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Jan. 25, 2014

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Tony Bennett Quotes

On the team’s defensive performance:
“We had really good stretches of team defense that took them to the end of the shot clock, or made them hit a tough shot. We also rebounded better. We talked about hitting and holding our block-outs. We had a little trouble against North Carolina, so that was good to see. With Smith being out I think it affected them. There are a couple games he’s missed. And [Ben Emelogu] was a little gimpy and I think that affected Tech a little bit and they were out of rhythm offensively, but I thought we took advantage of that and played fairly sound man-to-man defense.”

On Malcolm Brogdon:
“I thought it was hard early because we had some shots that we could take quick in the possession and I thought we, for the most part, let it come [to us]. But when his feet are set and he’s in rhythm that’s good and it helped us when they went to a zone and he knocked one or two down. He took pretty much wide-open shots. He had a good floor game and rebounded well. I like the turnover numbers for him and for everybody. He was steady and it was nice to be able to spread out the minutes a little bit more at the end.”

On ACC play:
“Our guys have played pretty solid basketball in these victories. It hasn’t been perfect, but that is what we’re going towards. My challenge to them is don’t give it back. You work hard to get to this and just because you’ve won a few it shouldn’t change how you approach things and how you play. That is the message I want them to understand. We have to play this way. This is the way for us. I think that is what has sparked a bit of a revival within what we’re trying to do in terms of how we’re playing from where we were – inconsistent, not as solid – to where we’ve been in these last seven games now.”

On Virginia Tech’s shooting abilities:
“They’re different than Carolina. North Carolina was going to crash the glass and really get down the floor and Tech was going to shoot more threes. But it is hard what [James Johnson] is going through, losing those two guys who I think are their second and third leading scorers, so that kind of changes their attack. It is hard when you lose guys mid-season to all of a sudden change how you’re playing. I think that affected them. I think we contested, for the most part, a majority of their shots. When you play a good shooting team that is always the key. You still can’t get stretched because when they dribble penetrate and you suck in, they kick it out and get a wide-open three. We still said take away dribble penetration, but can you be good enough to anticipate the pass so you’re right there on the catch and make them shoot contested shots. We work hard on that. That’s really important against teams because the stats are amazing when you stat contested shots, hand-in-the-face versus uncontested shots. That is one of the things we chart and that is always a key for us.”

On keeping momentum:
“I quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson to them that is hero is not fed on sweets. They’ve been on the pedestal and they’ve seen the other side. They got knocked down after they thought how good they’d be at the start of the year with all the projections. We weren’t tough enough, sound enough, or playing the kind of ball that gives us a chance. I said you have a tremendous opportunity and you worked hard to get to this spot, you just keep playing your ball and don’t give it back.”

On the current team playing his system better than any team before:
“I would say so, yes. They’re playing together and they’re collective defensively. A lot of the guys have some years in the system. They’re sharing the ball offensively. I think we realized after the Tennessee game how we need to play together and what we’re doing and I think that’s what has given us a chance to be competitive and successful. I think they’ve grasped that. Every game, just because you do it, doesn’t guarantee [a win]. But they have the right formula for how we need to play to give us the best chance.”

Virginia Player quotes

Virginia Guard Malcolm Brogdon

On his passing up open shots:
“It’s definitely hard sometimes, and we were getting so many open shots that there were some that we had to turn down. I know I had to turn down a couple even though they were open and easy, but it was too early in the offense and we needed to get more of a rhythm going. But it is hard to pass up shots when you’re getting the looks you want.”

On Virginia Tech:
“I know they haven’t had the season of success that they want, but it is a rivalry for us and they are a talented ACC team.”

On Virginia’s ACC success:
“I think it’s just a matter of not being content. Coach always says to keep finding the crumbs, which is his way of saying find the little things to keep you hungry, keep you motivated. We’re just trying to find the little things that keep us hungry and motivated and give us that edge that we need.”

On upcoming ACC games against Notre Dame and Pittsburgh:
“We know they’re both very good teams – both very tough and very physical coming from the BIG EAST. But I think we’re tough and we’re physical, so I think it will be a good game and just go in there and play Virginia basketball and not worry too much about what they’re going to do, but worry about what we’re going to do.”

Virginia Guard Joe Harris

On UVa’s best ACC start since 1983:
“I guess it’s cool, but it shouldn’t mean a whole lot to us.”

