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Mike Brey Transcript: Jan. 24

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Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey met with the media on Thursday to discuss the Irish's upcoming matchup with No. 3 Virginia and more.

Check out all of what Brey had to say below.

Q: Given your struggles and Virginia’s strengths, how do you frame this?
MIKE BREY: “You just turn to great opportunity. We didn’t come back until Wednesday and that was our off day, so we didn’t get out on the court. From watching our game last year, some of the stuff we do in our offense got us some good looks. We had some different personnel and older guys, but we have to see if we can get to that offensively.

“We’re going to have to defend. This group has been pretty receptive to defending. One of the things that saved us the other night and will probably need to start stressing this is offensive rebounding. We are missing the first shot a lot. We got 20 the other night and obviously John Mooney is up on it, Nate does and Dane gets up. Chris has the ability too. We started charting that last year, and we probably keep emphasizing that.”

Q: How do you flush the league record, what’s coming Monday and say let’s look at Saturday as a great opportunity?
BREY: “I don’t know if there has been a bigger weekend in our program’s history with these two teams coming in. What a great opportunity and really three teams with the Globetrotters in here that night … I kind of frame it this way when we played Syracuse here when they were No. 1. We had just lost to Rutgers and we were 11-8. I kind of frame it as don’t even think about it as a league game. Think of it as something you talk about when you come back for reunions.

“We have a heck of a challenge on Saturday. They are men and they do what they do. We’re still searching with our youth. Our crowd has been great and been great helping us. I’m sure they will be great on Saturday.”

Q: Where are you with Juwan Durham?
BREY: “We’re going to try a little more with the middle of next week. Possibly Boston College is realistic.”

Q: Mike, the shooting is the shooting and if it’s not going in it’s hard to win games. What aspects do you feel you all are getting better?
BREY: “We continue to take really good care of the ball. We continue to share it and move it. The open looks we’re getting we have to take. One of the things I would hope it would develop and maybe it’s in time or maybe not in time for this season, but Goodwin and Laszewski are getting a little more selfish about their shot. They have to score for us. They are getting better in practice and games not turning shots down and even forcing some stuff. They have to for us. They’re such good and unselfish kids that it’s taken them awhile to understand. Their teammates have helped them — TJ and John especially — to just say ‘go.’ Those guys have to keep trying to make plays for us. They have the potential to be double-digit scorers for us nightly, and we need that badly.”

Q: In terms of forcing shots, I’m sure TJ Gibbs is under the same set of rules. Although, there has been quite a few difficult ones that he’s taken that probably aren’t going to fall.
BREY: “He’s gotten caught at the end of the clock. He’s had to force some stuff for us at times. I’ve talked to him about being a little calmer with it and calmer feet when he shoots it. He can’t pass to himself. A lot of the times he’s been our playmaker if you look at his assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s getting everyone else shots. It’s one of the reasons you like Prentiss in there because Prentiss finds him and gets him some shots. He doesn’t have to force things to jump start us.

“One of the things I liked the other night was John took 20 shots. He should be taking a lot of shots for us with his percentages. He’s going to double in the post as Virginia always plays. We have to move him around to get stuff. The nice thing is he’s getting up on the backboard and getting second shots and get himself involved that way.”

Q: How much do you look at last year’s game with Virginia?
BREY: “We watched a lot of it yesterday and today, especially the second half. Some of our sets and movements — and we still move the same way — we got some good looks and drives to the bucket. Bonzie was obviously out of his mind because it was his second game back. That was unbelievable. We looked at some of that, but then you look at there and Farrell is 22 years old, Geben is 23 and Bonzie is 22. The way we moved in some of our initial sets helped us. We’re going to have to guard. There’s times we’ve been able to dig in and guard to hang around with people.”

Q: As far as Durham’s injury, what does he have?
BREY: “It’s a slight bone bruise that we’re trying to deal with. As you know, those things are kind of touch and go. A little bit of what we dealt with Matt. We brought Matt too soon. Juwan played at Carolina and it was a little bit of a flashback to Matt Farrell. We have to let this calm down. We thought we two weeks and then re-evaluate. We probably will in practice next Wednesday to see how he feels for that next Saturday.”

Q: What’s his mindset now after he was playing with some confidence?
BREY: “I think he feels because he wants to help his team. He’s a team guy and wants to help the group. He has been on the bike, but we sure miss that rim protection. He’s unlike anyone that we’ve had. He’s turned easy buckets for other teams into fastbreaks for us on the other end. As we know when we’ve played against a shot blocker, just having a guy back there after he blocks one or two everyone looks around a little bit. He’s one of those guys too that’s shooting 60 percent from the floor.

“We’ll try, but it’s one of those things where with our training I said that we can’t force that either. They’re just tricky as we found out last year.”

Q: How’s your mindset?
BREY: “My mindset is pretty darn good. I was a little frustrated the other night and got a technical. I told our guys that I have to be smarter about that. But, I think they have to see me fight and scratch too, especially our young guys. We keep putting ourselves in position. We went down nine then we come right back and have chances. The last hurdle is a really big one for us to get over. We have to keep trying and keep swinging. If we could be in that situation at the under-4 timeout on Saturday, it would be awesome. I do think our young guys are starting to feel like they belong and get a feel for this league.

“It’s interesting with our young guys. We haven’t really had three of them play well together. It’s been like 1 ½. Like I mentioned with Goodwin and Laszewski, with their ability to put double-digits on the floor they need to be aggressive and force a shot now and then. We need them to score for us.”

Q: How overdue are you guys at home with a big game, ranked team and national TV? It’s been a while.
BREY: “Yeah, it’s been awhile. We haven’t gotten one of those in a while. When you get one that’s on the schedule on Saturday or Monday, then you really can change psychologically. Karma really changes and we’ve seen it happen before. We have nothing to lose. No one is giving you a chance in heck in these next two. Let’s let it rip.”

Q: How much more difficult does it make it with a Saturday-Monday turnaround?
BREY: “Those are quick turnarounds and we’ve had to do them a lot here in the Big East and the ACC. You can’t do much physically in the day between no matter what happens on Saturday. That’s more of a mental day. All of these kids came to Notre Dame to play in big games and play the top of the ACC. I don’t think you feel much fatigue on Monday because you’re playing on fumes. You try to get recovery on the Tuesday and Wednesday after.”

Q: How much can the crowd help you out?
BREY: “Our crowd has been awesome. I think they’ve been very intrigued about the new faces and who they are and how they are developing. They’ve really helped us. Our students being back helps us. They will be awesome in both of these. Walking around campus back in September, they all talked about this weekend. I did say we have some other games before this weekend. This has been the weekend that everyone has talked about and rightfully so.”


Talk about it inside Rockne’s Roundtable

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