HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kelvin Sampson
"In the first half we came out with a lot of energy. We had a lot of good play at both ends. Our defense was good. We went out on the break and got some easy baskets. We passed the ball well. Eric Weary was really a difference maker. He took a game that was kind of back and forth and just blew it open.
We were up 20 at one point in the first half. In the second half, you could tell that we played three games in a month. Most teams have played seven or eight; we've played three. We have eight new players. Every time we see something different on the court it's the first time this group has experienced it together. So, we just need to play more games.
This was that team's seventh game. When we play seven games we will be a lot better. Fourteen games; even better. We'll get better as we go. That's the thing about starting over in a brand new program. You have a brand new coach. You have brand new players. There are no returnees. There are no veterans. Everybody's new. But as we go through this thing our kids will get better and better."
On junior post Eric Weary and junior guard Cavon Baker's performances
"God forbid both of them play two halves. At least we got one out of them though. Eric Weary; I loved his confidence and body language in the first half. He came in and really shot the ball well. You could tell his self-esteem was really big.
Give Jherrod Stiggers and these other kids credit for swinging the ball. We had really good ball movement. Almost all of [Weary's] baskets came off of assists, which is pleasing to see. In the second half they threw zone at us. We haven't seen much zone. We don't play zone. That's something we're going to continue to work on, but early in the season you have to choose what you want to be good at. You try to be pretty good at a lot of things, and you end up being good at nothing.
The things we were good at tonight are the things we've worked at. Chuck (Cavon) Baker is a two-guard. He could be 5'3'' but he's still a two-guard. Size has nothing to do with the position you play. So we're asking a lot of that young man. He's playing out of position.
Jherrod is playing out of position. When L.J. (Rose) comes back hopefully we'll have some balance on the court where people can move into the actual position they play. But, I liked Chuck's confidence shooting the ball in the second half. You look at the stat sheet, JC Washington doesn't look like he got a lot done but he did. If you can imagine a dog swimming in a pond, above the water, he doesn't look like he's doing a whole lot, but under the water he is fighting like crazy. Well that's JC. He dog paddles like crazy."
"It's a process for us. We are nowhere near as good as we are going to be. After four games there is not one area of the game that we are not going to get better at. We rebounded really well the second half: our guards did. Stiggers had nine rebounds, LeRon (Barnes) had eight, Davonta (Pollard) had 10, and Danrad (Chicken) Knowles had eight. You have four guys with almost 10 rebounds which is obviously pretty good.
We don't have a center. We don't have a five man. Chicken is more of a three or a four. Devonta is more of a four or a three. Jherrod is a two or a three. Cavon is a two. So, we have a lot of guys out of position. We thought Bert Nkali would be our starting five, and Bert's greatest strength is defensive rebounding. He is not as good an offensive rebounder, as he is a defensive rebounder. It is just something that we have to keep working on. Our kids are scrapping. They're fighting, and they're playing hard, and that is the most important thing to me this early in the season."
Update on Bert Nkali
"He has a sport's hernia, and those things are wicked bad. Those are just tough injuries. We are going to make a decision here in the next 48 hours: he may have to have surgery, and if he does he will probably redshirt this year."
On the team's performance
"The thing that we need to do now is get some consistency with what we are doing. These guys are playing hard, and they are trying, and that is the most important to me right now. We aren't Duke, and we aren't Kentucky, so we are not evaluating our season on anything but effort right now. That is all I care about. I've been doing this thing for a long time, and earlier in the season it is not about how many three's you make or how pretty the game looks. It's about effort. As long as our kids are playing with great effort, then our kids are going to continue to get better. The first half was good, and the last three or four minutes were good. Now, in between we made a lot of mistakes.
I was watching the University of North Carolina the other night, and they shot twenty-eight percent. When the ball goes in your team usually looks pretty good and when it doesn't people want to know what is wrong. We have to learn. We were wearing white tonight. I called timeout one time to remind our team that we were wearing white, they are wearing green, throw it to the guys in white."
HOUSTON JUNIOR POST ERIC WEARY JR.
On him leading the team in scoring and what he attributes that to
"My teammates are really just finding me open shots. I'm getting those extra shots before games, on practice days and just getting ready."
On what Coach Sampson stressed to him to work on since the exhibition game
"He already knows I can shoot. He's just focusing on my defense and my lateral movement and just playing harder. That's all he really cares about is effort."
On his role on the team and what he feels he bring to the team
"I definitely bring a lot of energy off the bench. I help out the guards when they tie it. I play defense, I rebound and do whatever coach asks me to."
On how it felt to get in the zone in the first half
"It was a good feeling. I mean, not to be cocky, but I have plenty of those. As long as the team wins it's all good for me. I'm just happy we got the win."
On what he feels he needs to improve moving forward
"Defense and rebounds. That's just it."