Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin had some strong words about his team’s effort — and his coaching peformance — in Sunday’s 72-65 loss at Texas Southern. Read on for quotes from Verlin. The Vandals (1-1) are prepping for Saturday’s tough road game at North Dakota State.
One note before we get to Verlin’s comments. You may have noticed that Idaho was credited was just two assists (and 18 turnovers) on Sunday. UI has redone the stats by video and has sent them to Texas Southern before they become official. If Texas Southern signs off, the new assist total would become nine for Idaho, against 19 turnovers.
Either way, Verlin harped on the Vandals’ sloppiness and lack of preparation after a very big win at Utah on Friday night. “To be honest with you, it was very disappointing. On Friday night, we probably played as good as we could play at this point in the season. I saw flashes of this basketball team not just being a good basketball team but a great basketball team in some of the things we did at the University of Utah. And then to turn around two nights later and play probably as poorly as we did good on Sunday — that has to fall on the coach. I have to get this basketball team mentally ready to play and obviously I didn’t do that because your level of performance can’t change that much if I’m doing the job I need to do.”
Verlin continued, “No ifs, ands or buts, that loss falls on me for not getting them ready to play like I should have. … I have to do some self-evaluation as well I have to do some evaluation of team members to make sure that we are prepared to play every game.”
On whether the poor performance can be chalked up to the second night of a long road trip, the coach listed off a number of reasons and then said, “But you know what, we don’t make excuses in our program, and those are all excuses. Those are what teams that finish down in the league say after those games. It’s nobody’s fault but the University of Idaho and Don Verlin’s.”
About the turnovers — a problem that’s especially plagued usually surehanded Mac Hopson — Verlin said it was the most disappointing thing so far in the season. Of course, the sample size (two games) isn’t very large. “We’re hoping it’s a short little trend but it’s an area of concern that we have to pay attention to. With the change in our style a little bit, with moving it up and down the court a little faster and creating more possessions in a game obviously lends to the amount of turnovers you’ll have in a game. We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball.
“As I told Mac Hopson today in our morning meeting, ‘10 turnovers in your first two games, partner, that’s not good enough for your senior year.’ That’s five a game.”
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. And our assist-to-turnover ratio will change, I guarantee it.”