Bruce Pearl Previews NC State/Murray State

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Auburn Einstein Auburn Einstein 5 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #58346

    Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl

    Opening statement…
    “It’s a huge opportunity week for us playing these two teams. NC State and Murray State, combined, are 17-2. They’re both really good teams. NC State is deep. Their coach has done a great job of rebuilding this roster. If you read about Kevin [Keatts] and his career, he spent some time at Hargrave Military Academy and under Coach Pitino. He’s had great success everywhere he’s been. He kind of equated having guys for a year, or sometimes two, at Hargrave and is able to put them together very quickly. He’s done a great job with this group. They’re ninth in the nation in scoring, fourth in field goal percentages and they’ve led the first half of every game. The only game they lost was at Wisconsin when they lead for about 30-plus minutes, so they’re good. They’re hard to guard. They shoot the 3-ball well. They’re aggressive defensively, and they’ll extend, disrupt and turn you over. It’s going to be a really good game. That’s exactly why we scheduled it. We want to be able to go to an ACC team. We want to be able to go to Tobacco road. They’re traditionally good teams. Then we have Murray State on Saturday. Again, we try to find teams that win their league. In the OVC, it’s Belmont or Murray State. We played UNC Asheville because they won their league the year before. Those are the kinds of teams we look for in non-conference, so as a result, Saturday will be a great challenge at home before Christmas break.”

    On conditioning…
    “I think our conditioning is good. For example, yesterday we ended up having a later practice to give us time to prepare for NC State because the players had Sunday off. How hard should we go? When we play Wednesday and Saturday and last Saturday, that’s three games in a seven-day period. Do you have contact? Well, we were able to have contact and we were able to hit because we have a few more healthy bodies. Earlier in the season, we weren’t able to because we didn’t have the depth to do so. I think our conditioning is good. It may seem like a no-brainer, but when you have Jared Harper play 41 [minutes] or Bryce Brown play 39 and have Chuma Okeke play 35 or so, and then you have some guys playing seven, 12, 15, 20, the team’s conditioning is not the same. Therefore, at times in practice, you might give the guys who play heavier minutes less repetitions and give the guys who don’t play as much more. That way you can balance conditioning. Usually your best conditioned players are the ones that play heavier minutes because they have to be.”

    On with the season being two weeks longer if there are more off days…
    “The way they do it is really good. They give us more time in the pre-season which has been great. I’m old enough to remember the hard October 15th date. I was never big on double-sessions, but you had to hurry up and get everything in. The quality of basketball, the quality of player development, it’s the reason why there was a very long window, let’s say 10 years ago, where the Europeans were better than us in terms of training the professional basketball players. Right now, if there’s 60 guys in the two rounds of the NBA Draft, you might see 15-20 foreign kids, maybe. Back in the day, you saw half of the draft. The fact that the NCAA has allowed us to work with the players in the summertime, allowed us to get an earlier start, but not as many days in a row, it’s been really good. In season, we’ve been six on and one off – as far as the players are concerned.”

    On if he wants to see more scoring from players other than Jared Harper and Bryce Brown…
    “It’s not so much about scoring as it is about productivity. I don’t mind guys going 1-for-2, 2-for-4 or 3-for-5, it’s when you get to where you aren’t shooting a great percentage coming off of the bench or your assist-turnover ratio isn’t positive. When I talk about contribution, I’m not just talking about scoring. I’m talking about how guys don’t need to score to play well. They think they need to score well to stay out there, sometimes, but they don’t. They rebound, defend and we keep plus/minus charts. They don’t need to score out there to stay out there. It’s not just about a scoring column.”

    On if he feels good about the guys doing well with the contributions recently…
    “It’s mixed results. The other thing that happens, when you’re playing better opponents, everyone is challenged. For example, NC State has a couple of terrific players, but they don’t have any bad players. They don’t have anyone that you can help off of. That’s the challenge when you play against a better team. As a result, everyone is going to be guarded by a pretty good player. Therefore, when you play the best teams on your schedule, usually your best players need to play well to win, because everyone is challenged.”

    On if he thinks this will be a good opportunity to represent the SEC…
    “If you look at the road wins in the league, there aren’t that many great road wins in the league. There’s some great neutral-site wins. This is a real opportunity for us, if we can take advantage of it. We’ll have to play our best game. I would say Duke has been our best opponent that we’ve played, no criticism of anyone else, but I would say that NC State will be next and Murray State would be close behind them. That’s why I sat down here and said how great of an opportunity this week is.”

    On how the UAB game can be beneficial moving forward…
    “It was a great win. Obviously, we demonstrated some resiliency. I thought we played great defense in the first half. Our offense was much better in the second half, but our defense wasn’t as good. We weren’t able to put two halves together on both sides of the ball. Looking back on it, UAB played great and really hard. They made nine threes, and they make on average five. I’d say four or five of them were end of the shot clock, really hard, contested shots that they made. Typically, when you make those kinds of shots, those are the games that you win or can pull off. We were able to withstand it. It was a great win and a great environment that we worked really hard to develop.”

    On how important it is to establish the 10-man rotation before SEC play…
    “I think it’s always going to be a work in progress. I think the rotation could be dictated, a little bit, by the matchups. That’s typically not the way I’ve operated. The reason I am operating that way is because of our personnel. For example, Horace [Spencer], against the bigger, stronger and more physical team, needs to be on the floor. So if we play a team with four guards and one big, well then he may not be on the floor that much in that game. That’s no fault of his own as it would be on the matchup. I think you’ll still see fluctuation throughout the year and that will be based on the opponent. Certainly, we want to get more comfortable with it. It will evolve throughout the year though. I’ve always been consistent with the lineups. I’d like to be consistent with the minutes. I think that playing time is earned over a long period of time. Playing time is like getting their report cards in a couple of days. Playing time is based on how I know who’s worked hardest in the gym, who’s worked hardest in the weight room, who’s coming in for extra shots. I have the statistical analytics. I have my own feel and pulse about who’s playing and what that’s all about. I like the players to be able to feel like they’re earning what they’re going to get. If they aren’t getting as much as they want, that’s because someone else is putting themselves in the position to get more than they’re getting. It’s not just if they make a shot or how hot they’re playing. I don’t want the guys to feel like they have to play better to stay on the court. That’s not a good place to be.”

    On how Danjel Purifoy played on Saturday…
    “It was a lot to be able to come in and be in a one-position game and back and forth like it was. I thought he handled it fine.”

     

    @AuburnEinstein

You must to reply to this topic.

Login

Register | Lost your password?