LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Jan 18, 2013 8:11 PM

Matthew Mitchell's Comments Pre-Auburn

Matthew Mitchell's comments as No. 5 UK gets ready for Auburn on Sunday.

Opening statement ...
"Big game coming up on Sunday, really good team coming in. Auburn has a lot of weapons offensively. They play really hard on defense, they full-court press which offers some challenges maybe we haven't had in past games recently, a lot of great firepower, a lot of great athletes who are hustling right now and it will be a tough game. We will have to be really sharp, really focused, really aggressive here in practice over the next couple of days."

On performing well after a large margin of victory in the prior game ...
"Anytime those things are able to happen, I think it goes back to a daily commitment all throughout the year of trying to understand what their responsibilities are. You hear coaches all the time talk about ‘next game' and ‘one game at a time' and people get bored with that, but essentially, that's life. You know, you have a series of responsibilities that you have to take care of. We don't try to do that just during the season, we are trying to do those year round so those become habits, so any success that we have in that area is because people commit to trying to be responsible on a day-to-day basis. So, you can say ‘I think we took care of that responsibility last night and you did it in a magnificent fashion,' but we have always tried to remind them Thursday night has nothing to do with Sunday. We have had enough humbling experiences that if you ever think that you are just showing up and do what we do because you are going to talk about it, we have been knocked down enough times that I do think our veterans in the program understand, and our new kids in the program right now understand that you have to sort of saddle up and ride each and every game and this will be a real big challenge for us."

On what challenges Auburn presents ...
"They just have some good players. They have some really talented athletes on the wing. Hasina Muhammad and Tyrese Tanner are big-time athletes on the wing for them. They have one of the best 3-point shooters in the league in Blanche Alverson. I am really impressed with their post game this year. They have two powerful posts, a good point guard, so they just have a good mix of players and they are playing hard. They are turning people over, speeding the game up, getting people out of rhythm, disrupting people, so it's a fun team to watch, I'm sure for Auburn fans. It's a tough team to prepare for if you're sitting in my seat."

On how his team is playing at this point in time ...
"They are playing so hard right now and the best word I have to describe them is just a bunch of talented kids, but they are really hustling right now. They are really hustling. They are coming in each and every day and I am not having to yell and scream and fight them to try and get them to bring that kind of intensity and that kind of effort level, so right now you can't rest for your laurels. You can't rest, but they are playing well right now because I think they are playing so well."

On Bria Goss taking on a new role in 2012-13 ...
"I think her value for our team is off the charts. One is she is our single-best examples of coachability. The thing that is so interesting about Bria is that she makes a ton of mistakes. There are a lot of times where the coaches are on her and pulling those out, and the way she is handling that is a great example for the rest of our team and that is sort of an intangible thing that she brings. She is just one of the most coachable people I have been around and it speaks to her desire to really be good. She is also very selfless and wants the team to win. I don't get any impression of her other than she wants us to be a championship team and she starts our defense against every opponent, no matter who they have, she is the person that gets it all started for us and we identify ourselves with tenacious defense. She is the most tenacious right now and so her role is invaluable, her contributions are invaluable and we wouldn't be close to the team we are now without her. As far as her scoring goes, I think its one real simple thing that she needs to start doing. She is altering too many shots in and around the basket and we are talking to her about it and trying to work her way through it. She missed one last night that she missed. Nobody made her miss it. I just told the coaches this morning, she's going to get that figured out and then her scoring, I think she had double-figures last night, but she has been doing a good job scoring and is very capable. I think her contribution is very important, very valuable and I think she is having a great season."

On if teams are beginning to overlook Bria Goss since she is not scoring as much ...
"I don't know if it's so much overlooked. You are just prioritizing where you're going to deploy the troops. She may be down on the list, and that's good for Kentucky because she would be a player if you overlook her, she is going to burn you. We are in a good spot right now with our roster and our players and if you overlook Bria Goss, that probably isn't going to be very good for you."

On the balance in assists on the season ...
"I think it speaks to how they feel about each other and how our mentality as a team is right now. I just don't sense that they really care about anything more than winning. I don't think they care a whole lot about who is doing what. You know, you have a kid like DeNesha Stallworth, who I think would have been as happy scoring seven points and 15 rebounds if that's what the game called for. Samarie Walker is getting big-time rebounds and guarding the best post player every time, and I don't think she is real concerned about what her stats look like at the end of the night. Kastine Evans, you know, I just think it speaks to the chemistry they have created. They care a lot about each other, they are in there playing hard for each other and I don't think they are real worried about statistics."

On how hard he looks at coachability in the recruiting process ...
"I think you look at it a lot. I think you have to pay attention to things as far as how they interact with their coaches. Somewhere along the line, I heard 90 percent of all communication is non-verbal, and so can get a whole lot from just observing people and you don't have to hear what a lot of people are saying. They spend a lot of time getting to the gym early and sticking around late, so I can watch those interactions and it's not scientific and it's not a guarantee, but I think we can pick up on a lot of those things. We certainly need people that want to be a part of something and not the whole of something. We need people that want to come here and work together and have a certain vision of how things need to be done and it takes everybody to get it done. Being coachable is very big for us."

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