Coach Kellogg's Weekly Atlantic 10 Teleconference
Feb. 9, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -
Head Coach Derek Kellogg on the past week
I think we are playing pretty good basketball, we still haven't really figured out a way to close games at the end, although we played fairly well coming down the stretch against Richmond. Yesterday was a pretty good college game versus St. Joes. They just seemed a little more experienced at the end. I thought they did a better job of clamping down the nuts defensively and also offensively executing. We had some pretty good looks, missed a few free throws and didn't execute a few of the little things we had been working on in practice. Its kind of back to the drawing board a little bit you know, for the last four minutes of these games. I do like how our guys are competing, I think defensively we are getting much better and competing at a higher level and I thought offensively when we executed we ended up getting pretty good looks and making some baskets.
Coach Kellogg on position in the Atlantic 10
I think we're in a pretty good place right now; we've played our best basketball of the season over the last two, three weeks. We've been in a position to win just about every one of our conference games. Now that I have them playing at the level I want them to play they are playing a little bit smarter a little more poised. I think I now have to get them to get better in the end of the games and to figure out who's going to make the play for us coming down the stretch. You've got to change how you play at the end and realize it's the last four minutes of the game and you've got to play with a little higher intensity and every possession I have to have a little more value. I think we are getting a little closer to realizing what we are supposed to do in those situations but I still feel like we have a little ways to go when the games on the line.
Coach Kellogg on focus of the team for the future
I never really put a timetable on it and I think every young coach that goes from being an assistant to a head coach thinks day one they're going to have their guys playing exactly how they want them to. It's a little harder than I think people would anticipate in year one but at the same token, its kind of on schedule, I really was just hoping at some point, people would watch our team play and say that's the UMass basketball team and I think we're almost there. I think we are getting closer and that's really just competing for forty minutes and playing your heart out for forty minutes. I'm not sure how many minutes we're exactly doing it for but I think we are getting closer to forty every time out. I think defensively I have preached from day one I want to be one of the best defensive teams, not only in the Atlantic 10, but in the country. That was probably a far-fetched statement obviously in year one, but as a building block for the future, and that's what I want people to see. I'll give you an example, Wake Forest, being able to climb the way they have and really attribute it to them getting better defensively. I think it's a misnomer that you are just going to overpower teams especially in a league like this offensively its not going to happen. You have to be able to walk in a make plays on both ends of the floor. That's the stamp I want to put that when you come into play UMass it's going to be a tough game. They're going to be in your shirts for forty minutes, they're going to pressure the ball all over the court and hopefully the game is miserable for you the whole time you're up there.
Coach Kellogg on playing on the road
We haven't really played very well on the road to this point. We've been in games; we just haven't been able to pull them out. I think it's one more test for us to be able to go on the road and for our guys to prove to themselves that we can compete on the road and hopefully play better coming down the stretch and be in the game. Any road game in this league, as I'm finding out is very very difficult. The teams are up to play us and I'm concerned going into Fordham that they are ready to play our team and we must meet that challenge, obviously.
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