Feb. 8, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. -
The Atlantic 10 Conference held its weekly men's basketball teleconference on Monday with UMass head coach Derek Kellogg answering questions on a variety of topics. Among the things he discussed, Coach Kellogg reviewed the Xavier and Rhode Island games, previewed Duquesne, as well as commented on the stellar play of senior Ricky Harris.
Below is the complete transcript of Kellogg's teleconference.
On the losses vs. Xavier and at Rhode Island:
Its ironic that we lost both games by eight when we were down 17 at half both times. The Xavier game I thought that they did a very good job in the first half and we made a nice second half run to kind of close the gap and make a game of it. I think that we actually went up two at one point and Jordan Crawford made some nice plays down the stretch to have some separation. At Rhode Island on Saturday, we let the pressure get to us a little bit with 17 first half turnovers and made some immature plays on a few different occasions. Both are NCAA worthy teams. After being around the game for a long time and playing against those guys, I'm seeing both those teams in the NCAA tournament with a chance to advance. We are still going through some growing pains with a lot of young guys but I feel like our team when we play well is a team that can challenge some of these teams ranked higher than us and we just have to do it more consistently and try to put together a full 40 minutes which we really haven't done up until this point in the conference.
On Duquesne's style of play:
On Bolding's contributions for Duquesne:
They are a very good transition team and they space the floor not only in transition but also in the half court. While they are not going to get you with a lot of back to the basket baskets, they do a nice job at getting to the paint off the dribble and off the pass and they are an explosive team When they are going on all cylinders they are as good as any team in the league because they do have the ability to put the ball in the basket from many different places like you said, in the paint but they can also shoot the 3-ball. Now that they are getting more acclimated having (Melquan) Bolding back, they are getting better every game.
I would say, playing against him last year a couple times and also watching him on tape, the majority of his plays are effort and hustle plays. Now he is skilled and physical and a very, very good athlete, so the combination of a guy that plays hard with his body and his physical ability makes for a tough matchup when a 6-3 guy or 6-4 guy can cover really a 1-5 in our league it becomes a tough matchup and a valuable asset for what they are trying to do. He can play both inside and outside gives them the ability to do a lot of different things with him and I think he is one of the better players in the league and I admire the way he plays.
On Harris averaging 28 points last week:
He actually is playing very well right now. He is slowly but surely nestled into that leadership role and he is also getting better playing the point. It has been a process for him even though he is a senior this year with a lot of different hats but not only trying to groom four freshmen and two transfers and a couple of other guys who didn't play much, but I am also trying to groom him to being more of a leader in playing that point guard spot. To average 28 points in the way he did it, without shooting a ton, he did it pretty proficiently, so he is starting to really establish himself as one of the better players in the league and at the offensive end of the floor and he is becoming a much better defender on that side of the ball. I'm happy where he is at and I think that he still has a little room for improvement as he gets more comfortable with really a different position that he probably has not played since sixth grade.
On how he is replacing David Gibbs:
Actually, we just slid guys to different spots. I thought David actually got more comfortable at the point guard spot being only a sophomore and not playing much last year with Chris Lowe being here. He was starting to get a little better at the defensive end of the floor and having a better feel. A tough blow for our team and for him, but I actually just moved Ricky to the point more often with Gary Correia backing him up, and that allows guys like Freddie Riley, Javon Farrell, Terell Vinson, and Sampson Carter to get more minutes so it enables me to play some freshmen some more and get them more experience, but I think it obviously hurt our team some because I felt that we were pretty thin at the point guard spot as it was.