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VIDEO: Men's Basketball Media Availability - 12/19/19
Men's Basketball  . 

VIDEO: Men's Basketball Media Availability - 12/19/19

Head coach Frank Martin met with the media Thursday to preview the team's matchup with Virginia

Head coach Frank Martin met with the media Thursday to preview the team’s matchup with Virginia. It was also the media’s first opportunity to meet with the team’s freshman class, as all five newcomers sat down at the team’s practice facility.

– [Interviewer] You mentioned Trae Hannibal’s consistency in his effort level that he plays with is kind of why he played a few more minutes at Clemson, how did he show you consistency in what areas and as you went back to look at the film, what did you see out of him that day that was impressive?

MARTIN: When it’s the structure of our x and o’s, I get really depressed when I watch him play. But the one thing our team has been lacking and I’ve shared the word personality with you guys, an enthusiasm, a genuine desire to be competitive, not when things are going right but when we’re being challenged, Trae brings that. He brings an enthusiasm. Here’s the thing, you either have enthusiasm or you don’t. If you have enthusiasm, that’s breds. If you don’t have enthusiasm, that’s breds too. And what’s breds? It’s based on who I play. If I choose to play guys with no enthusiasm, then we’re going to become a passive, unaggressive, basketball team. Then I have to be okay with coaching with that personality of our team, and I’m not, I don’t handle that real well. So as I’m trying to find a certain aggression, a certain enthusiasm, whether you make the right play or the wrong play, it doesn’t matter. Trae definitely brings that to the table and he’s going to be a really good player for us. You know if you’ve been a freshman the years Sindarius and Duane and all those guys were freshmen, I had no one else, he’d be playing 30 minutes a game, and we probably would be 4-7, not 7-4. But you know we’re not that place in our program anymore, but I think Trae’s going to be, I told you guys, he’s got a chance to be a star, I think that’s the word I used back in September, October, my opinion has not changed. He just, that daily focus to learn, is his biggest challenge right now, and I’m starting to understand him too, so I think I can help him a little better than I could you know six weeks ago.

– [Interviewer] (Inaudible)

– Yeah yeah yeah yeah, that’s why I played him. If he be completely lost and we’ve adjusted some things too, I’m really stubborn but I try not to be stubborn to stupid. Sometimes stubborn people end up making stupid decision because of their stubbornness. I try to stay stubborn until I feel I’m going to be stupid and when I feel like I’m going to be stupid, what do I mean by that? Well there’s someone that brings something to the table that I think we need, I have to adapt some things, simplify, if that’s a word that fits, to help him so I can help. It helps him so in essence he helps us because of what he does bring to the table, and I think I’ve figured that out a little bit.

– [Interviewer] On those same lines, you talked after the Clemson game that you’d like sit back on Monday and Tuesday of this week and see if the changes and tweaks you made heading into Clemson you’ll continue those forward. Have you come to a kind of an agreement on that and will you know Trae get those minutes, will AJ still be point guard? What is your feeling on those tweaks?

– AJ will stay a point. That’s a decision that I’ve made and it’s not like he didn’t play point for us in the past, we need him to be at point more now and as the season unfolds and hopefully more guys can man that position too. You know but, on my team, that’s the most overrated thing in the world ’cause I like playing with two point guards. It’s just that A.J.’s aggressiveness offensively helps us, like at Clemson, we generated open court baskets ’cause we were more aggressive pushing the ball down the court. I’m not prepared to answer the other part of the question yet. I was in a certain place yesterday morning and I was really disappointed in a couple guys’ approach to practice yesterday which is part of when you deal with freshmen. It’s getting them to understand the importance of a maturity and a focus on a day to day basis. That’s the challenge from a coaching standpoint and I was a little, not overly, unhappy, I was disappointed in the mindset of a couple guys yesterday. So I wish I had another press conference to answer your question later on in the week, I’m not prepared to answer the second part to that.

– [Interviewer] Frank you talked a little bit after the Clemson game about seeing some aggression from Jair, I think ten points in the second half, just what have you seen from him or what did you see when you watched film on Jair in the second half and how have you seen him respond these last few days in practice?

