Matthew Mitchell Calls UK Work In Progress - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Matthew Mitchell Calls UK Work In Progress

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“Well, it was great to be back in Memorial, and starting another season and I thought Southern Indiana really hustled and challenged us early in the game with their hustle and that was good for us, to just get out there and play and just see what everybody had at this point. Everybody played and got a chance to see everybody and so that was really a positive. So many good things happened tonight and obviously there are areas that we need to improve and we’ll go to work on that, but really, really happy to be coaching this team. They’re a good group. Worked really hard and we’ll need a really good week of practice here to try and get ready for the opener Friday night.”

On if he expects to have total team efforts like this all season …

“Yea, I think it’s just going to be a work in progress. I think early on you’re really going to be just trying to find out exactly where people can shine and from that, then start trying to put them in the right positions as we progress as a team. You know, I think it’s going to be a little up and down there early just because you’re so youthful in some key areas. And we are trying to play some depth because we would like to try to push the pace. I thought the freshmen came out and really competed and so did the other two newcomers, Ogechi and Amanda. I think strength in numbers would be really good early on, and just see where we are on that. But it was good to get out there and see everybody tonight.”

On the team having 21 assists on 30 made baskets …

“It’s good. It’s an unselfish group. We’ve worked a lot on moving the ball and trying to get the ball moving, and I think that’s going to be important for our team. You know, a lot of turnovers early – one thing that we’ve been doing is just kind of working on some concepts about beating pressure, and I think some of our early turnovers we just really haven’t worked on an actual press break. It’s been more conceptual stuff. I think the high number of turnovers doesn’t worry me as much because I think we really could cut that down to a manageable number if we had worked a little bit more on an actual press break. Once our veterans got in there and we started moving the ball correctly, that was good. So we need to share the ball, we need to make the extra pass, we need to find the open person and we did some god things with that tonight.”

On his concerns moving forward …

“Yeah, I think boxing out. I mean we won the battle of the boards, but I think that was more of a talent issue than us really doing the right thing. We gave up way too many offensive boards. But there’s so many things to work on, so many things that we’re trying to put together. I really feel great about the volume of things we have that they are aware of. But some of those details, now, you really got to start hammering home and you can’t fix everything at one time. It’s going to be a work in progress, but one thing we have to try to do going into opening weekend, especially early against some of these really tough teams that we have, we’re going to have to do little things like block out, not foul as much to start a game and clean those things up. The fouling early in the game, I thought everybody was just kind of standing up and just wasn’t ready to play and so we need to address that and get off to a better start than we did tonight. But I felt good when the young group kind of struggled there in the third quarter and we were having to put our veteran group in there and they looked pretty good and that may just be how it goes here early on. You just have to kind of live with some of the growing pains. You just understand they’re going to be there and you have to keep your attitude good as a coach and make sure that you’re staying positive with a young group, but I thought that our veterans looked good and stabilized the game. We’ll just keep trying to get this bunch to hustle.”

On the hustle and play of the freshmen tonight…

“I thought that they didn’t get down on themselves tonight. A lot of turnovers from that group, they’re an extremely contentious group. They tend to be too hard on themselves, we really tried to talk to them before the game to react with some emotional strength tonight and not get too down on the stakes and I thought they handled that really, really well. I think Tatyana is really trying to learn what playing with a really high engine, a strong motor is like and that’s something she is really trying to learn and I thought that she took the coaching tonight and really amped it up. She made some really strong, athletic plays tonight, so all of them were coachable and kept their attitude good and there were times that they could have gotten down and they didn’t so they’re going to be some good players for us. I thought Kameron Roach really came in and helped us keep some pressure on the ball so all four freshmen played really well tonight.”

On the effort from the team…

“I think we can do better. I think we can still make progress in that area. It’s like I’ve told them, they’ve never been a group that doesn’t hustle, they just need to find that special level of effort and hustle that is with in all of them and that’s just our job as coaches to make sure the environment is right and its valued and they understand that but one thing that we have been kind of doing in practice is going after the ball with one hand. I thought we made some really conscience efforts tonight. Southern Indiana beat us to some basketballs tonight, not always would we go with two hands and you know it’s a good sign they’re listening but we have another level we can go to.”

On seeing anything that can change his mind about the team…

“I think that what I’m saying is that we have to try to get their mindset right to be our very best and I believe if we put our very best together we can be in the hunt for those things (championships). They haven’t shown me anything that they can’t be just a real handful at the end of the year, that’s what you want to be, be a team that nobody wants to play and it’s absolutely out there in front of them and they can do that and I’m looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to some good practices this week and get ready for an opening weekend that will have some challenges.”

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