Coach May Week 10 Presser Notes - January 8th, 2024
Winning against East Carolina and then losing to Charlotte to tip-off their conference schedule, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team is looking to bounce back when they head out on the road to face Tulane on January 11th before returning home to host UAB on January 14th.
Head coach Dusty May (pictured via Bob Markey II) spoke with media on Monday to evaluate the current state of the team and their preparations against the Green Wave.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Returning to the underdog mentality they had last year to bounce back from recent struggles
"I don't know if we can have the underdog mentality. We've got to focus on our daily habits and simply getting back and Alejandro Ralat made a great point after the game, that we've got to empty our tanks for each other. If you play two minutes, or you play four minutes at a time, if you come out of the game and you're not exhausted, then we're not playing hard enough for each other. And so today in practice, we emptied our tanks and we got back to practice and how we did it in the preseason, but not as long."
"It was great to see our guys get uncomfortable. They were great teammates and they responded really well to what we went through this past weekend. And so that's all you can ask. Does it guarantee success Thursday? Absolutely not. But we feel like it definitely puts us in position to be going in the right direction and moving up the mountain and very rarely is the path to the top of the mountain is a straight perfect line unless you're skiing in Colorado, so we're navigating. As long as we're moving forward, we're going to be fine and we want to be playing great basketball in March."
Potential lineup changes, giving other players chances to start
"It's possible. We tweaked with some lineups today and if you followed us forever, the starting lineup is not all that important. We go with whoever's playing well. Johnell and Alijah didn't start for 80% of the season last year. We're going to tweak some different lineups. We need to get back to where our second lineup is giving us a significant jolt every single game, so it might be a matter of just trying to beef up the second lineup a little bit more. We're always evaluating who plays well together, who has good chemistry and good rhythm, who are the guys that are looking to score and putting them with the pass-first guys. We don't know exactly now what it's gonna look like, but we're gonna tinker and tweak."
Optimism on Nick Boyd getting back in form
"It's no secret that Nick's a very big piece of this puzzle, and it's nice to see him get some rhythm to the game. He played through some mistakes, and I thought he's very aggressive. If we asked him, I would say he's still not pleased with his overall performance. So could have done several things to help contribute to winning, but it was definitely a step in the right direction and we need Nick to be the spiritual type of leader that he has been for us in the past. It's definitely a step in the right direction."
Preparations for Tulane
"They have several tough covers. Kevin Cross, Jaylen Forbes, Collin Holloway, and Kolby King from down the street. They just have so many really good basketball players that are that are skilled and versatile. They have great size, I should say positional size; they don't have a traditional center but they have good size and strength across the board. And they're interchangeable, they're versatile. It's just a tough cover and they typically play well against the top teams. Their success against Memphis in the past is noted and they brought back a lot of talent in production. So we know how difficult it's going to be but we have to focus on us and growing together and learning from the mistakes that we've made recently and fixing them and take it from there."
Current message of the team
"The message is this team is this team and we're evolving and developing our own character and culture environment, daily habits, and we can't get away from the details and start looking in the rearview about last year. Unless it's a learning opportunity, we can't look too far in the future because then we miss out on this experience, and we talk a lot about that. That's a special group of human beings in our locker room and if we're constantly thinking about March, the conference tournament, or the things so far down the road, we're missing the true experience of a group of people coming together that's happened here and really enjoying it and growing and going through the ups and downs."
"I guess I heard a coach say this years ago; as coaches, sometimes we want to just ride the wave of success. Well, I wish we would but that's what coaching and playing and performing. It's part of it. You have to deal with the ups and downs and we've always responded well, and there's no indicator based on our performance today in practice and film that tells me otherwise. I mean, this is a group of substance and character and we're going to play really good basketball. Hopefully it's sooner than later, but we're going to focus on the now, being in the moment and not looking in the past or too far into the future."
The Owls will continue practicing before taking their trip to Louisiana for Thursday's matchup against Tulane.