David Cox met with the media Thursday to talk about Saturday's game against Fordham. Cox had no comment on the tweet apparently referencing playing time from Ryan Preston's now-deleted account and said it was being handled internally.
On the past week: It’s been a tough couple of games for us. Heading down to Davidson, we thought we gave ourselves a chance to win because of our defense, although we shot the ball poorly. That’s been a theme this year. Then coming off that game, we felt pretty confident going into Dayton and obviously, we got smacked around pretty good. Not only did our offense not show up, but our defense failed us as well, which is the first time that really took a major hit. This week, we watched some film and we’ve emphasized our defensive effort, intensity and integrity throughout the week. That’s what practice has been about basically - the fundamentals at the defensive end.
On the approach this week: Not necessarily back to the drawing board. I think the defensive effort you saw last game is a byproduct of our offensive frustrations. It finally just caught up to us. We’ve been shooting the ball pretty poorly throughout the season, but our defense has always been there. When you start the game, you’re down 9-0, you miss your first four or five shots, I think the frustration caught up to these guys. We let it affect our defense. That can absolutely never happen. It’s not necessarily back to the basics. But we had to remind our guys with some of the drills about how we’ve established our culture. Obviously, we’ve had some offensive struggles, but we continue to stay in the gym, get plenty of shots up - game-speed type of shots and free throws. But one thing we always count on is our defensive effort and intensity and integrity, and that went sideways last game. That won’t happen again.
On the importance of coming back strong: Very important. There’s nothing like winning. There’s nothing like losing. We’ve all kind of been in a funk. I haven’t felt great about the job I’ve done or the way this team has performed obviously, over the last couple of games. But we’re a resilient bunch. We’ve shown some resiliency throughout the year and I look forward to these guys battling back this weekend and showing the Rhode Island faithful that we should be rooted for and applauded in our efforts. We’ve just got to come out here and play some good ball and come out of here with a win.
On the team's morale: We’re a little frustrated. We lost two games and when you lose two games in the fashion that we lost, particularly the last game, you become a little bit frustrated. But, again, there’s a resilient bunch. We’ll bounce back.
On his own experiences with slumps: You’re asking the right guy because I struggled as a shooter immensely in college, although I thought I was a really good shooter. But it happens. It definitely happens. Shooting the ball is about rhythm. You have to be in a rhythm. In order to get in a rhythm, you’ve got to do a couple of things. One, you’ve got to live in the gym, so that the shot becomes natural. Two, you’ve got to take great shots. Sometimes, even if you’re in a rhythm, if you take poor shots and they don’t go in, then you hurt yourself. I think our guys have lived in the gym and now they’ve got to take great shots on Saturday.
On Fordham: I see a very hard-playing, hungry team. They remind me of ourselves a few years back. They’ve got a few freshmen who are starting. The point guard, Nick Honor, is having an all-conference type of year, not just an all-freshman kind of year. [Antwon] Portley is shooting the cover off the ball and [Jalen] Cobb, also a freshman, is averaging about 10 points a game. So their perimeter game is high level and they play extremely hard. They’re really good one-on-one players. That will be a challenge for us, because we’ve had some trouble recently guarding the three-point line, and staying in front of guys.
On Hassan Martin's swinging by practice: That was a pleasant, pleasant surprise. Of all the former Rams to see, for him to walk in here - I wanted to hug him, I wanted to cry, I wanted to give him a jersey. Great to see. Phenomenal kid, phenomenal player. It was great to have him back in the gym.
On recruiting for next year: Always. You can never stop recruiting. You never know what might happen.
On playing at home: We’ve been pretty good at home and I have to give credit to the fans. They’ve shown up even though we’ve laid some clunkers. This weekend is a little bit different though. We’ve got to show up and energize these fans. We’ve got to give them a reason to root for us, to be enthusiastic about the game. It’s not just with our shot-making. It’s just with our overall energy and overall effort. These fans, they’re basketball people. They appreciate good basketball and good effort. We didn’t have that last game. Last week was like a blur, almost, the way it happened. We’ve got to respond.