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Nov. 10, 2010

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Pitt vs. Illinois-Chicago, 2K Sports Classic/Coaches vs. Cancer

November 10, 2010


Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon


Opening Statement
“I’m happy with the way we played, especially in the second half. We were able to sustain our play and improve as the game went on and that’s an encouraging thing to see. UIC is installing an entirely new system and I anticipate them improving. They’ll win some games down the stretch, playing in a good league. Coach Moore’s system is so dramatically different that what it was before that once it’s put in place, they’ll improve and win some games. I like what we did in the second half and how we improved, especially on the post and interior defense because that was hurting us the most with all of our defenders, not just our big guys.”


On Brad Wannamaker and Ashton Gibbs play:

“The numbers speak for themselves. They’re good and Gilbert Brown had a better day, he’s getting more comfortable. I really like where we are around the perimeter and Travon Woodall is giving us great minuets and Lamar Patterson and J.J. Moore are both giving us great stuff as well. I think it’s strength of ours. But Brad and Aston are both getting guys shots and making their own shots and that’s a good combination to have. Also, I like how we cut down the minuets tonight, that makes them even more efficient. They’ve been doing it in practice as well as last year. I speak about their game and their development and they are much better players than last year and they were pretty good then.”


On the game in the first half:

“I thought we had a nice run going and our defense let us down a little bit. It’s tough to play with a big lead, but I think we were able to sustain our play and we were able to get in 13 guys tonight. They just kept pushing each other and I tell them every day is an opportunity to get better and we got better in the second half as a group and that was encouraging.”


On the offense:

“We had 27 assists, we’re passing the ball well, we have guys that can make shots on the perimeter, our interior scoring is improving. I think we have a nice team. We’ve been known for our offensive balance and our perimeter can score more than they have in the past, but that remains to be seen. We’ve got a long way to go, but there was improvement in the last five days. This is early. It’s not usually in season that I’m getting a birthday cake, that’s when I’ve recognized how early we’ve started. There isn’t anyone else that has two quality wins.”


On Gary McGhee and Dante Taylor:

“They were very good, especially in the second half. The last game had a unique style on how it went, that tonight we wanted to get them out there and doing some things tonight, both on offense and defense. You want to learn from every outing and our guys learned something from tonight. They responded to being coached and that’s what makes them so good.”


Quoting Pitt senior guard Brad Wanamaker


On the quick turnaround from playing Rhode Island:

“We were excited to get back after it. Last game we didn’t play our best defense and we wanted to come out and improve on that.”


On him being the key to Pitt’s offense:


“I think between Gilbert Brown and I, we are the keys. We are always coming off of ball screens and creating opportunities for other guys and once Ashton gets running through it we become a versatile offense.”


Quoting Pitt junior guard Ashton Gibbs


On his play:
“The guards took advantage of kicking out for open looks and hitting the shots. I was able to make some three point shots because I took advantage of what the defense gave me and my teammates were able to create opportunities for me and I knocked them down. That’s something that Coach Dixon stresses every day in practice.”


On Gary McGhee and Dante Taylor:

“They were productive today. Gary ran the court well and Dante had a few hi-lights in there. They work really hard in practice and its starting to show. I believe their best is yet to come. When they’re rebounding it helps us and it shows that our team is just not a guard oriented team, we have big men down underneath, doing it well and getting the job done.”


Quoting Illinois-Chicago Head Coach Howard Moore


Opening Statement

“I thought that Pitt was running on all cylinders. I have to give them a lot of credit with the way they came out tonight with their fierce competitive nature. We did some good things early. We disrupted some of their sets and some of their offense. We got some stops in certain situations, but they killed us on the glass. We got in a hole and by half time that hole was about 14 points. For the second half we tried to come out with some energy and we didn’t really have it. They came in really tough and tried to bury us.”


On defending Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker and Ashton Gibbs:

“They are pretty tough perimeter guards, but we’ll see a lot of teams with two perimeter players that can really go. At this level in the Big East you have guys that can stroke it or get to the rim and Pitt has both. Those are two really good guards and I’m sure they will be fun to watch as the season goes on in the conference. They are tough. Wanamaker had nine assists; a very solid game. Gibbs had seven assists. So not only are they scoring, they are making plays and putting their teammates in position to be successful. They did a pretty good job of that.”


On what to take back from this game:

“I just told our guys that our season doesn’t end tonight. We’ve got some good things to show from the film, but we also have some things that we need to clean up. So what we tell our guys is that we need to get better. We need to prepare ourselves and do a better job of staying with the game plan. We need to be true to our principles and what we teach on a daily basis. We also need to compete on every possession.  I think we’ll be fine. This is a good wake up call for our guys. We have some resilient kids, who are hungry. They want to learn and get better.  I think they’ll bounce back pretty strong from this. I mean we just played the No. 4 team on their home court and they were cooking. They were playing very well with one another and we just have to bounce back and do what we do. I think we’ll be able to do that real soon.”


On his transition to a head coach:

“It’s been an easier transition then most because I’m from Chicago. I have a lot of support and familiarity with the landscape there so that helps. But the biggest thing is that getting a job in August is a tough situation with trying to impose our philosophy on the program and change the culture there. It’s not going to be overnight. It’s going to be a process. But we have a plan. We have a system that works and that’s proven to work. We are going to stay with it. Tonight was just a tough night to try to present it and get our guys to figure out what it’s all about. We’ll take it for what it is. It’s a loss. That’s it. We’ll just move on and try to get better. But, for my transition I think that’s fine because I’ve been around this game my whole life. I think that will make this transition as easy as possible. The biggest thing is making sure these young men are getting a good example of what the game is about and how hard and how well they need to play together. So I think we’ll be fine.”


On Pitt’s shooting percentage:

“I just think Pitt came out with a little more purpose. Wanamaker just said he was going to get in there and make plays, get to the rim and find teammates. He absolutely did that. Gibbs was like an assassin out there offensively. He was really hunting his shot. I think they did a tremendous job of playing off each other.   Pitt shot 70 percent and it wasn’t just a lot of open scoring from the perimeter. It was a lot of layups and dunks. Our guys have got to do a better job of stepping up and taking charges. We got a couple of those, but we have to be consistent. We have to form that wall defensively. Players are just a little timid to get in there because it’s just not going to be a good play at the rim if they continue to go there. We have to form that type of mentality where people aren’t just going to attack us and keep us on our heels. But that is a very talented team we played tonight. Obviously we play very good teams in our league, Butler is one of them, and so we’ll see some good action. But let’s face it. Those bodies that we saw tonight, that’s big time basketball.”


On defending Pitt’s inside and outside passing:

“It’s very difficult. You have big bodies like center Gary McGhee in there trying to disrupt you and be a force inside. He does a great job. I recruited him when I was at Wisconsin. I thought he could have been a great Big Ten player, but he’s a great kid. He’s really bought into what coach Dixon wants him to do. I thought Pitt did a good job of just playing outside inside basketball. When McGhee and Dante Taylor get going in the post they are tough. Because you have to worry so much about the guards it really leaves that middle open.  When those guys get the ball inside they are pretty effective. I thought they did a good job of playing inside outside basketball.”

Post-Game Quotesheet

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