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Postgame Quotes
Virginia 92, Howard 53

Virginia Head Coach Dave Leitao

Opening Statement:
“These games are somewhat more difficult to play than when you play teams on paper because, it becomes much more a battle of playing against yourself sometimes. That’s no disrespect to Howard or anybody else. It is hard to control human emotions or mindsets when [the Virginia players] look at the score and they know [the opponents] might be doing a little better. You can’t mentally take your foot off the gas pedal. As a result of that we started a little slow today and played a bit more back on our heels than I would have liked. Fortunately, we rotated enough guys in and picked up the pace in the second half to stretch the margin out and play a little better, especially on the defensive end. All around you put this one in the bank as a learning experience as you should and get ready to get on the road and play an important game on Saturday.”

On rotating in many different players:
“We tried different combinations to see who was ready to do what we wanted to do. We were a step slow as much mentally as we were physically. I was just trying to give guys early looks to see who and what guys would play better together or even individually.”

On Calvin Baker bringing energy to the game:
“Credit to Calvin for that. In less than half a game he had really good numbers. Eleven points and five assists without turning the ball over and led us with eight rebounds. He’s proven to be solid and as a result he is earning more and more time and more and more respect from his teammates and from the coaches.”

Have you figured out a combination of players that works?
“No, not particularly. Obviously when Sean is out there we are pretty good. Calvin [Baker] as a back court member along with Jeff [Jones], looks like that would be a pretty good rotation. Knowing that you have Sammy [Zeglinski] and or Mustapha [Farrakhan] to go to. It looks like you can get, over time, a healthy enough back court to give you some pretty good options. We’re still working on the front court. We’re going to distribute minutes day-by-day or game-by-game. Obviously, Mo [Mamadi Diane] is going to be out there, he has over two years, and Adrian [Joseph] is. Different situations will dictate different things. We’re still working on it.”

On the learning curve with new players:
“There is more time needed to experiment with different lineups and those kind of things. And that’s what a day like today would be for. Although you can’t be experimenting for too, too long because you’ve got some really difficult days ahead. You’ve got to play people and play through some things and some decisions are going to have to be made. But that’s what we’ve been trying to do in practice. We are a little slowed probably by a couple weeks because of injuries. And guys like Mike [Scott]; I haven’t had a good look at him yet. Today was a good day to look at Mike and other guys who may have been slowed by certain things.”

Junior forward Mamadi Diane

On the game overall:
“We didn’t play as well as we should have, but we’re 2-0, so we’re looking ahead. I think it was our whole mindset that was sloppy in the first half. It carried over and we didn’t have good transitions or good defense at all. You can see when we came out in the second half, everybody’s emphasis was on the defensive end.”

On the new team chemistry:
“The last two years, we’ve had pretty much all of the same teammates, but this year we’ve got a lot of new teammates. It’s a different experience in the game than in practice, so everybody’s trying to get a feel for each other.”

On his goals:
“I want to elevate my game and try to elevate the game of my teammates. I don’t think I’ll be filling in (J.R.’s) role, but I’m just trying to go out there and play to the best of my ability.”

Freshman guard Jeff Jones

On teammate Mike Scott:
“It was good seeing Mike out there because he’s been injured for awhile. I’ve been waiting for this ever since he got injured the first time, so I know he’s capable of doing all the things he did out there today. What he’s missing is his explosiveness. He can really jump. From what I saw tonight, he’s probably about 80% because I’ve seen him jump a good ways over the rim. But he did really well out there.”

On team chemistry:
“In practice, we try to do different combinations with different players and everybody gels with everybody really well. So when we’re out there, it’s just a matter of slowing the pace down, running the plays, executing well, and doing those things right.”

On Arizona:
“It’s definitely going to be a big game. We beat them here last year, so they’ll take it personally. It’s our first road trip so it’s going to test us and tell us where we’re at right now. We’ve got to be mentally tough and just play hard every single second.”

Senior guard Sean Singletary

On the play today:
“I started off a little slow today, but it’s not as tough for me because I’ve been through a lot. I know that when you’re playing a team with a lot of talent, especially at home, you’re going to have to step it up. You can’t give them any confidence. We gave them confidence in the first half. It was a blowout victory, but in the first half, it was too close. But in the second half, we pulled it together. We were upset that we didn’t take care of our business in the first half, but we definitely turned it around and were able to get the win.”

On team performance:
“To be a great team, you always have to play at a great level. We didn’t do that tonight. We played at a high level only some of the time. But when you’re playing a good team on the road all the way across the country, you have to play at a high level all of the time.

On the freshmen:
“They’re young and they’ve got to learn, so we have to take care of them too.”

Freshman forward Mike Scott

On minutes:
“I have practiced only two practices. Going into the game Sunday, I knew that I wasn’t going to get a lot of minutes. I stay humble, it’s all about the team. I was okay with that.”

On his game:
“Rebounding is definitely my ticket. I have a mentality that I want to get all the rebounds: offensive and defensive. I’m a defensive player, I can rebound, and I can run and dunk. That’s what I do. I feel very confident and ready to go to Arizona. I’m looking forward to the collegiate atmosphere on the road because I’ve never been in it.”

On the difference between high school and college basketball:
“In high school, everyone is Lebron James and Kobe. You come in to college and you become a role-player. You’re not the superstar. You’ve just got to build into the team.”

Howard Coach, Gil Jackson

“I felt we could play with UVa for a while, but I expected it to be a tough game. They are an ACC team. Dave does a great job and Singletary’s a great player. He’s going to make guys around him better. I was watching them shoot the ball and when they get their feet set they score.”

“I’m just trying to get our team to get better. I wasn’t really thinking a whole lot, just that we got to get better. Here, we were trying to execute a game plan. To control the tempo of the game, but we couldn’t do that. They rebounded. I couldn’t tell them how ferocious Ryan Pettinella is. Our guys don’t know, because they don’t practice like that. I’m trying to get their attention, and hopefully we’ll get a little bit better.”

“It was a better game than Duquesne but still we got hammered on the glass and we have a lot of work to do; A lot of work to do. I’m trying to build a program, so when little things happen there’s a consequence. These guys are learning; it’s a long process for these guys.”

What was going through your head when you were up 24-19 early?
“That our players don’t really believe that they’re up 24-19 because I know them and I just got finished talking to them about that. When we walked in here, they were looking around at the facility, and I’m not used to that. Our guys were looking around, so right away that’s a problem.

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