Coach Neal Quotes
Jamestown Exhibition – November 6
“Well, we got a lot done tonight and I was happy with the outcome. We got a lot done and we got a little better defensively in the second half and held them to twenty points. It was a good test for us. They were a small team, but it was good to have an ex-player come down and coach the team that we played against tonight. We had a lot fun with that. I’m really happy with our guys, we got a lot of guys in. We got a lot of guys that got to play some minutes when it counted and that is what we needed. So, very pleased about tonight. We can do some things better. We didn’t shoot the ball very well. We went 5-17 from the three-point line, but I think that’s going to come. Overall, it was a good effort and now we need to gear up for Saturday and I’m excited really excited about the opener.”
Cullen Neal being the fifth starter. Did you start him because he fit the mold of the player that could come in and shoot?
“No, to be honest with you, I met with my staff and he’s earned it. He has been through a lot. He lost twenty-two pounds, fought back, and has played at a high-level. So, he deserved it and he was the next guy in. He played pretty well tonight and I don’t know what we’ll do, but right now it’s kind of up in the air, but we’ll see what happens. But, I feel comfortable starting any of those guys. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal that we need to decide right now.”
When you say any of those guys, do you mean those four?
“Yeah, Arthur, DD. With two exhibition games, you can only have the line-up change twice and I’m not going to take Kendall and Hugh out of it. It was a situation where it was Cullen’s turn and that’s what the staff decided on and he played pretty well. Pancake played well. I thought all those guys played well. Those guys are going to play minutes this year. They don’t know where they’re going to come or what they’re going to do, but that’s why they’re here, and I think all of them are going to have great careers here.”
Is tonight’s line-up a line-up that we can expect to see?
“Well it’s going to be pretty typical because those four guys aren’t going to go out of it. So, the only one that will fluctuate is that fifth spot. Once I start someone the first game, depending on how they play, it is all performance based. But, those other four guys will start every game unless somebody is hurt and then we’ll see what happens. You have to remember last year we started Demetrius Walker all the way to Saint Thomas and at the end of the year he’s no-longer on our team. So you just don’t know what is going to happen. It is a long journey.”
On getting what they wanted to accomplish before the regular-season opener…
“I definitely think I did. I think we did as a team, too. For me, it was more conditioning-wise. Just making some moves down low. Just really going up against somebody besides the guys on our team. I think, definitely as a team, we took steps and kind of looking a different rotations and stuff like that. And I think it just helped our defense a ton.”
On what the team has taken away after two exhibitions…
“It’s tough to say what we’ve taken away. There’s a lot of things we have got to work on. I think, tonight, something that really impressed me was when the starters came out and we went to the bench, we were able to finish a team. And last year, you kind of saw that at a lot of times, we’re struggling to get that going and be able to just put teams away after the starters went down. Whoever we’re playing, just to see that we’re capable of that, I think that shows a lot for the team. But overall, I think it proved a lot: we’re a good team. We’re going to make a lot of moves this year, but we got a lot of room to improve.”
On what rooms of improvement …
“I think getting deeper post position. Tonight’s emphasis for me was definitely running the floor. That was something I really worked on tonight. Last game, definitely, on a personal note was just rebound. Just little things like that, going into the games just to get the rhythm right. And obviously, my rebounding kind of carried over this game, so that helped. It’s just little things that you kind of want to work on to get sharpened up for this year.”
On the pace of the game …
“We’re trying to play a bit faster, so it is important that we get down there and set up good post position, because that is the first option in our offense, is to throw it inside early. And before the defense gets set, it’s hard to double team if we run the floor well.”
On his performance …
“It was alright, yeah. I have things to work on individual and as a team. It wasn’t really until the end that we started to blow them away. It’ll be a work in progress like it always is. I mean it’s early on in the season, but I think we’ll get there.”
On holding Jamestown scoreless for the last 9:07 of the game …
“There was a little of that. No too much. Staying positive. We did have that goal, of holding them under 60 [points], and we did that. I think it was really up to us to lock up. We had to chase them off the three-point line and we didn’t do a very good job of that in the first half -- they shot 40 threes. And once we were able to that, it really took away a large portion of their offense.”