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Top of the Arc - January 30, 2009

Jan. 30, 4:45 p.m.: No surprises in the Gary Williams press conference today. No drama. Everybody is trying to calm the situation down. The press conference lasted 23 minutes. Here is just about all of it:

GW: Any questions about my team or Miami?

Q: You had mentioned that you wanted to review the tape, what have you been addressing?
GW: You remember it better if you look at it right away. We played really well for a long time. We had a double-figure lead with 12 minutes left in that game. The biggest thing Miami did was that they made some great threes from that point on. We were not able to match that offense. I was pleased with the first 30 minutes.

Q: What can you do to contain McClinton when he gets hot late in the game and starts shooting it from 25 feet?
GW: It is not like he had the ball to start with. They run him off screens. You can double team him off screens. You can switch the screen. That’s what Duke tried to do in the last play against Wake Forest, and Wake did a great job. You can put more pressure on the ball, so it’s not as easy of a pass to get it to him. He is a great player, he made shots. Dews really got them started by making shots. You have to take care of business yourself. And if we would have scored in a timely fashion that would not have mattered what they did.

Q: How difficult of a week has this been for you?
GW: I am just talking about Miami and our team for the rest of the years.

Q: What does Cliff need to do to get back into the rotation?
GW: Cliff is no different than any other player. He just has to show he is ready to go. He played well early in the year. There is still plenty of time for him help us the rest of the way. We need Cliff and people to really step up and play.

Q: You have been trying to stop the collapses. How has the team responded to you?
GW: They know that. It happens now in college basketball, especially with these teams that have three or four guys who can shoot the three, like a Miami. The biggest thing, everyone sees the ball going through the basket, but usually the other team isn’t scoring much. Sometimes teams get hot, no matter what they do. Your job is to go down the other end and score. That’s been the problem for, not just us, but all the teams that have lost leads.

Q: What specific deficiencies have you seen in your team in those situations?
GW: I am talking about Miami and our team.

Q: Isn’t that related to your team?
GW: No. No. I don’t have to answer your question.

Q: With Cliff, has his loss of playing time been due to the emergence of Sean?
GW: Well, Sean has played well. He gives us an aggressive player who can really defend and play physical. Let’s face it, in our league, that is very important. He has done a great job as a freshman.

Q: On Cliff’s end, has he not done something?
GW: It’s not always one guy not doing it. It’s the other guy doing something better. Everyone will not play the same amount of minutes.

Q: Have you seen an improvement in Collins?
GW: He is very confident. If you are a player, if you have two or three moves you can do really well, that’s all you need. Collins has really improved his two or three moves, rather than added a lot to his game. He is one of the best post-up players in the league because of his ability to score quickly. When he gets the ball, he is right to the rim. Not a lot of back and forth and dribble, dribble.

Q: How concerned are you with Eric Hayes?
GW: I am concerned, but I am really rooting for Eric because he has played a lot of basketball before and he will play a lot in the future. It’s just getting through this period, and it’s a shame. The last game against Boston College. You see some shots and it looks like it is going in. He had three like that. If you can make a couple in a row, he will be fine. There is nothing wrong with his stroke. We talked quite a bit about maintaining what he does. Easy for me, I am not the one shooting the ball. The mental part of that is really tough on anybody in any sport. Eric has been a great scorer his whole life. Hopefully he can get it back.

Q: On Vasquez
GW: I thought he moved better the last game. He didn’t shoot it great. But he took better shots. I thought it was a very positive game for Greivis.

Q: Have you thought about moving GV back to PG
GW: The way we play, Adrian, GV and Eric all play the PG position. Other than running specific plays from the PG position, we have specific plays where we want GV to run those plays. I like the way Adrian is playing, I don’t want to hurt his game at all.

Q: What has surprised you about your team, good or bad?
GW: We are 13-7. We have four league losses. We could have won three of them. One we couldn’t. The Duke game was over early. It’s disappointing but you don’t get discouraged. You get in games like the first Miami game or the FSU game, it’s one or two plays. 13-7, it’s a pretty good record around here right now.

Q: After Tuesday, you talked about preparing as if you had win. Is that the mentality?
GW: Yeah, you can’t go in there yelling and screaming. You stay together. When there is a battle going on, you keep fighting. And we are fighting. … The only way to approach this game is to go after it as if we are playing really well.

Q: Have you seen the results from the strength and conditioning change?
GW: Losing two athletes like Osby and Gist, you need other guys to step up conditioning wise. With the addition of Mosley and Kim, it’s last year’s team without those two, plus the new guys. … Landon is a much different conditioned player this year than last year. Adrian Bowie, you can see the difference in him out there on the court. GV is a little stronger this year. We have had some games like Duke, when we were outrebounded badly, but then you turn around and outrebound Boston College.

Q: On ACC parity
GW: When you play a league like the ACC, and play tough physical games every game, it might not show up in that game, but it could cost you a game five days from now. If you went into the fire three different times, close games, and then you play and you may lose because you have beaten up a little bit. In some other leagues, you have bottom teams where you don’t get that pounding. With our league, you look top to bottom, it’s pretty good. I don’t think anyone goes out thinking they have a guaranteed win.

Q: Is it almost a time-share situation now between Dave Neal and Dino Gregory?
GW: We need to get what each guy has. And we will play them both together at times. The combination is good. We try to sense the situation to try to see which guy can play the best.

Q: Any particular teaching points the last few days?
GW: How to stay focused. No, I’m just (kidding). We stressed what we talked about before. No matter what the other team does, we can still run good offense. If they get hot, we can still score. Don’t let that distract you from what we are trying to do. The Miami, GT and BC game, you have to score over a 40-minute period.

Q: Bowie crashing the offensive glass.
GW: We have preached team rebounding this year. The guards have to get it done, as well as the inside guys. Adrian has great timing. He can really get the ball as it comes off the rim. He has developed confidence when he scores inside.

Q: When someone else is making a run, does this team shoot too fast or pass up a good shot? What’s going on there?
GW: Patience is always a good thing on offense. We took about 71 shots against Boston College and you probably only want to take 60 in a game, unless you are getting all layups. I thought we were a little quick in the second half. Part of that is experience. It’s something we talk about, trying to get the best possible shot.

(Doug Dull: One or two more, folks.)

Q: On Kim…
GW: I thought he deserved to be playing so I was glad the NCAA gave us the waiver. I am glad for him he didn’t miss much time.

Q: Does the language barrier hurt him in practice?
GW: He has learned a few new words this season to help him. That is my outreach to the international community. It’s part of being a teacher. He is a great kid. I always put myself in his position. If I went to France and played, I would have had problems. He really tries and that is all you can ask. He has been great in terms of his effort.

Q: On Jordan Williams
GW: He has been nominated to be a McDonald’s All-American. So hopefully he can make it. He had 53 the other night. He didn’t get much attention going into the summer, but I saw him play six or seven different times going into that period. He was a better player every time I saw him play. His AAU coach was head coach of the Boston Celtics for an interim period. He really pushed Jordan.

Q: What’s that say about the kid?
GW: Well, he is going to have to beat out a couple seventh graders … oh, you can’t do that anymore (joke)

Q: Recruiting Padgett
GW: Now with the AAU in the summer, they play against each other. Everyone knows everybody. When I walked out on the court to play, I had not played against the other guy before. Now they have each other’s cell phone number. That mystique is gone. If you are really good, you will be on a really good AAU team in the summer team.

By Eric Prisbell  |  January 30, 2009; 4:39 PM ET
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