By Vin Parise
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I had the chance to catch up with Rutgers head coach Mike Rice last night as he was checking into his NYC hotel. Rutgers plays Stony Brook in the MSG Holiday Festival Presented by Foot Locker.
Here’s our chat….
VP: How do you feel about the team & what is the state of Rutgers basketball right now?
Rice: We are a very young team that is slowly improving. We’re working hard and we’re getting better but we are still a long way away from getting to where we need to be.
VP: What have you been pleased with recently?
Rice: The way we’ve been on the defensive end. We’re young so sometimes the concepts and philosophy take time, but I like our improvement and how the guys have come around when it comes to defending.
VP: What has surprised you so far after a month into the season?
Rice: Honestly, our offense. Our recruiting class, especially our guards, are strong kids who I though would shoot it a little better. I’ve got to have some patience right now because we’re young but I really thought we’d do a better job of knocking down open shots out of our half court offense.
VP: Your thoughts on the Stony Brook match-up tomorrow?
Rice: This Stony Brook team is tough, they have a deep bench, they’re balanced and they’re well coached. Trust me, I’ve coached their level of basketball and they can really play. We have to be ready to go from the start tomorrow.
VP: What would you like to see from this team before Big East play kicks into gear?
Rice: I’d like to see us have better execution and better discipline on the offensive end. I’d also like to see some bones heal quickly. We have some active bodies that are hurt right now that we need to
heal. Kadeem Jack and Malick Kone would really help us right now.
Rutgers & Stony Brook tip off at 12 noon Saturday-