Coach Barnes Comments On Ole Miss' First Exhibition Effort

Nov. 5, 1999

Head Coach Rod Barnes

(Opening Comments)
"I guess our youth and inexperience showed tonight. I'm disappointed in the way we played. I thought that we were not tough enough on the defensive end and on the boards. We've got a lot of work to do. I saw a couple of bright spots in the play of some of our guys. As a team, we've got to get better by this time next Saturday (the Rebels' next exhibition game vs. Ukraine Select Team)."

(On the bright spots in the exhibition game)
"I thought Richard Kirklin came out and did a pretty good job of really working hard and playing with the intensity we like to play with here. I was somewhat pleased with with John Gunn's play, but I know he can play better. He did some things that I like, but he still needs to improve."

(On Lataryl Williams)
"He gave us pretty good effort in some areas tonight. Lataryl had some good numbers, but we, as a team, had several miscues. Lataryl has got to be one of our best defenders this year, and at times tonight, he showed that. We've got to get Lataryl more active on the offensive and defensive boards."

(On tonight's defensive effort)
"I don't think we gave that extra effort on defense which has become such a big part of the way this program plays. A couple of times we closed out on defense and didn't really contest their shots. We also had several times where we failed to block out for the defensive rebound. There were times where the ball was loose on the floor and we didn't dive after it. Those are areas that we can improve on.

"I knew a lot of our players were going to be nervous tonight. They were expecting a lot from themselves, and I'm putting a lot of pressure on them so we can be successful. But, like I told them, we have to get a little more fight to us, a little more bite on defense. I thought we had good defensive pressure at times, but I'm gaging what this team does defensively by what we had done the past three or four years. For me, we've got to get back to that same level of defensive pressure if we have any hope of getting back to the NCAA Tournament."

(Positives from tonight's game)
"I thought we passed the ball well, and didn't depend on just one player to get us a basket. Early in the season, it is usually hard to swing the ball from one side to another, but I thought we did that well tonight. I thought we turned down some open shots that we should have taken, which forced us to rush with the shot clock winding down. I really liked that we shared the ball.

"I saw some things in both John Gunn's and Richard Kirklin's games that I liked. I also liked seeing that both Rahim and Marcus can score in double figures for us. I thought we played hard, but we didn't seem to give that extra effort defensively."

(Working with different combinations of players)
"I went into the game with certain combinations in mind. I saw some that I liked and some that I didn't. We had a six-minute spurt in the first half where we had Jason Harrison, Jason Flanigan, Marcus Hicks, Rahim Lockhart and Lataryl Williams on the floor. I really liked that combination."

(Using exhibition games as trial runs)
"Yes, that's the great thing about exhibition games is to be able to find mistakes and correct them. I joked with Coach Cutcliffe the other day when I went over to wish him good luck this weekend, and I said that the great thing about me is that I get a couple of trial runs, but your first game was a regular-season one against Memphis. Correcting mistakes is why we play exhibition games. I know we'll be better next Saturday than we are now."

 

 

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