Nov. 27, 2012
By Dustin Carlisle
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois hosts Fresno State on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in the final game of the MVC-Mountain West Challenge Series. Saluki Athletics is running a Pack The House 50 percent off ticket special.
In addition to the men's basketball action, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council is spearheading a food drive to benefit the Murphysboro Food Pantry, which supports approximately 60 percent of the population in Jackson County who are in need of assistance.
Non-perishable food items will be collected at the entrances of SIU Arena, and donations of food may also be dropped off in the Troutt-Wittmann Academic and Training Center through Friday.
Saluki Athletics will also be honoring Wounded Warriors from the United States military during the game. At halftime there will be a Wounded Warrior and Korean War veteran recognition. Last year, the Salukis honored World War II vets.
Head coach Barry Hinson met with the media prior to Tuesday's practice.
Q: "How big of a priority is it for you to stop Adam Huddleston (Fresno State guard)?"
"I think we have three priorities. We have Huddleston, (Kevin) Olekaibe, and (Kevin) Foster. All three of those guys right now could start for any team in the Missouri Valley Conference. The thing that concerns us about Olekaibe and the thing that concerns us more so about Huddleston is that they've got (3-point) range beyond NBA range. They'll pull up from 30 to 32 feet with comfort and we have to make sure that we know where they are at all times on the floor. I've said all along, for our fans specifically, is that this is going to be one heck of a game. It's always going to be a heck of a game when you have really good players you're going up against, and if it weren't for the Mountain West Challenge, we probably wouldn't have an opportunity to get Fresno State here to play in our building, and consequently we need to take advantage of it."
"They're fast. They're really fast and I think the thing that we have to be aware more so than anything is this is a team that won at Cal Poly and we saw what Cal Poly did this weekend with 11th-ranked UCLA. This is a good basketball team. Are they better than Saint Louis? They're a different team than Saint Louis, but they're certainly as good and the best part of this is we get to play them in front of our home crowd."
Q: "Do you feel like you have to score in transition to win this game?"
"I just feel like we have to score. I don't know how. Sometimes, I'm not concerned with how we score. I've always said this, I'm not concerned with who is scoring on our team, it's just how we score. We're not scoring from the inside right now and that bothers me. We've got to score from the inside-outside and part of that is we never throw the ball inside. Hopefully, we'll do a better job of that against Fresno and that's not a scouting tip. I think everybody wants to get the ball inside. We need to make layups. We missed 13 layups in the first half against Saint Louis. You can't miss 13 layups and expect to win a game."
Q: " How do you get Dantiel (Daniels) going early?"
"The one thing about Dantiel that he's got be ready for that we're practicing is they (Fresno State) will double Dantiel and they will double him right from the start. Can Dantiel handle the pressure without turning the ball over, and can he pick and choose the right times to score? So, a lot of that depends on when we get him the ball, where we get him the ball and can he handle that pressure of the double team?"
Q: "Has he done well passing out of the double team?"
" No, he has one assist and nine turnovers. That pretty much shows why every team is going to double him right now. He's turnover prone. He has done well off and on, but when you turn the lights on and run other guys in there, especially (Fresno State center Robert) Upshaw that's a little bit different there."
Q: "Will (Antonio) Bryer play tomorrow?"
"Bryer is scheduled to play tomorrow, but we will not start him. We'll start Dantiel Daniels."
Q: "How has Jeff (Early) played in his first four games?"
"Well, you know what I think Jeff now, the one guy that rolled his eyes when we talked about this hybrid position was Jeff Early, and he's not rolling eyes anymore. I think Jeff's bought into this hybrid position. We really need Josh Swan to buy into it. That will help us. It will be very difficult to play Jeff Early 30 to 35 minutes a game. We don't want to do that. Jeff may think he wants to do that, but when you get to games in late January and early February, you can't have guys play 30 to 35 minutes a game and that also goes for Kendal (Brown-Surles). We are really searching for a back-up point guard right now. We need to find whoever that person is going to be, and right now the leading candidate, believe it or not is going to be Colby Long."
Q: "Coach, you challenge your fans, but you said you wouldn't do that without challenging your players. What is the challenge for your players?"
"No question you are right. I've told our players this. I cannot go into a media room and ask or challenge our fan base to come here and we come out and don't play hard. We just cannot do that, and I like the old Head and Shoulders commercial, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I think it's imperative that when we come out of that tunnel regardless who we play, when we play, and where we play that we give our fan base, our school, our community, and our region a reason to come watch us play, because when you walk out of this building, regardless of what that scoreboard says and say that those kids played their tails off and are extremely unselfish. You know what, I kind of like that and they'll come back, but if you're selfish and lazy, then you know what, we don't deserve to get the fans back and I think that we have to earn that respect as well."
Q: "How important is that sixth man to you coach?"
"In any sport, regardless what you play, whether it be football, whether it be basketball, whether it be baseball you've got to have some type of support system. When you're not very good, you got to rely on energy and your energy when you're at home most definitely comes from your home crowd. That's the most important thing for us right now. This crew out here, very few of these players have ever ran out of that tunnel when there's been enormous amount of energy in this building. You know we're ninth in the (Missouri) Valley right now in attendance. Southern Illinois University of Carbondale is not ninth in anything we do. If we're ninth in attendance right now, then that's on us. That's on me as a head coach, that's on our players to get the fans back and thank goodness we have an administration around here that felt the need to give an opportunity for fans to come see us play with a discounted rate. It's everything we do to earn the respect of our fans and to get them back here."
Q: "What can you tell us about Swan's MRI?"
"We don't know. He has a second MRI tonight. I don't even know if they'll read the results by tomorrow. I hope they do, because we'd certainly like the opportunity to play him if we needed to."
Q: "Can you continue to be successful at small-ball?"
"Well, you guys are the only ones who can answer how we're doing in small0ball, because I wasn't here last year. You'll have to be the ones to compare. When you're plus-8 in rebounding, and everybody on the floor is pretty near my size, I think that says a lot. They don't have my quickness, but they have a little more height on me."
Q: "Can you assess Kendal's play this year?"
"I think Kendal has done everything we want him to do with the exception of two things. I don't think he guards a lick. I think he's lazy on defense and lazy on the tongue. What I mean by that is he needs to talk more. We had breakdowns the other night, and that's when your quarterback tells you what to do. I need Kendal to be Peyton Manning. I need him to get to the line of scrimmage and start talking every time he's on the floor, and right now, he's not guarding a lick. He's just playing that ole' defense we talked about a couple weeks ago from Tijuana."
Q: "How important is it to get to the free throw line?"
"It's hard to get to the free throw line when you never throw it inside and you're not aggressive. That's why you saw 3-of-4 in Saint Louis. Everybody wanted to say it was the officials, it wasn't the officials fault, it was our fault. We never got to the line. We never got the ball inside."
Q: "How well has Desmar done with getting his shots?"
"Well, Desmar is shooting 14 percent from the 3-point line, and he's not much better, I think 32 percent, from the field. So his shot selection has not been very good. He's not shooting the shots we want him to shoot. If he doesn't start doing that, his playing time will start to dwindle. Being a good 3-point shooter is two things -- practicing it and knowing when to take the shot. Right now, he doesn't have either of those intangibles."