Head Coach Kevin Keatts

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

Post-Game Quotes
Friday, December 22, 2017

NC State 116, Jacksonville 64

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(Opening Statement

“I’m very proud of our guys’ effort tonight. I thought this was the best game that we played as a team. We had one game prior to this where we had 30 or 31 assists, but when you look at tonight, we had 28 assists on 42 made field goals. We really shared the basketball. We made open shots. We made 19 three-pointers. I’ve been telling everybody that this team shoots the ball very well in practice, and at some point, we’re going to make them in the game. Those guys did a tremendous job. All nine guys who played (did so) with great passion and great energy. I was excited about it. It’s a great game to go into Christmas break after. I want those guys to take a couple of days off, clear their mind, and come back and be ready for ACC play.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On going into the break with a win)

“We’ve talked about it for the last couple of days. I told them that yesterday: Today and tomorrow half of the teams in the country are going to play somebodyand half of them are going to go into Christmas break with a loss and half of them go with a win. Obviously, Jacksonville is the same way we are. They’re going to go home, and it’s either going to be a win or a loss, so you have to stay focused, and I thought we were focused. I thought we were locked in.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On Allerik Freeman’s shooting slump)

“I left him alone. I didn’t talk about it. In the press conference after the Robert Morris game, I talked about possibly watching some film with him. After I thought about it, I thought the best thing to do was just to leave him alone. It’s funny because yesterday in practice he took a pretty nasty spill on his back. Honestly, I didn’t know if he was going to play tonight because it was a tough fall. I’ll give him credit. He came in. He was locked in. He made some shots. I’m excited about the kid. He needed to see the basketball go in the hole and it did tonight.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On three-point shooting)

“I thought we stuck with it and we saw the results. I will say one thing different we did was that we came over yesterday, and we practiced in the arena here and obviously got some shots up. I don’t know if that made a difference or not, but I can assure you guys that we’re going to get into this arena every time we can to practice. Once the first two shots went down, I felt like our guys were shooting at a big rim.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On achieving goals before conference play)

“I told the guys in the locker room that obviously going into the break we’re 10-3. That’s a lot to be proud of, and I went through pretty much every game that we played and showed what happened. As a coach, whether I’m taking over a new program and we have a lot of new pieces, I’d love to be 13-0. All things considered, with all the new guys and the new pieces, the ups and downs that we’ve had, I’m excited about where we are right now. This is a great game to build on to go into ACC play.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On foreshadowing performances based on practice)

“We took off the next day after we played Robert Morris. That wasn’t the plan originally. We make a schedule sometimes a couple weeks or even a month in advance. I just felt like it would be better for us to get a little rest, and then obviously we had one day prep for these guys. I’m one of those guys, I’m one of those coaches, who can tell how a guy is going to play by the way he practices. I typically try to reward a guy if he’s playing well. Guys are starting to play well. Lavar Batts is starting to come along now. He’s understanding what I’m looking for as a coach. He’s playing hard on the defensive end, and that’s why his minutes have increased.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On half-court defense tonight)

“I thought it was good. I showed them some stats of where we’re at, and I want to say we’re top 50 in the country defending the three-point line. Teams are only shooting 31 percent against us on the three-point line. That being said, if we didn’t have the last two games where I think we gave up 20 threes, which is uncharacteristic of us, then we’d probably be number one in the country with around 25 percent. I thought they took that to heart. We talked about it the whole game. I wasn’t particularly happy when they made three or four early threes, but I thought we locked in and obviously did our job. I’m excited about it now.”

Guard Allerik Freeman

(Onan impressive individual performance after a tough game against Robert Morris)

“That’s just the game of basketball. It happens. I was watching the Knicks game, and (Kristaps) Porzingis went 0-11. He’s one of the top bigs in the league. If you look at tonight, I had seven threes. The other game, I was 1-15, 1-20, something like that. That’s just the way it goes. You’ve just got to stay confident and just keep playing. I will tell anybody else that who has a struggling night. You’ve got the ability. You’ve got the capability. The next night, you have the chance to play like this.”

Guard Allerik Freeman

(On the opportunity to show how good he is from behind the arc)

“That (three-point shooting) is a big part of my game. In order to do that, like I keep harping on, (we have to) secure the defensive rebound. That’s been one of our struggles early this season.”

Guard Lavar Batts, Jr.

(On the team’s status headed into ACC play)

“We've just got to keep working, keep staying in the gym. Our chemistry has got to get better. I feel like with the coaches that we have, the players that we have, and the way we work and how hard we work, we're going to be fine. We're going to be fine. I believe we're going to shake a lot of people in the ACC this year.”

Guard Sam Hunt

(On the offensive game plan)

“We just have to be consistent game in and game out. Everybody’s going to have their games. Somebody’s going to have a high game. Somebody’s going to have a low game. If we stay consistent, do what we do, we’ll be fine in ACC play.”

Guard Sam Hunt

(On the team’s preparedness for ACC play)

“I feel like the whole season we’ve been preparing well in practice. Several games we’ve come up short, but as long as we stay the course and the process, learn from each mistake and each loss, we’ll be fine going on. We tipped it off to UNCG. That was a great learning point for us. Of course we wanted to win, but I think it kind of helped rev us up for ACC play.”

Guard Sam Hunt

(On his shots going in)

“We have confidence in each other and finding the guys when we’re open. I can’t remember the exact amount of assists we had, but we pitched it ahead, found an open guy. When you’ve got easy shots, it’s easy for the ball to go in.”

Guard Braxton Beverly

(On the team’s transition game)

“That’s one thing we want to focus on a little more too, getting out running. That’s what we’re trying to base our team around. We want to make sure we’re getting out running, making things happen in the open court.”

Jacksonville Head Coach Tony Jasick

(Opening Statement)
“We thought we could come in and compete if we could control the tempo of the game and not turn the ball over, but unfortunately we weren’t able to take care of the ball. I thought early in the game, we did an okay job of what we were trying to do. We had the shot clock violation, but that was okay. We were trying to limit the number of possessions for NC State.Give them credit. I thought their guards kind of overwhelmed us, and they were able to play the game at the pace that they wanted early in the first half.”

Head Coach Tony Jasick
(On the lesson for so many young guys)
“We’re going to really talk about it. I thought we fouled way too much and gave up plays as the game went on. I thought our effort level in some areas, transition defense and on the glass, was not to the level that it needs to be if we want to compete moving forward.What we need to do is grow from this and understand that we can’t have lapses in our effort. I thought we had some lapses, and in a game like this, it snowballs quickly.”

Head Coach Tony Jasick
(On the team’s injuries)
“We’re missing all five starters from our September 1st roster. The good news is that we’re going to get a few of them back, hopefully, in a little while, and we’re going to get a couple of them back next year. It’s going to give these young guys a chance to play where they might not have, but if we don’t play really well and exact in games like this, then we’re going to have trouble, and you saw that tonight.”

Head Coach Tony Jasick
(On the strategy of taking shots late in the possession)
“I thought that if we could shrink the game and make them (NC State) play in crowds defensively, then it would give us a chance to be competitive. I thought we did some good things early, but we had too many live ball turnovers.”

Head Coach Tony Jasick
(On NC State’s defensive pressure)
“They do a good job. They’re long, athletic, and they compete.”