Jan. 25, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. -
On Monday, UMass head coach Derek Kellogg participated in the weekly Atlantic 10 men's basketball teleconference. The Minutemen's head coach talked about the two games from last week, previewed Wednesday's game at Saint Joseph's, and more.
Below is Coach Kellogg's complete transcript.
On the games vs. St. Bonaventure and at Baylor:
Well I don't like the sound of two losses, I'll tell you that much. The St. Bonaventure game I think was a true Atlantic-10 test that comes down to the wire. We're seeing so many of those games where the teams are ultra-competitive and playing pretty well. St. Bonaventure came to play and they played a good game. The big kid, Nicholson, really dominated in the paint area with 26 and seven, and some blocks, and it came down to a last second shot which unfortunately we just didn't make. There was a wide open three from the corner. Our guys executed out of the timeout very well what I was looking for. I guess just about any time you have a wide open shot to win the game I think you would take that the majority of the time, especially with such a young team.
From there we ended up traveling down to Baylor where we played a really good Baylor team who were in the top 25 of the country. They go 7-0, 6-10, 6-10, so it was a pretty big task for us. We were the first team all year, I believe, to out-rebound them so on the positive side I would say that is one thing that came out of it. We didn't shoot the ball particularly well and at times I thought their size gave us problems, but we fought, competed, and battled. I thought I saw some good things that my young guys are getting better. We were a little over matched at times on the road, but we're coming back now and have to go to Saint Joe's on Wednesday.
On positives of the week:
With a young team, even though we're into the season here with some of these freshmen, I still think we're considered young because of all the new guys. I'm trying to keep them fresh and up-beat and let them know that we're going to keep competing at a high level. I think our level of intensity and our competition level has been pretty well, we've done a good job with that. Terrell Vinson ended up with 14 points, 12 rebounds against some pretty formidable guys from Baylor. Hashim Bailey had eleven rebounds and did some good things. I think our backcourt did well, but we didn't really shoot the ball well which if you're going to try to beat a team like Baylor on the road this time of the year you're going to really have to knock down 75 to 80 percent of your open shots. Unfortunately, we didn't shoot the ball really well, but we saw some good things from some different players so I think we're going to continue to get better. Although our record doesn't indicate it, we're so much further along now than we were early in the season. I'm going to continue to see what kind of strides we can make here at the end and I'm hoping that that converts into some W's.
On how the team is handling late-game situations:
The good thing for us right now is we've been in a ton of close games. We've been right on the cusp of winning some of them. I was impressed that our guys executed exactly what I had talked about in the timeout as far as what we were going to do in either situation. Whether they scored, whether they missed, this was what we were going to do to try to execute. I think we're growing a little bit in the fact that they listened and they followed through. The first step is to get your team to play hard and the next step with young kids is to get them to think more and the next step is to figure out a way to win. I think the playing hard we're starting to do, we're pretty far along with that, the next step of playing smarter and figuring out ways to win, then the last step in winning ball games. I think that was a step in the right direction, even though we didn't get the win, the process to win.
On Hashim Bailey's development:
He's not totally 100 percent in the type of shape he needs to be to dominate for a full 40 minutes. I think in spurts of 15-17 minutes a game, he's a physical guy down there, he's 6-11, 270-something pounds and is a physical presence. At times, even against a team like Baylor, I would say he was the most physical big guy down there. He struggled a little bit on putting the ball back in on those offensive rebounds. I think the length at times bothered him, but all in all he's developed nicely and he's doing some good things down there. I just need to have him continue to work and get into the best shape he can possibly get into. If that does happen, I think he's got a chance to be a good big guy in this league.
On the Saint Joe's game coming up on Wednesday:
I've enjoyed watching them the times I've been able to and now on tape. The coach has done a fantastic job with that team from the beginning of the year until now. He's adapted to his players as far as how their playing. They're doing some different things on offense, they're really looking to penetrate and play with each other. They're fast and quick and shooting a lot of threes. They're actually playing a fun style; they're getting up and down more. Defensively they're pressuring the ball like his teams always do; they're playing a little bit of zone too. They're probably one of the more improved teams of the league from the beginning until now. I think that's a testament to the coach and what he's been able to do with those guys. It's going to be a tough game, at home they're a very, very good team. They're scrappy, they play tough and hard and when they make threes, they are a very tough opponent as Dayton saw the other day in another one-point Atlantic 10 contest.