– Yeah he was really good yesterday. He was not one of the ones I was speaking about. He was really good, like I told you guys last week, that I was able to kind of spend time with some guys individually, I’m not big on begging guys to come see me. We’re in this thing together man. If I think I’m beating some guy up to much then I’m going to call him in because I’ve probably had something to do with his lack of aggression or enthusiasm, or confidence or whatever. But I’m not, they know I’m in it with them, when they’re in the middle of issues, guess who’s the first number they dial? Mine. Well they better be unselfish to when they’re not performing the right way, they don’t run away from me and you know guys got to figure that one out, some, you know, most guys call their coach when they’re in trouble, they rarely call their coach when their coach needs them to do things better. And he showed up in my office Monday, what’s today, Thursday? Either Monday or Tuesday, it was Tuesday ’cause I wasn’t around Monday. It was Tuesday. He showed up in my office and we had a great 20, 30 minute conversation, Jair’s a real good teammate, real good dude. Paraphrasing my message to him is you’re too good a teammate, too good a person, to be so deep into your own feelings. Basically what I tried to share with him. You got to, the reason you’re not being aggressive, is ’cause your consumed with yourself right now, and I thought the second half of Clemson, that’s the most aggressive he’s played the whole year. Not in the last two weeks. Reminding me how he would practice last year and he kind of piggy backed on that and he was pretty good the last two days so I hope that continues. He’s old enough and I know he’s a competitor, you know he’s not, he’s not a goofball, he’s a competitor, and he wants to help this team, but he was a little too deep into his own feelings, that happens to all of us, we get wrapped up in our nonsense sometimes and don’t realize that we’re not doing things to help others.

– [Interviewer] Frank its been awhile since ABC has aired a college basketball game, how cool was it for you guys and you as a head coach in college basketball to see you know basketball kind of expand to more networks and to be able to play on a national stage here the end of December?

– You ask me a question that I’m going to end up giving an answer that’s probably getting me in trouble, but you know me I really don’t care. Kind of funny we got a schedule two road ACC games so we can get on networks not play on iPads, you know that’s so, if I can schedule the whole ACC so we can play ten times on television I’m all in, call them, ask them if we can go. That’s one of the reasons you schedule Virginia. I don’t think we appreciated the fact, we, members of our media, our campus, our community, our state, I don’t think we appreciated the fact that we were able to get Virginia to give us a home in home. You know I don’t think people really put their arms around that, you know you got the team that was the overall number one seed the year before and you get to bring them into your building and then you know for them to give us a home in home, not that we’re inferior to them, I don’t know, ask people who have been covering the sport here since the school left the ACC, how many ACC opponents have given this school home in homes? You know to get Virginia to do it it’s a credit to Tony Bennett that he was able, or willing, to do that, and I think that comes from the mutual respect that we have for each other. But it’s going to be awesome. Jon Sciambi’s a friend, you know, he text messages me all the time. He doesn’t as much anymore ’cause now I live in a warmer climate but you know he lives on South Beach so he texts me all the time, middle of winter, say “hey feels real good over here” and you know having him and Jay on the game, it’s going to be a great opportunity to be on ABC playing the defending national champions in a great environment that they have at the University of Virginia, and it’s a great moment for our program, our players to be able to be showcased there.

– [Interviewer] Virginia’s so well known for their defense, what is it about their defense that’s unique to everyone else in the country?

