“Titus was nice, I like Titus. He plays hard. Once he starts getting everything down pat with the team and how we do things, he is going to be even better because right now he is just playing off flow and has looked real nice.

“Ge’Lawn is Ge’Lawn. Ge’Lawn gets out there and plays hard, defense, make open shots. I tell him run the team. When you are out there you’re the man on the floor so make sure everyone is in their spot.”

On if you have noticed a difference in Cheikh Mbodj this year:
“I noticed it from the first day of summer when he was blocking every shot and whoever’s team he is on wins. He is better now because he is older and has played a whole year in the BIG EAST and seen all the different things and made it to the Sweet 16. He actually played so it was like he knows the difference between a good play and a bad play.”

No. 23 - Sean Kilpatrick, G
On the new style of play being implemented this year:
“It was good practice but like (Cashmere Wright) said, we have to do a lot more things in practice in order to get better.

On whether things were flowing a little better in the second half or if shots were just falling:
“I say shots were more so falling. We were getting the little jitters and kinks out in the first half, but still playing within ourselves. Once the second half came, we kind of got a rhythm toward everything.”

On if the students showing up means a lot to you:
“It does because obviously they have some type of faith in us. We love our student section and for it to be sold out on the first day, that’s crazy. I don’t even remember it being like that last year on our first day so it is actually good that they came out and supported us.

No. 13 - Cheikh Mbodj, C
On if the lost weight makes a difference for you:
“Yes, it makes it a lot easier for me to get around. It was easier for my ankle to heal.”

On if that is the biggest difference to be able to lift now and block shots:
“Like I said, losing all that weight made it easier or my ankle to heal up so I would say yes.”

On if it makes it easier to play and less of a burden:
“Definitely, it is a lot easier to execute and move on defense and try to run plays on offense too.”

Grand Valley State head coach Ric Wesley
On the Lakers first exhibition game:
"Well, a little disappointed that we weren't able to make it a little bit more competitive, but really impressed with the Bearcats and their athleticism and their ability to get to that basket. It's really hard to keep them out of that lane area. In the second half, when they started making those three's - that's a pretty lethal combination. If they shoot like that, they're awful hard to stop."

On what contributed to Cincinnati's 13-point run in the second half:
"Mick probably chewed them out at halftime. They came out and really had fire in their eyes. Shooting can be contagious like that. We probably backed our defense in a little bit tighter in hopes that they couldn't drive because in the first half they didn't shoot real well. It probably left them a little more comfortable than we would have liked and they capitalized on that."

On GVSU cutting the lead from 25 back to nine in the second half:
"We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them. I doubt that they've had time to get their whole offensive bag of tricks in there. So, we were able to use smoke and mirrors a little bit in the second half for a while, but eventually their strength and their athleticism sort of took over."