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Everything Chris Mack said after Louisville’s win over Akron

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South Carolina Upstate v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

You can find the video here.

(Opening Statement) “Well, we are thankful for the win. I know for a team that has talked a lot about finishing, we didn’t do a great job of that. It’s very early in the season. I must recognize that there’s a lot of growth for our team to make. It is not that I have been unaware. We need moments like the second half to find a little bit of reality of where our team is right now. I know everybody gets hung up on the rankings, but I’ll say it as the head coach here, we have not earned that yet. Just like every team in the country in my opinion has not earned that yet, because the fans are shifting, of teams getting better. Teams adding players, losing players. Teams going on losing streaks, winning streaks, figuring themselves out. Same for us. I hope you know we’re mature enough to not accept in victory what we certainly wouldn’t accept in defeat . We have a long way to go. So, hopefully, like I said, tonight is the night we can learn from.”

(About ball handlers being aggressive with the dribble and try to get into the paint?) “Well, it’s my job to put them in positions with our offense, for them to make those decisions. I can’t micromanage every choice a guy is making. A guy drives the lane, I can’t be the one that says, spread it to the corner, you know he’s sucked in. They’re high level players that have to figure that out. You know there are some decisions that we made like every game, we made some wrong decisions. Our job is to show film, try to put them through of the paces the same exact situations in practice. We had a few three-on-twos and two-on-one’s tonight where we botched. We turned the ball over, we charged, we took a poor shot. We’ve done more three-on-two, two-on-one drills than most teams at this level, because we recognize in that area we got to get better at. It didn’t show itself in terms of us practicing it, and us executing it. But hopefully, like I said, tonight’s a night where our players can start a little dose of reality on you know making a better decision.”

(About how many players will be in the rotation) ”I sure hope that each of our guys continues to improve and gain confidence in themselves as a player. They’re a couple guys that I didn’t play tonight that I did have confidence in. We have a lot of talent. We have to be able to keep improving and not worry about the outside noise of, ‘hey coach should play you a little more and you’re playing the wrong position’ – all the extraneous noise that kids hear throughout the course of the season. I don’t want to get to the point where we’re playing six or seven guys, absolutely not. You know we have seven newcomers, six of which, hopefully their career trajectories is like this, where they get better and better and better. Sam Williamson in February, better be a heck of a lot better than he is in November, and a lot more consistent. We’re just not there yet. And it’s not just freshmen it’s everybody.”

(About faulting the shot selection when Akron was coming back in the last four or five minutes?) “A little bit. Our team got bottled up. Akron’s a very physical team. We talked about that coming in. They’ve got juniors and seniors and fifth year seniors and they’ve got guys that take a lot of pride. John does a terrific job of being very physical defensively. And I thought in the first half, we scored a heck of a lot of points against a team that I think is really physical on defense. Our shots weren’t falling in the second half. And when they weren’t falling, we felt bad for ourselves. We felt bad for ourselves, and we didn’t give the same effort in defensive areas that we needed to, and that’s why the game got close. So, it bothers me, but it’s my job as coach to try to fix it. To illustrate through film, practice, and the real experience you just witnessed to our players on how to correct that.”

(About Dwayne Sutton took three shots in 32 minutes Had a profound impact on the game on both ends) “He’s a warrior. He’s a warrior. If every guy on our team had the mindset and disposition of Dwayne, we wouldn’t lose a game all year. I am 100 percent sure.”

(David Johnson was on the court late. What does he bring to the game in situations like that?) “Well, a little bit of inexperience, and it’s a little scary, but David’s extremely talented. He brings great size. And he understands the game, he can get guys shots, but he is longer. I don’t want to only play our juniors and seniors when the game hangs in the balance. Those guys have to get experience. The times I’ve been around David in practice I trust that he’s going try to make the right decision. It’s not perfect, he ran a couple plays wrong. But it’s like our whole team. Just a microcosm. Guys need to get better.”