On guarding Jarrell Eddie:
“We knew that, in the scouting report, he is looking to come off screens and shoot with a quick release. I always tried to be there on the catch and if he tried to take a shot I would be there and contest it and make it difficult.”

On finishing the three game home stand:
“The fact that we’ve had three games at home coming off our loss at Duke was nice. We looked at it like it’s hard to play on the road, especially in conference, so this opportunity to play at home gave us a good advantage.”

On UVa’s offense:
“We got a few open looks early on and it seemed like whether they were in zone or man, if we were able to get some good ball reversal, move a little bit, and hit them with some screens they weren’t able to last throughout the entire possession.”

Virginia Sophomore Forward Anthony Gill

On the victory:
“We just did what we’ve been doing, working hard and focusing on defense while letting our offense come. We’re not really worried too much about offense because our defense is what is going to win us games.”

On Coach Bennett warning players to keep a level head:
“He talks to us about that everyday. He tells us to not be put on a pedestal. We were at the beginning of the season, and we got knocked off of that really hard and then again with that loss against Tennessee. We’re just trying to stay focused to be able to go forward and win some big games.”

On the 6-1 ACC start:
“It feels good to win, but we still have to keep going. We need to keep our heads clear and keep pushing to achieve our goals.”

On added motivation because of Virginia Tech:
“This is a bitter rivalry, so this week of practice was a bit more intense. Our fans are really supportive at every game no matter whom we’re playing. We really just want to go out there and play hard for them. They’re there for us no matter what happens.”

Virginia Senior Forward Akil Mitchell

On the victory:
“It’s a good win, we just need to take it one game at a time. To beat a team like that at home is a good feeling. The fans are excited and everyone in the stadium is excited for us.”

On the 6-1 ACC start:
“It’s special. I don’t think it will really hit me until after I’m done, but right now I’m staying focused and our guys aren’t even listening to that. We know what its like to lose. We’ve lost a couple games, we’ve gotten blown out and we’ve been embarrassed. We know what it’s like to be up at the top and then to lose that feeling. So we understand what we have to do to win and be successful and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

On the new ACC opponents:
“It will be weird. It’s almost like a non-conference game. We have to learn their scouting report all over again and we only have a day and a half to prepare before we travel up there. It will be different, but it will be exciting at the same time.”

On the quick turnarounds:
“The quick turnarounds are good when you’re rolling, because you can stay on the floor if you’re feeling good. At the same time, we kind of know what to expect and we know what we’re going to face, so hopefully we can execute our plan and come out with a victory.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach James Johnson Quotes

On the game overall:
“That was a very good, very, very good Virginia basketball team today. They contributed to our offensive blows. I thought going into the game that they were playing some of the best basketball in the country. They continued that tonight. I thought we hung in there for a while and fought, and competed. We just left too many possessions out there. I talked to the team about every possession counting, especially the way they play. Every possession was big. They had a lot to do with that. They have a very good defense. They came in there shooting the ball lights out. They are playing extremely well right now. It’s another tough loss for us.”

On their plan to attack UVa’s defense:
“We wanted to continue to get the ball inside, but they do a very good job at post-to-post trapping. They took the ball out of our post guy’s hands, trapping post-to-post and making our guys throw it out and forced us to take jump shots.”

On feeling any pressure to impress VT’s new Athletics Director:
“No. I think our team feels pressure. We want to play well for ourselves. We want to play well. We work hard. We want to continue to get better every day. That’s our goal. That’s what we’re looking at.”

On low 3-point percentage:
“I think it was a combination of both (coaching and the players). They are a very good defensive team, as you know. When Eddie goes 1-of-7, it’s tough for us to make threes. Will Johnston wasn’t able to get any clean looks at all tonight. Ben Emelogu had been out for a while and hadn’t really practiced. So he’s in the game and he’s rusty. Those are our three-point shooters. We are really missing Adam Smith because he’s a guy that put the ball in the hole. It’s a combination of them and us – just not making shots.”

On planning for any changes to the lineup:
“I don’t know. We don’t have many options to go to. Emelogu is banged up and has been out. Will Johnston is playing 30 minutes. He’s giving us all he’s got. There are just not that many options as far as the backcourt is concerned. We have to keep grinding and keep fighting with what we’ve got.”

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