UC-Bellarmine Postgame Quotes

Nov. 5, 2012

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Bellarmine at Cincinnati
Fifth Third Arena
Nov. 5, 2012
Postgame Quotes

UC head coach Mick Cronin
Opening Statement:
“First of all I want to thank our students again. I was informed that our student section is sold out for all tickets that have been released for the month of November. It’s tremendous to have a cheering section for exhibition games. It is new to us and our players deserve it. Hopefully, we rewarded those who came tonight with our effort.

“Our goal for the game was to play as humble as Bellarmine does. They lost some players and they got rattled tonight. For the last two years, they have been the best DII team in the country because of their coaching, their hustle. They aren’t above (doing) little things that win games – screening, cutting, help defense, and taking charges. Our goal was to make sure they did not do the little things better than us. If we commit to playing with toughness and doing the little things, we can have a special season with the group that we have.

“There are a lot of things that we need to improve. We don’t box out very well, but I was really pleased with our effort. We had tremendous effort. I have to be honest with you guys, before the game, Chuck Machock asked me how’s practice. I said it is the same every day. It is great. Guys make mistakes, I have my moments, but everyone on our team listens and plays hard.”

On staying focused:
“You have to smother teams with defense. Like I said, they got rattled. A lot of it goes to that. Bellarmine has a lot of new players this year; much younger than they’ve been the last two years. We stayed focused, which was my challenge to the team at halftime. The last few years in games where we’ve gotten up 20, we win by 15 instead of winning by 40. We continue to try and raise the expectation level, especially this year with the older guys on this team. I was pleased with the way we came out of the locker room. I’m trying to change our personality to not just be happy when we get ahead and don’t get sloppy, (but to) stay focused.”

On the fast start to the second half:
“I didn’t even know we had a 19-0 run. I looked up and it was 65-24 and said, ‘wow.’ I didn’t expect that. We have three really good guards that can really play. And Titus, like I tried to tell everybody, is extremely talented. When you have four guys that can make shots, beat their man and pass the ball, you are tough to defend. Especially Bellarmine has some younger guys out there. I was really pleased with our focused because we were up 20. Especially Cashmere Wright because he has been a part of that getting up 20 and turning the ball over, being sloppy and not executing on offense. I was extremely happy with that.”

On the play of Jeremiah Davis:
“He didn’t get to play a lot in the first half. Jeremiah never struggles because of effort. He is an interesting guy for us. We’ve taken him off the point in practice. It’s only Cash and GeLawn, and if one of those guys is out, JaQuon.  We are trying to turn him into SK to make shots, play with great strength because he’s a big guard. He’s strong. He’s a good passer, but at times, he plays too fast. When he plays too fast, he struggles. I was really happy with him. After he didn’t get minutes in the last exhibition, he could have hung his head, but he was the first guy to practice every day and he had the best attitude. He had the best practices of the year this last week. So, I was happy for him. As a coach, I can tell my team, ‘see what happens when a guy doesn’t play, doesn’t pout, comes to practice and tries to get better.’  It’s like Shaquille Thomas. He’s got great talent, but he’s still learning what to do. That’s what he has to do. He’s on a really good team. It’s hard to get minutes. You have to make the most of them, and get back in practice and get better. You can get better in our practice because you are playing against really good players.”

On playing with David Nyarsuk:
“It’s an adjustment trying to get guys to throw lobs. We had another lob that should have been a dunk to Shaq Thomas, but I think Ge’Lawn really under threw it. It’s something we practice, and we will continue to practice it. It’s a trust level. Kelvin had a really good catch in the first half.  You don’t have to dunk it. You just have to catch it and lay it in. It’s an adjustment. He’s very effective in the minutes that he played.”

On where the team is after the exhibition season:
“Yeah, I like where we are. There are areas we have to improve. Obviously, the waters get a lot deeper the further the season goes along. The season is going to open on Friday (nationally) and there are some teams that are ranked that play each other. Somebody is going to lose and their fans are going to get all undone. It means absolutely nothing. You have to get ready for January. You have to win games along the way because you are trying to build a resume along the way. You have to get better.  In my opinion, there are two seasons. It is harder to win games when January 1st rolls around so you have to make sure you are always getting better.”

UC Player Quotes

#1 - Cashmere Wright, G
On if the team is playing more like Coach Cronin envisioned:
“Yeah, it’s just like we talked about last time, it takes a lot of time to adjust and everybody getting on the same page.  We understand exactly what he wants. At first we were just out there moving the ball trying to find our spacing, but now we seem to actually have found our identity and know what we are doing.”

On being ready to start the season:
“No, we will be ready come Sunday.”

