I didn’t get all these quotes in a 1-on-1 setting with Mo Cassara, so I can’t call this a Q&A. Therefore, welcome to the first-ever (I think?) Defiantly Dutch Quotebook! Most of these quotes are from a sit-down with Cassara in his office Wednesday, but the first comment was made following the loss to Florida Atlantic Tuesday and I think it’s pretty relevant as the Dutchmen prepare to play three games in three days in the Ticket City Legends Classic in Rhode Island. Enjoy!
On what he and the Dutchmen can take from the Puerto Rico Tip Off experience last year:
We came out of Puerto Rico last year 0-3 and then we rattled off [20 of the next 29]. So we can’t let [the Florida Atlantic] loss affect our whole season, or a couple losses. This team still has a lot of pieces that haven’t played together and that’s evident offensively. We’re just not all clicking on the same cylinders. That will come. Offensive consistency will come. We haven’t had a lot of time for practice, with last week [and] a lot of travel, so I’m looking forward to getting back from this tournament next week and really having a full week to get ready for our first CAA game next Saturday.
On the biggest challenge of playing two or three games in as many days in a pre-season tournament:
I think the biggest challenge is trying to conserve your bodies a little bit and certainly getting mentally ready to play. Because if you lose, you’ve got to turn around and prepare for another team really quickly. If you win, you’ve still got to do the same thing. We don’t have a deep bench, so we’re going to have to find a way to play some other guys a lot of minutes. I think the biggest challenge is just a lot of minutes in a short amount of time.
On preparing for three teams in three days:
It’s tough. You’ve got to prepare for the first one the most. And the other two, each coach has one team, so they’ll have to have those ready. The one thing is you actually get to physically see the other two teams, so that helps a little bit in the preparation. Sometimes on film it’s really hard to tell, but at least we’ll get a chance to see them live. So then it’s a quick turnaround and you’ve got to kind of move past the first game. Like Puerto Rico last year—you lose to Carolina, as much as you want to correct some things and fix some things, you’ve got to just move past it and try to win the next game.
Thoughts on Rhode Island, Cleveland State and Boston University:
Rhode Island, I think, is probably the most athletic team we’ll play all year. They love to get up and down the court. They’re 0-3 but they’ve played Texas, Nebraska and George Mason all on the road, so a very, very long, athletic team. Cleveland State, from what I’ve seen of them, borderline top 25 team. I think they’re 25th in one poll, one of the online polls, all seniors, very well-coached, hard-nosed kids. BU, I haven’t seen a lot of, I know Joe Jones a little bit and I know they have a couple kids that have been injured. We’ll get a better feel when we get up there.
On how valuable it is to play a challenging schedule like the one the Dutchmen have played thus far:
St. Francis is a good team, they’re going to win some games in their league. And LIU is picked to win their league. So we’ve got a real challenging schedule. And we come back and play James Madison and go to Wagner. The top part of our schedule is very, very challenging. Hopefully we can learn from some of the things that we may or may not do well. And then, obviously, we want to be playing our best basketball in January and February.