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Coach Thompson on the BIG EAST Weekly Conference Call

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The start of BIG EAST Conference play also means the start of the weekly BIG EAST Coaches' call, where every other week, the league's coaches call in and take questions from the media.  Today was the first of four times this through the end of February where John Thompson III called in and spoke to the members of the fourth estate.
Each coach is typically available for 5-10 minutes and the topic of conversation will usually focus on the team's next opponent. In this case, there were a couple of reporters from West Virginia on to ask about our game on Saturday (Jan. 8, 11 a.m. tip, Verizon Center).  One reporter asked about Director of Basketball Operations Darryl Prue, who played at WVU, and if he ever told stories about his time there.  Laughing, Coach Thompson said that Prue tells TOO many stories about his time there, but that he also has a lot of love for his alma mater.  Here's a transcript from today's call...

On the team's play

"This league is rough.  We start off three games in and we're 1-2 in the league. We had a tough stretch to start with a Wednesday, Saturday, Monday and two of those games on the road.  It's a long, long season, so you can't get too down even though you are down because it's an unforgiving league.  We've got a few days off to rest and we have a tough West Virginia team on Saturday.  You have to play well to win against them."

On Hollis Thompson

"He played well in stretches the other night and he's done that (led the team) this year.  He can put the ball in the basket. He's a very good shooter who, for as slight as he is, is a good rebounder. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there. We have the flexibility and versatility to put some different lineups out on the floor. With the first group, he ends up with the oppositions four man and we are comfortable with that. He's a confident kid who can put the ball in the basket but one who is not afraid to get in there for rebounds."

On twitter...

"It is something that scares me.  To answer your request, yes, we do sit down and talk to them about it and we have our sports information director speak to them. We have given thought to banning it, but we try to tell them to be smart. They don't understand that what you put out there, you can't get back.  The world knows about it. It is something that is very dangerous.  So many people are following you and trying to bait you at an emotional time. It's something that worries me, but we have people within the department that keep an eye on that."

On how the team has adjusted without Greg...

"We've been fortunate that when we haven't had a dominant big man, we have three very good perimeter players with Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Jason Clark.  We've been fortunate that we have an unselfish group of players who can score and who can help each other. It has not been a huge adjustment. We're probably playing a little faster now, but as long as we play together and get good shots, we can do the things we want to do."

On Austin Freeman...

"Austin's been good, he's been very good. He can score.  He's not just a shooter either, he can get to the basket and he can play in the post. He's always had the ability to create shots and we're posting him up a bit more this year."

On league play...

"League play, stating the obvious, you play the first part of the season to get to this.  We are in the toughest basketball conference in the country. You have to be motivated, prepared and excited every night because every team and coach we play is good."

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