Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Coaches from around the conference, including Miami Head Coach Jim Larranaga, spoke to the media about the state's of their respective teams, as well as looking ahead to this week's games.
Coach Larranaga called the win of North Carolina "substantial" and praised Kenny Kadji's play, especially defensively. He was pleased about last night's win over Maryland and stressed how physical the game was played by both teams.
On Trey McKinney Jones:
"Trey is a guy who flies under the radar, but shoots the ball well, passes, and defends. He is vital cog on what we do on offense and defense."
On the low score of last night's game:
"You don't shoot the ball well every night. We had some good open looks and so did Maryland. Some nights that just happens. In the ACC there are a lot of talented players but you can't shoot well every night."
On Shane Larkin and his dad:
"Barry and Lisa Larkin are the perfect fans. They come to every game and cheer like crazy, and don't coach. I had the highest of expectations for Shane when we recruited him. I expected him to become a great college player."
On having a senior dominated team:
"Experience is always a factor. We are an older, stronger team then we were last year. These guys worked hard in the off season. The players understand what it takes to be successful, but they also understand a young team can be successful if they work hard."
On the crowd last night:
"College basketball is really great because of the enthusiasm of the fans. Last night we had a tremendous crowd."
On Kenny Kadji:
"The area he has really improved is defensive rebounding. He gives us inside-outside scoring as well. Julian's presence allows Kenny to roam the perimeter, and play the 4."
Notes from around the conference:
- Jeff Bzdelik, of Wake Forest, talked about how CJ Harris' leadership, and how he has guided and mentored the young players, and called Harris a "gym rat." He also spoke of how Harris was quiet but driven, and how when he spoke "everyone listens." Bzdelik illustrated the point by giving an example where Harris literally coached young players during a recent practice.
- James Johnson, Virginia Tech's head coach, said he team was happy to get their first ACC win over Georgia Tech, but a lot of work remained. He spoke of the team being banged up and mentioned that F Marshall Wood was still out indefinitely. Robert Brown who hit two clutch baskets in the OT win, was praised for his toughness, coming off of an illness.
- Tony Bennett, and Virginia, have a week to prepare for this Saturday's game against FSU. There is no update as of yet on the health of F Darion Atkins. Bennett was hoping the rest would allow Atkins to return to his "high flying" style, especially on defense. In regards to the team's recent offensive struggles, the UVA coach felt the team was taking quality shots, but needed to cut down turnovers.
- Mark Gottfried, NC State's head coach, spoke about looking ahead to this Wednesday's game at Maryland. Gottfried said that "Saturday (win over Duke) was fun, but it was only one game." He also spoke about how his experienced team would not get caught up in the hype of the win. On whether we would ever see another undefeated squad in the NCAA, "it would be awful tough, there's a lot more parity."
- Roy Williams, of North Carolina mentioned that having a bye this week, would be helpful to get some players healthy, but disappointing because of how well they played this weekend against Florida State. He hoped to get Leslie McDonald back for the Maryland game. A key to the win over FSU, was "a greater sense of urgency" and a better emphasis on rebounding.
Mark Turgeon, of Maryland looked ahead to the match-up with NC State but gave Miami credit for great defense in last night's game. He gave his team credit for playing hard, but felt shot selection could be improved. Turgeon said what makes Miami dangerous is "they are old, with a 6th year and 5th year seniors" as well as "smart." Turgeon singled out the PG and 4 spots as areas that needed to improve.
I got a chance to personally ask Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon about Shane Larkin and the PG play of his own team, and here's what he said.:
"He (Larkin) is great on balls screens, makes the players around him better, and is a great athlete. He didn't score that much last night, but had 7 assists and no turnovers. There are a lot of things that make him great."
On his own PGs improving, He mentioned "just continuing watch film and work with his young players in practice."
- Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech's head coach gave Virginia Tech credit and praised Erick Green for "holding them together" when his team made a run. On playing in Cameron Indoor, this week against Duke, "In this league, you better respect everyone you play. But we want to get to a point where everyone respects us." Gregory also praised the play of senior PG Mfon Udofia, but he said "we still need him to do more."
- Leonard Hamilton, of Florida State spoke of UNC's determination, and felt that the key in the loss was "that got all the 50/50 plays, but hoped his team would learn from it." On Okaro White, Hamilton said he was providing leadership, but "sometimes it is hard to lead when you have 7 first year players, but he is stepping his game up." On Ian Miller's health, "Ian did not practice at all this week, as he was getting healthy he got stepped on (his foot) by a teammate in practice and irritated it. It's not a fracture. Hopefully we can rest him and get him prepared as we get ready to face Virginia."
- Mike Krzyzewski, Duke's legendary skipper, spoke of Ryan Kelly's absence. "You can not ask someone to do what he does. The team has to change its' personality. Trying to chase what he had, we won't be able to do that. Hopefully he will be able to come back at some time, and we will recapture it." On Rasheed Sulaiman, "Sometimes when a young player doesn't see the ball go in, it affects other aspects of his game. In the last 5 games, he is something like 9-40. The big thing for him is finishing. We need to keep working with him." Finally on Seth Curry's health, "He's been tremendous. For him to have played in all of our games except one is remarkable. Because he doesn't practice except for limited time on certain days, it affects continuity. Our guys have done a great job. Seth's been terrific though and I am very proud of him."
- Brad Brownell, of Clemson was very happy with the win over Virginia, and gave praise to Milton Jennings and Devin Booker for their leadership and play. On opening against FSU, Duke, and Virginia, "Your not going to get big numbers, against those teams. But you still need to execute. You need to make adjustments. In terms of younger players, it's difficult. You revert back to old habits and put your head down and try to make a play."
- Steve Donahue, of Boston College thought his team played very well this week against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest as was pleased with their progress. He noted that C Dennis Clifford has not practiced since September, and that they have really missed his presence. On playing Miami this week, "They have great size across the board, they are going to try and wear down with their physicality. We need to space the floor and do the things we do well."
I got a chance to ask Coach Donahue about star forward Ryan Anderson's game and this is what he said,
"He really knows how to get open, and he has a great knack for finishing around them rim. There are a lot of understated things he does.He has a great ability to get rebounds in traffic. He's not the tallest guy, but he knows how to use his body against bigger players."
Be sure to stay tuned as we bring you updates through out the season. The ACC Coaches Teleconference takes places every Monday morning.