ACC Pre-Tournament Teleconference (10:10 am -10:20 am on Mar. 5, 2013)
Clemson is the No. 9 Seed and will play No. 8 NC State at 2:00 pm Thursday in Greensboro, NC
Courtesy: ASAP SPORTS and the ACC
CLEMSON HEAD COACH
THE MODERATOR: We now welcome Clemson head coach Itoro Coleman. Coach, please talk a little bit about your team entering into the tournament.
COACH COLEMAN: Good morning, everyone.
Well, our approach to the team is this being a new season. All the hard work, all the practices, all the games have pretty much prepared us for this ACC tournament.
I've always felt like the ACC tournament, anything can happen, anything can happen, because at this point it's all about matchups and who's ready to play when the ball is thrown up in the air.
We're playing against NC State. We're very familiar with them. They've won the last two outings. NC State is a very good team, very versatile. The last game at our place, we were able to keep Marissa under control, but Goodwin-Coleman got loose, and that's a compliment to NC State.
We know going into the game we have to do a better job. We have to keep their bigs off the boards and defend on the perimeter. I felt like we gave up a lot of points in the paint. We didn't do a good job of protecting the paint. That's something we talk about all the time.
Going into the ACC tournament, we have to do a better job of that, rebounding.
As far as offense goes, I felt like we got some good shots that just weren't falling. Probably at this time I feel like offensively we're getting the shots we want, now we just have to make them.
I'm excited. I'm always excited about going into the tournament. With my experience in the tournament as a player, you live for moments like this. We have to show up. That's the beauty of the ACC. This is a great conference from top to bottom. You can't really walk into any game thinking that you're going to win this game because on any given night anybody can win. You have to bring your A game. That's why I love the ACC. That's what separates the ACC from a lot of other conferences.
So we're excited about playing, and hopefully if we defend the way I know we can, then we can keep working to continuing to play.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Coleman.
Q. Obviously you pointed out the challenges that you have had with NC State. Looking at their depth, can you talk about how important depth is at this time of year, how that has been a little bit of a challenge for you.
COACH COLEMAN: Absolutely. Depth is something that we've struggled with all year, from injuries. Even when we played NC State the last game, I had seven players dressed. Depth is really important around this time, to keep bodies fresh.
Obviously for Clemson, we're going to play with eight, and that's who we're playing with. That's kind of been our focus. Obviously that helps NC State, but I can't really focus on that right now.
I remember a few years back, I think it was in '99 maybe, I think Duke went to the Final Four with eight players. They had a lot of injuries. But you can do it. I think Notre Dame went one year with six, playing the 23 zone. It's doable, very doable. You have to be mentally tough. You have to come ready to play.
Obviously NC State, I think they play about 10 people. That's not going to change. Our approach, like I said, from a defensive standpoint we have to do a better job of guarding on that perimeter and keeping them out of the paint because that's where they hurt us.
But as far as depth, that's something that we've been really working through all year. So we're used to it right now. We know that teams are going to put in fresh bodies all the time.
I have to do a better job of using my timeouts, resting their legs, continue to prepare them for battle.
Q. I'm doing a feature on players from the RaleighDurham area in the tournament. What does Natiece Ford mean to your program?
COACH COLEMAN: Natiece Ford, she is by far one of the toughest players that we have. It obviously hurts us when Natiece isn't on the court. Natiece is going to be that post player to always guard the more physical post on the opposing team.
She's small in stature. She's about 6'1". But she just plays so big. Just her presence. She's that player that's going to take a charge. She's that player that wants to grab that rebound.
Offensively she's been a little inconsistent, and that's going to get better. I tell you what, Natiece, she's that heartbeat, she really is. The team feeds off of her energy. It's so good to see. She's going to get that charge. She loves playing physical. That's what we need. That's something we definitely wanted to get better at, and she brings that to the team.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you for your time this morning.
COACH COLEMAN: Thank you.