Words With Mitch

Here are some notes and quotes from this week’s media luncheon with Head Coach Mitch Buonaguro.

On the loss to LaSalle

“When I did look at the tape it really it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I think LaSalle we were right in the game with about seven minutes to go first half. I made a couple of subs and immediately it got to 9. Then to get down 16 to 18 like that it’s tough. With two veteran guards LaSalle’s done that to three or four really good teams. That was the best team we played. I’m not going to overreact to it. This is the more important game coming up, Iona and that’s what our focus is, Iona.”

On getting a win this weekend

“That’s basically very important to get any win and the circumstances we’re in we’ve got to take them one at a time. I’m not looking past Iona. With this particular team that I’m coaching we have to really, really concentrate on one game at a time. We also have to concentrate on getting better. If you look at our stats we still have a long way to go.”

On the mood of the team

“I think the mood’s been good. I think a lot of that stems from we’ve got good kids. They come to practice every day. They work hard. The record’s very misleading. Five or six of the games are very winnable. I don’t really think we can worry about our record right now. We’ve just got to worry about Iona, one game at a time and move forward. I think the mood of the team is very good.”

On OD reaching 1,000 career points

“He’s going to go down as one of the really good players to ever play here. He’s going to finish his career here with 1000 points and 1000 rebounds. That’s pretty impressive. That puts him, in terms of rebounding in the top five all time at Siena. That’s pretty good company. He’s playing on a team where he’s getting a lot of attention. I think his numbers would be a lot better if we shot the ball better with a little more variation in the offense. So we’ve also got to look at the team he’s playing on. He’s had tons of pressure. I think he’s had a terrific year. I’m really happy with OD. He’s practicing well and I expect him to move forward and have a really good conference season.”

On the youth of the team

“I think one of the issues is when we go to the bench now, everyone is young with the exception of Burdine. Silas started the last game and he’s really a freshman so there’s going to be inconsistency. It’s not a team where you’re bringing veteran players off the bench. Even Burdine missed last year. People overreact because they’re not consistent. To me it is what it is. The freshmen are not going to play consistently, hopefully better now once we start the league. The freshmen statistics we have are no different than any other team in the country. If you look at 90% of the teams, unless you have a great freshman, most freshmen are where ours are. They’re inconsistent but the problem with us is that’s what we have coming off the bench. We don’t have any veterans so that’s where we have inconsistency.”

On Leadership

“The problem is it’s such a young team. Everyone seems to be forgetting that we’re one of the youngest teams in the country. So now more falls on OD not only on the court but off the court. Which he’s done a good job of. This is a team that has such youth that the job of OD is even tougher. He’s got to keep these guys up. He’s got to be a positive influence. I think he’s done that. I think OD has really blossomed into a really good leader. I know OD sometimes when he’s playing there’s a frustration level with what’s going on, on the court but I think he’s been pretty good about keeping guys up and keeping everybody positive.”

On the record so far

“I think looking at the season we’re better than our record. If you look at five or six of the games, two one point losses this is a team that could very easily be 6-7 if things bounce the right way. One of the real problems we’ve had is shooting free throws. We’re 341 out of 345 so in six-point losses that hurts you. That’s been a part of it. I could go through five or six things when you analyze it that add up to 2-11 but if two of those things change we’re 6-7. it could mean five games that if we just shoot our free throws average in the 60s we probably would’ve won. When you add everything up, the free-throw shooting, the turnovers the poor shooting I think you have to look at the record is a little misleading. I think we’re a little better than the record.”

On the team’s potential

“Let’s go off what we’ve done so far. We played one of the better teams in the Atlantic 10 and were up 17 on UMass. We should’ve won that game. We were up 16 against Vermont which is one of the better teams in the America East so just off those two games if we play like that in the MAAC we’re going to win some games. On the other hand we have not played well in some games. We lost a couple games we probably should’ve won. What hasn’t been there is the consistency. If you look at this team and how they play in the first 13 minutes against La Salle arguably a top 30 team and we play them even. Then in seven minutes it goes away. With a team that’s challenged it’s hard. You’ve got to stay in the game. Certainly we have played good basketball at times it just hasn’t been consistent. Even in the Fordham game look how well we played in the second half, 44 points. We’ve got to develop some consistency with the team. There’s four double-figure scorers which I think is the only team in the MAAC with four double-figure scorers. There is pretty good potential and they’re all young except OD so you’ve got to look at these guys are going to get better. Hymes, Brookins Poole, the three main guys. Trenity has played well this week in practice and then the rest of them are freshmen. You don’t know what you’re going to get out of them. They’re very inconsistent and you can expect them to carry a team. That’s being unrealistic.”

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