If you have already read my game story in the previous post, here is more of what James Johnson and ETSU coach Murray Bartow had to say after the game:
Any jitters for your debut? “For me it was the usual, nothing different, really.”
On the tempo: “I was happy about the way we pushed the basketball against their zone. Murray and those guys did a good job of slowing us down with their press, a 1-2-2 press back to the 2-3 zone and then they’d get with a little 2-2-1 back to the 2-3 zone. They did a good job but I thought my guys really stayed with the game plan and wanted to push it and continue to be aggressive even against the trap. I was pleased with the way we handled the trap. I was pleased with the way we handled the zone.”
On the rebounding: “I don’t know if it’ll be an issue all year. …. I didn’t really like the way we were on the backboards against those guys. I think that’s an area we can improve. I don’t think that’s going to be a concern or issue all year long. The guys showed in the second half some that they could come back and rebound with them. Cadarian Raines came back and rebounded better in the second half. Marshall Wood came back and rebounded better in the second half. So I was pleased to see that. That lets me know we can get better at it.”
On the VT defense: “Our defense was pretty good. Besides not rebounding the basketball after we did get the stop, i thought the initial stop was pretty good. They drove (on) us a little bit.”
On the outside shooting: “That’s critical to the way we want to play. We’re playing to our strengths. We’ve got Erick Green and Robert Brown and Jarell, all guys that can put the basketball in the hole and once they get going, that’ll open it up for our big guys down low. Late in the game Cadarian Raines was able to get a lot of real good touches around the basket that he just missed. That’s just timing and those will go down for him. But it started with those guys being able to hit some outside shots, opening things up for us.”
Did he feel pressure to win his debut: “No pressure. I just wanted the guys to go out and compete and play as hard as they could and execute the things we’ve been working on. I told them before the game this was about us. …. We worked so hard. The guys have been great since day one and I wanted this to be a really good day for them.”
On the no. of minutes for Brown, Eddie and Green: “We were able to rest those guys before the media (timeout). … It worked out good. Those guys are going to play a lot of minutes this year, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why we worked hard with conditioning. … The strength coach, David Jackson, has done an unbelievable getting these guys in shape to play the way we want to play and to play extensive minutes.”
On having two scorers in double figures in addition to Erick: “Really encouraging. … Robert Brown and Jarell Eddie, those guys are going to have some good games this year. They’re going to be able to take the pressure off of Erick. … With the way we’re going to play, try to get up and down the floor, it kind of frees those guys up a little bit too. Erick was tremendous in distributing the basketball and scoring the basketball. Those guys scoring the basketball took a little pressure off him, defensive pressure.”
On Brown getting some action at point guard: “He was good. He’s going to be our backup point in certain situations.”
On his team: “A little overmatched. We’re young, very green, very inexperienced.”
On Green, Brown and Eddie: “Those guys can really play. We tried man, we tried … triangle and two, we tried 2-3 zone, we tried 3-2 zone, we tried a little bit of everything, but with young guys you’re going to make mistakes. Our shifts and slides and rotations were not good and then all of a sudden when you give Eddie a little look or Brown a little look, and Erick Green, he’s fabulous. He’s hard to guard because he’s such a dual threat of 3s or one on one. Their perimeter game is awfully good.”
On his defense: “Transition D is a big thing for us. We tried to get back as best we could and limit easy points in transition as best as we could. But it’s easier said than done. We didn’t play against Green last year (when VT opened with a win over ETSU) … and we had a better team last year, a more veteran team last year. Green’s the guy that stirs the drink. He’s good. …. He’s so herky-jerky, it’s hard to stay in front of him and then when you’ve got Eddie on one wing and Brown on the other wing. it’s not an easy team to guard. But transition defense, we were decent in that area. We rebounded decent. We struggled to score and then in our zone slides we were confused some. .,. A lot of the second half we had three freshmen out there with John Walton, …. he barely got it the game last year.
”We can win our league (Atlantic Sun). But there’s no Greens and Browns and Jarell Eddies in our league. You’re playing a different level of talent.