– Their simplicity and their discipline. You hear people all the time say basketball’s a game of mistakes. I think Bob Knight’s the one that said it, the team that commits the fewest mistakes is going to win the game. Virginia commits fewer mistakes than any team in the country. They don’t gamble, when you coach against them, you watch film, there’s certain things you don’t feel, when you coach against them, they don’t shut up. It is five guys just constantly communicated on the court, it’s awesome. As a competitor, it’s like putting your head in a blender, because they make it so hard, because they don’t get out of the way, they don’t make mistakes, and when they do make a mistake, they usually cover up for each other, but their mistakes are few and far between. They’re so disciplined on the rules and then the last part which is what the game of basketball is, if you got the ball can you get by your defender, and if you’re on defense, can you keep the guy with the ball in front of you? They never ever reach, get off balance, they never open their hips, so they don’t give you the ability to drive, and they’re great with their hands. They’re active. They rarely have their hands down, their hands are always in passing lanes and disrupting passing, and shooting, so they make the fewest mistakes of any team in the country, both on offense and defense. Low turn overs so that means you can’t get out in the open court against them. They offensively, they’re going to shoot it with, two seconds to go on the shot clock. So that means they’re going to make you guard for 28 seconds, which means that they’re probably taking a good shot. They’re an underrated offensive rebounding team ’cause people just look at numbers. If you actually pay attention to the fact that they’re a high field goal percentage make team, that they’re a low possession team, the percentage of offensive rebounds that they get are really back breaking to the opponent because you guard for 28 seconds, you give up on offensive rebound, and you’re going to guard for 15 more and they’re gettin’ another good shot against you, and then defensively because of how they play on offense, they’re always in place and it’s, I did it last year watching them, after we played them I went home and thought about it a lot, and now that I’ve been watching them for the last couple days, it’s mind boggling that as coaches we all do things differently but why do we complicate the game so much? You know what they do? They pass, they cut, they screen, and they take good shots, they don’t run a hundred plays, and defensively because of that they’re able to get their defense in place but you know, and lastly that is the beauty of college basketball, that different people can play different styles and have a chance to win. It’s not like the NBA where 98 percent of the teams play exactly the same way. That’s the beauty of college basketball that it’s not just about individuals and the rules defensively are not slanted to showcase individual players, it’s about team, it’s about five guys, it’s about representing your uniform, and I think Virginia has done that as well as anyone in the country over the last four, five, six years. You know it’s a great opportunity for us because the quality of the opponent that we’re playing.

– [Interviewer] Kind of in that you mentioned a lot of the reasons that Virginia’s good at sort of staying to that pace that they kind of prefer, what are sort of the things that a team has to do to kind of maybe get them out of that slower pace and bring them into a game they’re maybe a little less comfortable in?

– Good luck. You got any opinions I’m heading back to my office to try to figure out your question. I’m open to suggestions. I think there’s 353 of us around the country trying to figure that one out. They have a couple new guys on the perimeter, guys that are you know, playing their style for the first time. One’s a freshman, the other one’s a junior college transfer. Then number 12, I’m not sure if he’s a freshman or a sophomore, I’m loosing my mind right now, but you go into the game, hoping that, not gambling, the biggest mistake you make against them is gamble. Soon as a gamble, they’re putting a foul on you, they’re getting a lay up, they’re getting an offensive rebound. It’s every time, so you can’t gamble. So whether you press, you don’t press, whether you play pack line, or you play our kind of defense, you have to be rock solid against them. You can’t, you know West Virginia, did a home in home with them, Michael Carrera senior year and our final four year, and West Virginia beat them twice in two like ridiculously hard games, I think they beat ’em five and beat ’em two or something like that. You remember how West Virginia played those years? Everyone called them press Virginia, right? Well the score was in the 50’s so it’s, you have to try to speed them up, not to turn them over but to make get them to shoot a little faster than they want to shoot and, but you can’t gamble. You can’t gamble. If you gamble I’m just telling you they’re getting a foul, they’re getting an offensive rebound, or they’re making a lay up. Take your pick if you gamble. So you have to make sure that you’re consistent with how you defend them and then at the end of the day, you have to make threes. If you don’t make threes you better hope they miss their threes and your chances of winning are still not very good. You have make threes against them.

– [Interviewer] That West Virginia game in ’16 I think is the last time they lost to a non conference team at home, obviously you talk about older teams know how to win on the road, you guys are two and oh at least on the road at this point, where are you in terms of where you think your growth is as a team and what did you learn from those two experiences that perhaps you can take into a spot where road trips have really really struggled to find success.

