March 7, 2012
Head Coach Mark Turgeon
On what to expect heading into the Tournament:
"I feel a lot better about us now than I did at halftime (against Virginia). We showed a lot of fight and we had a lot of guys play well. We had a chance to win the game. At halftime I was just hoping we could keep it close the way we were performing. I think with a young team when they have efforts like that they tend to feel good about themselves. I feel good about them and the way they finished that game. We came up short, but I expect us to go down to Atlanta and have energy and be ready to play well. I don't know what it's going to translate to, but I expect us to play like we did against Virginia in the second half."
"I think they're fine. Sean [Mosley] always bounces back and is ready to go. He looked fine yesterday in the office and Nick [Faust] will be ready. Because we play so few players, we have rested more than I have ever rested with the team, so it is good and bad. For this year's team, I think it has been good to get a little more rest to have a little more energy and balance."
On Alex Len's performance:
"I've seen strides in the last month. Definitely in practice there has been a more-aggressive Alex. You can see he has been shooting more 15- to 17-footers in games because that's where he feels most comfortable. Our low-post game now isn't where it's going to be in the future. I think he's playing smarter.
"It's really hard for him during timeouts because everything is moving quickly. I always have a coach grab him on the way out to make sure he knows exactly what he's supposed to do. So in those areas we have come a long way. He feels more comfortable defensively. We have made strides. When you take away the first part of the year, which was taken away from him, that is really hard on a kid, especially a freshman. If he had been in the system for a year or two, then he missed the first six weeks of practice it would have been different. To miss it for a freshman is really hard. To be honest with you, he has done great."
On conference tournaments:
"I love [tournaments]. I loved them as a fan and I loved them when I was a player. I've loved them as an assistant coach and as a head coach. Unfortunately my team has never won a conference tournament, but we have had good teams and have made it to a lot of semis. I love them and look forward to them. Especially when you're like this and it becomes a chance to do something you haven't done all year, like beat the great team or win a few games in a row.
"We're talking about making this a new season, so hopefully the guys will buy into that when we go down there. I love them though. I love this time of year. Usually I am a lot more upbeat this time of year because of the music and the smell in the air. I just love it. I always have since I can remember. I get excited and that's what drives me to recruit and coach harder. That's why you move up in this business - to be a part of what lies ahead the next four weeks. Unfortunately for us, unless we win four in a row, we're not going to be a part of the big one; but I just love this time of year and I think you'll see that in the future."
On what to focus on:
"We're just going to focus on Wake Forest. I think we also have to focus on mentally getting our guys ready. I think physically we have done a lot of the right things with our weight coach to try to get our guys' legs underneath them.
"I think mentally is the biggest challenge for us. When you watch us, you see we put our heads down pretty quick. That's just a team that is young, or a team that has just been beat down. Mentally we weren't ready at the start of the Virginia game. We just weren't right. It really took me acting like a fool to get everyone going. I really don't like acting that way, to be quite honest. Hopefully we can get them mentally right. Right now that is just the biggest challenge we face. Mentally between now and Thursday at noon we just need to get their minds right."
On his thoughts after the Virginia loss:
"I was proud of our effort. I was really pleased with how we competed in that game with the things we had to overcome like the sluggish start and a guy that was tremendous [Mike Scott]. We tried to double-team him and he would turn away from the double team and score. He was just tremendous. If he has a normal game, then we win the game. It's that simple. He was good. If he plays like that in Atlanta and the NCAA Tournament you start talking lottery pick with that kid because he was that good. He was the difference because he made the best plays. He's a veteran, fifth-year guy who doesn't feel any pressure in a building like this."
On Terrell Stoglin's impact on the team:
"I think the statement `we live or die under Terrell' is correct. But you can also say when our post guys play well, we're good and when they don't, we're bad. Since Terrell is our leading scorer, everything goes back to him."
On the All-ACC picks:
"I think Terrell [Stoglin] is disappointed. It is a teaching moment for all of our guys that usually the guys who make first team have a team that wins. Being 6-10 wasn't good enough. We could have been 8-8 and then I think Terrell would have made the first team. We had a close loss at Georgia Tech and a close loss at home. If we were 8-8 then everyone would have been talking about how good we were for being such a young team, but we're not, so he is on the second team. It's a chance for me to tell him that there is more to basketball then scoring...
"I was really happy for Nick though. I thought he deserved it. All the things that kid had to do for the team this year is amazing. He has really been good down the stretch. You have the two freshmen Harrison [Barnes] and [James Michael] McAdoo who don't play a lot at North Carolina who were a little more highly touted coming out of high school, but these last three weeks of the season I think Nick has been the second-best freshman in the league behind [Duke's Austin] Rivers."
On Wake Forest's zone play:
"We haven't seen a lot of zone play, so we're going to work on it today and tomorrow. I think they will do both on us. I think we will see a lot of zone, but I think we will be prepared for either one. The big difference is that we don't have Pe'Shon [Howard] and they don't have the big kid. The big kid blocked a lot of shots and gave them a chance in the game. They came storming back on us and he was really good. Not having him and not having the depth, and us not having the depth, will make it a different game. Earlier in the year we both thought we were going to win. They had just beaten Virginia Tech and we had Pe'Shon and Alex [Len], so we were both optimistic. It's a little different going into this game."
On what would make Atlanta a success:
"I want to play well. For the guys, I would love to get a win and then we'll worry about the next one. They have continued to work hard. I would like for them to play well enough to come out with a victory so they can feel good about themselves again. It has been a few days since that feeling, but after that I just want to play well. I want to fight until the end. I thought we fought until the end when we played Virginia. I want our guys fighting and clawing. That's all I can ask."
On Nick Faust's game:
"You have to live with the turnovers. Six turnovers is too many. He is more in control than he was earlier when he played point guard. Defensively I thought we did a great job on [Joe] Harris and Sammy [Zeglinski] the other day. I thought Nick was great defensively and his game just continues to grow. I can't imagine where he is going to be a year from now. All the things he's experiencing now and going through at such a young age. He is totally committed, so it is going to be a lot of fun coaching him."