Now that we are a day away from the first game, how has the team progressed since the exhibition game a couple of weeks ago?
"It's a complicated answer, because we've had some really good days and we've had some bad days which you would expect from a young team, but Tuesday's practice was one of our better practices of the entire year and then we brought them in this morning at 7am to do a little dummy offense period for about 30 minutes and they really had great attention to detail this morning so I think either they're getting scared because the game is tomorrow or they are really truly learning the things. I'll take either one, but it's been a good club.
"I made the statement today I think I've only gone wacko a couple of times and they've really done some nice things and it's just we're so young. Regardless of who you put out there you can't put people out there who've done it before regardless of what kind of group you put out there so it's been fun from that stage, but it's a little bit scary from that aspect of it too."
How many lineups have you experimented with?
"As we stand here right now I still do not know who I am going to start. I really don't and we talked about it in the staff meeting this morning, but it's been really interesting. It's been really fun. The young guys really want to be coached and that part is nice. It is a group that I really have enjoyed even the two days or three days I've gone wacko it's still not one of those storming out of here, come back and meet me at 12 o'clock at night kind of things. I really don't. I'm waiting for somebody to step up and say I'm going to deserve that, but it may okay if it's not. We may change the lineups throughout the course of the pre-conference season too."
Are the questions about the starting lineup mainly in the post or elsewhere as well?
"More the post. I feel fairly comfortable about Marcus [Paige], Dexter [Strickland], Reggie [Bullock] and James Michael [McAdoo], but that fifth spot from one day to the next I change quite a bit."
How do you feel now post-surgery?
"I feel good. Last Wednesday they released me to start exercising, told me to take it easy for quite a while and I've tried. It's not the easiest thing in the world for me to do, but I don't think I'm 100-percent but I don't have to be. I'm not jumping or running or rebounding, blocking-out and things like that, but I'm trying to be very cautious. We have six games in a 13-day period and that's why they want to make sure I don't get run down and do something crazy and all of a sudden have a setback so I am being cautious with that part of it."
Is Leslie McDonald back to where you thought he would be?
"I wish I could give you a definitive answer. The last couple of practices have been really good practices for him, but I still think the idea of getting back into game action again for the first time in such a long time is a little bit of a block there and we'll have to wait and see. I really think he's going to handle it pretty well, but it was just that he really did take such a big step forward at that point a year-and-a-half ago now.
"I think it was just a little unusual how much he did step forward at that time. We had a really nice talk after that season was over in 2011 and he really did step up and start playing really well, but it was also more pick-up games and summer league play that I didn't really see so I was just going off what everybody else was telling me."
Who has stepped up as a leader so far on this team?
"It's too early to tell, but it's been a team that so far has been led by the group. They haven't had anybody go off the wayside and have to be pulled back in. Dexter and Reggie and Leslie have been around the longest. Marcus has leadership capabilities and the position he plays helps him and then the two that have the most respect from everybody else on the team are Reggie and James Michael because of their ability and that they're concerned about the team, so right now it has been a shared vision I guess it could be."
What do you want the young guys to take away from this weekend?
"I want them to understand how good the other teams are every day. You guys have heard me tell the story of telling Dexter and Larry Drew, 'Have you guys ever heard of Andrew Goudelock?' and they said no and I said, 'Well, you better be hoping he doesn't hang 30 on you the next night' and I think he got 36 or something crazy like that. The young kids have to understand that everybody we're playing is pretty doggone good. In the old days Coach [Dean] Smith used to talk about 'they give scholarships too' so being ready and being prepared every single day regardless of who you play is something that is extremely important for young guys to understand and the name on the front of the jersey is not going to win the game. Guys inside the jersey have to play well to win it."
Can you provide any takeaways from the Georgetown scrimmage?
"Yeah. We didn't play as well as we wanted to play. If I knew the score I wouldn't be able to tell you, because we're not supposed to keep it, but you can look all through the stats and see that we don't put the score up on the clock and if you do put it up there you erase it and start all over again. Early on we didn't play nearly as well as we wanted to play and with each quarter, I think we played five quarters, we got a little bit better."
Have you used Reggie Bullock at the four position at all?
"Not at all. If we go with a small lineup at the four it would probably go P.J. [Hairston] or J.P. [Tokoto] at the four if we go small. It would not be Reggie."
Follow IC on Twitter @InsideCarolina.
Like IC on Facebook InsideCarolina.