Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, John Beilein, Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, and UTEP coach Tim Floyd were all available on a conference call earlier today to discuss the upcoming games in Atlantic City as part of the Legends Classic. Michigan will take on Syracuse at 7:30 pm on Friday. Here are some notes and quotes from all the coaches on the call, starting with Jim Boeheim.
- “In the four games we’ve played, we;ve been very erratic on the offensive end of the court.” Haven’t played as well as he’d like, but the young guys are trying to find their way. Need to make strides on offense.
- “Turnovers are lower than they were last year, we’re just not putting the ball in the basket.” Has guys who can shoot it, but they aren’t relaxed yet.
- Michigan didn’t play like a young team against Bowling Green, was impressed. Played with a lot of confidence.
- On why John Beilein has never beaten him: “We’ve had better players.”
- Thinks all of his veteran players need to be more aggressive and more assertive. Need to take a bigger role, need a little more from their bench and from the four upperclassmen.
- Looking forward to the road trip, “I think we’ve been a pretty good road team over the years.” Last year, Syracuse didn’t lose a road game until their last road game.
- Hasn’t seen UTEP or Georgia Tech yet, just started going over tape of Michigan.
- Was told that he has the third-youngest team in Division-I, but is pleased with how they’ve played so far even though they haven’t faced any team close to the level of Syracuse.
- Would rather have Tim Hardaway Jr. coming off the bench, but with Manny Harris’s departure Tim has earned the right to start. Has a lot to learn but is very receptive to coaching.
- Jon Horford is still learning how to play as a big man and still has some weight to gain but has shooting ability and a real desire to get better.
- Doesn’t think he’s alone in never beating John Boeheim. “He has a tremendous program.” Every year he seems to have a great team.
- Boeheim’s teams have always been “unflappable” on the road, and that’s one of the main reasons he’s had so much success.
- “Sometimes all it takes is a guy like Hakeem Warrick to block your first jumpshot into the stands and all the sudden your guys aren’t so anxious to shoot the ball.” It’s not just a 2-3 zone because it’s so long and they stick with it so well. Also, don’t underestimate their man-to-man.
- Hopefully the Eurotrip will help the young team go on the road, and he’s looking for an increased maturity and understanding of “road mentality.”
- Has a perimeter-oriented team but some of his young post players are “coming along.” Likes the way his team is playing coming into this tournament.
- Glen Rice Jr. is a very smart player, being around the game and learning from his dad has certainly helped him. Gifted athlete, but this year he’s better prepared physically.
- Wing Iman Shumpert is a good athlete and has a chance to be one of the team’s best rebounders and has committed himself to that this year.
- Forward Brian Oliver is another guy who has improved a lot this year. Has changed positions from wing to forward and has rebounded well but still needs to mature a bit.
- Thought his team rebounded well after a tough loss to Kennesaw State on the road on November 15th.
- Transition to El Paso has been very comfortable, mostly because he spent the first 9 years of his coaching career at UTEP under Don Haskins and so much if familiar. Thinks he has a “good group.”
- Likes the backcourt, thinks he has one of the better backcourts in the country. Randy Culpepper was player of the year in Conference USA a year ago and is off to a great start, averaging 21 points per game. Also like their 6-7 point guard Julyan Stone, who will probably end his career as the all-time assist leader at UTEP.
- Rebounding has been an issue this year and will be an issue in New Jersey.
- Turnover numbers are a little distorted because a bunch came in the last five minutes of the team’s game against Western Carolina. Has been able to live with the TO’s so far this season.
- Pacific, UTEP’s one loss, is a good team, could be like a St. Mary’s or Northern Iowa.