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Matthew Mitchell Talks About Playing LSU Sunday - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Matthew Mitchell Talks About Playing LSU Sunday

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Opening Statement … 
“Well, bit challenge ahead for us Sunday. We have had some great crowds here the last few home games and I am so appreciative of that. I know that it is an early tip at noon on Sunday, but we would really benefit from a big crowd. I would love for our fans to come out and make plans to be there at noon on Sunday because LSU is a very good team and playing well. They are playing as well as anybody in the league right now. They are athletic and have some explosive scorers and are tough defensively, it is tough to score against them. Huge challenge ahead and we are going to work hard and try to prepare for victory, but we would love to get it.”

On LSU and what has changed for them after beating back-to-back ranked teams …
“I think that they have played with tremendous energy the last couple of games. Watching them, I really feel like in the Tennessee game they just played so hard and were so aggressive. They didn’t do anything you had not seen them do in the previous game but just had incredible effort. They are very athletic and strong. You have to be ready physically to compete because it is not going to be an easy game, it is going to be a hard game because they play so hard.”

On the top reason for the three-game winning streak …
“Just strengthened our attitudes. I think Vanderbilt was just such a disappointing effort and everyone was feeling bad for themselves instead of thinking about ways to get the team going so that bye week was really the time we had to wake some people up and get the attitudes out and quit feeling sorry for ourselves and get out on the court and start doing the things we need to do to be successful. I always felt like we had the capability of playing good basketball we just weren’t doing that. I think our attitudes are better. The players started doing some things that they had to do to help the team win and maybe had to sacrifice things they wanted to do, things like that. But I think it has been more attitudinal than anything else.”

On changing attitudes …
“I think as a leader you can create an environment but I think it is up to the individual. That is why I am so proud of the players. To a person, from the players, they have done that. That is up to all of us as individuals. I tell them this all the time, if it were up to me everybody would have a great attitude and be positive and if I could do that I would do that but it is up to each individual. We have made some improvements and gotten some things straightened out that we needed to and I really like it began with their attitudes.”

On KeKe McKinney playing at the top of the press …
“At the press, she is long and has some size and gave tremendous effort. We love her hustle and her effort and her attitude up there. Then she has a good wingspan that bothers the people handling the ball. KeKe has a lot of intangibles. She is plenty athletic, but she is not the most athletic person on the team and she is certainly not the strongest, she really has to go to work each and every day to get stronger and she will as she matures physically. She just has some intangibles when she channels them the right way that are pretty special. She and I are a lot alike our strengths and passions can become a weakness when you start letting your emotions take over and you get too upset and lose focus on what you are doing. She has done a great job. I talked to her Wednesday night. I knew going into that game how Auburn was going to play and that KeKe was huge in that game last night, not only defensively but she had the ball in her hands a lot of had to make some great decisions playing the 4 in the way we were attacking that press. She had to stay solid emotionally last night and I thought she did the best job of that yet. It is hard for her as a young person to try to figure out how to mature into the player she needs to be for our team. That is hard to put on a freshman, but she is handling it really well right now and she has to keep getting better everybody. She has a lot of intangibles that we love.”

On Alyssa Rice saying KeKe is the “hype person” for the team …
“Yeah, what our older players had to do was they had to deliver the message and make it OK for that to happen. It is hard for a freshman to have to do that. Alyssa is a great person, but she is not demonstrative and tremendously loud in that kind of situation. It was so important for her and Taylor and Maci and Makenzie to say what needed to be said and also make that a good environment where KeKe could step in and do that. The freshmen are looking. They are watching the older players. They view them as leaders so they have to lead and do a good job. KeKe is a very vocal person and that is good for a team that is not very verbal. We need her to do that.”

On a clearing of the air meeting …
“it was during the bye week.”

On if the meeting was coach led … 
“Yes, it was coach led and player participated. I don’t think it is unusually when you are having trouble and losing. It was not anything groundbreaking but before we took the floor we had to sit in a room and the assistant coaches did a great job of putting forward some thought-provoking things and allowing the players to talk. It is hard to lose games. The kids were physically working hard but emotionally and mentally we could have done better and we have.”

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