Coach McCaffery Weekly Press Conference Transcript
Feb. 14, 2012
Matt Gatens is leading free throw shooting two years in a row, a pretty remarkable stat. When you have a guy that solid, are you surprised at the misses?
COACH McCAFFERY: Really surprised when he misses. We try to put him in as many situations where he's going to get fouled as possible. You know, go to him when we are in the bonus, things of that nature; late game, want to get the ball in his hands.
A lot of times teams go the other way and they double him to make us throw it to somebody else, but that's still a great weapon to have, because then that guy's open.
Q. What are your thoughts on just having a game like this where you're playing a team that you just played weeks ago, and you basically have two games against them in the span of less than two weeks.
Q. When you first saw Aaron White play were you sold or was it an acquired taste?
So everything sort of came together, but as you know in recruiting, it's a progression. He needed to get comfortable with me, I enjoyed getting to know him. He's an easy guy to like. And then you get to know his parents and his high school coach, and then you just go from there.
And then it just looked more and more like we had a pretty good shot. And then when he called to say he was coming, I thought, this is a big step for us, I felt.
Q. Where did you first see him; do you recall?
And Sherman, also, really loved him. Sherman was a guy that said, hey, you've got to watch this kid. He loved him.
That was something that he felt strongly about, that maybe some others were unsure about, I don't know. But he was the one that was sold, so make sure you go see this kid. For us, it was easy at that point.
Q. When you look at a kid like that who maybe has not had a lot of top line offers, do you look at why doesn't he have any other offers?
I've been doing this long enough. I feel pretty confident that if I go watch Aaron White play, I can tell that he can play in the Big Ten. I mean, he can play in the NBA. So he certainly can play in the Big Ten.
Q. What do you do differently with a week off between games?
Q. When you are evaluating Aaron White or any of the other guys you signed, and you see them in the AAU, but do you have to see them in a high school setting?
There's times when you know. I recruited a kid out of New Jersey, he was on an AAU team for guys who three of them were Player of the Year in the league, the leagues that they played, and the other one led in the league in scoring. They all were on the same AAU team. I loved him and nobody else really thought, oh, he's getting 12, 14 points a game; and next thing you know, we are retiring his jersey. It happens, there's a 2,000 point scorer for us. It happens that way sometimes.
So you have to be careful not to dismiss somebody that maybe has different role for his AAU team. So it's understandable sometimes when you look back and say, boy, how did you miss him? I remember we had the Player of the Year in our league when I was in the SoCon, and he was the eighth man or the ninth man for his prep school team. Kenny Hasbrouck, we retired his jersey; he averaged 11 points a game for his prep school; that was a guy playing 12 players.
So you have got to be able to see them and make a decision, and sometimes you've got to go back. Sometimes you can see a kid play very poorly and write him off and he ends up being really good. It's certainly not a perfect world when you are in the recruiting arena. It's difficult sometimes.
Q. In Aaron's case, you probably helped him because in his high school team, he was probably playing more back to the basket kind of thing.
How many high school games are really going to go to? You have a limited number of days; I'm coaching my own team, and I get to as many as I can, but it's one game or one practice. In an AAU tournament, you might see him play three times on Saturday and twice on Sunday. And then you'll see sometimes you go to a game, and the team wins or loses, by a lot. How much do you really get out of it?
But if you see them play five times, you're going to see him in close games, see if he can play under pressure; see if he can go against athleticism; see if he can play against the zone; see if he can play against the press. They were there, and he has the complete skill set, so that was easy.
Q. You've done scheduling at every level, a lot of the mid major schools are trying to get a number for guaranteed games to almost six figures now. Do you understand that, why that is, and is it tougher being at Iowa, trying to fill a schedule and all that money is on the line?
For us, a little different. Some will take less money; some will want more. A lot of times you have to pay more when you need a certain game on a certain date. And you just start communicating. I think it's the worst part of this profession, it's unfortunate. I would prefer they put it into a computer and say, this is who you're playing and be done with it, but that's not going to happen.
The one year where we had a really good team, when I was at Siena, we decided, we'd better rev it up. We had the No. 1 ranked non conference schedule in the country, because I was trying to get an at large bid if we didn't win the conference tournament.
We won the conference tournament. But I do think we would have gotten an at large bid because we took everybody on, and I think our RPI was 31; so it would have happened, but you don't know.
Q. Would it be fair to say as we see this program progress that the non conference schedule will get a bit tougher?
We are going to play the other game in Des Moines. Okay, after that how much does that leave you well, you've got a little bit of flexibility now, and, okay, if we are really, really good, let's play Kansas, Arizona, teams like that. If not, then you back it down a little bit and give yourself a chance to get some momentum, get some wins and develop your young guys.
It's great to take them all on, but if you have a lot of young players, you know, sometimes you can ruin confidence early. So there's a lot of components that go into it when you're thinking it through.
Q. Are you playing a Pac 12 team next year?
Q. Any of the other majors that you are locked into?
Q. Big 12 or the SEC?
Q. Can you talk about your upcoming game at Penn State?
You look at the Michigan State game, the very next game after ours, they couldn't score for a while. They get down by 23, cut it to six three different times. They just keep coming. They don't go away.
So that's what happened in our game when we shot the ball so well early. So we are going to have to play really well when we go up there Thursday night.
Q. What did you learn when you played them earlier this month that you can expect to help you later this week?
Q. Coach Chambers talked the other day about because of his team's record, Tim doesn't get the attention he maybe deserves on TV. Can guys on your team identify with that a little bit?
When we played Indiana, they picked the first team the newspaper picked an All Big Ten team, he was on it. When the guy is leading the league in scoring, I think he's going to be on the All Big 10 team. When you lead the league in scoring, you're first in rebounding, assists, steals. What else do you have to do.
Q. You talk about guys being marked, and obviously he's marked on that team; the fact that he's putting up those numbers, even though he's a marked player, doesn't that just make
But he's gotten an in between game and he can make a three and get to the rim and finish. He's better at going right but he can go left. He makes his free throws. So he's one of those guys that's going to have the ball a lot. So at the end of the game, he's going to have some numbers. You just hope that his percentage is less than he would like it to be.
Q. Is his floater as good as you've seen in college?
Q. Having a short prep after a long stretch like this, when you have a week off, playing Penn State, only two days in between, playing Indiana, how much of that time do you spend looking at Indiana?
Q. Just one scout
Q. The last Penn State game, you guys were really sharp at the start how do you avoid the reverse happening when you go to Penn State?
We are going to have to play at the same level of intensity at the defensive end of the glass. We out rebounded them and got after them pretty good, and that's what they are going to try to do to us.
Q. Would you break down when the defense was an issue several times, I'm sure you break it down with your team on film, but at some point, do you scrape your head and wonder, is it ever going to sink in?
So I'm going to require you to do what you are capable of doing. And we have got some guys that have the ability to be better defenders than they are. That's where the frustration level comes in.
And they are, at times, but they are not consistently. And you look and say, okay, well what can I do differently. Can I stumble earlier. Are they making fatigue oriented defensive mistakes as opposed to they are just not doing it. And there was a little bit of that I guess with Northwestern. We kept our offensive group out there probably longer than I should have and then that got them going a little bit.
And I also had Aaron White guarding the two, because of the lineup that they started. That probably was a mistake on my part.
Q. Eric May fine right now?
Q. 50/50 right now?
Q. What would it mean for Matt Gatens to play a postseason event