Coach May Week 15 Presser Notes - February 12th, 2024
Going 1-1 on their two-game road trip with a loss to UAB and a win over Wichita State, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team will play one game at home and one on the road when they host Temple on February 15th before traveling to Tampa for a marquee matchup against USF on February 18th.
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 Temple and USF.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Opening Statement on Giancarlo Rosado's timetable to return
"We met with the training staff this morning. He's progressing as scheduled. He'll be doing limited practice tomorrow."
Reflecting on their back-to-back overtime games at UAB and Wichita State
"We're getting great reps in pressure situations. We're seeing that the more game experience you can have, it's obviously going to pay dividends later but also it gives you competence. I think it gives our guys competence that we've been in so many different situations. And both overtime periods looks so different. (Against) UAB, we didn't convert well around the rim…and then we fouled in a non-scoring area, so we were playing from behind that entire five-minute period, it seemed like. And then Wichita State, it was the complete opposite. We're playing with at least a four-point margin after the first 20 seconds."
Making the right play consistently with the margin of error being thin
"It's important. That's kind of what we've harped on from day one that over 70 to 80 possessions, whatever we can get; there are some teams that are gonna hold us in the 50 or 60 possessions, over 70 or 80 possessions we've got to stay much more steady than we have at times and we can't try to go for the knockout punch in one or two possessions. Last year's group was so unique that if we got up 10, nothing changed; we just stayed the course and had a frame-by-frame mindset. This year, it's almost as if we get up eight or nine or 10, and we just kind of expect that to happen, it just doesn't work like that. Especially with the effort we're getting from these other teams and they have the crowds behind them and it's such a big game…Everything is new. We have the same group back but everyone is different and everything is new, so we're still not clicking on all cylinders, but we think we're not far off."
Seeing Vlad Goldin handle the added workload throughout Rosado's absence
"There was that point of the season where Vlad's body was just banged up. I thought the overtime segment the other night was as well as he's played since he's been here. That was as dominant of a performance as I can remember. And they were loud plays, they were aggressive. And I think that this past week, teams went into it with the emphasis to really be as physical as they possibly could with him. Against UAB, he and I and the staff, we weren't terribly happy with his response to the physicality and we've got to be able to adjust to how the game's being officiated and adjust to how the game is being played. I thought he took a step forward from Thursday to Sunday, and that's what you want throughout the season. You want to see all of these different types of scenarios and situations and adjust, adapt and then become your best when it really really matters."
Preparations for Temple
"They shoot a lot of threes, they have a good mix of undersized fives that can shoot, they've got a stretch four that they can play up at the five, they got physical guards that can score one-on-one that have that mass and girth to get where they need to. It's like our league, there's very little separation if you're going by video game players where you're simply picking a player. Obviously some teams have been together longer and some teams are a little bit older or whatever the case, but as you saw at Wichita State, I don't think there's anyone in our league that feels like Wichita State is a 2-9 team and we know how good they are because when your players really respect them, sometimes they look at the records and they let down their guard a little bit. We felt like as a staff, our guys were as locked in for Wichita as they have been anyone else, and that's a testament to how much talent they have on the floor. They've just been a little bit snakebitten.
"And Temple's the same, where they have a lot of guys with very little experience returning to Temple. They have a first-year head coach that hasn't coached those guys before and a new staff, but they're obviously getting better and they're very capable. Like I said, there's not much separation and basketball talent anywhere, everyone in our league as good players. So we know it's gonna be a challenge. We're definitely not taking them lightly. We have so much respect for that program for Coach Fisher. He and I have been friends for a while and obviously, they have good experienced players and they have good young players that are going to have a major impact in that program in this league going forward."
Looking at the strides USF made this season
"I was talking to Karl Hicks, (the AAC's) Basketball Associate Commissioner, yesterday. Obviously the intent of the scheduling format was great. The purpose was purposeful and it had great intentions, but we felt like we need to be playing USF twice and develop these regional rivalries and whatnot. With the portal era and the transitioning rosters, I don't know how you'd pick. If you can pick a league one through 14 or one through 10 or one through 12 and get anywhere close, then you might have a crystal ball at home."
"So Amir Abdur-Rahim brought three guys that won 26 games and went to the NCAA Tournament with Kennesaw State last year. Those three starters are fifth-year players, I think they're all on their COVID year, and I was at home for Christmas break last year when I saw Kennesaw State take Indiana to the wire and there wasn't much difference in talent in Kennesaw State and Indiana last year. Part of it was the experience and the togetherness that Kennesaw had, so they brought three of those guys. They inherit Selton Miguel, who transferred from the Big 12 and is dynamic as a scorer as anyone in our league. They signed a top three junior college player and Kasean Pryor who played at Boise State previously, and then they signed a point guard out of New York late that anyone that followed the recruiting circles knew how good of a prospect he was last spring."
"And then they got some other guys in Jose Placer, who was a really good player at North Florida, the Kennesaw State guys, and Corey Walker who was a former Tennessee top 30 recruit in the country. So you never know because it was new and they hadn't done it before. But I think any of us in our profession, we all know how good of a coach Amir Abdur-Rahim is, how good his staff is, and then also that they had the pieces, now can they put it together? That's a challenge for all of us, but I'm not terribly surprised. I worked with Amir; he and I go way back as close friends, so I saw what he did to that program at Kennesaw State going from zero division one wins in year one to be one of the top teams in the country last season."
The Owls will continue practicing at home before hosting Temple on Thursday.