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December 2, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Nevada coach David Carter on UW: “Can’t take quick shots”

Nevada coach David Carter has watched the video of last year’s 90-60 defeat at Washington many times. He’s used the game as motivation before tonight’s rematch against the Huskies and as an example of how he wants the Wolf Pack to play.
Carter arrived at Nevada in 1999 as an assistant under Trent Johnson, who coached the Wolf Pack for five seasons before leaving for Stanford. He’s now at Louisiana State. Carter was also an assistant under Mark Fox, who coached Nevada for five seasons before leaving for Georgia.
In three seasons, Carter is 38-35 and Nevada is picked to win Western Athletic Conference and compete for a NCAA tournament berth. He’s also distinguished himself as a superb mentor for point guards including former Wolf Pack stars Ramon Sessions and Armon Johnson.
Here’s a transcript from an interview this week with Carter.

(It’s your third-year at Nevada, is it truly your program now?) “Oh yeah. That normally happens when you have your full and complete class in place. I think we have one young man Dario Hunt from coach Fox’s last year. It is really a full roster of the kids that we’ve brought in since I’ve been here.”
(What’s it been like moving from assistant coach to head coach?) “It’s huge. As an assistant coach you always judge a lot of things. As a head coach you make the final decision on everything. It’s really on you on how the outcome of a game is based on the decision you make throughout the game. You affect things like the changes during the game and how the kids are prepared. The 18-inch move (on the bench) is huge because the responsibilities increases.”
(Did you keep the same system?) “I kept the same system. We run a little bit more than the previous two coaches, but not much more. It’s pretty much the same philosophy that we had in place when coach Fox and coach Johnson were here.”
(So describe Nevada basketball?) “We’re defined by toughness. It’s built on toughness and the integrity of the young men and their character. Our philosophy has always been to compete at the highest level. Compete for championships. That is Nevada basketball.”
(There’s high expectations with Nevada this season. The WAC coaches picked you to win the conference and the media picked you second. You like the expectations?) “Like I tell the guys everything on paper doesn’t really mean much. You still got to go out and play the game. You can be picked first and come in fifth. You can be picked fifth and come in first. Because we return five starters and because we return a lot of guys from last year I think that’s the reason why people have picked us to finish pretty high. But I tell the guys we still have to go out and play the game. The expectations that are on us, we’ve always had high expectations since I’ve been here. That doesn’t surprise me.”
(If you’re returning five starters, that’s got to bring remarkable continuity to the program.) “With continuity comes responsibility and accountability. One thing about this team is we’re very young and we have to take the next step in being really good and that step is huge. You can win a number of games, but you still have to get your team to have the right chemistry and I think we’re still working on that. The expectations are different for these young men compared to last year so that’s different for them. We’re trying to find ourselves still this early in the season. That’s why this game against Washington is a big test for us. It’s a chance to show we’ve grown and matured as a team from the last time we played them.”
(If I can take you back to that game at Washington, what happened? How did it get away from you guys so quickly?) “Watching the tape from last year, a lot of quick shots. One an done. We were trying to go one-on-on in trying to beat a very good defensive team and trying to beat a very experienced team. You can’t do that. You can’t come down and play one on one, you have to share the ball. That’s what we got away from. I thought we turned the ball over a lot. We only had nine turnovers, but it was the quick shots that led to easy baskets.”
(What makes Washington difficult?) “Their ability to score. If you’re down two or up two, they can go on a 10-0 run and that makes them so dangerous. Their transition, the way they guard you and force you into quick shots. Their defense creates a lot of offense.”
(I’d imagine you have to like your team’s chances playing at home.) “Well the game will be different because I think we’ll learn from our mistakes from last year. Some of the things we did last year even at home you can’t do those things otherwise you will get embarrassed. You’re hoping to play better, play smarter on the offensive end and defensively get back in transition. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that’s going to happen. They’re talented and because their defense creates so much for their offense and they can score, you have to be very careful.”
(Three keys for Nevada.) “Transition defense. We have to execute in the half court. We can’t play one on one. We have to share the ball. Three we have to do a better job of rebounding when they’re on offense. We have to limit them to one shot when they’re on the offensive end. Last year they had 56 rebounds. They killed us on second shots.”
(What’s been the reason for your success in getting point guards to the NBA?) “I think we’ve been very fortunate to bring in good young men. We haven’t gotten a top 50 or top 20 point guard, but we’ve had gotten really good point guards that want to be good. They really work very hard to get to the next level. When you get a young man that wants to play at the level and is very coachable, then you can enhance their game.”
(Is it easier to have a team filled with 3-4 go-to guys?) “Well you have to have balance. I use UW last year as an example. They had guys and a team that was very balanced. It wasn’t just one kid or one player that would go off on you. You had to guard all five guys and I think when you have balance it’s really hard for a team to guard you. The flip side is you can’t go one on one. You have to share the ball. I thought UW was very good in that sense. They hit the open guy. They really shared the ball. We kind of looked at that game last year to say if we want to play at the level and beat a team like that then this is a prime example of a very unselfish team.”



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