Texas A&M Men's Basketball Weekly Press Conference (2/25)

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Texas A&M Basketball
Weekly Press Conference Selected Quotes
Feb. 25, 2013 ● Reed Arena

Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Head Coach Billy Kennedy
Opening Statement:
“We fought hard against Tennessee and look forward to bouncing back. I saw our guys yesterday; the good part about our team is they stayed at an even keel, but that loss was disappointing, probably more so to me than any other loss we have had this year because we had opportunities and our guys fought hard. We just ran into Trae Golden and Jarnell Stokes who really dominated us physically. They had a really good game and that’s one of the reasons why we didn’t win it obviously. I’m looking forward to playing Ole Miss a second time, we are going to have to play really well. We did a good job against Marshall Henderson during the last game but Murphy Holloway, they hurt us inside. We’re going to have to get better with our interior defense and hopefully score around the basket better than we have recently.”

On four overtime game being more mentally or physically draining:
“Both. Fortunately, we had a day off yesterday and it was an early afternoon game, although it stretched into an evening game. This time of the year the season is a grind and we’ve got to continue to fight through it. Our practices won’t be as long, we’ll shorten them up a little bit. The big three (Jordan) McRae hit, after watching it, it was a tough shot. To their credit, they made some special plays.”

On fatigue playing a factor from having a short bench:
“That’s part of what our team is, we’ve just got to overcome that. There’s no excuses this time of the year. We fouled out four guys and I was getting concerned that we would have to put [associate head coach] Glynn Cyprien in, and then it would have really gotten bad. Our guys are fighting. Who would have thought before the season that Jarod Jahns would be playing 42 minutes as a true walk-on, against Tennessee, who was picked high in the preseason, and we were going to go into four overtimes and have chances to win. This team has come a long way and I’m proud of where we are at. We want to win games and at this time of the year you have to win games, so we are looking forward to playing Ole Miss and hoping we have a special performance to beat them.”

On limiting the turnovers against Tennessee:
“Yeah, that was a big concern against Tennessee, but we took care of the ball. We did a lot of good things because when you look at what (Jarnell) Stokes and (Trae) Golden did, they had career performances, and Elston (Turner) is obviously playing extremely well, as well as anybody in the country I think. That’s giving us a chance, but our guys fought hard, we just lost to a really good team.”

On Elston Turner’s improving performance:
“He’s always getting better. He’s been in the gym a lot more. I think he realizes his senior year is about to be over and he wants to finish strong. He’s put more time in in the last three weeks than he has, really, in a long time since I’ve been here and that is only going to help our program. Our culture is getting stronger every day and we’re building a good foundation for special things to come soon. He’s helping lay that foundation.”

Continuing on Elston Turner:
“ … His all-around game, I think, is the best in the league from a perimeter standpoint; he’s just not relying on the 3-point line. And he guarded Jordan McRae, he’s guarding some of the best guys on the teams we play. He’s leading the league in minutes played. We can’t ask him for any more than what he’s already done, but we need to continue to ride him throughout the rest of the season …. He’s figuring out how to score in other ways. Last year, he was just a jump shooter. This year, he’s figuring out how to get to the free-throw line more. His assist total is up, so he has done a lot more things and has gotten better.”

On Alex Caruso’s performance this past week:
“That was the biggest loss for us (him) fouling out, not having him in the game against Tennessee because he got Ray (Turner) a layup late. We didn’t have another true playmaker on the floor. He’s been really special for us the last couple of games. Against Auburn defensively and offensively, he had his best game of the year, and we don’t win that game without him. He has become a key piece to our team and we’ve got to have him on the floor…

Continuing on Caruso:
“We knew that about him when we recruited him, that he was really good at the intangibles, things that help you win. He has taken more charges than anybody on our team. He’s got more steals, more assists; He does everything for us. We’re giving Elston a little more comfort because we’re putting Alex on the best offensive player for the last couple of games and using him in that role. His understanding of the game, I think Joe Dean Jr. mentioned it during the game, he’s got the best basketball I.Q. of anybody in the SEC that he’s seen this year, and that’s saying a lot for a freshman.”

On upcoming Ole Miss game:
“Obviously, our coaches have been looking at them and preparing. We did a good job on them the last game guarding Marshall Henderson. They played us in a lot of zone. Elston had a really unbelievable game; I believe he had 22 in the first half and we were still only up a few points. They’re a different team at home like most teams and they’re in a position where if they want to get to postseason play they’ve got to win some games. We just have to have a lot of poise on the road and shorten the game a little bit, and maybe control the tempo some, more so on the road than we would have at home.”

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