Head coach Mike Brennan and James Washington spoke after American defeated Youngstown State 77-62 for its second win of the season. Video above and selected quotes below.
ON 2ND HALF PERFORMANCE
“Yeah, we played well in the first half, too. We were getting good shots — we just weren’t making a ton of them. I think they started to figure things out a little bit the second half offensively.
HOW NICE/IMPORTANT TO GET A WIN LIKE THIS?
“It’s very important to just have the tangible results from all your hard work and effort. I think we’ve been practicing really hard since the guys got here, since they arrived on campus, so and I kept telling them, ‘Hey, guys, you’re getting better.’ They had two really good practices, they did stick with it
HOW FAR AHEAD OF THE LEARNING CURVE IS SA’EED? "He’s a really good player. He just knows what he’s doing. He’s got all the right tools. And again, just being from that (St. Augustine High School) program — I can’t say enough about that. And then he’s got a good mind for the game, good skill, coachable, tough kid — just everything you’d want in a player.”
ON DEFENSE IN 1ST HALF
“I thought they did really well against a team that scores that many points and they got really good offensive players. But to be honest, I know New Hampshire hit 12 3s on us but I thought our defense was pretty good against them — we were just sort of inches away on each play. So you just had to make sure your guys stuck with it. Again, two good practices and they got better.”
ON EVERYONE CONTRIBUTING TO REBOUNDING EFFORT?“ "Obviously you definitely need it especially when you go small with Charlie as your sort of frontcourt man. Everything we do is basically a group effort. Offense. Defense. Rebounding. Everything. So it’s just — again it goes back to the type of practices we’ve been having. I thought Delante’s been great in practice. Charlie’s obviously great in practice. Leon’s great in practice. So it’s a collective effort even from the guys that didn’t get to play. They’re helping us win. They’re having good practices, too.”
ON TEAM’S DEFENSE
“It’s definitely getting better. Our defense has been getting better throughout the season. Last game against New Hampshire for the most part we were there but it wasn’t enough. So just being more aggressive on the defensive end moving forward is what we’ve been trying to focus on.”
ON PLAYING WITH SA’EED
“Sa’eed’s been playing great for us; it’s helped us out a lot. Him getting to the rim and penetrating, it’s also good for everybody else. When they start to collapse, he can get other guys shots as well and it gets the ball moving. He’s been playing really good.”
HOW DIFFERENT DOES 2-7 FEEL THIS YEAR VS LAST YEAR?
“It’s a different feeling. Last year it was more like we were losing, we didn’t really know if we were getting better — it was just deflating. But we fought through. This year it’s like we’re losing but at the same time everybody’s in good spirits because we know that we’re all getting better.”
ON IMPROVING AS A DEFENDER AND GETTING TO THE RIM “Coach has definitely been on me about my defense. I was playing a lot last year and my minutes were kind of cut because of me not being aggressive enough on D and not giving the effort. … getting to the rim as well — he (Mike Brennan) has been on me about that too and I’ve been working throughout our season and in the summer. Just working on the shots that he teaches us in practice definitely has helped a lot.”