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Courtesy of VirginiaSports.com ...
On Iowa’s offense:
“Iowa’s a good ball club. They play good basketball. They’re difficult to play against because they defend you and they’re very physical. We were trying to guard them. We talked a lot leading up this: you’re going to have to sustain your defensive stance and be real continuous because they run their cuts hard. There’s a lot of screens. They just keep going at it. They got open, got good looks. We ran into screens. They got on the offensive glass. I think they wore us down. They’re hard to play because I think they’re balanced. We gave them way too many easy looks.”
On Joe Harris:
“Joe’s got an important off-season. He’s got to work to get better. I think there’s tremendous wisdom when you struggle. Joe carried a big load all year, and I think he looked worn down at the end and didn’t play his best basketball the last few games.”
On halftime adjustments:
“I challenged them at halftime to come out and play, embrace the physicality of this game. They did for a bit, and then they just kept playing and playing and we worn down.”
“We weren’t very sound. Of course, some of them were the unforced errors we talked about. Some just gave it away. I tell our guys passing and catching should be a 100 percent kind of thing. It shouldn’t be a 50 percent kind of thing.”
On the season overall:
“I told Jontel [Evans], and I told Doug [Browman] and our senior manager Johnny [Carpenter], ‘walk out of here with your head held high. You left the program in a better place than you found it.’”
“They should feel good about the season. For the inexperience and things that happened this year, there’s certainly some good things. I can acknowledge that with some of the nice wins. Also very realistically, we’ve got to improve.”
On lessons learned from NIT games:
“To play in these settings, to play in a pressure setting in a tournament, and to be able to win a couple games I think was good. For our younger guys to play and to show the signs that they did in this setting was good. To have a chance to try to get to Madison Square Garden, playing in the pressure setting and to be in those situations is very positive. I take that as great opportunity, great experiences for us.”
“Playing teams that are real tough is kind of a gut check, and you realize this is what tournament basketball, desperately trying to advance to something significant, what you need to bring and how it has to be done. There’s some wisdom in that to motivate us to work really hard in the off-season.”
On Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble:
“They certainly surprised us. I thought they weren’t going to start him at the point, but they did. We were hoping Jontel [Evans] could maybe affect him out at half court, pressure ball.”
“He really can move without the ball, racks those screens, and shoots it well. He’s a good player. I remember his father was a terrific player, and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. He can score, and run his cuts hard.”
On the game:
“I feel a little down. I am upset with myself. I feel like I didn’t have a great performance at all. I feel like I really let my teammates down. They were really physical to defend on the court and they brought it to us on both end of the courts.”
On the season:
“It is bittersweet. It is sad that this is my last time playing here, ever. It brings joy to my heart that the fans appreciate what I tried to bring to the program. This has been an unbelievable college experience. I could have not chosen a better school or coach to play for. I am very thankful that I decided to play at UVA.”
On the game:
“It was a tough and hard fought game on both ends. They were very physical and set really hard screens at the beginning of the game. I think that we upped our physicality to match theirs coming into the second half, but it was a big game. Tonight was probably the biggest game I’ve played in all year. We had so much on the line, with it being the seniors last game and a home winning streak, it made me realize what we were really playing for. You have to experience these things to know what true joy feels like in the end.”
On the season:
“Coach talked to the seniors after the game and we all just thanked them. Everyone got emotional and we thanked them for the foundation that they set this year. Those guys are great leaders and have true character. Jontel is such a leader and it hurts loosing him. We fought our hearts out and afterward it wasn’t even about the game, but our appreciation for the seniors.”
On the NIT:
“We have to keep fighting. Our program is on the right start and we’re going up. We learned a huge lesson this year about protecting our house. We’re going to learn from this season and prepare for the next.”
On Iowa’s physicality:
“They were a really physical team. They really made it one of their priorities to get us off the glass, me especially. They had a couple guys that came in and it felt like there was always somebody in the way and always somebody blocking out. Credit to Iowa, and credit to their coaches for really exploiting us that way.”
On graduating Jontel Evans:
“We’re going to miss his presence in the locker room and on the court. He’s a pitbull. He’s always ready to fight for you: he’s got your back. He’s that guy in the locker room that everybody looks to, not just because he’s a senior, but also because he has that leadership and those qualities. We’re really going to miss him next year.”
On his first season as a Cavalier:
“It was definitely exciting to play basketball at the collegiate level. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in college, so the experience of being here and playing has been a highlight. It didn’t necessarily end the way we wanted it to, but my first year has definitely been a great experience.”
On the future:
“It hurts to lose a player like Jontel, but I definitely think next season is going to be good. This year we were a good team too, but the freshmen from this year will have more experience, and next year we’ll have a year under our belt. It will be a good year.”
Aaaaannnndd now begins the longest offseason EVER.
They need it.
Longest season in school history and the trip to Europe, pretty clear that they just wore down in the 2nd half of the season.
I'm looking for big improvement from the team in the offseason. Joe Harris should take a month off, recharge, and then get after it. I love how TB challenged him to do that - he really understands his potential.
If the players improve year to year anywhere like they did last year, we are going to be nearly impossible to beat . Harris and Mitchell took their games to a new level. I'm excited to see what the first years can do with a full year under Mike Curtis and JA with some time working on his handles and deep ball.
This offseason will show who is dedicated.... put in the time and effort towards the improvement areas Coach Bennett gives each player. Also put in the time in the weight room and conditioning.... our team looks tired, doesn't help that our bench was pretty limited this year... hopefully next year the rotation will allow for fresher legs in the late months of the season.
I am looking forward to next year in so many ways.... Coach Bennett and the team has shown progress each year, not making the NCAAs hurt this year, but we did lose our best player and we weren't expected to make it anyhow.
I am very Bullish on next season and the future!
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