On being excited to show the offense because he wanted it to be perfect and whether he feels better about it now:
“Yeah, I feel a little more comfortable, because even after the first game I was still kind of skeptical about the whole situation knowing that we still had to get better. I see that we are making a lot of steps at being a better team.”

On seeing the results of tonight coming based on practice this week:
“I think Coach (Cronin) made us scared, he told us that the team we were playing only lost seven games in the last two years.  He told us that if we don’t play, we are going to go out there and get embarrassed and all the student sections being sold out all that will stop.  You kind of don’t have a choice, if you like what’s going on around the atmosphere you have got to keep playing.”

On UC’s defense holding Bellarmine to 32 percent shooting:                              
“We did really well. Everybody was talking on defense, knowing their assignments, and playing to their scout report.”

On the return of Justin Jackson and what he will bring:
“Energy. Everybody knows what Justin brings you know he brings the energy, the extra shot blocker, the extra big man that we need and he helps out when our four and three man get tired.”

On what it’s like throwing an alley-oop pass to David Nyarsuk:
“I think it’s quite easy.  I mean, honestly, all you have to do is throw it by the rim.  You can’t misplace him, unless you just throw the ball way off, like he is too big to actually miss and throw the ball over.”

On Jeremiah Davis:
“That’s my roommate. I preach to him every day.  The whole problem with him was his confidence. It fluctuates from day to day.  I tell him you have to be more consistent in your confidence level. You have to believe in yourself more than the coach believes in you. That you can go out here and do what he expects out of you.  That’s all that it was about, he just believed that he could make those shots and he stepped up and made them. I’ve been through the times when you just doubt yourself and you are just playing like just listen to the coach but you aren’t actually playing you’re playing yourself.”

#2 - Titus Rubles, F
On the team’s start to the second half:
“We never got comfortable. It’s just like coach told us, to come out like it’s 0-0. We have to work on that because we won’t be playing against teams like that come the start of the season. We will be playing against better teams, so we always have to come out like it’s 0-0 in the second half.”

On coming out more aggressive the second half:
“Well Coach (Cronin) drew up a play for me because he said my offense wasn’t really there in the first half, so I guess he wanted to get me a layup to get me going.  When you score, you just have to see it go in to get comfortable.”

On his nerves being more settled tonight:
“Yeah, I knew what to expect a little more. You always have little jitters before every game, but you are never really nervous when the tipoff comes.”

On his rebounding:
“Well, I actually started rebounding because in high school I couldn’t score, so I was like let me start rebounding to get some extra points.  Ever since then I’ve just had a knack for the ball.  Rebounding is not a talent. Anybody can do it if you want to. You’ve got to have to want to rebound.”

Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport:
“This is a tremendous game situation. You can’t stimulate this in practice, that’s for sure.  The biggest letdown is that we obviously had a difficult time offensively tonight. So you say, ‘Well coach, why?’ We pose the question why did we have such a difficult time offensively. And it was well we didn’t play hard enough, we didn’t cut hard enough? No. We went on a 10-2 run in the second half because we got stops and we got the game into the open court where we can expose what we do best. That’s pass the ball and move the ball. We go on a 10-2 run. But when you have to go against somebody’s set defense every single possession and they’re bigger and stronger in all five spots, you can’t score. I mean it’s what you run. But you look at the numbers. They had 42 points in the paint. We had 14. They get 20 off of turnovers. We get eight. They get 13 second-chance (points), which is a flawed stat because they scored at such a high rate. They get 19 fast-break points. We get zero.  Again, you’re going against they’re set. You have no chance.”

On being outrebounded in the second half one:
“That’s a false stat. They shot 51 percent. They only missed 11 shots in the second half and they had two offensive rebounds. So we got nine defensive rebounds in the second half.”

On a bright spot for the Knights:
“Well, it’s not going to be shooting. We shot 52 percent from the foul line. We had 15 offensive rebounds, but we shot 32 percent. We got 15 offensive rebounds, well we 36 shots. We drew some charges in the second half. I think the scary thing to me is that we have the tendency to have great practices, tempo is great. There are a lot of moving parts. We’ve got eight new guys. Here’s where the challenge is: you have individual players who say, ‘Okay, Coach, I can really rebound the ball.’ We have charted every rebound in 17 practices. We’ve never had double-figures in practice. So, if I wanted to play, I would go rebound the ball like a wild man, knowing that’s going to be our Achilles’ heel. Last year, we took 115 less shots than our opponent. We made 145 more. That’s difference of 260. Well, tonight we’re 10 less and we make 17 less field goals. And we get eight more field goals than them. We leave points out there. It’s a tough night against a really good team and it’s going to get much tougher.”