Jeff Lebo's Media Day Quotes
Oct. 14, 2010
"This part, I know for the players, is the hard time. It's the boot camp of practice time. I told them today when we met with them, how much I think a lot about what we'll find out about our players will be revealed in the next month to two months. It's an exciting time to get started.
"We're almost 100 percent healthy. We have everybody ready to practice except for Brock Young. We're hopeful here that if things go well with his rehab, that maybe by the middle of next week we'll have him started back in practice a little bit. He's missed a lot of our preseason stuff.
"But we're in good shape right now. Everybody, but three players have ran a six-minute mile. That's a requirement for us to make the team. One had a surgery preventing the run, another is Brock and one is just a little bit short to officially be on the team. They can still practice, but they're not on the team until that happens. They don't get the gear, shoes and everything they like to have until they make that six-minute mile.
"We'll start here without Brock for about a week and then we'll be full fledged and have everybody on the court."
On If He's Happy With The Team's Conditioning Level
"They've worked hard in our workouts that we had. The hour workouts that we've had have been pretty easy for them. Now will come a test for them to see if they can consistently go through every single day for two to two-and-a-half hours of the grind of the practice season. Can they do that? Can they stay healthy? Can they make it through consistently in practice? That'll be a big test here as we start."
On Pleasant Surprises So Far
"And I think there's a hunger there. There's a hunger to win, get better, bring pride to the program and to have some respect. It's easy to have hunger right now. We're going to find out about how much we want to really have it when the season starts."
On How Well He Knows The Team
"I have been pleased to date. Obviously we haven't even had Brock in practices yet. We think we'll look a little different once he gets back and healthy.
"To date, I've been very pleased with the attitude and work habits of the group. Now can we sustain that through a long period of time will be the question."
On If He Will Change His Coaching Style Or Philosophy
"Obviously, we think we have some perimeter players in Brock, who is a Preseason First-Team All-Conference USA selection. We also have a senior in Jamar Abrams who, I think with his ability to shoot the basketball, can bring some things to us. "I think what we're looking for is if we can get one or two more guys to step up on the perimeter to make perimeter shots. Offensively, we could be a hard team to defend if we shoot the ball consistently from the perimeter.
"Defensively is an area we have to get better about at. There's no doubt about that. Talking to the team, I think that's an area that they think they need to make some improvements in. We'll spend a lot of our preseason practices working on our man-to-man defense and our principles there. I think that's an area we can get better."
On Turning Around Programs
"We also have to be able to do it consistently when things don't go our way. There are going to be plenty of times during the season and during the course of a game or practice when things don't go our way. Can we still be mentally tough enough and mature enough as a basketball player and team to play our way through those rough stretches? They're going to come. I guarantee they're going to come.
"That will be a true test for our group. Can we stay together? Can we continue to do those things? I think over the course of time, you'll be rewarded for that play. Your team will be rewarded for that play.
"There are things we're going to talk about. We're going to talk a lot about winning and what we have to do to win. We need to have more conversations with our group about that. We need to talk about that more consistently. We need to talk to our players and get our players to talk to each other about winning, what it takes to win and what things are important.
"There are a lot of things you can do to help your basketball team that require no talent that good teams have. We're going to talk about those things. We have some talented guys. We have to learn about chemistry, find our roles and get our kids to understand that all those roles are very important to our team.
"There is such a fine line between being 10-21 and 21-10. There's just a fine line. There will be 10-15 games that we'll have during the course of the season that will be plus-or-minus six points with five minutes to go in the game. How we handle those five minutes at the end of the game will dictate what our record will be in the end.
"We want to be in great shape, improve our defensively what we do and be able to play hard for long periods of time."
On The Non-conference Schedule
"We also have Coastal Carolina, who is picked to win the Big South. They have a lot of guys back and some Southeastern Conference transfers. Old Dominion is outstanding. We play a lot of good people.
"We have Clemson on the road. We have a unique schedule because we play a lot of early games at home. Then, all of a sudden, we play five games in-a-row on the road. That's not very much fun there. We'll find out a lot about ourselves, I think, during that five-game stretch."
On If The Team Has Bought Into His Style
"I think some of them have not set the bar high enough. I think they can do so much more. The expectation level is not high enough. I don't know why; it's probably a multitude of reasons. I have high expectations for the group. I've been really pleasantly surprised with them in a lot of areas.
"We have to get them thinking and working in the right frame of mind. We have some experienced guys who have been through the wards. We have high expectations for our seniors.
"I told my team we won't vote on captains yet because I haven't seen yet who that is going to be. We'll wait for the first couple of weeks to see before we vote on captains of the team. Every player will have a vote and every coach will have a vote. Leadership with this group I think will be vital. I think we have potentially some guys who could be good leaders, we have to mold those guys."
On If There Is A Number Of Wins That Earns Respect
"I want people when they play East Carolina, when they leave, if they beat us, they say, `Wow, they play hard. Wow, we were in a game. Wow, they were prepared. Wow, were they tough.'
"We may not have shot well that particular night or we may have made some turnovers or different things like that. But I want them to leave knowing they're not just going to walk in, play East Carolina and walk out of here thinking nothing of it. That will be our goal.
"We're not going to talk in terms of wins and losses. I don't know what that respect number is. I have no clue. We've had a lot of losing seasons here in a row. That's something we'll talk about to our team. They want to have a winning season. They want to play in the post-season. They want to have respect.
"But, as I told them today, we haven't done anything to earn respect. We have to do something to earn it. We haven't done it. All that is behind us. All we can focus on is what we're going to do in the future."
On How Much Of His Style Comes From North Carolina
"I think if you look, I hope I'm pretty good at taking our personnel and developing a style of play that fits them the best way to win. People talked about Coach [Dean] Smith and his style of basketball, but it really wasn't a style. He changed with his personnel, whether they were big one year or the three-point line coming in like it did when I got there. He changed his philosophy with that and if we were going to press or trap as much.
"You change based on your personnel and team. I think that's what good coaches do. I think I have an idea of how we want to play. Typically at this time of the year, I've been in this for a long time, you kind of have an idea and after two weeks you're going to have to tweak it a little bit.
"After your first scrimmage or exhibition, there are things you may have thought you can do that you're not able to do. Or things you didn't think you could do that you may be able to do a little bit more. You'll find that out about your group.
"We'll see. We'd like to play man-to-man. We'll mix defenses like we did at North Carolina. We like to play fast and utilize the three-point line. But this year, I have some guys who I think can score inside. We have some size in there, which I'm not used to having."
On Petar Torlak
On How Much Film He's Watched From Last Year