Mike Anderson, players press conference notes

Daniel Gafford and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson
DG: The bench came in and did what they were supposed to do. They had great energy and provided length and all of that. It was great to see.
KES: We want to keep the same energy everyone else has. Bench guys have to keep the same intensity.
KES: Everyone found their role and everyone has to play hard each game. Everyone settled in and has games under their belt now. We play as one now. I’ll do whatever coach needs to win a game.
DG: Keyshawn is settling in and hit shots last night that he practices all the time.
DG: I’ve heard of WKU’s big guy, and he’s pretty good. I’ll do my homework and get prepared to face him on Saturday.
KES: Most of the bench guys are big energy guys. Gabe and Desi are big, especially on defense.
DG: I’m not thinking about the NBA scouts. I can worry about that after the season is over. I want to help this team win.
DG: I don’t worry about getting the ball. If they feed it into me and I can’t get a shot then I’m going to find the hot shooter.
DG: Most of the guys on the team knew this is what we were going to do and what we’re capable of.
KES: The hard work we’ve put in is paying off and we’re growing as one. Adrio and Dan have helped build us up.
DG: We’re playing together. This is not just a Daniel Gafford team. There’s a lot of guys contributing.

Mike Anderson
– Western Kentucky was in the Final 4 of the NIT last year and signed some big kids. Good basketball team and played a tough schedule early on. Their record may not indicate how good they are. They had a tough loss last night. Very familiar with Rick Stansbury, and he has some tremendous players over there.

– It’ll be about who can get the tempo to their liking. Hopefully it’ll be a packed house on Saturday. Should be a good one.

– On the bench: The only way they can develop is play in games and play valuable minutes. Several guys are stepping up in big moments. Reggie had been flirting with double-doubles. Gabe was a warrior out there. He and Reggie brought a level of toughness that you need on the road. Guys were gasping for air last night, so it was big that those guys gave our starts some rest. It’s encouraging to see that. We’re going to have about 7-8-9 starters.

– We made shots and started the game making shots. Keyshawn, his defense has been consistent and it was a matter of time before he gets into a nice little routine. It was nice to see him do that last night consistently.

– We’ve got more balance. CSU was determined to take away Dan, and we have other options. Those guys got a chance to show that last night. Reggie plays the game with an edge and has some things you can’t teach. These guys are learning on the job and being thrown in there for some meaningful minutes. It’s got to be a point where you get it, and they’re getting there.

– The Charles Bassey and Gafford matchup will be interesting. Dan has to be hard to guard and we need to put him in position to score and make adjustments. It’s not just going to be about those two guys. As the game unravels we’ll find out the things we have to do. We want to start inside out. … Bassey is a very, very talented kid. They’re different players.

– I don’t think Dan pays attention to the NBA scouts being in the building. He’s dialed into the play on the court, not the elements. That’s what the good players do. Our staff has done a good job making sure he stays focused. He’s taking it all in stride and one day at a time.

– There’s a trust factor with our guys. Everyone thinks Isaiah Joe is just a shooter. He’s one of our best defensive players, too. Bench guys, don’t look at me. Just go play basketball. It takes some time to get used to this level. The strength, the speed, all those things factor in. I’m trusting them because I’m putting them out there. I’ve got confidence in them and you have to have confidence in yourself.