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Carolina Panthers News



Rob Jeter saw something rare as he watched videotape of second-ranked Connecticut's dismantling of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team.

"When you see the turnovers they had, you don't expect that from a team coached by Bo Ryan," said the UW-Milwaukee coach, who was referring to the Badgers' 22 turnovers during their 76-57 loss to the Huskies in the title game of the Paradise Jam tournament last Monday night at St. Thomas.

"You don't expect the ball to go in every time, but you expect them to take care of their possessions and, if they take (the shot clock) down to the last couple of seconds, to at least get an attempt," Jeter added.

Jeter knows whatever problems that ailed Wisconsin against UConn will be fixed by the time his UW-Milwaukee team plays the 25th-ranked Badgers (4-1) Saturday at the Kohl Center.

"You fight through that game and then get back to sticking to your principles. I'm sure that is what Wisconsin is doing," said Jeter, who knows the Badgers well because is a former player and longtime assistant under UW coach Bo Ryan.

"Wisconsin learns from their mistakes and gets better. That's what we're trying to do," Jeter added. "We've been taught a few lessons and now we have to get better at learning from them."

The Panthers (3-3) won three of their first four games but lost at Marquette 100-80 last Saturday and at home to Ball State 82-69 last Tuesday. Both losses occurred after Jeter's father, Bob, died suddenly of a heart attack on Nov. 20. Bob Jeter, a former Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears defensive back, was 71.

"I just feel that, as far as getting the team prepared, there's been some things that have taken me away from doing that," said the 39-year-old Jeter. "I just feel bad going into a game knowing that I needed to be more in tune. I don't know if that carried over to my team."

Jeter said fundamentals must take over when teams face difficult times. "That's where you have to hang your hat," he said. "Fundamentally, if you're sound, you're going to make good decisions. That's what we're still striving for, to be fundamentally sound."

The Panthers have been a strong team on offense, particularly from long range where three players are making better than 40 percent of their 3-pointers. Their biggest problems have been on defense, particularly over the past two games when they gave up an average of 91 points.

"We're not getting enough stops and getting people uncomfortable enough to where they shoot lower percentages," said Jeter after Ball State shot 57.7 percent overall and 50 percent from 3-point range against them and Marquette shot 48.6 percent overall against them.

"Really it's us getting focused in. There isn't an area where we say, 'We're not very good with this,'" said Jeter, whose team struggled with ball screens against Ball State after handling them well its first five games. "I don't know if I have to chalk that up to us being a little distracted or get back to the chalk board because we're poor now at handling ball screens,'' he said.

All Jeter knows is that he's looking forward to getting his focus back to where he needs it must be. Right now, he's dividing his time between coaching and helping his family prepare for a memorial service to honor his father Monday evening in Chicago.

"There are good days and bad days. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't distracted,'' he said. "But I've got to keep moving."

What helps Jeter is that he thoroughly enjoys coaching his team this season.

The Panthers are led by three state kids. Avery Smith, a 6-foot-3 senior guard from Milwaukee, leads the team in scoring (16.0) and is making 52.2 percent of his shots overall and 40 percent of his 3-pointers.

The second-leading scorer is former Middleton standout Tone Boyle. The 6-2 junior guard, who is averaging 14.7 points a game, joined the Panthers this season after two years at Highland Community College in Freeport.

Ricky Franklin, a 6-1 senior guard from Milwaukee, averages 11.3 points a game.

"You have some guys who want to do it properly but they haven't established enough good habits and that's where, as a coach, you have to stay committed to those good habits,'' Jeter said.

That's why he loves playing Wisconsin, which has beaten Jeter's team in their first three matchups. The ultra-competitive Jeter enjoys coaching against his ultra-competitive mentor. Second, it's a tremendous teaching aid for this team.

Said Jeter: "I know coach and those guys so well and it's really fun to sit down and play against them and then pop the tape in after the game and say, 'OK guys, they are doing essentially the same things we're doing, teaching the same things. Now who is doing things better?'"

"We'll see some instances when we do some things well," Jeter concluded. "Unfortunately over the past couple of years we've seen more instances where they are doing it better."

Jeter allowed himself a rare laugh after that. It was obvious that his father's death has shaken him and that he wants to get past it.

"We have the memorial on Monday and once we get past Monday we can bring some closure and move on,'' said Jeter, who added that the memorial service will be held in Chicago.

"It's tough to try to call in every day and handle the little details of everything and then try to stay focused,'' on his job, Jeter said. "The sooner we can bring some closure we'll be a lot better.''

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008

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