HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kelvin Sampson
“You could tell these guys were really trying hard. Lot of good things, lot of bad things. Kind of what you expect after practicing 25 days without playing a game. We’re going to be a good team. We have a good team in that locker room. We just have to figure out who it is.
We’re going to use the non-conference portion of our schedule to play as many guys as we can, try to win as many games as we can and prepare for conference, because we want to have our rotation settled when we get to conference. So we have a long way to go. Today is November 13, and conference starts December 30. I have no idea who’s going to start on Wednesday. I’ll decide that when I watch the film and who plays hard tomorrow at practice.
But I was really pleased with some things, and I can’t tell you how pleased I was with Damyean Dotson’s effort. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a guard get 15 rebounds his first time out. You have to remember this kid hasn’t played since March of 2014. That was a pleasant surprise watching his rebounding. Now he’s going to shoot the ball a lot better. He’s going to score the ball a lot better, but he played really good. His defense has to get better. He’ll be the first to tell you that. You saw Rob (Gray Jr.) get going a little bit in the second half. These guys are new to each other. It’s going to take a while, but we have good pieces and eventually those pieces are going to become a good team.”
On getting a point guard to start
“Yeah we have to get a point guard to move ahead one or the other. All our point guards are about the same. I didn’t start Ronnie (Johnson) or Galen (Robinson Jr.) tonight, mainly because I want them to practice harder. Those five guys I started tonight were really good in practice this week. We had a scrimmage last Saturday. Scrimmages are choppy. You stop, you start, you stop, you start. But we came back from the scrimmage, took Sunday off, went Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and the five guys I started played pretty good.
Now they don’t fit. Rob is not a point, point guard. You saw him; he’s a scorer. But when you put Rob (Gray Jr.) and Damyean (Dotson) on the wings, and if I can get one of those point guards get some separation from each other, Galen and Ronnie, we need one of those guys to win that job. But they have to win it, and when they do I’ll let them know.
Davonta (Pollard ) had on roller skates a little bit tonight. He was falling all over the place for no reason. Xavier Dupree: saw some things from the “X Man.” Saw some things from Kyle (Meyer). I thought Kyle did some good things.”
On which mistakes need to be fixed
“All of them are important. One of the strengths of our team is our depth. We’re not going to be a six or seven-man rotation. We’re going to probably be a nine-man rotation. On the road it may tighten up a little bit as we get into January and February, but right now I thought Galen (Robinson Jr.) did some really good things tonight. Ronnie (Johnson) is a tough kid, but he has to make more winning plays. Basketball is not a game of great plays. It’s a game of eliminating mistakes. Everybody will ooh-and-ah about Devonta’s dunks or this play or that play, but we made too many mistakes. Until we eliminate those mistakes, and when I say eliminate mistakes – face-guarding your man and switching and denying, or pick-and-roll coverage when they get to the middle of the floor.
That’s what this time of the year is for. The more mistakes we make in different kind of ways is actually good for us, because we’re going to be better. We’ll edit this tape in sections and watch it tomorrow then go practice. (We’ll) Take Sunday off and then come back and have a good practice Monday and Tuesday, and you’ll see improvement against Prairie View A&M. Then we’ll be better against Florida A&M, but the goal is to play your best basketball in February and March, not November. November is for growing. We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be a month from now. We’re going to be a whole lot better a month from now. So, it’s just a process, but without the process, there is no progress.
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD ROB GRAY JR.
On not making shots in the beginning of the game
“A couple shots just weren’t falling, or maybe I should have approached it a little slower. I should have involved other teammates before I got so many shots up early in the game, but I wasn’t nervous at all. Some shots just didn’t fall where they usually fall.”
On working as a team
“I feel like we are practicing hard, and we are trying to learn our identity. We are having a little bit of trouble carrying it over to the game, but we are getting closer to carrying over everything we are learning during practice to the game. It will help us all come together.”
HOUSTON JUNIOR GUARD Damyean Dotson
On playing his first game since March 2014
“A couple shots were not falling, so I was trying to get my teammates involved. I just played hard, rebounded, tried to be a leader on the court, move the ball, play hard and play defense. I just tried to stay focused and not think about what was going on around me.”
On competing again
“This was a real game for us and just competing against them felt good. It feels good to be back on the court. I can’t wait until the season opener.”
On working as a team
“We have to keep working hard in practice. We have to learn how to come together as a team and learn how to play all together. We just have to keep building chemistry with each other, and we will be fine.”