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November 9, 2012After the Hawkeyes won their season opener 86-55 over Texas-Pan American, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery discussed the victory, the group effort that he got from his team, the freshmen making their debut tonight, and much more.
Watch our video and read the complete transcript below.
Q. Can you talk about starting fast with Zach and his play tonight?
COACH MCCAFFERY: The thing with Zach, he can do it either way. He scores inside; he plays post, defense; he's a terrific player.
Q. Can you talk about Basabe?
COACH McCAFFERY: His energy level was really good. When you see him running the floor, blocking shots, posting hard, getting to the free throw line - I mean, that's what he does. I was proud of him tonight.
Q. Can you talk about Adam and Mike?
COACH McCAFFERY: They were terrific, I thought. Mike was solid the whole game. Kept pushing it, played great defense. I thought Woodbury was terrific. He got it going defensively in the second half. That's because he runs and he's always where he's supposed to be.
Q. Did you expect this team to have this kind of balance?
COACH McCAFFERY: I hope so. That was kind of the plan to be able to rotate players. You know, we win, and Josh has an off shooting night. He's not going to shoot like that most of the time. That's what we're able to absorb when we're rotating guys.
You know, the concern is always are we going to get chemistry at the right time? White's playing well. We take him out and then put him back in. But he was great, I thought, tonight on both ends. We got great contributions from a lot of different people. Good assist to turnovers, rebound, probably gave them too many offensive rebounds, but that's a small, quick, athletic team. Different game that way.
Q. Is this game valuable for you as a coach to look at the combination of what the guys were doing?
COACH McCAFFERY: No question. At some point what you're trying to do is playing to get better. I think one of the disappointing things was how we started the second half trading baskets. We were up 21, and content to be up 21. Didn't take it to 30, didn't play with the same level of intensity that we had at the start of the first half. That was disappointing. But then the next group came in and revved it up. And we got the big lead.
Q. Talk about Aaron White and his response after getting roughed up a bit there?
COACH McCAFFERY: He's a tough kid. When he breaks down, it's only because he's tired. When he's fresh, he just impacts the game in so many ways: In transition, in the post, on the perimeter, point of the press. No matter where we put him, he's getting his hands on the ball and has great feel for how to play. He's shooting the ball better. He didn't shoot it great outside tonight, but he scored.
Q. Can you talk about the play you got from your front court players tonight? They combined for over 50 points.
COACH McCAFFERY: I really like our front court. We've got a lot of ways to go. Gabe was a little jittery when he first went in and got in foul trouble, then was much better when we put him back in.
Melsahn was what we thought he would be. Played like a starter, came in and played like we needed him to. Woodbury, great job in the second half, solid in the first. But I can move White up to the four. I can take him from the three. I can move Zach around. I've got a lot of different ways I can go.
Q. You have several guys, Aaron, Eric, Zach, they can all run the floor really well and get out in transition and get those easy buckets?
COACH McCAFFERY: And they're fresh. They can all make a play off the dribble. They can all feed the post. It's one thing to run, but you have to know what you're going to do with it. This team, they sort of have a no lay up rule. They're going to foul you near the basket.
That's why they have so many fouls in the first half. They're not going to let you make the ball. They'll make you earn it at the free throw line. That's a coaching philosophy. So you've just got to keep attacking and keep getting to the free throws.
Q. Does Zach have the ability to be a great perimeter shooter from there all year?
COACH McCAFFERY: He always has been. He's got great range. He's not afraid. He shoots big shots, scores when you need it, absolutely.
Q. You get four different players with at least two blocks tonight. How do you feel about your interior defense so far this year?
COACH McCAFFERY: It was good. We were 3 for 12 on 50 50 balls. That's got to stop. If he blocks the shot and the ball hits the floor, we've got to get a couple of those. That's disappointing.
Q. Early on, you missed a lot of shots around the rim.
COACH McCAFFERY: I think it was physicality. They had committed four team fouls. They're not going to call 24. It's just how they play. We shot 20 free throws in the first half. We were in the double bonus with ten minutes to go. That's how they play. That's why we weren't getting it in as much as we would have liked to.