Men's Basketball Media Day Quotes
Over the next week or so, we'll start to discuss some of the critical issues facing the Maryland men's basketball team as it prepares to open the season next month. In the meantime, here are a few thoughts from Gary Williams, who spoke to the media today at Comcast Center.
"We have a chance to be a very good basketball team this year," he said.
On the team's expected defensive style of play:
"In terms of style of play, we're not going to change much. We're going to be aggressive. We're going to run. We played more zone last year than I ever had the guts to play before. I am not great with zones. I think I can attack the zones offensively, but I'm not great teaching zone (defense). We kind of had to go with it at times last year and it worked very well for us. I wouldn't be surprised to see that in more a part of our dropback defense. We'll always have our pressure defense that we can throw out there when we want to, but it all comes down to, basically, making sure guys are tough enough where they feel the responsibility that they have to stop their man. You can talk about team defense and all those things, but you have to have pride to be a good defensive player, and if you have enough guys out there with pride, then you take pride in your basketball team, in terms of how you play defense. That's where we want to get to."
On the ACC:
"One thing you learn over the years in coaching is nothing's automatic. Just because you return a lot of guys, that doesn't mean that we're just going to walk out on the court and all of the sudden all those things are going to happen that sound really good this time of year. You have to really grind it; I have to grind it as a coach. We have to make it happen. We have to make sure guys understand the deal, which is the more games you win, the more individual things that you receive as a basketball player. If you look at the ACC this year, I think you look at it and you see a lot of good teams that are right at the same level. You don't see a whole lot of difference. In other words, last year at this time I think a lot of people would have said, 'North Carolina, they're better than everyone else.' Well, this year I think there's more teams at a certain level. There may not be that one team at the Carolina level. Somebody might play themselves to that level, but right now, you look at 16 games in our schedule in January and February and there's no lock. There's no game where you say, 'Well, we've got that game won. That team's no good. We can beat them.'"
On Greivis Vasquez:
"You know, with every great player, there's things that you work on. In other words, Greivis shot 32 percent from the three-point line. He's a better shooter than that. He's a better shooter than that right now. But you've got to prove it. You've got to go out there and do it. That's one area, and as you become a better shooter, obviously, the defense has to come up on you, and that's going to open up what he does very well, which is the dribble penetration with his 6-6 size and going over guards and things like that."
On Landon Milbourne:
"I think Landon's very comfortable now at the four. The question was do I want to play Landon at the three. I want Landon to play as well as he played last year, if not better. Landon had a great year playing for us, and I think he sees ways. In other words, four is a number. That's power forward in basketball terminology, but the way we play, Landon steps out and shoots threes in that four position. He gets his jump shots. So the idea of having three guards out on the court with a physical presence that we can put out there with three guards is very appealing. And to have Landon at the four, we become a very difficult team to cover. Especially early in the year, as James Padgett and Jordan Williams gain experience, I think it's important for Landon to do a great job for us like he did last year."
On the two freshmen forwards:
"If you want to compare him (James Padgett) to anyone, he reminds me a little bit of James Gist when Gist came in here as a freshman. He played very high-level high school basketball, competes, you know, he wants to play. And I really like that with freshmen that come in."
Jordan Williams is "a physical presence already on our team. You know, very strong with good hands. One of the keys to, for me anyway, coaching is to have the ability to score inside and outside. To have the ability to throw the ball inside and to get to the foul line, or if you don't have that, to be able to kick it out. Jordan's a good enough passer to do that thing and big enough, obviously, to score inside."
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