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February 12, 2013Opening statement from Alan Major
Looking to get back on track this week, obviously a tough loss at Temple. I thought the kids fought hard, Temple's a place where a lot of people haven't gone in and won, and we were down by double figure multiple time and fought back to tie it. I was impressed by their grit down the stretch.
Another tough one Saturday, VCU's a tremendous basketball team. I think our guys are starting to understand, and I sometimes forget, our age. I'll talk to them like their older than they are, but they're starting to understand that when we're really hooked up, we can play with a lot of people. They're also starting to understand in a league like this, where it's such a fine line conference, that it's very important to stay on your path throughout the course of a game.
Q: In these next few games, how do you get your team to take it to the next level?
Alan Major: We've got wonderful opportunities this week with high level opponents. I think Saint Louis, if they're not already in [to the tournament], then they should be knocking on the door. And Butler at Hinkle Field House is a great environment with a great team.
Q: At any of you prior coaching positions, did you ever have a similar situation as you do going up against Butler and Saint Louis?
Major: In the Big Ten every night was like it. Ohio State is probably the closest comparison just because every night. We have a very similar stretch here, I was just talking to Mike Thorne a minute ago, said if we throw you out there Wednesday night, and it's going to be physical, just throw a smile on your face and enjoy it.
Q: How has Terrence Williams improved his game recently, he's hitting his jumpers and going to the rim; how has his performance helped the team?
Major: I'm happy for T, when guys hit a rough patch, that's all part of being a college basketball player. I stand next to him in practice every day and realize how much he's grown over the past year when he came to Charlotte, much smaller and less talkative. He's still just a sophomore; I catch myself sometimes realizing how young he is, and how much he's grown in just a year and a half.
Q: You've had to tighten up the rotation with injuries and suspension; can you talk about how the guys have to step up?
Major: Guys like Willie [Clayton] and Darion [Clark] haven't seemed to hit the wall that freshman tend to. I go down to practice and see Willie bouncing around like its back in October; they haven't seemed to show any signs of wear and tear. Our recent adjustments involve Ivan [Benkovic] in a perimeter standpoint, and Mike [Thorne] from a post standpoint, in a chance to get in there and help us out more. Does that make us younger in age? Yeah, but the experience they get will be valuable down the stretch.
Q: Coach Stevens talked about how his point guard Rotnei Clarke has calmed his team down at times, have you talked to Pierria Henry at all about the same, not causing unnecessary turnovers, things of that nature?
Major: Yeah, that's all part of his learning process too. He's been watching more film, and with [Rotnie] Clark being a fifth year guy who's been through the ropes like he has, that's what they bring you. The unfortunate thing is JT [Thompson] before his injury brought us that, you can't put a price on the battles that those guys have been through. Even when those guys aren't putting the ball in the hoop, their experience helps. He's clearly a target for us, because his range starts when he steps into the building.
Q: With the loss of DeMario Mayfield and J.T. Thompson, does Chris Braswell become the one that needs to step up more?
Major: Yeah, we've got to find more creative ways to get him catches on different parts of the court. I think every guy out there knows they need to step their game up, and that may not mean scoring for others, that may mean improvement in other aspects of the game. In Braswell's case, yea he may need to get a couple more buckets and opportunities than he's been getting, that's a reality that's very true.
Q: Do you think the guys are prepared for tournament action [Atlantic 10]?
Major: Yeah, I think so and you know there will be guys getting thrown into the mix because of our new rotation that haven't been used to the minutes they'll see, but by the tournament they should be ready heading to the conference tournament.