Jan. 7, 2008
Travis Ford Press Conference
On the way the year has began
Obviously last year we were much bigger and much more physically talented basketball team inside. So this year we had to compensate for that and sped up our style of play a little bit. Our guys for the most part have played hard which has compensated for a lot of weaknesses that we do have as a basketball team. Our guys have really fallen into the system. We have been a little inconsistent, but so far our guys seem to stay positive and we will see what happens.
On the kind of team UMass is
I like skilled guys and guys that can shoot it. This team is geared towards threes and one thing that we haven't been doing is shooting enough of them for how we want to play. We have been hesitant and passing up shots that we need to be taking on the perimeter. But, I do like guys around 6-4 to 6-6 like Gary Forbes and [Etienne] Brower who can pass, dribble, shoot and run up and down the court. That is the style that I like to play. So this is more of my style basketball. But, I will always take a Stephane Lasme or Rashaun Freeman on my team; I would never pass that up.
On his offensive/defensive philosophy
On the 11-3 start
Obviously we want to get the ball up and down the court and we have struggled at times defensively and it more a philosophy that we want our guys to play harder defensively and understand that they are going to be substituted more for their defensive effort than their offensive effort. We all know we can't control whether we make or miss shots but you can control what type of shots you can get. We aren't concerned about that, we are more about trying to keep people in front of us and playing better defense inside and on the perimeter and trying to control teams three-point shots. I don't want our guys to worry about their offense, but I do want them to worry and stress about their defense.
Our guys have played hard but we still have a long way to go. We have been fortunate to win a few games and a couple of games on the road that a lot of people wouldn't have expected. But, we still know who we are, we still are a team that is still trying to prove itself and needs to be very humble, and we have lost a lot from last year. So we are trying to transition to a different style of basketball. We cant get hung up about our record because all that can be meaningless the rest of the way out if we don't take care of business.
On the start of the teams in the Atlantic 10
All of the recognition that the league has gotten, in the non-conference everyone has done their job. Rhode Island is off to an incredible start and I really thought they would. Obviously Jim Baron has done an incredible job and they have great players. They really got it going. Dayton, Rhode Island, going down the list to Duquesne and Charlotte to Saint Joe's, you don't want to leave anybody out, but our league from top to bottom is obviously at its best since I've been in the league. If everybody competes and plays up to their ability, and we don't beat up too much on one another in the league this is a year that we could get multiple teams into the tournament.
On the upcoming game against St. Joseph's
They are a great basketball team and very well coached. They have four returning starters and a great transfer, Carr??, that has done a great job in the point guard position. They create a lot of problems and their starting five are one of the most talented in our league if not the best. They are very good defensively, have a very good inside-outside punch so we are going to have our hands full that is for sure. It is a very tough opener in the conference.