Oct. 14, 2011
Head Coach Frank Haith
"We are really excited about the start of practice, as everybody is across the country. This time of year is an exciting time. We are fortunate the NCAA gives us those two-hour periods a week to work with our guys. Back in the day, you didn't have that, so this day was the first time you had a chance to put your hands on them. We have had that, which is good, but today we get to have them full-fledged.
Like everybody across the county, we are all undefeated right now so we're excited about today. Particularly here, with us, this is our first year with these guys, so we'll get a chance to really see where we are at and focus on getting ourselves better. We play a game early, in two weeks, on the road. I think you look at that and we have to accelerate what we're doing."
On the loss of Laurence Bowers...
"Losing Laurence obviously is a blow. He is a great player, but more importantly, he is one of the all-time great kids. Just truly an unbelievable young man. As I told him when he got word [of his torn ACL], I told him, `Laurence if I could give you my ACL, I would give you my ACL.' But he is going to bounce back, and his spirit has been unbelievable in terms of how he has handled it. He doesn't want anybody feeling sorry for him, therefore we can't feel sorry for him.
We have to get to work. Can we replace him? You look at our front line and say, `Who on our front line is going to replace him?' I don't think we can do that. I think everybody has to step their game up to replace what Laurence gives you. I think our guards have to play better, our wings have to play better. It can't be one person. Does that mean we'll play a little differently because we are so thin in our frontline? Maybe, because we may have to play small ball some. I could see us playing four guards and implementing a system with four perimeter guys out there. But there is no question we are going to have to see guys like Kadeem Green and Steve Moore step their game up, too."
On his familiarity with the roster...
"We'll learn a lot more as we start to have day-to-day time with them. It's a little bit more intense. We'll be able to get a feel, get a feeling, of who we can put out there based on how they practice. In terms of how we've gone about it, we are hands on, particularly me as a head coach. I spend a lot of time talking to our guys, getting into their personalities and I feel good going into today that I have a good feel of these guys in terms of who they are."
On his style of play...
"I've been a coach that I think we've played based on our personnel at Miami. There are certain types of players I like, but styles I've based on what we have. [Missouri] played a certain way last year, but they also played eleven guys. We only have eight scholarship players right now. With that said, that doesn't mean we are not going to be up-tempo. We're going to play up-tempo. I anticipate us getting the ball up and down [the court]. Where you may see a little bit more change is on the defensive end in terms of our pressure. We will have pressure, but we will not always have full-court pressure. We don't need our big people getting in foul trouble. In terms of extending our defense, if your frontline isn't very good, you're going to put a lot of pressure on your backline guys, and we can't afford to do that."
On playing eight players...
"Most teams play eight or nine guys, 10 is max, in most places. [The players] will get breaks. We have to be smart about how we handle our rotations and who we start. I want good balance. I don't think it's important as much who starts when you have eight scholarship players. It's just important we have the right rotations out there."
On Kim English's junior year...
"I've talked to Kimmie a little bit and I think he probably put a lot of pressure on himself last season. I anticipate Kimmie having a great year though. I think he has really good focus right now. I think he knows what is expected of him. When you have the success he had early in his career, I know he put a lot of pressure on himself in terms of he felt like he had to do so much for this team to be successful. That's a lot to put on yourself. I think we have to rely more on each other."
On the depth at point guard
"I love my depth. That's why we have a chance. When you have good guard play, you're always going to win basketball games, because the guards control the game. Phil [Pressey] and Mike Dixon are terrific. There will be times when they will play together, which I like, because Mike can score. He has the ability to make plays, too. He's had a good fall, also. That's a blessing to have those two guys that can control the game. Now we have to get them understanding time and situation and all the things I think are needed to be great point guards, but there ability is off the charts."
Senior guard Kim English
On Coach Frank Haith...
"He is doing great. The staff is doing great. Coach Haith had some tough years at Miami. He had a couple good players at Miami, but he has never had an allotment of really talented guys like what is here. I just look at him in workouts sometimes and he's just trying stuff with different guys, `Let me put you here. Let me see Marcus here. Let me see Mike right here.' He is like a scientist and we are his experiments, his lab rats. He's trying stuff with us and loving it."
On the loss of Laurence Bowers...
"We were never the all-airport Team. You know the big tall guys you see walking around the airport. We were never that. We kind of blended in in airports. I was telling Steve [Moore] the other day, that was the worst day of my college career. I mean a loss, we get to bounce back after a loss, but seeing my brother who I came in with go down like that was kind of heartbreaking. But the mission doesn't change. The mission doesn't change."
On his junior season...
"I could write a book about last year. My mind was everywhere. It was the most disappointing, sad, frustrating, mad, upsetting, losing year of my life. I played the worst basketball I've ever played. I just kind of had to get away from the game after the season and forget about it. I really had to focus on the now. My mind is as clear as it's ever been. It's really cliché, but just get better today. That's the only way you can keep the pressure off of yourself. Worry about making as many shots as you can make today. Try to be up front in all the sprints. Go to every class. Try to do everything you can do every day to make yourself a little bit better. Other than that, everything will take care of itself."
On his goals for this year...
"Just win a national championship. That's it. That's the only goal, the only thing I care about."
Junior guard Michael Dixon
On what he expects his role to be under Coach Haith...
"I think it's going to be a lot different. I think he is going to put a lot of trust in me and Phil [Pressey] into playing the point guard position and making plays, as well as getting other guys involved. I think that's going to make the team better, putting ultimate confidence into a point guard, which is supposedly supposed to be the leader of the team."
On playing with a shorter rotation this season...
"I think last year guys played looking over their back a little bit. I don't think guys will play like that this year. That's just a confidence boost for everybody, and that allows you to play up to you maximum potential, I think."
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