Head coach Tommy Amaker waves to the crowd following a win over Seattle at Lavietes Pavilion Dec. 4 (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's basketball head coach Tommy Amaker took part in the midseason Ivy League Basketball teleconference Wednesday morning. Below are his quotes from the event.
On the state of the team thus far
"We certainly have been pleased with a lot of areas of our ball club this year. It has been exciting for the number of things that our kids have been able to achieve thus far. We also recognize that we have a lot of shortcomings and how fragile the games can be and the season can be. Nonetheless, we have been pleased with our leadership with Oliver McNally and Keith Wright. We think they have done an outstanding job of being veterans and senior co-captains."
On the team's offensive balance
"We preach that a lot and we have been very fortunate in the last couple seasons in particular to have balance. That is a key word in our program. We have been lucky to have players that have been able to recognize and embrace that the go-to guy is the open guy. I think that is the way we have been able to hone in on being unselfish and sharing the ball and it has worked well for us. We have had others that can step forward at different moments when others have struggled, been in foul trouble or have a tough game. We think that is one of the main ingredients to having a successful year and an outstanding team."
On the team's defensive success
"I like to think that we have been striving for this for a while and it is not one thing from this year from last year. We have been after this since day one for the identity of our program. We like to think it has been steady progress and growth. With the veteran ball club that we have, I think the kids have been able to see the value in it. Also, we haven't been that great offensively so I think they recognize that we have had to (do a) better job on the defensive end of the floor to offset the inefficiencies on the offensive end."
On Keith Wright
"He is a marked guy. Anytime you have some of the success he had last year and the year before, it is going to be somewhat challenging to maintain that level. I like the fact that Keith has been incredibly unselfish with our team. He has allowed us to have really good balance. He has the mindset to find the open man and that has been a mark of our team. We have been able to embrace that and I think Keith has led the way when it comes to that. He is fine with us having team success over individual success."
On Kyle Casey
"Kyle is a critical part for the success of our team, there is no question about it. We need Kyle to compete on the backboard consistently for us. One of the areas we hope to do better with Kyle is that he is in foul trouble a lot. Certainly he is one of our leading scorers and rebounders. He and Keith are the two guys who are leading the way in those categories. His play against St. Joseph's in a nonconference game here was outstanding. His inside and outside versatility is really helpful for our ball club."
On the Ivy League
"I think our league is outstanding. There is no doubt that it is going to be a bear from beginning to end. I think that is obvious for anyone that is associated with Ivy basketball."