Vanderbilt-Western Carolina postgame quotes

Dec. 16, 2014

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Vanderbilt vs Western Carolina
December 16, 2014
Coach and Player Quotes

Head Coach Kevin Stallings
Opening Statement:
“I thought that we played really well on both ends in the second half. I thought Damian (Jones) got that started right from the outset of the second half. I thought he started it for us. Everybody else kind of jumped in. Our defense was better as the game went on until we got into a little bit of foul trouble there in the second half. We knew free throws were going to be important because they have fouled a lot coming into this game. So, we told our guys, and we did a little extra free throw shooting (in practice). They still shot a really good percentage against us. Our defense wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but our offense was pretty solid.”

On Western Carolina’s hot start:
“First of all they can really shoot. Their three guards can really score. I was disappointed in our ball care. We were loose with the ball, and that led to some of their baskets. It led to some transition threes. (Rhett) Harrelson can really shoot, and (James) Sinclair had an off night. I hope we had something to do with that. (Mike) Brown was good, but we put a lot of focus on trying to stop those three guys. This was a game of maturity for us. How were we going to respond? We beat a good Purdue team on Saturday night. Fairly quick turn around, and got a team coming in with not as much name recognition. So, how are our guys going to respond? I told them on the perimeter this was going to be a more difficult game than the Purdue game was. Now, we weren’t going to have the same challenges on the inside, but on the perimeter we were going to have some challenges. Of course they start off making everything they look at.”

On teams focus on getting Damian the ball:
“I think we are very cognizant of the fact of who butters our bread. I think they understand the more we throw it to him, the more likely the better off we are.”

On any thoughts of starting James Siakam:
“We had a conversation early on in practice. We missed him for whatever it was 7 or 8 days, and when he came back Luke had been playing great. So, we kept it the same. I said something to him, and this is typical James. He said, `Coach I trust you. Whatever you do is fine, I trust you’. That’s just James. He’s as good a person as you can possibly be.”

Freshman Guard Riley LaChance
On Damian getting things started in the Second half:
“You know he is our best player. In the first half we didn’t do a very good job of getting him going. In the second half, we really wanted to get the ball inside and get it to him. I think he had the first six to eight points of the second half. That’s what we needed to do, and he did a good job and came out strong. “

“When he’s going we are tough to beat.”

On if this was a “trap” game:
“These last few days we have really talked about how this would be a test of our maturity. In the first half we came out slow, but we can’t let that happen. In the second half we played more of our game, more of our style. We’ve got to fix things, especially the way it was in the first half. In the second half, we just played harder and more together. That’s why the result was what it was.”

On the energy James brings to the team:
“It’s unreal the effect he has on our team. Like he said, with everything that has been going on in his life you know you’d think he’d have a little bit of an excuse to play lackadaisical. Every second he’s been here he’s played the hardest on our team. It’s really a testament to his character, and everything he does for our team. What he does is invaluable.”

Senior Forward James Siakam
On coming off the bench:
“I’m definitely okay with that (coming off the bench). If coach says `This is your role’ you have to be able accept it, and lose yourself within the team concept. I think for me I enjoy doing what I do. This is an energy booster. If I can come in like this and get the guys pumping, and for me I live for that. I love it.”

On facing off the court hardships like losing his father:
“Every time I play I step on the court, and I believe my dad is watching me. That’s been a great dream for him as well. He loved basketball, and he wanted me to succeed. When you have teammates like my teammates, I think it’s a second family. You have Coach Stallings just being a great role model. For me, just use that energy to my advantage and for everyone.”