Dec. 22, 2012
HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
"I'm happy that we won. As coaches, this is a difficult but special time of year. Our guys did a really good job in their academics and finals. It's a special time of year because the players like to have an opportunity to go home and we're going to let our guys do that."
"We tried to caution them because when you look around the country, you might see someone get upset and surprise you which can happen this time of year. We beat a good team today, a team that is much better than their record. They've played a tough schedule and have been on the road much of this past couple of months. We had some guys do good things.
"Tonight wasn't like a week ago where we hit 14; we weren't shooting the ball well. We have to read the situations and know what's going on in the game. We have to get to the free throw line 25 times tonight and hit 21 of them, and we got a win right before the break."
On if time off was the reason for the slow start at the beginning of the game
"If I had that answer I would have given it to them at the start of the game. We always try to talk about the first five minutes. We talked about the first five minutes at half time and came out and did a good job. We cautioned our guys more so than in years past about distractions. They know they are going home right after the game. (Associate Head) Coach (Alvin) Brooks gave them the scouting report and told them how good they were. They got going and hit a couple 3s right off the bat, which got them going. That's an area that we're going to work on, that 5-minute segment at the beginning of the game. That's my job to get them prepared for that."
On Valentine Izundu's play
"He did a good job. I told him right after the game, if I need to make you mad to play better, then I'll do that. We put some guys in and had a pretty good lead, and then I took some guys out. When I take them out and put them on the bench, I want them to get a lift. That doesn't mean score right when they go back in. That means defend, rebound and play well. I was pleased with Valentine. You can see the tremendous potential he has. He's 17 years old, and he's going to get better and better. He's still not really comfortable with his back to the basket but has done well. He's going to continue to develop by leaps and bounds. Part of it is he has to continue to work on a day to day basis. He was very physical and did a nice job."
On the difference in Joe Young's play between this year and last year
"He is more experienced, he has bought into the fact that there's more to the game than how many shots he puts up. We all know Joe can shoot, but I also want Stiggers, House and Brandon (Morris) to shoot it. They all know that. They're definition of a good shot and mine has to get closer together as well as what they understand about balance, comfort, getting a good look and the situation. These guys are fine shooters and I want to give them freedom and confidence. Joe has a good understanding of making the extra pass and getting to the right location. His shot selection has much improved and his teammates are doing a better job of finding him. The maturity level, experience, and coaches have contributed. All of these guys were volume scorers and shooters in high school, but good teams are not going to let you just do what you want to. It's just as important to know when to shoot as when to not. Joe's game has continued to develop."
On communication of defense contributing to their success
"We had a good week of practice and that was one thing that the coaches brought up in practice. That's evidence in today's game. That's something we talk about and encourage every day. We had very good week of preparation in terms of mindset and communication on the court. We took away a lot of things away tonight that they wanted to do."
On the Prairie View A&M game next week
"I'm excited that they're going home to have a few days with their families. When they get back, we're excited about the challenge coming ahead. They have a good team, they play well and we have to play a lot better here on the 29th."
"I'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas to you and your families and be safe. To all of our great fans and students who were here yesterday at graduation, congratulations to them and their families. Happy holidays, and safe travels home."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Joseph Young
On the open looks today
"The shots I took today were the same ones I take in practice each day with TaShawn. (Thomas) When those looks come my way I have to be ready to take the shot. As a team we played great today. On the defensive end everybody was hustling."
On communicating defensively
"You can't play great defense without talking to one another. You have to help your teammate by communicating in situations. When you helped your team in that aspect everything else comes together."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE FORWARD TaShawn Thomas
On the slow start to the game
"We haven't played in a week, so a lot of the guys had to get back in a groove. Anytime you have a break you have to get the rust off. After we did that the game went back in our favor.
On getting low in the paint
"Coach has always said the goal of our offense is to play inside out. Get the ball inside first then pass if the outside shot is open. Scoring inside is crucial for us because if we do that then guys like Joe (Young) can have an open look from the outside."
On Valentine Izundu
"He's still very young, but if he keeps working hard in practice then he'll become a great player. Coaches always say he reminds them of a young Hakeem Olajuwon because they both can get rebounds, and block shots in bunches. He is a force on the defensive end, and his offense is getting better each day. He is like my little brother, so watching him play and do well is exciting for me.