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October 18, 2013

The return of D.J. Haley




On Day 16 of practice, head coach Andy Enfield was impressed by the team's defensive improvements.

On Pac-12 Media Day: "It was great for the Pac-12. There are some very good basketball teams this year. The league is exceptionally strong and there are some great coaches. It is going to be challenging for us to compete. I thought it was a great day for the conference and for USC."

Why did you select J.T. Terrell to represent the team at Media Day: "He has shown a lot of maturity. He really has changed his attitude and has done well academically. He is being unselfish on the basketball court. It was a way to reward him, by going up there but also he is going to be an important part of our success this year. He is a senior, he deserves it."

How is the defense shaping up: "J.T. [Terrell] has been playing excellent defense. Byron [Wesley] was too before he was injured. If they are not going to guard, then they just won't play. Wing defense, post or point guard [they must] contain the ball. They are all talented enough to do it. If they do it, they'll play.

"If they decide they want to take a few possessions off, they will come out of the game. We are not going to have any leeway. My team was 16th in the nation with steals last year, nine per game. We like to get our hands on a lot of balls, deflections, steals; we like to touch the basketball. We like to mix our defenses up. You can buy in and play because that's the only way this team has a chance to be successful. We have to defend and use that to help out transition offense."

On using the press: "We press occasionally. We don't press for 40 minutes, but we certainly mix that in. Some teams have trouble against presses. You need to know who you're playing and know the personnel as well as whom you have on the court. I think there is a time and place in certain games that the press can be very effective."

How things went in practice: "They competed today, it was a great practice. We got up and down the court and they competed. I thought the defense was better today than it has been in a while. There was just an effort and a commitment today."

On the injuries hitting the team: "We are still banged up; three or four guys are still. Today was D.J. Haley's first full practice. It was great to have him back. Byron [Wesley] and Katin [Reinhardt] are still out. Everyone else is fairly healthy."

What are his expectations for the Saturday's scrimmage: "I think we are good enough now defensively with our concepts and we have done enough repetitions that I expect to see a big improvement on our defensive system in addition to the effort and commitment to defense. Tomorrow, I am focusing on the defensive end. I know the offensive end will be fine down the road but I want our guys to take pride in that, be able to communicate and give effort."

What are your expectations for D.J. Haley this season: "I think D.J. gives us depth and size. He is an experienced player, was in the NCAA tournament quite a few times, played in a Final Four and graduated in three years. He is a hard worker and he has played at high levels, in big games. Omar can't play 40 minutes so DJ gives us great depth and we expect a big year out of him."


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