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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE


February 13, 2012


Tony Bennett


TONY BENNETT:¬† Getting prepared to certainly play a team in Clemson that's very good at home.¬† We had a hard‑fought game against them at our place.¬† We were fortunate to come out on top and certainly just getting ready to play.

Q.  Will Joe Harris be able to play against Clemson and has he done anything yet with whatever contraption he's wearing on his left hand?
TONY BENNETT:¬† Not sure yet.¬† It will be a game‑time decision.¬† I have not yet‑‑ there's obviously some swelling.¬† We are waiting for that to go down.
It's not an ideal situation.¬† If there's two positives about it, it's first and foremost, you know how tough Joe is.¬† He played with a broken hand most of the first half and second half without realizing it, and I mean, tape up against Carolina and battle through.¬† And it's on his non‑shooting hand.¬† Those are the two positives in that in this situation.¬† But to answer directly your question, he has not done anything yet and I don't know for sure.

Q.  What will he wear on his hand?
TONY BENNETT:¬† Yeah, I think you wear‑‑ it just depends.¬† It's like a pad with whatever complies with the rules, like a thermal plaster, a hard shell like on the outside and covers the palm.¬† I think the finger movement and wrist flexion‑‑ but the rest, there again, depending upon‑‑ I have to see.¬† I haven't even seen him work with it yet, what it will be like.¬† Again, I'm sure it will be a little cumbersome but it's also got to allow for protection.

Q.  I think a lot of us see how strong and good of a defender Jontel is on the perimeter.  Do you have a way of statistically or anecdotally measuring his impact?
TONY BENNETT:  Well, I think the point guard is very important for you in terms of setting the tone for your defense.  He's obviously your point of attack defensively and when you have someone who can do a good job of sliding and keeping real quick guards in front of him, or pressuring the ball handler that initiates the offense; those things are very important.
You know, his combination of quickness and speed with strength, even though he's not the tallest of players, really helps.¬† And so he's important but as far as a statistical‑‑ we have some stats we look at for our team.
But certainly you've got to look at steals and just what the other guy has done and where they start their offense, but nothing that I would say, this is what he's averaging that makes him so effective.¬† I think it's just over the course of the game and what he's done, when you look at holding some of the very good players down.¬† But we are more of a team‑oriented defense; so that's not one guy, it's not based on that.¬† He's a terrific ‑‑ I would say when Jontel is locked in and focused and real alert, he can be one of the better on‑ball defenders, or just defenders, that we have.

Q.  Is there something that stands out, or anything that you've seen him do that impresses you?
TONY BENNETT:¬† He's come up with some big plays.¬† We were down at Florida State and he had a couple big defensive possessions for us where he knocked the ball loose, got in the passing lane or just did that.¬† There has been a number of‑‑ I've seen him as a young freshman going against Ish Smith and some of the great guards and I've seen him really at times be able to bother and challenge.¬† Those are things that you say, wow, he continues to embrace that.¬† And I think he understands that, but he embraces his identity in that regard; that showed that he has those makings to be special in that end.

Q.¬† At this point in the season, fatigue is an issue for every team.¬† But given the injuries that you have had to deal with or the limited numbers you have in your rotation, how big of a role does that factorinto ‑‑ you have the second half Saturday, and moving forward how concerned are you with the general fatigue level of your team right now?
TONY BENNETT:¬† I'm not sure.¬† I think foul trouble hurt us against Carolina from a rebounding standpoint.¬† Obviously they really attacked us and got on the offensive glass, and we didn't do as good of a job as we needed in that last‑‑ we were up three with about 16, 15 minutes and then certainly they started slowly pulling away.
So we had some hard match‑ups out there and we didn't have probably our best rebounding lineup on the floor because of foul trouble.¬† Did we get tired in that game?¬† You know, looked like it as the game went on, we did get a little tired, but I think when you're playing that hard, when you're going against ACC competition, and certainly Carolina, they were running the floor and going to the glass; that's going to be part of it.
But I think the way the games are set, I've heard coaches talk about this, and I agree with it.¬† The media time‑outs, the way they are spaced, you can use your time‑out, there's four hard minutes, and then you have got a two‑‑ a two‑minute‑fifteen or¬† two‑minute, 30‑second rest, and so you try to use that.¬† As the season progressions, I think everybody, you want to be as fresh physically as you can, and certainly mentally.
But there is; you're going to have bumps and bruises.  And we don't have a ton of depth.  I'm sure a lot of people are in this boat.  So you try to make the most of it.  Hopefully you get guys that step up that you were not planning on or just play a little bigger role that can buy some time for guys if they are resting or not playing quite as many minutes.
But rotations are usually shrinking at this time of the year for most teams.  Can't shrink much more because we have got it as small as we can, but we are always mindful of that, watching their fatigue factor, and knowing that's just part of the game.

Q.¬† Close game in Charlotte, four‑point game, what do you take away from that that you maybe emphasize coming into this one?
TONY BENNETT:  Well, certainly I respect Clemson and Coach Brownell does a good job.  They did not have Jennings for that game.  He was not available for them.  And now they have him and he's played very well for them.
He's a talented, long, athletic player that gives them‑‑ they are a different team with him and so that will have to certainly account for him.¬† But again, they defend hard.¬† They run good offense.
At home, they seem to play very well at home with their ability to‑‑ you go back to the Florida State game, and that was the first game of the ACC played, but they really have played some good basketball.¬† When they are cooking, they are a very good team.¬† And certainly they know how to use their pressure and their experience that they have.¬† I know Tanner is playing excellent basketball, and Young.
So again, it's a complete team, and we'll have to improve from the last 15 minutes of the Carolina game to be successful there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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