Paul Hewitt spoke to media during his regularly scheduled pregame (GT plays Albany tomorrow at Alexander Memorial Coliseum) news conference/meeting. The hoops Jakcets, of course, lost last night to Kennesaw State 80-63 to fall to 1-1 on the young year. I'll have an actual story in Wednesday's paper and online in the morning, but here are quotes from the meeting:
(On slow start vs. Kennesaw State): We really shot ourselves in the foot. We weren’t uncalibrated, decalibrated, whatever, we shot ourselves in the foot. The kid (Spencer) Dixon, three of his five 3s came on situations when we had our hands down. Early in the game, we made him drive to the basket and tied him up for a jump-ball. That was the plan all game: make him be a 2-point scorer. He had three 3s in the second half; hand down. They were real killers.
(On what the immaturity that he discussed Monday night was) Some of the breakdowns have come with guys who have played a number of games here. A number of minutes. Some of our best possessions came when Jason (Morris) and Daniel (Miller) were just swinging the ball side-to-side and forcing the defense to move instead of making one pass and driving into a bunch of traffic.
(On getting beeter mental toughness/better effort from his team): How do you get them to get there? That’s a good question.
There’s nothing magical. You’ve got to watch the tape and you’ve just got to make sure that guys understand that they’re held accountable for things. There’s no secret formula.
(On playing time being a punishiment tool): That’s what it will probably end up being. When it starts to become drastic and all that? I don’t know. There were some points yesterday where we tried to send some messages and things that I see us keep doing. Or that one-hand pass; we talk about that ad nausea. And we did it again. So the reaction now is that you’re coming out of the game.
(On not believing last night was the start of a trend): It’s disappointing is what it is. It’s early in the year. If we play to our capabilities, this will be a distant memory and then a nice win. One of the things that I try to do is keep these early-season games in perspective.
What you can’t do is make these games bigger than they are, but you can definitely make the details important. We tell you ‘Don’t throw a one-handed pass,’ then don’t throw a one-handed pass. If we tell you, ‘Pay attention to a scouting report, this guy does this, this is what we’ve got to take away,’ those are the things you make huge. Sometimes we make way, way, way too much of early-season results. I think we should make a bigger deal—at least for me and my staff and my players—of the details that we’re supposed to be executing.
(On positives he saw off the game tape): I hate to say it, but there’s really nothing new. When we move the ball, we’re good offensively. When we really get after people defensively, we’re long and we can bother you. But when we come down with one pass and jack up a 3 with a guy in our face, or if we see that the help defense is already outside of the paint and we decide to try to drive anyway and we throw a ball off the side of the backboard, should we really have to tell you that? You see the guy there already. Swing the ball.
And the kid, No. 5 getting off the way he did (Spencer Dixon, who had 27 points and three 3s), that really bothered me because we spent a lot of time talking about him.
(On whether team has enough mental toughness): We could be mentally tougher. Again, carry out your duties. Understand what your job is on a given possession is at the moment. Just do it. If it’s boxing out, box out. If it’s contesting a 3, contest a 3. If it’s running the floor hard just to drag the defense down the floor, or if it’s just talking.
(On is part of the attention to detail on being better about individual preparation instead of just teamwide preparation?) That’s a (heck) of a point. That’s a (heck) of a point. We had to point out something to them the other day before the Charleston game about how you go about getting ready for a game.
(On who he sees as leaders on the team): Mfon always tries to lead. I definitely appreciate that about him. Brian is growing up, he’s definitely going in the right direction.
(On second-guessing pressing defensively late in the game): I knew it, when I was on the bus ride home. I said, we should’ve gone after them. But you kind of get teased. You get it to seven and then you get it to five and then you just start thinking to yourself, ‘Let’s just play solid here. Let’s not give up an easy basket and kind of give them any air at all.’ But then they come down and hit a 3 or they hit a 2 and then another 3. That’s one area where I second-guessed myself, that we should’ve pressed more.