Texas A&M Basketball Press Conference Quotes - 1/28

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Texas A&M Men’s Basketball
Weekly Press Conference
Jan. 28, 2013 ● Reed Arena
Selected Quotes

Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Head Coach Billy Kennedy
Opening Statement…
“We have another big week ahead of us. I’m looking forward to it. We have to continue to fight because there are a lot of good things going on in our program. Our guys are sticking together and getting a lot of experience. Not all of it is positive experience but I think some of the guys are fighting and we have to get the guys who aren’t playing well to get better. Mississippi State is a team that is similar to us. People don’t realize it but they are down eight scholarship guys also. They are playing a lot of young guys and have had a lot of adversity and injuries but they are very capable of winning on their home court. We are going to have to go in ready to play.”

On team dynamics…
“We have a good group that’s together. They do things together. Yesterday they got together and did something as a team. Culturally, our base is building and getting stronger in some areas that you can’t see. We are in the transition period. We will have seven new guys next year. When you have to restore your program with 13 new guys in two years, it takes time. Right now we are building a culture of togetherness and toughness and we can see that coming together.”

On Ray Turner…
“We met some and I’ll meet with him again today. You just have to fight your way through it sometimes. There’s no way out of it and working yourself through it. When you are going through adversity you tend to look for excuses. We have to focus on him just fighting his way out of it. He’s never had this kind of pressure on him before as a starter, as a senior and as a guy that needs to be a main guy. That’s something that he is going to have to learn how to deal with.”

On teams guarding Elston Turner differently after his 40-point game at Kentucky…
“It’s definitely different. It’s gotten the attention of all the kids. Your coaches can tell you one thing but when players see that you’ve gotten 40 points at Kentucky, it gains another level of respect. They know where he’s at. There are no tricks. He’s done a pretty good job to get 19 points this last game (vs. Georiga). He took a couple of tough shots that he’s got to be willing to pass up but we want him to take tough shots because he’s our best scorer. I think he has handled it well. It’s a new challenge for him because they are doubling him most of the time and letting him get good looks. He’s one of our leaders in assists. The last game he got rid of the ball but we have to get some of our other guys to step up. They are not guarding a couple of our guys. Defenses aren’t guarding J’Mychal, Alex or Jordan. Our post guys have to have a better presence so it has made it difficult for him.”

On J’Mychal Reese’s growth during his freshman season…
“He needs to exert himself more, from a physical standpoint. He needs to have a physical presence. He relies on floating a lot. He doesn’t get to the free-throw line and he has to be more active on the defensive. He is one of the only true freshmen that is starting at the point guard position in every game in the league. He’s playing a lot of minutes and that’s a very difficult position to learn. We just want him to be a little more aggressive on both ends of the floor.”

On J’Mychal’s subdued presence on the court…
“That’s part of his personality. I’m learning that as well. He didn’t play last season and I knew that starting a freshman at this level required me to be patient with him. We are being patient with him but he needs to be more assertive and more aggressive. His personality is very subdued.”

On team’s level of confidence…
“Confidence comes with success. When you are making shots and you are winning games, confidence breeds confidence. We have to get where we are making some shots and can get ourselves going. You just have to fight through it in practice. We have a lot of guys that haven’t had this kind of adversity before. This is new territory and what I like about them is that they are staying with it. We don’t have any attitude issues or pouting. They just have to fight through it.”

On Fabyon Harris development…
“You notice Fabyon. You notice Kourtney. You notice Alex Caruso. You notice Elston. Fabyon wants to win. He wants to score. He wants to shoot. You can recognize that on the floor. When we get him to want to play defense, that will be a lot better but he definitely shows us a lot of personality and toughness on the floor. Without him scoring the last few games, we wouldn’t have had a chance.”

On Mississippi State…
“They are very similar. They’ve had a little bit more balance in their scoring. As it was mentioned earlier, they have seven or eight guys getting eight points or more. We will lock in on Jalen Steele because I think he is their best player and he is the most experience player. They score off of their defense. They trap some and they change defenses. They struggle scoring in the half-court. Hopefully, we can turn them over some and score off of our defense, which we learned against Georgia. We are going to have to do more of that just to get some easy baskets in transition.”

On Elston taking shots late in the shot clock…
“We have to do a better job. Last game we tried to run a lot more sets to get him more touches early in the shot clock. They did a good job of defending it and we need to do a better job of screening for him. When you have five guys worried about just one guy, it’s hard to score.”

On young players…
“Alex (Caruso) has done a lot for us. He shows a lot of presence on the floor on both ends. We see his aggressiveness. He’s not passing up open shots. He’s shooting them; he’s just not shooting them at a good percentage but he’s getting open looks and he needs to continue to shoot those. J’Mychal (Reese) is a good scorer. He’s a better scorer than he’s played. He’s only shot one free throw in six games so he needs to be a little more aggressive. We want him to shoot the ball from the parameter. People are getting after him just because he is a freshman. He’s working his way through it and I think we will see improvement as we go on. This is not anything that I can say that I totally did not expect. When you play young, first-year guys at the SEC level, you are going to have some ups and downs and some inconsistencies.”

On Kentucky, who the Aggies play on Saturday in College Station…
“Kentucky is Kentucky. They are struggling this year. We beat them so I know Coach Calipari will have them revved up. They play Tuesday night so they will have three days to prepare for us. Their talent level is very good. They have lost a couple of close games but they are making great plays and they are progressing and getting better. They have a lot of new guys, too, and they are getting better. We will just give it our best shot on Saturday.”




 
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