Hopkins on staying consistent: 'You expect to win every game. That's why I think we've been able to bounce back.'
In a span of a week, the Washington men’s basketball team has been on both sides of a frenetic game decided by a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Following a 97-94 double overtime defeat at Oregon State, coach Mike Hopkins says the Huskies need to have a short-term memory ahead of Thursday’s game against Utah.
Hopkins made a similar statement minutes after UW upset then-No. 9 Arizona on a last-second 3-pointer.
Here’s a look at Hopkins’ weekly press conference on Wednesday.
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(On staying consistent) “It’s how you approach the next game. Even in the Oregon State game I thought we responded really well. We just broke down a couple times and (OSU) got hot, next thing you know it’s 13, then 10, 7…game pressure changes, crowd gets into it. For the most part it’s been our consistency in how we’ve approached winning and losing, it’s kind of the same thing and how we get better. Not too high, not too low, just get them to understand it. Championship programs, it’s the consistency. You expect to win every game. That’s why I think we’ve been able to bounce back.”
(On tightening the rotation) “I’ve got it (flu). It just goes back to my gut. I think we played 10 against Oregon and seven against Oregon State. I felt like there was a good flow and didn’t want to break that flow. We could have gotten tired at the end, I don’t know. Even went with that a little bit at Colorado. It’s more on gut.”
(On importance of this week’s games) Every game is, I don’t like to use the word life and death, but every game is really important. Coming in here and the fan support that we’ve had has been really special, really exciting. It’s been exciting for the community, it’s been exciting for our players, it’s been exciting for the program. When you bring recruits in and you see an environment like that it’s pretty special. When you need to get stops late and you’re in the game it really helps you. That’s why you come to a school like this, to play in a great college basketball environment. To honor Isaiah, you know – #2TheRafters – is special. You’re talking about not only a great player but a great person. I would argue one of the most, if not the most, inspirational players since I’ve been a basketball fan. When you meet him he’s this big and I met him at South Kent. It was against all the odds. You’re talking about the NBA, last pick of the second round and he even struggled at the beginning – just kept fighting, kept working, kept fighting and kept believing. Next thing you know he’s an NBA All-Star, one of the leading scorers in the league and he’s ours. So it means everything. It’ll be a great opportunity for the community to honor him and make it a special night. IT’s not only a special player but a special person.”
(On how close UW is to playing ‘A’ basketball) “You strive to play ‘A+’ basketball every night. When you say ‘A’ basketball, we’ve had great signs of it earlier in the year, playing 20 minutes of it. We weren’t playing 40. Then we started playing 30 minutes of it and we’ve had a couple games where we’ve played 40. It’s hard to do but that’s what you strive to do. ‘A’ basketball is going to be more ‘A’ fight. If we have ‘A’ fight, you’re not going to make every shot, you’re not going to be dominating in every area, but ‘A’ or ‘A+’ fight is what we’re striving for. I think we’re there. I think that’s what you’re going to see from this team every night.”
(On Utah’s defense) “They’re really disciplined. They’re exceptionally well-coached. There’s rarely any holes. If you ever watch Virginia play basketball it’s team defense. It’s not individual defense. They do a really good job of defending the ball, being good help-side. They don’t have shot-blockers but they have have rim protection by taking charges and showing walls. And they execute their defense pretty well. If we keep you in front, there’s no lanes and it forces you to be able to make shots from the perimeter. We didn’t shoot well when we were at Utah. I think we were 2-18 from the three-point line, so hopefully we can shoot better. Defense obviously wins championships but you’ve got to score some points. Oregon State was the first game where we shot the ball well and we didn’t come up with the victory. This week has been improving our defense, getting back to the basics of our zone and then offensively we’ve shown some signs. Inconsistent, but we’ve shown some signs of really good basketball.”