UE coach Marty Simmons talked about Oakland City University and Butler on his radio show Monday, as well as had Lithuanian basketball comedy duo Rokas Cesnulevicius and Egidijus Mockevicius follow him on air.
Simmons on today’s practice: With school out, “We’re able to do a little bit more mental stuff. We actually brought our guys in this morning and had a quick shooting workout for about 30 minutes. Then we walked through Oakland City’s stuff and watched a little tape. Then they had a little break in the afternoon to have something to eat, and we brought them back in around 4 and we practiced live for an hour — got up and down a little bit. We finished with a walkthrough, and we’ll have a shoot around tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.”
Simmons said he wants players to emulate senior Colt Ryan’s preparation and dedication to watching film: “He’s got a certain way he expects to play before the game, and then he watches it after the game, and it bothers him when he’s not executing the way he prepared to execute. We need more of that from our guys. There’s got to be a feeling of dissatisfaction when we’re not playing individually or collectively at the level we need to. We’ve missed that for 10 games. We really have. It’s almost like it hasn’t bothered us as much, so we tried to amp up practice last week.”
Simmons said sophomore Ryan Sawvell called his shot via text in terms of making his return last weekend. Sawvell scored a season-high 11 points against Alabama State. “He just played hard,” Simmons said. “And honestly, he probably practiced as hard if not hard — he really ran the floor, communicated well, and everything about him was just so much sharper. That’s what can happen. You’ve got 16 guys, and we all have egos, and we all have feelings. Confidence is a fickle thing. We talk about it all the time…There was no magic potion. He just made up his mind. He sent me a text, said, ‘I’m gonna go to work,’ and he did. It’s contagious. You need guys like that. He’s such an athletically talented guy.”
Simmons said he has a great respect for long-time Oakland City coach Mike Sandifar: “He’s a great guy, and he’s done a great job up there. His kids are always well-prepared. They run motion, and they always do a good job of setting screens. They cut hard. They all shoot the basketball. Every team we’ve ever played against that coach Sandifar’s had, they shoot the basketball well. They stretch the defense.”
Simmons on playing Butler, which knocked off No. 1 Indiana last weekend, and the rivalry between the Aces and Bulldogs: “They’re very talented, and obviously they’re playing with a lot of confidence. We’ll be excited for the opportunity…That’s really why we wanted to open up the Ford Center with Butler is because that really has been a tradition-rich rivalry for a long, long time. We talked to Larry Humes — Jimmy (Elgas) did today — and he’ll be at the game. Larry talked about when he used to play against Butler. It’s just two schools that are similar in academics, and we used to be in the same conference. It’s been a good rivalry.”
Cesnulevicius said people are always asking he and Mockevicius questions when they’re together. One story: “We went in Wal-Mart a couple weeks ago, and we were just laughing and speaking our language — Egidijus was on the ground almost crying from laughing so hard. So this guy comes up to me and he’s like, ‘I know you.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, how are you, sir?’ And he’s like, ‘You are Ryan Sawvell, yes?'”
Mockevicius on people coming up to him in public: “If they ask what I’m doing, I’m just telling them I’m on the diving team.”