Saturday, December 9, 2023

Maryland basketball: Kevin Willard on fixing things, player we’ll be seeing ‘a lot more of,’ freshmen and more

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“It’s a little bit of both, I guess. I don’t know if we can shoot any more, to be honest with you. The NCAA doesn’t give me enough, any more time than we use. These guys are working at it. I think it’s a lot of our misses have come with lineups out there that I have done a really, really bad job of combining and not working and not practicing. And so especially in the last, the first, the UAB and the Davidson game, I just, I had some lineups out there that just couldn’t play, don’t play well together and don’t fit well together and guys got caught with the ball really uncertain of what to do and so they would shoot the basketball probably when they shouldn’t shoot the basketball. The Villanova game, we actually had, we charted, we had nine uncontested open threes that we just, you got to make a couple of those. And I don’t know why we’re missing them. The guys are working at it. The right guys got some shots the other night.”

“I do think, if you look at Jamie and DeShawn, freshmen, they’re going through it a little bit. They’re trying to figure it out. We’ve added some new pieces. Jordan is, went from playing block to block to being a little bit more on the perimeter, so he’s getting used to that. And then guys like Noah Batchelor, Jahari Long, the sophomore – those sophomores, juniors that have a bigger role now, are struggling a little bit because they weren’t in that situation last year. So, you add the fact that Davidson is a very solid defensive team and physical, UAB really jumped it up on us with one day without practice. And then you look on the road, we just, we didn’t, we had some open looks early, we missed some and-ones. We missed four free throws in the first half. We did everything we could possibly do to give ourselves a hole, but I was really proud of the way they fought back in the second half. We only gave up 16 points in the second half. We had some freshmen come in and start to play a little bit better, start to get a little bit more relaxed.”

“I knew this was going to be a bumpy start, I really did, just because of so much – I look at UMBC they’ve played four home games and one road game. We’ve played technically three road games and one home game. It just, that’s not what a high-major should be doing early in the season. So we’ll figure it out. We’ll get on the right track. I still know where we’ll be at the end of the year, I have a lot of confidence in that. But … I think big thing for me is giving them a better shot of playing better with the lineups I put out there.”

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