Men's Basketball

 
Travis Ford Weekly Teleconference

Coach Ford says he has been happier with the team's performance in the last three games

Coach Ford says he has been happier with the team's performance in the last three games

Feb. 25, 2008

Coach Travis Ford on week's performance
We played better. I like that our assists are a lot higher than they have been, which led to better shooting percentages. I am happy that we were sharing the ball a little bit more. One thing I was not happy with was our shooting percentages. A lot of that was attributed to us not sharing the basketball and making a lot of one-on-one plays, which led to tough shots. I thought we got back to sharing the ball against Saint Louis. I think on Sunday we had a very high number of assists. Then, against Rhode Island, we had fifteen assists. Against Saint Bonaventure, I thought we passed the ball extremely well and that led to some open three pointers, which was the difference in the game. That was the big key for us--playing with a sense of urgency. We were going through a little bit of a spell where we were disappointed with ourselves. I think now our guys are playing with a sense of urgency, which has definitely made a difference for us.

Coach Ford on upcoming week
We need a couple of days off, no question. The Rhode Island game took a lot out of us, and I think that was evident yesterday in the second half. We played tired, and Saint Bonaventure played extremely hard in the second half. I thought we are a little bit fatigued and we have a couple of guys who are banged up. We are going to take a couple of days off, to get refreshed, and then we have a couple of days to prepare for Richmond. Richmond is a team that plays great basketball, plays extremely well at home, plays a completely different style of basketball. We are going to need to utilize this week as much as we can to prepare ourselves for a very tough road game.

Coach Ford on Gary Correia
I am trying to keep Chris Lowe fresh by bringing in Gary Correia earlier in games. Yesterday, I probably used the bench more than I have in a long time. Chris Lowe's minutes were down, as were Gary Forbes'. These guys have played up to 38 minutes a game, which is a lot of minutes considering the type of game we play--way too many minutes even. Still, in order for us to win close games, those players have to be on the court. They understand that, so they give as much as they've got. With that said, Gary Correia is playing two positions--the point guard or the two guard. He has been coming in for Ricky Harris as well. He is playing great defense, giving us good minutes, and not hurting us whatsoever. He is even giving us a little bit of a positive, as far as making a couple of shots here and there. That is all we can ask of our freshmen--to not hurt us when you come in the game. At least, leave the game even keel. Do not do anything negative and he has been doing that. That is another reason he has been getting in the game earlier, because he is able to play a few different positions for us.

 

 

Coach Ford on opportunity to rest
We need a breather and a few days off, but I also think we are playing good basketball right now, so we have to continue that. Overall, though, I think this break comes at a good time for us.

Coach Ford on Chris Lowe's development
I think Chris Lowe is a person who has not only been growing as a basketball player, but who has also benefited from pretty much starting since day one. He wasn't necessarily starting as a freshman, but he was playing starter's minutes, I just did not want to actually start him as a freshman until we got 11-12 games into the season. He has logged a lot of minutes in this program. The great thing about that is, a lot of times when a guy plays that many minutes, they seem to level off, but he continues to get better and better. He is the key to our basketball team. He has been making great decisions with the basketball lately. If you look at his assists to turnovers, it has been absolutely incredible the last three games. I would challenge anyone in America to have his assist to turnover ratio, especially in the last three games. Then, he has been scoring the basketball, which has been a big bonus for us. He does not necessarily look to score, but because of his quickness, and his much-improved outside shooting he is able to put some points on the board. I look at Chris Lowe as someone who has to be considered as an All-Conference basketball player for what he does offensively, and then he has to guard for 94 feet as well. He is an extremely valuable piece for us.

Coach Ford on Mount Vernon
We talk about this all the time as a staff. You can see a difference from guys who come from winning programs. Chris Lowe comes from one of the greatest high school programs in he country. Coach Bob Cimmino is one of the great coaches in the country. Chris understood what it means to win and what it takes to win. That is something we have seen from him from day one. He does not like losing because he does not understand losing. He won state championships in New York. He has been a part of many winning basketball teams and that started at the high school level. I think when that has been bred into you, especially the winning mindset, and when you don't know anything but winning, that is what the guys strive to do. They do not accept losing. We have seen that in him because he is a guy that hates to lose, and I attribute that to him coming from a program like Mount Vernon. Those guys are used to winning.

