Basketball team's focus is on growth and getting better

Nov 30, 2021 | 0 comments

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Anthony Duriji and Mike White addressed the media Tuesday afternoon about the upcoming game against Oklahoma.

Here are the main takeaways.

Anthony Duruji

  • On team toughness: “Yeah, I think that is our identity. That is something we can fall back on. Most of us have a chip on our shoulder. A lot of us come from mid-majors or we never really won from where we came from. So having that chip on our shoulder and that grittiness is kind of what we carry and identify as a team.”
  • The media asked him what the team is focused on going on the road for the first time, he responded with, “We’re focused on growth and getting better. That’s our standard. We want to max out as a team. It’s another opportunity to play on the road.”
  • On teammate CJ Felder’s play this season: “He’s been playing good. I think he’s been getting better with each game. It’s a new system so things take time. I feel like what he needs to continue to do is just bring that energy and play hard. He’s one of the best on-ball defenders, in my opinion, in the country. So he needs to keep on defending and bring that energy, like I said, and everything else will fall into place.”
  • The Gators recently moved up nine spots in this week’s AP Basketball Poll, and Duriji was asked what it meant to be ranked so high. “I mean we don’t really pay too much mind. It’s still early in the season. We want to get better as a team like you said. We want to grow every day and we want to max out. I think this team is really talented and really gritty and I think we have a lot of potential, but we’re still not there so we need to try to continue to make strides.”

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Mike White

  • On toughness with an older team: “I think every team has a different identity, a different level of chemistry and selflessness and togetherness. This team just happens to have that level of toughness. It’s what you strive for. You want to be tough every year. I certainly wouldn’t say that we were overly soft in recent years. If you look at, I know people are high on our defensive numbers right now based on the questions I have been asked of late. But we have a chance to have a good defense throughout the year and continue to be tough if our guys continue to embrace how important it is.”
  • When asked about what jumps out to you about Oklahoma he said, “Physicality experienced like us. One of the older teams in the country, skilled, talented, run good stuff. Porter does a great job; staff does a great job. Really scrappy defensively, another good defensive team.”
  • “It’s hard to score against. Our first true road game for us, a new experience for this version of the Gators, for this current team. Great opportunity it’s going to be very difficult, but excited about the chance to see where we’re at.”
  • On Tanner Groves: “He’s so skilled. One of the more skilled bigs that we’ll play all year, I’ve got to imagine, with his ability to drive it, to pass it. He’s got great hands. He’s a quick-thinker. He catches it in traffic and can fan it out, can finish on the interior, can make threes. He’s a really skilled dude who they play through and do a good job of it.”
  • White was also asked what it is going to take to beat Oklahoma he responded with, “We’ve got to value the ball. They’ve been really good with live-ball turnovers, scoring those twos and threes in transition off turnovers, and it’s been our biggest deficiency offensively to this point.”  “Defensively, we’ve got to continue to pressure. We’ve got to continue to do what we’ve done to this point, in a positive manner, but foul a little bit less. We’ve got to be a little bit more disciplined with our pressure. Our bench has got to be ready to roll. We’ve got to execute offensively. We’ve got to understand their personnel, each guy’s a little different. But, again, a great opportunity for us.”

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WCC: Updates on everything they had to say can be seen HERE.


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