Matthew Mitchell Quotes before SEC Tournament - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Matthew Mitchell Quotes before SEC Tournament

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AP Photo/James Crisp AP Photo/James Crisp

Opening Statement …

“The SEC Tournament’s always a great event, a real tough tournament to win. Have to play excellent basketball. We have some great teams in the league this year, so ought to be a really tough tournament. Alabama – who is our opponent – has played really good basketball down the stretch. We played them about a month ago and I think they’ve really made progress since then and both of us fighting for postseason right now. So, really tough game and we’ll have to really prepare well to get a victory and that’s what we’ll be intent on doing.”

On how Maci Morris has met the challenge of stepping up this season …

“Well, she’s really worked hard on her offensive game and has become just a total offensive weapon. You know, there’s just not anything at this point in time that she’s not doing extremely well, other than we don’t post her up a lot but the few times we’ve asked her to get in there and do that she’s done that well. That sort of area of her game maybe I think could develop even further, but outside of that she’s just making the 3 at a really high level. She can put it on the floor with both hands and go both ways. Mid-range game. Getting to the bucket, getting to the free throw line. Just a really, really complete offensive threat right now and the thing about it is we’ve had a year that in such a difficult schedule and everybody on that schedule knew that she was our leading scorer and our top offensive threat and she’s still putting up those numbers. So, it’s impressive and I think she’s handled that part of her game about as well as she could. I don’t know what she could’ve done more. She’s really had a great year.”

On whether he thought Maci would have that tenacity when he signed her …

“Yeah, I always thought watching her in high school I liked the intangibles. She always wanted the ball at the end of the game, she was never afraid to take a shot. I saw her miss a couple at the end of games and that never bothered her. She had the makeup of being somebody who wants the ball in her hand. So, I haven’t been surprised. And she’s worked hard at it.”

On how he’s encouraged other players to step up and give Maci support …

“Well, I think we’ve worked hard at individual skill instruction. I think everybody’s made progress. You know, I think you look at our three freshman post players from the beginning of conference play to the end, and they still have a ways to go to develop and get better, but they have made tremendous improvement and you can see where their value lies. Everybody is making sure that we go down to Nashville with a real aggressive mindset, just turning it loose and trying to make sure that in the context of our offensive execution, you’re in the right spot, you’re taking the right shots, you are fulfilling your role on our team. We had a good offensive game versus Alabama the last time where everybody really was in the act and shot the ball very well, so we’ll need another performance like that.”

On how you balance taking the tournament game by game …

“Well, today we’ll just talk about how important it is to beat Alabama. You know, it’s not a secret in this day and age where we stand and what needs to happen. I know the team wants to make a run here at the SEC Tournament and it’s really something that we’ve come close to a bunch of times at Kentucky and it would be just a real great accomplishment, but it’d be awesome for this team. So, everybody understands what needs to happen and you have no shot at it unless you beat Alabama on Thursday. So, you’re right back in the same place you start. You have to go prepare well today and tomorrow and play really good basketball on Thursday.”

On what he’s learned about his team during a challenging year …

“Well, there’s so much opportunity for growth and to learn as a coach. You know, I look back and know a lot more about our team and what’s worked and what was not effective. So, you just file all that away as a coach to make sure. We’ve got so many of these players that are young and have more basketball left to play. So, for this season it’s important that we try to prepare well today and tomorrow and play well on Thursday and then when the season is over that’s when you can really fully reflect and go back and find opportunity for growth. You don’t want to be in this position very often, but we’re in this position and you have to find the value. It’s there. You’ve got to stay really diligent in that process and make sure that you don’t get into negative emotion and really get in and look at it in a real honest and straight-forward way and find the value in it.”

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