Coach David Cox and junior Fatts Russell met with the media Monday to talk about the win over VCU and Wednesday's trip to St. Joseph's.
On what impressed him at VCU: We played really good defense. We stuck to the game plan, we were physical, I thought our rotations were pretty good, our hedging by our big men was outstanding. We have to tighten up our defensive rebounding. But I was really pleased with the defensive effort – their focus and concentration.
On the Hawks: It's another conference game and a conference game on the road. We have to continue to get better. We have to be really focused in on this opponent. St. Joe's record is not at all indicative of how good they're capable of being – early upset of UConn, they've played well thus far in league play, tough battle against Dayton at home, took Davidson to double overtime. They have a very unique style of play – they shoot a lot of 3s and play five out, basically with five guards on the floor, even though some of their guards are tall. We have to be prepared and ready for war.
On riding the ups and downs of a long season: Such is life, right? Sports is a microcosm of life and thats what it is. You've got to keep putting one foot in front of the other, you've got to keep level headed, you've got to keep things in perspective and look forward to the next challenge. I would like to remind just basketball fans in general, if you look throughout college basketball, I don't know that there's a team in college basketball this year except for maybe one or two undefeated teams, that hasn't had a tough loss. Most teams have more than one. We're right where we need to be and right where we want to be in terms of this conference championship chase.
On Fatts Russell in Philly: He's back home, he's going to be excited and he's going to have a tremendous following there of family and friends. I do want him to enjoy that and feed off that energy. There's nothing like being able to play in front of your home, your family, in your own hometown. Last year, obviously, he had a pretty good performance at that place. We don't necessarily need him to duplicate that performance, although if he wants to go out and get 40, I certainly would welcome that. More importantly, he's just got to continue playing the way he's been playing. He's been a great leader, he's been producing on both ends of the floor. If he can continue to play at the level he's been playing at and continue to lead at the level he's been leading at, we should be OK.
On playing at home: I look forward to it, not only because it's another game but because my family's going to be there and a lot of friends that I haven't seen in a long time. That always gives me a little motivation.
On the 50-60 tickets set aside for him: Everybody that came last year is going to come again and a little bit more. A lot of my friends are home from college still. So it's going to be exciting.
On putting pressure on himself at home: I'm used to it because I've played in Philly my whole life. I'm excited to play in front of them, but it's like, they've seen me play a hundred times.
On his 41-point showing at St. Joe's last year: The ball went in that night. It wasn't going in last year before that but that night it went in and it made me feel better about myself and more confident. This year, I'm just older and more mature so one bad game's not going to stop me. I'm going to keep being myself, being a leader and I know things will change.
On lessons from the Brown loss for A-10 games: We talked about the Brown game, we came into Brown not really respecting them as an opponent. They're kind of like St. Joe's – we know they're really good offensively and they can beat anybody any given night. We can't disrespect our opponent. We have to come and be focused for every game.
On Cyril Langevine: He'll find it. He's an animal. He's our anchor. We know he'll find it. We're not really worried about it. He knows he'll find it and we know he'll find it.
On the VCU win: They embarrassed us last year at VCU. That was a focal point – they embarrassed us last year and we can't let that happen again. We came out with our intensity high and our focus high.
On his defenseI believe I'm one of the best defenders in the country. Every night, I try to stop my matchup and off the ball, I try to help my team out. If the steals come, they come, but I'm going to be solid on defense regardless of whether I get steals or not.
On whether that mindset is new for him: I pride myself on that. Every day in practice, I'm trying to defend at a high level. Last year, I think I was worried about offense too much. This year, I'm worrying more about the whole overall game and different ways I can affect it.