– Yeah how we played in the second half, you know, usually you go on the road and you come out like gang busters and then as the game settles down and it gets deeper, the home team ends up being more comfortable and the road team tends to panic a little bit, but in both of those games I think in the second half we’ve been good. At UMass and, obviously at UMass, with I think we’re up 11 with two 30 to go or something like that and then we had a bad turnover, they made two bombs out of their minds but that’s kind of what happens and you know we end up winning by four or whatever it was but how we played in the second in the second half at Clemson, you know Clemson I think we had 14 turnovers at the half somewhere in there, we might a had six or seven in the second half, we stopped turning it over, we made shots, and we didn’t just like make late clock, off the drill bowl, like oh my God shots, we made one of those by Jair. All the other shots were just aggressive basketball plays with good spacing, with good decisions, that led to shots and so I’m just, I’m happy, that we’ve been able to do that. That gives you confidence when you go on the road, like we’ve done this it’s going to be alright. When you lose on the road consistently then it creates doubt. I don’t care how enthusiastic you come out to play as the game unfolds, you know losing’s a disease man, it creates doubt, that’s where the disease, it creates doubt, it creates doubt on guys on the team, it creates doubt in the coaches, that’s why you have to avoid losing. Once that settles in man oof, and winning’s the complete opposite. Winning creates a confidence and whether you’re down ten or you’re down three with eight seconds to go you believe that there’s a way you’re going to win the game and so we’re fighting real hard. I think if you go through my time here, I think we’ve proved that we can win on the road. We don’t talk about a difference of winning on the road, winning at home, it’s the opponent. We don’t talk about where we’re playing, I rarely talk about the difference between home and road games. It’s the opponent and it’s playing the 40 minutes and that’s what we try to focus in on. I think we’ve won in every SEC building except obviously Kentucky, we haven’t won there, and I think there’s one more, Alabama, I don’t think we’ve won at Alabama, and then obviously this team ’cause all that’s nice but this team hasn’t done that. This team has two road wins so that’s a good thing.

– [Interviewer] Talked early in the year about the offense kind of being a work in progress, where do you feel this offense is right now and how pleased are you with kind of the efficiency numbers there?

– Well I’m trying to change some stuff so we’re still an exploratory mode for lack of better words as I kind of change some of the things that we’re trying to do schematically, which it’s a little easier to do that when you got old guys than when you have young guys but I think it’s something we had to do. Listen, you play Brads teams, and you play in their building and you score 39 in the second half, something’s happening ’cause they don’t get out of the way. It’s not like Brads teams are like yeah I just go ahead and shoot lay ups, we’re just going to get out of the way and let you win. You know I got a kick of some of the opinions that we went into Clemson and beat a bad team that was hurt. No, that’s the healthiest they’ve been all year, when they played us, so we didn’t play a hurt team. Now number three, I can’t remember his name right now, he’s banged up, he tried to play, he’s banged up, but you know but Clemson’s not a bad team you know, we didn’t beat a bad, we beat a good team, and we scored 39 in the second half, and anytime you do that, you can score 39 in the second half of a road ACC win, you did something right. So I’m pleased with where we’re headed, I’ve said this before and I don’t mean to be boring, when you make jump shots it makes coaches look smarter offensively. When you don’t make jump shots it makes coaches look dumber offensively, and that game we made jump shots and something we have to do better. Houston we didn’t make a single jump shot, I broke that film down, we got shots we wanted, we just didn’t make them. So all of a sudden you look like a bad team and now you’re in a nine point game and it gets late, now you got to take chances defensively because you got to try and get a steal, get an easy basket, because you’re running out of time and sometimes that works and sometimes it goes the other way and a nine point game becomes 20 and that’s kind of what happened that game but we didn’t play bad offensively, we just couldn’t make a shot.

– [Interviewer] Through three games where do you feel Keyshawn is comfort wise on the court?

– Like most guys that come back from injury, when they first get on the floor they got a bang about them because they’re so excited but then they get into the grind of the everyday, dadadadada, and it takes time. It’s like the worst time for coaches with players, usually is about the sixth, seventh practice of the year, because everyone’s excited for practice number one, and by the sixth, seventh practice, everyone’s kind of beat down, and you have to figure out ways to, older guys get it, young guys struggle with that. I think he’s kind of battling that a little bit. He went from like shot out of a cannon in practice heading into the UMass game to where I thought he was okay heading into Clemson. I didn’t think he played particularly well at Clemson. I thought he had some plays that he could go make that he didn’t make. He was passive about it but he got instincts so he made a block, he got a steal, you know he had that missed dunk, so he’s got instincts and he’s got the ability to make the wow play but he’s got to be able to make the play that no one else pays attention to, and you know there were three or four opportunities for him to go get fouled and get a basket and one or two free throws and he went oh for those opportunities if you eliminate the dunk attempt, that’s a special play and he went after the ball but he had three more, three or four, other opportunities, where he had a chance to go get a basket, get fouled, get three points, whatever, and he didn’t go make the play. So it’s, like everyone else, he’s got to find consistency right now, and that’s both on him and me together to get him to that place.