Detrick Mostella talks “a lot of confidence,” “stealing money” and being “too crunk”

UT guard Detrick Mostella / Credit: Jeff Jacoby - WNML
UT guard Detrick Mostella / Credit: Jeff Jacoby – WNML

Tennessee guard Detrick Mostella

(On what head coach Rick Barnes said after taking him out during the Mississippi State game following a missed “heat check” 3-pointer)
“Basically, he was just like I shouldn’t have taken that shot at the time. He felt like I could have gotten a better one or drove the ball at the time. So, I was like, ‘Yeah, coach, you’re right about that. I shouldn’t have took that, but I was just feeling myself at the time.’ He just started laughing and told me to go get a break. So, after 35 seconds of a break I came back in the game. He was like ‘You ready?’ and I was like ‘Yeah,’ so he put me back in.”

(On what has changed for him)
“Just confidence, a lot of confidence. Back when I was in a hole, coach was talking in the locker room, and he was like, ‘There’s a lot of people on our team stealing money.’ So I started thinking, `Am I stealing money?’ Because he was saying we are on scholarship, so we should do things much harder. So I was like, `Am I stealing money?’ So I started questioning myself, questioning myself… I asked him one day and he was like, ‘You’ve been stealing money a little bit.’ So then it just gave me the opportunity to take it to another level and I’ve felt like I’ve done that the past couple games.”

(On understanding the importance of defense)
“I feel like we talk much more now than we did at the first of the year, and it helps everything out. It makes things much easier on defense. I feel like we should plug our gaps even more so. We can make the court look small, and I feel like last game, we’ve been doing it. It’s been very good.”

(On the decision to stay at Tennessee following the coaching staff transition in the spring)
“I really wanted to see which coach was coming in. At the time, they were talking about a lot of different coaches that wanted the job, but we really didn’t know who it was going to be. Basically, when Coach Barnes came, I sat down and talked to him. He told me what he wanted from me, and I told him how I felt about the program and how I wanted to stay here and keep playing. He was like, `That’s what we’re going to do, then.’ The summer was my turning point. I feel like I had a great summer coming into the fall. When basketball season came, I felt like I didn’t reach my peak how I was supposed to. We just had another sit-down talk (more recently), and it just helped me out a lot, just gave me more confidence.”

(On getting over the hump in the second half)
“I feel like the last two games versus Texas A&M and Georgia, we came into the locker room too hype, too crunk, talking about, `Yeah, we got this.’ Then, in the second half, we didn’t have any energy. When we played Mississippi State, we came to the locker room (at halftime) and we didn’t say anything. We were sitting in there, talking about [how] we’ve got another 20 minutes to play, and I felt like it carried over and it helped us out.”

(On becoming more likable among his teammates)
“(This year), I just came in with a smile, doing everything right. Just loving my teammates, appreciating everything they’ve done for me, and the things I’ve done for them. Just being appreciative.

“Last year, I wasn’t the person to be liked, because I felt like I should’ve played last year at times, but I really shouldn’t have played because I wasn’t doing anything productive. I wasn’t scoring. My numbers were down. I wasn’t playing defense, so I shouldn’t have played.”

(On where he is as a defender)
“I’m giving a lot of attention to it. I can be better, but it’s a day-to-day thing. I feel like I’ve been working on it the past couple of weeks, couple of months. I feel like it’s getting better every day, but it just takes patience. Some games, I’m not going to be able to score, but I know at the end of the day, defense is going to be there because you’ve got to get back down and play.”

(On the pressure on the guards to score)
“It’s a lot of pressure at points, because the teams know where we’re going to come from. The guards are going to score. They feel like they don’t have to help out on the bigs. [The pressure] is very big sometimes, but when we get out and run our lanes, it’s much easier than just getting in a set and going through the plays.”

(On Rick Barnes giving this team the green light to shoot)
“I feel like the team this year shoots the ball much better, because last year we really weren’t in the gym working on just shooting the ball. (Opposing) coaches thought we couldn’t shoot, so they played off us most of the time. This year, we’ve been in the gym so much that every open look we get, we’ve got to take because it’s a 50-50 chance it’s going to go in because we’ve been working on it so much.”

(On what it’s been like to play with a smaller lineup)
“At times, it’s very fun. It’s fun on offense because the defense can’t really do anything about it. If you’ve got 6-10 and 6-11 [players] guarding a 6-5 [player], we’re going to just blow past you. When you help out, it’s going to be an open shot for one of our teammates. When we go to the defensive end, it’s much harder because we’ve just got to go double-team, then when we get a ball screen, we’ve got to `red’ it. It’s just a lot more movement than regular defense.”

(On what Rick Barnes had to say to him before the season began)
“He basically told me it’s the turning point. Either I’m going to step my game up some, or he’s going to have to find another guard that can step the game up this year. I felt like I was one of the guards coming in from the summer that was making a lot of shots, doing everything right. I feel like I couldn’t let him down on what I’m doing. I just did more conditioning. I just got myself in better shape, and just pushed myself much harder than he was doing in practice. I felt like that just took it to another level.”

-UT Athletics



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