LOUISVILLE – As the second year of the Kenny Payne era comes to a close, the Cardinals overcame a slow start to defeat the Falcons 91-50 in their opener against Simmons College.
Below are quotes from Head Coach Kenny Payne, guard/forward Curtis Williams and center Dennis Evans following the win:
Head Coach Kenny Payne
On the overall performance “I think this game is one that we can build on and we need to determine and evaluate who understands what concepts. But at the end of the day, I need to know who I can count on to fight. Who can I count on to be disciplined? Who can I count on to understand the game and execute it? That’s what frustrates me. I know they’re nervous about the game – no disrespect to Simmons – but it’s more about playing in front of people for the first time, playing against an opponent for the first time. I want them to embrace that anxiety. But I think it pushes them to play with a sense of urgency that I don’t think we have. But ultimately, we made an assessment of how many people I could trust. Whether the number was 7, 8 or 9. i wanted the number to be 12, 13, 14. the most important thing was that i could recognize who was who and who could help us win the game.”
On Curtis Williams’ versatility: “I like what Curtis learned from the Red and White in this game. I liked it because he scored early in the first half. In the second half, he got some smooth shots and played in a rhythm. He didn’t force shots. I need him to understand that this is what college basketball is really about. Now, another item he needs to improve on offensively is passing the “ball”. I think he will compete and he is learning. He’s not afraid of it. But I need him to know exactly what he’s doing – when and where.”
On turnovers “Honestly, I think it’s more carelessness. Unconscious fumbles – you’ve got three options, you pick the worst one, and then they get the ball. Trey White gets a pass and shoots. He dribbles and shoots. He dribbles again, and when they break, he fumbles the ball again. Teams are going to break us down defensively, and we have to understand and be willing to pass the ball, and when there’s a shot, you shoot it, and we had two layups. For Ty LaVar (Johnson), if the game is such that you’re going to get out of ball coverage, dribble and then throw the ball back, you’re not going to be able to create offense in your own head, which the other four guys aren’t doing, and it’s just a bad situation. We went through a lot of those situations tonight.”
On whether that tendency is noticed in practice or not until the team plays different opponents? He said, “I’ve seen a little bit of it, a little bit of randomness, but it’s normal when you’re playing each other all summer. I’m not making excuses. Simon scored 30 points inside. We’re big, strong and athletic. If you’re getting 30 points inside, you’re not concentrating. They got 20 points off our turnovers. – So how strong are we? Focused on ferocity. Focused on hustle. Focused on ball handling and shooting. Let’s see what happens. If we have a group of guys that can do that, how good can we be?” Focus on the little things needed to be a good team? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
Guard/forward Curtis Williams.
On his performance “I thought I played well. I scored easily on offense and played good defense. I just need to keep working on my passing and decision making.”
On the team’s overall performance “I thought we played slow at first, but we picked it up in the second half. We need to put more energy and focus from the start.”
Dennis Evans, Center.
On his performance, “I thought I played well. I had a couple caps and rebounds. I just need to keep working on my low post movement and get stronger
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