Coach Ford on Lowe
I have been very hard on Chris from day one. I am hard on my point guards all the time, but Chris is someone who I never let up on. I am very hard on him and I always have wanted more from him as far as leadership and play. I will continue to do that until he leaves here. But I am as proud of him as a basketball player. I don't know if any player has grown as much as he has continually from where he was as a freshman to where he is now. He has learned to accept coaching and my type of criticism. In the middle of the game, when I get on him, he now knows how to respond. I told him today, with our system of basketball, I would not trade him for any other point guard in America. He is the fastest guy. A lot of people have compared him with other players, and I think they need to compare everyone to Chris Lowe. There is not another player in America that is faster from end to end with the ball and then turns around and guards for 94 feet. What he does for our basketball team is absolutely incredible.

Chris Lowe on last three games
Early on in the season, we were playing with an edge, and I think we lost that for a little while. We became happy with our play. We won a couple of games just playing one-on-one, but that is not how we want to play. We want to move the ball around and let everyone score. The last three games, we have had three or four people in double figures. That is the type of team we are, and want to be. We don't want to sit back and rely on Gary Forbes, which I think we had been doing. I think we are starting to take the pressure off of him by scoring other ways.

Lowe on mental development
When I came into college, I was not very vocal, so he would constantly tell me to be more vocal, and be a leader. Now we also have Coach Rhodes here, who played with Coach Ford at Kentucky. Coach Rhodes has told me how Coach Ford was very aggressive as a point guard and a leader. So I have been trying to work on the little things that he tells me, like being more aggressive because when I came into college I was not that talkative, I just liked to play the game, and now, I am picking up more ideas and learning how to talk to my teammates. Some people need to be talked to in a certain way and I am learning more and more everyday.

Lowe on adapting to criticism from Coach Ford
There is only one way to really deal with Coach Ford's criticism, and that is to deal with it. If not, you are going to be in the doghouse. You have to learn and mature because every coach is going to yell if you are not playing well. He made me play better. I became more focused and realized what I need to do for my team. It humbled me too, definitely, after the Fordham loss to see how I was cheating my teammates and myself. Now, I play harder and more aggressive and am more of a leader.

Lowe on Mount Vernon basketball
Coach Cimmino pushed me to always play better. I was always playing against tough players. I had seven players who now play for Division I schools on my high school team. It was very competitive, much like Division I. When I came here, I just had to learn how to play harder, because in high school, I did not have to play as hard as I do here. That was an adjustment for me, and I also had to learn to be a little more coachable. But Coach Cimmino prepared me well for college because a lot of the things we did at his high school program, we do now at the college level. We did a lot of similar toughness drills. Cimmino was also a very critical man, always on you like Coach Ford is on me. Basically, Coach Cimmino wanted everyone to play hard and listen. He told us that if we were coachable, coaches would like us.

Lowe on Coach Cimmino's toughness
it was easy to accept Coach Ford's criticism. It is good if a coach is yelling at you, because that means he cares about you. If he's not, be probably doesn't care about you. He must see something in me that I don't see myself.

Lowe on losing
I hate to lose. In high school, I did not lose that many games, so in college I had to learn how to deal with losses, rebound from it, and learn from your mistakes. Coach Ford is a guy who does not like to lose as well, so I think we match each other's style. Anyone who plays a sport does not like to lose.

Lowe on winning streak
We are playing with more effort and energy. We are having more fun out there and we are sharing the basketball. We are not just relying on Gary Forbes. He is a great player, but we can't rely on just him. Everyone is feeding off everyone else's energy--the bench and the coaching staff. It starts with me, though, because I am the point guard and everyone is looking to see how I am playing. We were missing that for three of four weeks, and now we finally have it back together.

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