Feb. 23, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. -
The Atlantic 10 Conference held its weekly men's basketball teleconference on Monday, and as always UMass head coach Derek Kellogg took part. Coach Kellogg recapped last week's action, previewed the upcoming game at Dayton, and more.
Below is Coach Kellogg's complete transcript.
On last week's games at George Washington and vs. Saint Louis:
The GW game was a pretty hard fought battle. I thought we were in the game coming down the stretch they came up with a couple loose balls and loose rebounds that secured their win. Both teams played pretty hard and pretty tough and that was kind of an Atlantic 10 road game this time of year where you have to play well and come up with all sorts of little things to win the game, and George Washington definitely did that. I thought our youth showed at times, especially coming down the stretch. Then yesterday the Saint Louis game here, that was kind of another pretty hard fought game where you know the will of how the flow of the game went I thought Saint Louis really imposed a will on our team as far as the style of play that they wanted to play. They controlled the tempo on the defensive end of the floor by really playing a tough hard-nosed man-to-man, then offensively they really did a great job of sharing the basketball and making the game hard for us. You know, we had our chances at a few different occasions but once again we just didn't capitalize. Saint Louis has done a great job figuring out ways to win versus a lot of different teams in this league and have established themselves as one of the tops teams in the conference.
On the development of Raphiael Putney as a redshirt and how signee Maxie Esho is progressing:
Putney has been great for us in practice. He comes with a great attitude. He's 6-9, long athletic kid who's really just checking the scales in at about 170. He's put on a few pounds since he's been here but it's a battle for him every day to gain weight. I actually talked to his dad, and his dad said he didn't get to 190 until he was 25, so good luck with Raphiael. He's trying and he'll give us another added dimension of a 6-9/6-10 kid who can play inside-out and do a lot of different things, so I'm excited to see his progression. I'm not sure how much will be immediate because of the weight factor but I think down the line he will be a very good player for us. That's very similar to the situation Maxie Esho is going to be in, he's a 6-7.5/6-8 very athletic young man who can do a lot of different things on both ends of the floor and I'm interested to see how he responds to the college intensity, toughness. He is another guy who will probably take a little time to put on some weight. What's happening is a lot of times when you recruit those kind of longer more athletic guys it does take them a little longer to get acclimated to college just because of the speed of the game and a lot of times their weight and even the intensity level of how you have to play in college is different from high school or AAU. So, the process for a few of these guys and a couple of guys on my team has been a little longer but I think it will pay a greater dividend when those guys are juniors or seniors.
On how it takes doing the little things, not just scoring, to win conference games:
You know the toughest thing is when you have, you know I've said this quiet often, a bunch of new guys and transfers and guys that haven't played many minutes last year. I think the first layer of it is to get them to compete at a certain level, get all the fundamentals of what you're trying to do offensively and defensively and also your game plan of how you want to play. And then the next level is all the little things, and those little things can be something as simple as what you do if you're diving for a ball out of bounds, the way the free throw is blocked out offensively and defensively, a jump ball play where you get a basket and you know those little things. I think every coach in the conference would agree, these have been the difference in a lot of games. I think that a lot of times the older more mature teams are the ones making those plays, or sometimes the ball just bounces a certain way that's good for whatever club it does that for. We're still learning, we're getting better but on the same token some of those plays have cost us dearly in some of these games.
On Terrell Vinson's 19-point, eight-rebound game against SLU:
Terrell had a good game yesterday and I actually thought he could have had more points and a few more rebounds, but that's just the expectation level I have for him and my team has for him. He's a tough cover around the basket, he's doing a good job of driving the ball from the wing and I thought he played a good game defensively. I'm expecting him to continue to put forth efforts like that, really just about every night out. He has the physical ability, he's got a pretty good mind and feel for the game, he's one of the guys that's physically more mature than some of the other young guys I have on the team, which has helped him be able to play through the rigors of the college basketball game. When you're playing physical teams like Saint Louis, he's actually one of the more physical guys on my team, and really that's the style of game that fits Terrell. He had a good game yesterday and he has put together some different games this year where he's played really well in and out of conference and I feel likes he's going to continue to improve and be a rock on our team.
On having six days between games:
This is a good time for us, I would have preferred to come off a win or two but I think it's a good time for our team to get refreshed both physically and mentally. Javorn Farrell didn't play the whole second half against GW and yesterday against St. Louis, and I'm looking forward to having him back. It's a time where we can make sure we're ready to push our last three conference games and hopefully a chance to play in the Atlantic 10 tournament, so we will see, it is a good week though especially this late in the season.
On what challenges Dayton presents:
Well I've watched them a ton on television this year and also we played them once last year. The biggest thing is they're so deep, they play a lot of guys that really can do, you know they're one of the best teams in the conference. They put a lot of pressure on you, they have a good style offensively and then at home they're one of the top home teams in the conference. They get sell-out crowds every night. So obviously it's a big challenge for a young team to on the road in front of 13,000 to one of the top teams in the conference who's fighting for a NCAA tournament berth so I know they'll be ready and I'm interested to see how my young team responds and what kind of effort we can put forth.
On how his young team has adapted to playing on the road:
I actually think we've done a fairly good job on the road; we've actually played just about as well on the road as we have at home. When you have a young team I think sometimes, I don't want to say easier but to be on the road with your teammates to really just have to concentrate on the game. You know we'll do study halls and different things like that on the road but for the most part you can concentrate on the game. You know we've won a couple games on the road, we played a tough game at Richmond, we played hard at temple, and we've played some pretty good games but it's hard to come away the victory. But, I've seen as my young guys have gotten a little bit older and more mature this season and Ricky Harris has really stepped up and become more of a leader, we've been more comfortable not only with playing on the road but the routine of playing on the road.