(About [David] exclusively as a point guard, or how does he work in there) “He can play both the point guard and the two. I think is best attribute is his ability to get his teammates involved and make them better players. He sees the game ahead of most players. He’s obviously adjusting to the speed, but he’s talented. Again, defensively, six foot five. He’s going to have to figure out, if he’s guarding a one, quickness level, and how to use his length and his athleticism to keep a quicker guy in front of him but yet still contest the shot. I know the shot was irrelevant, but he blocked that last shot, six points down. David presents things and six five that no other guys just can’t that position.”

(About playing against a guard as fast as Jackson) “Seems like it could be like Chris Lykes, Jordan Barnes, every guy who plays who’s 5-7 is the fastest guy on two wheels. It’s crazy.”

(About Stephen Enoch and him finishing through the contact) “Stephen is so big and he’s so physical. And please don’t think that I’m calling him Shaq, (Shaquille O’Neal) but I remember when Shaq was in college it was like, if he got bumped by an average player, 6-5, 200 pounds. They never call it, they never call it, because it doesn’t affect them that much. Where (Cris) Jackson gets bumped into, he weighs 150 pounds, he falls down and it’s a foul. And that’s a hard position for referees to be in. My biggest thing with Steve is trying to post in that charge circle and try to dunk the ball. Because the more violent you are to the rim, the easier the foul is to see. I think Steve has grown immensely in that area, mentally. Defensively, he has to be better.”

(About the new three point line doesn’t seem like it’s impacting your team shooting the ball, but spacing is different) ”Spacing for us is difficult, in and of itself with our offense. And I knew that would be a little bit of an issue bringing guys together. More screening and cutting two offensive players within three feet. Two defensive players within three feet. The game is so much more ball-screen dominant where a guy stands in the corner and they use all that space. Spacing is something that we have to continue to figure out in the offensive end. And we will. We will. We’re not quite there yet. And that’s why, when I’ve talked to you guys and press conferences and previous ones, I’ve talked a lot about how just because the shot goes in doesn’t mean our offense is running smoothly. At times it is, but I think tonight hopefully in the second half we will learn a little bit. We have to do a better job of screening and getting a better ball.”

(About shooting late in the game) ”Some of and I think even in the first half, even made a couple shots, I don’t know how great of a look that was, and I’ll say two for 15, there were probably two or three shots who were right at the rim, we have to be able to figure it out, and I hope that it wasn’t because, we were in a tenuous spot and the game was getting closer. We have to be able to finish a few of them around the basket. An offensive rebounds not getting slapped you know out of our hands if we bring it down, we just got to be better.”

(About that being what can be attributed to as some of the defensive problems just guys driving straight line in) “Yeah, I think defensively we were still thinking about offense. That’s why I think our team certainly has a ways to go in terms of maturity, but we’re going to get there.”

(About not having earned the ranking) “I will clarify. I don’t think anybody has, I just think it’s so early that you could put anybody anywhere. Teams are so fluid and games are going to come quick especially these holiday tournaments. Teams will play three games in four days. I just don’t want our players thinking we can walk around with sunglasses on like ‘hey we’re the number two team in the country’ because that’s just a recipe to get your tails whooped.”

(About what he has seen that will foretell this team’s ceiling) “Just every day in practice I just feel like we have a lot of guys that can score the ball. We have the versatility to play a lot of different ways. We can play a bigger lineup, we can play three quick guys. And we also have a little bit more experience than we did here now than a year ago and experience in our system, which is extremely helpful.”

(About the substitution patterns during the game) “Yes, I do want to even play 10 guys. You also want to get your players in a rhythm. And like I said before, I think a big word for our team over the course of the year will be’ sacrifice’. For some guys that shot, some guys it’s role, some guys it’s minutes. You know some guys it’s screener rather than cutter. But again, we got a long way to go in that department. I got good guys in that locker room and continue to get better.”