“This is a major challenge for us, because I really love watching Bobby [McKillop’s] team. Two nights ago, I guess it was, I watched their game against Maryland from the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year and they were really good. Just at the end of the game, the ball just didn’t go in the hole a couple of times for them and Maryland had some kids – D.J. Strawberry, in particular – made some big plays. But it was a heck of a basketball game.”
“[Jason] Richards gives them a really effective point guard who can score but also can play with a great deal of passion and a great deal of savvy. He’s a really good basketball player. “Curry is a youngster who, like his daddy, can shoot the dickens out of it. He doesn’t need a lot of room to get it off, but also can put the ball on the floor. You look at that frame he has and you say, ‘Boy, he’s a little guy,’ but unless my information is wrong, he averaged 4.6 rebounds a game last year. So he’s a guy that’s really a more complete basketball player than most people make him out to be.
"[Thomas] Sander does give them a big guy who is a plugger who just keeps coming at you, keeps coming at you. [He] can step out and shoot the ball. He does a great job of setting screens and finding any open spots. And [Boris] Mino is probably the most difficult matchup for us as a No.4 man that can go all over the floor and do so many things offensively. That’s not to say that those other guys can’t come in and do a good job…”
On if Danny Green will see significant action at the No. 4 spot to guard Mino:
“I think you’re always wrong if you just change your lineup to match someone else’s. It’s a game of chess a little bit – they’ve got to match you, also. I think it would be stupid for us to say we’re going to play Danny, and that gets us guarding a 6-foot-8 guy with a 6-foot-6 guy, and that makes it easier for him to guard. We’re going to play Danny at the No. 4 spot some, but the majority of the game we’ll have two bigger guys in there because that’s the strength of ours.”
On Bobby Frasor finally getting healthy:
“Last year was such a hard year for him. You’re a gym rat, you’re a coach’s son, and there’s nothing you enjoy more than playing basketball. And when you play, you hurt, and sometimes you can’t play at all. I was dying, much less him in what he was going through. I hope his mouth and his savvy and all that kind of stuff stays where it is and I hope the ability kicks in on game nights like it did in the exhibition game.”
“Will [Graves] practiced yesterday for the first time since maybe Wednesday of last week. He’s a little sore today, but I think he’ll still be able to go. Tyler [Hansbrough] – we held him out of about a half of a practice on Saturday and Sunday was [an off day]. He practiced yesterday and he’ll be fine. The only one that probably won’t play is Michael Copeland. He took a blow to the head. He’s got five stitches above his left eye and got a slight concussion from running into Alex’s elbow Saturday morning.”
On Danny Green playing the No. 4 spot:
“I like it. It gives me a little rest and Alex a rest. He’s very versatile and he can guard too, so it’s different, but it’s good.”
On Stephen Curry:
“The kid can shoot. No matter where he’s at on the court, he can shoot it. He’s a real cool kid. I spent a lot of time with him over in Serbia and in Dallas, so I really like him a lot... He’s real quiet, but once you get around him and he gets comfortable, he talks a lot and [starts] laughing.”
On what he learned playing for the Under-19 USA Team this summer:
I think the biggest thing that helped me so much was the whole mental aspect of it. Just for me not playing as much basketball, starting off in my sophomore year of high school and last year [I] was just a backup for Brandan [Wright] and Tyler [Hansbrough]. The whole experience part of it helped me out a lot.
On how losing weight has helped his game:
“Just running the floor faster and not getting as tired and as winded as I used to. Getting up a little bit higher and being able to finish above the rim. It just helps me a lot mentally, and basketball’s a mental game.”
“They like to get up and down the floor, definitely. In previous games, they’ve scored a lot of points. I think they had 120 the last game that they played. And we know they like to shoot outside shots. On the perimeter, they have a lot of people to shoot them, so we’re going to have to get out to them. That’s pretty much the main emphasis that we have.”
On if there’s pride associated with being ranked No. 1:
“Definitely, but we know it means nothing to these other teams. It’s just a bigger target on our chest. They’re going to come after us and give us their best shot. But we definitely take pride in it, and basically keep the high expectations… We have long-term goals and short-term goals, and our short-term goal is to play our best basketball on Wednesday.”
Does playing down low make him more appreciative of quick shots on perimeter:
“Yeah – I know what you’re saying. It does, it does. When you’re doing all of the running and taking the ball out, banging inside and somebody shoots a three and you don’t touch the ball, it’s pretty depressing sometimes.
"I understand, because I’ve played both positions. I appreciate the big men more for what they do… I remember taking a shot or two when I should have thrown the ball inside. I apologize to those guys if I hurt their feelings.”