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Brad Brownell Press Conference Transcript

Nov. 9, 2010

Opening statement: “I’m pleased with the way our guys have worked so far this year. Practice has been pretty spirited. We’ve stayed healthy, which is critical with this team. Our spirit and mood is very good and we’re looking forward to getting started. I have a lot of respect for Larry Hunter, the head coach at Western Carolina. They have an athletic group. They have two athletic guards coming back and a good big man coming back inside and a team that experienced success with 22 wins last year. Anytime you have that kind of success, your team is going to be confident about what they’re doing. We’re just ready to get started. I was pleased with the exhibition last Friday against Belmont Abbey. We played a lot of guys a lot of minutes which is what we wanted, now we have to do it in a real game with the lights on.”

On preparation time: “We could have used a little more time. Your learning curve is slower when you take over a new job with only one freshman. As a coach, you sometimes take for granted when you say things you think guys should know, and then you get a little frustrated because the guys don’t know what you want or know what you’re looking for in a drill. You have to take time to re-teach, slow down, and do it again. That’s why, in basketball, you see a lot of upsets in early games. Everybody’s not comfortable with what they’re doing yet. I’m still trying to get comfortable with our lineups and certainly I’d like more time.”

On coaching his first game: “I’ll be excited if it goes well. As a coach, you worry about being ready and being prepared, as opposed to getting in there and playing the game. I’m certainly excited about coaching in a live game. At this stage of the season, you’re more worried about understanding your team, seeing how guys react to different things and seeing where you need to get better.”

On favorite part of the team: “There’s a good thirst for knowledge. They’ve been excited about a new way of doing things. From day one, they’ve been excited about a new voice and excited about doing some things that were taught early and now a little of the different style. The offense is more challenging than the defense for them to pick up, but I’m excited about their desire to learn.”

On ACC play – becoming the “hunted”: “That’s more for the players. As coaches, we have a better understanding of how good other players are. I don’t think there’s that big of a difference in big schools and small schools. Butler was an inch away from winning a national championship last season. I don’t think the difference is as big as it is in football, where when you’re bigger you can just run someone over. In basketball, size doesn’t dictate the win. It’s my job to make players understand that.”

On veterans transitioning into a new style: “They’ve been good. They’re enjoying learning some new things and they’re enjoying playing a different way. We’re still aggressive defensively, so that’s not a huge change. We’re just not zone pressing and trying to steal the ball in the first few seconds all the time. The defense might even be a little more aggressive at times in the half court. Offensively, they’ve enjoyed having more freedom and opportunities to do different things. It’s been hard for them because it’s an offense that doesn’t come easily. They’ve enjoyed it and they enjoy being seniors and being looked to for answers and responsibilities.”

On Demontez Stitt: “We don’t have a player that will impact the game like Trevor Booker did. In terms of leading the team, having a competitive spirit, taking ownership in things that are going on, Demontez will be fine in that area. Jerai (Grant) will do fine with that as well. Those guys have earned the right to be leaders in this program.”

On Catalin “Bobo” Baciu: “He’s doing well. He’s not ready to have a double-double every night but he’s doing well. I’ve been impressed with Bobo from early on with his willingness to work. He’s put on some weight and that’s helped him. We’ve also done a good job of coaching his confidence a little. He and Milton (Jennings) are both guys you have to talk to a lot; you have to coach them in a lot of different ways. Bobo’s doing well. He’s excited about this year. He’s been a willing participant. It’s fun to coach guys that are invested. I think Bobo and Milton feel better about themselves as players. If you don’t feel good about yourself as a player, you’re not going to perform well. This year, we’re going to need everybody. We only have 10 guys on scholarship and the biggest part of that is that everyone feels a part of every win and loss. We’re trying to build a true feeling of team. You want everyone to feel bad when you lose and excited when you win.”

On Noel Johnson: “I didn’t go into the exhibition last weekend trying to get Noel 14 shot attempts. Some guys are always looking for their shot; they’ve always been a scorer. Some guys aren’t wired that way. Jerai isn’t wired that way. As much as we want him to do that, he’s just not wired that way. He doesn’t feel like that’s what he has to do or looks to do all the time. He passes shots up and just doesn’t play the game that way. But for Noel, he’s an aggressive scorer. We are going to do things to get the ball in his hands and I think his wires are geared toward that. He’s always going to be a guy that takes a lot of shots for the amount of minutes he plays.”

On Corey Stanton: “He’s done fine. We’re pleased with his progress to this point, but he has a long way to go as a player. He’s come in and competed hard. He’s done a good job of putting on weight and gaining strength and he’s ready to play short stints of quality minutes. He can make a shot. He has a long way to go in the mental part of basketball. I’m pleased with his attitude and work ethic. He’s done some great things and he played very well in the exhibition.”

On starting lineups: “Media and parents make a big deal about who starts, but who finishes the games is much more important. We’ll probably, because of experience, have Andre (Young) and Demontez start every game. Other than that, I don’t know. I want some things to be competitive. Some guys earn the right to start every game. I’ve done things from having the same lineup 30 games in a row, to having 10 different lineups in a season. I want Andre and Demontez finishing games, for sure. Our big guys haven’t separated themselves enough yet. There’s probably more competition there between four big guys in those spots. I think it’ll depend on who’s playing well.”

On team’s shooting ability: “We’ve emphasized shooting with our guys and we’ve worked on it a lot, especially in August, September and early October. Do I think it’s better? I hope it’s better. I don’t know for certain, but I hope we’re making strides in that area. It’s not like we’re littered with lights-out shooters, but it’s not like we don’t have any. We have guys that can make shots and we probably have enough guys that can make shots, some of them just haven’t done it as often. I think our shooting is improving.”

On offensive movement and tempo: “My guess is the players don’t always feel comfortable with it right now. It affects our pace at times. There are times that we’ll play fast, but there will also be times that we don’t play that fast. You need to be good enough to win in the 80s and in the 50s. You have to be able to plays different styles of games to win. To be a really good team, you have to do that.”

On the dynamic of playing two point guards together: “Everything we do doesn’t gear itself to a point guard, shooting guard, etc. I want basketball players. There will be times when a guy will dribble the ball up the court more and there will be a guy that jumps center. Andre and Demontez are guards. And that’s a good thing. There’s not one guy that’s our primary ball handler. I like guards that have some versatility. Andre’s our best shooter, but at 5-foot-9, he’s not your prototypical two-guard. He certainly shoots it well enough, but he can also handle the ball and get us into our offense.”

On comfort level with depth: “We’re going to play all our players at certain points. It’s not going to look like last Friday, where everyone had between 12 and 24 minutes. Most of the time, I’ve had teams where eight or nine guys have averaged double figure minutes. I would like to have a couple more bodies in practice. We wear ourselves down because there are not enough people to keep going. I like to practice and I like to practice a lot. We’ve had to temper things a little, this year. In terms of personnel, I’m comfortable we have eight to 10 guys that can give us solid minutes.”

On Clemson versus other coaching jobs: “Any time you take over a new spot it’s always a little different. I told my assistants in the past that it’s a lot different when you’re the head coach and you walk down the bench and put guys in and take guys out. Everything’s a little more personal and a little more real. Friday night, I’ll be excited, anxious and nervous. But, I’m mostly anxious to watch my guys.”