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Kevin Keatts
Devon Daniels
NC State Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Keatts, Daniels Discuss Road Loss Versus Seminoles

January 13, 2021

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts and redshirt senior guard Devon Daniels met with the media via Zoom to discuss the Wolfpack's 105-73 loss against Florida State Wednesday evening.

NOTE: Click on each respective thumbnail to watch each press conference.

Kevin Keatts

Opening Statement

"Give Florida State a lot of credit. I thought they were incredible tonight. I thought my team fought as hard as they could toward the end. Certainly, on this given night, I think [Florida State] would have beaten most teams in the country. Obviously, I didn’t like the outcome of the game or the score of the game, but I thought they played tremendous. I thought they played out of their mind, making 12 three-pointers. They made them long, they made them in transition, and they got to the free-throw line to go 11-for-11. It’s probably the best team we’ve played in our early season so far, in my opinion. We’ve got to shake it off, we’ve got to get better, we’ve got to understand the things we’ve got to work on, and we’re going to move forward."

Was the plan to speed them up without Manny Bates in the lineup?

“We wanted to play uptempo anyway. That’s the way we play. They shot the hell out of the basketball. They made us pay for every mistake that we made. Give them credit. We lost the game, and as a coach, I’ll take full responsibility of it, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to give it up to those guys. They had a hell of a game, and I thought so many guys played well. We wanted to play fast. We didn’t want to get into a half-court situation where we had to score against their half-court defense because they switched our screens. At the end of the day, they made us pay for everything that we did."

How concerned are you that the guys may be too reliant on scoring off of turnovers?

“No, I don’t think so. We try to get one-third of our offense off of turnovers. We try to get out in transition, and we try to get some of that stuff from our half-court offense. When you look at it and go back to it, we scored enough points to win the game even though some of those points came late in the game. [FSU] just played well. They were just clicking offensively. We’ve got to get better. Do we miss Manny Bates? One hundred percent because he can protect a lot of stuff at the rim. When you don’t have him and then you’ve got Braxton Beverly who hasn’t practiced a lot, we’re relying on two freshmen guards to play a lot. That being said, none of that would have changed because of the way Florida State played tonight."

How can you be more productive on the boards when you’re going against a team of the Seminoles’ size?

“It’s tough because when you’re missing one of your bigger guys, and I’ve got Jericole Hellems who’s six-foot-seven trying to fight against some of the bigger guys. Florida State’s a big team, probably the second-biggest team we’ve played against with the other being Carolina. I think the smallest guy that they have in their lineup is six-five, and that’s if they’re not starting [Scottie Barnes] who’s really good. In order for us to be better against a bigger team, it takes a lot of the guards to rebound the basketball. They’re just bigger than us."

What do you tell your team after a game like this? How do you try to make this a learning experience moving forward?

“I talked about playing hard all the way to the end, and I would live with the results. I want them to remember the loss. We’re all going to take ownership in it. We understand that we’ve got to do some soul searching. We’ve got to get better in certain situations. I certainly don’t want those guys to forget what happened tonight. We learned a valuable lesson. These guys are really good, and we played a good team on their home floor who shot the ball really, really well. That being said, that doesn’t get past the feeling of what we feel like. We’ve talked about the last few years and how we started the season. When you look at my first year, we were 2-3 in the conference, and we went on to finish 11-7. One of our biggest things is that we have to get healthy. We’re not playing with our full roster right now. With an injured Braxton Beverly and not having Manny Bates, it changes us a little bit. That being said, there’s a lesson to be learned. I thought our guys fought to the end. Obviously, we just ran into a buzz saw today."

What was the state of the team mentally coming into the game tonight?

“I thought we were mentally locked in. It’s hard to overcome. I’ve seen a couple games in our league where a team shot the ball really well, and the score’s obviously going to be lopsided. One of the games I saw as I scouted was when Syracuse played Boston College, and Syracuse shot maybe 15 of 16 three-pointers. Those are hard to overcome. It was a good game. We started off with both teams hitting two three-pointers, and we started missing, and they kept making. I thought mentally we came in ready to play. I thought our guys were prepared to play. We played against a good Florida State team that was ready to play, and our guys were ready also."

How difficult was it to overcome D.J. Funderburk’s early foul troubles?

“It changes us. D.J.’s our only veteran big that we have. Without Manny being able to play in the game and when D.J. goes out, we become incredibly young. Instead of being able to put another veteran guy in the game, I’ve got to put in a freshman. When you add the fact you’ve already started two freshmen in Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore, now you’ve got three freshmen that have to play a bulk of your minutes. It completely changes us."

What did you see out of Scottie Barnes tonight?

“He’s talented. When you see a young man like that who’s six-nine, what makes him special after watching him on tape and watching him play today, he’s affecting the game in so many different ways. He can handle it. He can pass it. He reminds me of a tight end on the football team because he does so much stuff. He’s going to be a good pro. He’s got great size. You don’t see a guy at his size at six-nine handle the basketball. He’s a very talented kid. A lot of people say, ‘Well, he doesn’t shoot it as well.’ Well, he’ll get that as he continues to mature and get better."

Devon Daniels

How undermanned did you feel without Manny Bates? How big of a disadvantage were you guys at without him?

“We definitely needed the whole team. Manny is a big part of our defense and a big part of our offense, too, with the way he sets screens and the way he finishes down low. He’s our missing piece, but at the end of the day, if he’s not there, we have other players on the team, and somebody has to step up and fill his role."

What went wrong defensively tonight?

“The first thing we talked about as a team when we went back to the locker room was that we can’t put our head down about this. We can’t hide from it. We can’t look away from it. It’s a reflection of us as a group. We’ve got to get in the gym. We’ve got to become tougher. We can’t take days off in practice. We have to play with more urgency. This is on us. They’re a very good team. They didn’t miss much. They had a hot shooting night, but we can definitely do some things to make it tougher on teams to score on us."

Do you feel like this was an instance where the team wasn’t mentally prepared?

“No, I thought we were mentally there. Physically, we just have to be tougher. We have to be faster on our rotations. Both teams started hot, but when we cool down, we can’t just let them remain hot. We’ve got to rotate faster, and we’ve got to be in the right position on defense. We can learn a lot from this game. We can change the way we’re going in this season right now if we look at it face-to-face and make that change."

How do you get the freshmen to understand the ’This is on us’ mentality?

“Don’t let them run away from the fact that it’s not on the coaches and it’s not on the other team. As a group, we’ve got to come together and make changes. We can’t keep making the same mistakes, and we have to stay unified. We’re in this together. No one loss in on one player, and no one win is on one player. We’re in this as a group, and we have to make improvements.”

How hard is it not being fully healthy?

“It takes a full squad. It takes a full Pack. When we’ve been working as a full group and then come game day we can’t play with a full group, it definitely affects us, but we have to get around that. We are able, willing players that are able to step up, and at the end of the day, we have to do that."

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