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Opening Statement:

“Well, for me it was a hard fought game. It’s what you expect when you play Michigan State. I have so much respect for Coach Izzo. I’ve known him since I was in high school, and he’s one of the best in the game at what he does and you always know his teams are going to play hard, they’re going to defend, and they’re going to rebound. We came off of our first two games where we didn’t rebound the ball well. So to outrebound a Michigan State team, that’s a big deal for us. We’re going to play the guys that you saw tonight. We’re not as big as we have been, but we’re tough, and five guys needs to be on the boards, which I think you saw tonight.

I just thought for our team, like, for our guys, we stepped up in a big way. We want to play this schedule. You play Arizona, Michigan State, two of your first three games. Let’s see where we’re at. I’ve learned more about this team in the first three games than maybe any team I’ve been with, as an assistant coach, as a head coach, obviously in the one year, and to respond that quickly in a couple days, I think says a lot about their character. I’m going to talk about one guy, and then I’ll answer any questions. But I’m going to talk about No. 1 over here, Caleb Foster, and Caleb, he’s as hard as any worker we have on the team, first of all, and he’s coming off a game on Friday. He didn’t like the way it went and whether he’s pissed at me, pissed at how he played or the game. Like, going to play at Duke or going to play anywhere there’s going to be ups and downs, there’s going to be moments where you get knocked back, but the program that I know Duke to be, it’s all about how you respond. For us as a team coming off of Friday, but especially individually — like, what Caleb did tonight, he won us the game. I mean, these guys did too. Are you guys feeling bad? You guys did some okay things too. But yeah, we win together, lose together, except tonight, Caleb, you know, really. But I just think it says a lot about him, as a freshman, being in this environment, in this moment, and not just the points, you know, 7-8, 18 points is great, his defense, his rebounding, his passing. I just thought it was a big-time response, and I can’t say enough about his attitude, and the two guys next to me really brought a toughness to our team tonight.”

On defending the three-pointer against Michigan State:

“Well, we treat it like a paint team, but also at the same time, it scares you because the law of averages. I mean, look, they shot — they were third in the country last year with three-point field goal percentage, and of course Hauser shot almost 50 percent and that’s a big deal. But those other guys on the court are capable, and so we want to protect our paint, but knowing at the end of the day, you have to get out to at Akins, you have to get out to Walker, you know, Hoggard still is capable.I thought that these guys did a great job following the game plan. Walker, he hit some tough shots, man. I mean, he hit some tough shots. Hands in his face and his ability to shoot off the bounce, to shoot contested shots, but to me the biggest key, is they get fouled a lot. So playing them without fouling was a big thing for tonight and then protecting our paint. Overall, we did that.”\

On how to be successful going forward defending the paint:

“I think I have to help them better with what to do when the defense breaks down. Even though we’re playing three guards most of the time, or all the time, we have Flip at a different position this year a lot of the time, we still want to have that same mindset to fight for the rim, and you would think that we’re going to take more threes. We took 22 tonight. Not that many. But the spacing is more open, so you have opportunities to drive more. I thought Flip did a great job tonight of when there’s one-on-one attacking and then when he got double-teamed. Like, one of the biggest plays was him hitting Caleb for that three. So we need to continue to learn how to play with the group that we have in and really be forceful driving the ball. When they commit, we’ll have spacing and shooting. But really our bread and butter is always going to be getting to the rim, getting to the foul line, and everything else comes from there.”

On being back in Chicago:

“I told these guys, I don’t know if you know, but we went on a bonding trip this summer. We had a Brotherhood CEO trip here, and afterward they were very skeptical. I think they wanted to go somewhere more tropical, and then they realized that summertime in the Chi is actually not a bad thing.”


On his mindset entering Tuesday’s night game:

“My mindset was just to be ready when Coach called my name. Before the game, my teammates and my coaches were just telling me to be ready. I feel like I work hard for this moment, it’s a moment I’ve dreamed of, and so, yeah, just coming in and be ready.”

On rebounding from the Arizona loss

“I mean, I was definitely mad that we lost, but one thing my dad always told me is to stay steady. There’s going to be ups and downs throughout the season, so just keep your head up and keep working.”


On how the guard play can open up the interior play and what job it helps the team accomplish:

“I think it’s a big job. Michigan State is a big team. They prides themselves on being physical, tough, and what comes with that is being a tough interior team. They’re a big team. I want to say maybe they’re bigger than us, at least that starting lineup. So to have that freedom to kick out and have confidence in our guys to make threes, that’s a big deal. Obviously a focal point of our offense is throwing it into Flip, and I thought in the first half, you could tell — occasionally they’re doubling, but even when they’re not, they got three or four guys that are really honing on him when he’s in the post. So he did a great job throwing the ball out and then good things are going to happen when we hit our guards for wide open shots.”

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