Travis Ford Weekly Teleconfernce
Feb. 11, 2008
Coach Ford's thoughts on the Rhode Island and Temple games.
I thought we played hard against Rhode Island and a very good home game, very good crowd. A game that we were again coming off a tough lose that we were trying to respond from, we have been trying to do that a lot lately. I thought our guys did, again I thought both teams played extremely hard. The last five minutes of the game was the hardest fought game I have been a part of in a long time as far as guys just trying to get rebounds and just very being physical and both teams just fighting and trying to win the game. Neither team played exceptionally well on offence but both team really got after it on the glass and I think there was 104 rebounds in the game, which is a lot of rebounds. Just happy to get out with a win against a very good Rhode Island team, a really really team. And then yesterday going into a tough place where we have struggled, this program has struggled, UMass in general has struggled playing at Temple. Yesterday temple was very good, I thought they had great seniors in [Marcus] Tyndale and one of the best players in the country in [Dionte] Christmas and they have roll players that are playing really good basketball which is going to make them dangerous in the next couple weeks I really thing that temple is going to win some big games. They are very very well coached. This is a tough place to play and our kids played hard, we played extremely hard and put us in a position to possible win the game but just did not finish at the end of the game as well at temple did.
Coach Ford on playing at Temple.
I think it is a lot of combinations, I think they are very well coached and they have great players. We looked at a stat; they are shooting over 50% from the three-point line at home this year. They have been playing very well the last four or five games period. Where their point guard [Chris] Clark has been playing extremely well, and a young man Brooks, who made a big shot against us yesterday who is coming off the bench, third leading scorer. They have great fan support, they are very comfortable playing at home, and they have good players. They are just really good basketball team who has played a very tough schedule. I look for them to come on at the end of the season. But why, I don't know, I guess it starts to get in your head a little bit for some of these players but every year is different. I just got a question in the media yesterday about us struggling and the program in general, this is my third year, but wanted to know if this year's loss had anything to do with the years before struggling. My answer was that this year had nothing to do with years before. I don't know why, that is a good question, I don't know why.
How has Gary Forbes elevated his game this year? Well he has obviously been asked to play a much bigger role this year. We ask Gary to do a lot, from handing the ball a lot, bringing it up the court at 6'6", we ask him to score a lot of points inside and out, we ask him to lead us in rebounds. His role has changed drastically where last year he was probably our third option, at best. We played more of slowed down, structured, and running plays type of offense that probably did not fit him quite as well. Where this year we are opening things up for him, put him in position to score a little bit better. I think it is his role change from one year to the next and a lot more is expected from him. We are helping him and putting him in position to do more. There is no question that he is a big part of our team. Whatever type of success we are going to have is going to depend on how Gary Forbes plays.
Coach Ford on players shooting the ball. Everyone knows on our team that I don't mind if you shoot, we have several scorers on this team so guys know on our team they with have an opportunity to score. That is kind of second nature on our basketball team and they know that I am not going to get upset with them when they shoot the ball. Now what we have to do little bit better job of, and we have got into a bad habit the last two weeks, we are starting to take more bad shots. I am someone who doesn't gripe a who lot about offence as much as I do defense, but our offence has put us in a bad situation lately you just look at our shooting percentage lately and I attribute that to our shot selection. So Gary knows that I don't mind him going out and shooting 19 or 20 times and he know that he will probably turn around and do it the next game just we want to make a little bit better effort of getting better shots and maybe as not as quick. One thing that we want to do is obviously move the ball up and down the floor as fast as possible. If we don't have a good early shot we have got to make the defense on the other end, our opponents, make them work a little bit defensively and not let them off the hook a little bit by taking some bad shot like we did yesterday. You look at the percentages and it is more a product of shot selection not how many times they are shooting. He knows he will be able to bounce back and shoot. I have talked to our kinds about confidence offensively because they are going to have it, that is not a problem with our guys.
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