Jeff Bzdelik Discusses The Duke Win And Opens Up About His Future
Wake Forest head basketball coach, Jeff Bzdelik, joined the Mac Attack to discuss his team’s big upset win against Duke last night, his team’s inconsistency, the court storm, Codi Miller-McIntyre’s absence and potential, and his future at Wake Forest.
On how they took over down the stretch against Duke: We put ourselves in position to make plays. Offensively, we knew they had a couple guys in foul trouble and being in foul trouble they weren’t quite as aggressive as they normally were. We isolated certain players against those players, like Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker. We picked on those two guys a little bit. We really put our heads down and drove. Defensively, we did a really good job in our matchup zone in trying to keep them taking contested shots and when they drove, they drove into traffic. We grabbed some rebounds and then we were able to get some open court opportunities to score, which you need to against a defense that’s pretty tough.
On his team’s inconsistency this year: I’m not into excuses, but nine of our scholarship players are freshmen and sophomores. We haven’t been consistent with our toughness or maturity, hence our inconsistency in our play, particularly on the road. At one time, we were 14-6 and Codi Miller-McIntyre against Georgia Tech, turned his ankle really bad and we lose the guy who stirs the drink.
On Job Security: I haven’t said this to anybody, on Sunday I had a meeting with our team after the Boston College game. I could tell our guys weren’t right, and I asked them if this was because of the speculation about my job? I have a very good relationship with my players, and they kinda looked at me. I said, yeah there’s a chance I could be fired. There’s a chance I could be here another ten years. No one knows, but this is your responsibility and I’m going to help you deal with this. You have a responsibility to play your tail off. That’s your responsibility to your family name. The pride of your family name. You have a responsibility to play your tail off for Wake Forest, for the people who pay money for your scholarship, for the people who pay to see you play and the people who have worn the jersey before you. You have a responsibility to your teammates to play your tail off. You need to, as a young man, understand that’s what a man does in the face of adversity. To put everything else aside and to do the right thing and the right thing is to play with passion, energy and to play your tail off. This is not about Jeff Bzdelik, this is about something bigger than Jeff Bzdelik. None of us have any guarantees on tomorrow, so what we need to do is get back to playing with great passion for each other and for the right things. Whatever happens, happens. It was an emotional meeting and the guys really responded.
On Twitter and the internet: I don’t do any of that. I don’t pay attention to it, it’s unproductive thought, but the kids do and they read that stuff. It clutters their mind and you can’t play this game unless you’re emotionally right.
On his responsibilities: I have two responsibilities. I have a responsibility to win games, I get that. I also have a responsibility to protect the integrity of the university. You can’t have a trade off between one or the other. We’ve got great kids. When I first got there, we had some young men that got into some trouble, actually quite a few of them. We had to make some tough decisions to protect the integrity of the university. I’m proud of where we are, we’ve got a great foundation and we’ll try to do the best we can.
On his future: Really and truly, I attack every day with everything I have. Whatever happens, happens. I really just want to play well and win in Miami. I want to help these kids have great experiences, and get better and learn the right things as a player and as a man. I really mean that. I’m not worried about my future. I’ll be somewhere, doing what I love, coaching basketball. Hopefully, it’s at Wake Forest. If it isn’t, I’ll be fine. To me it’s about the kids.