March 9, 2011
St. John’s: 65
An Interview With:
COACH LAVIN: For starters, I just have to give Rutgers credit for for demonstrating great fight and competitive spirit. They're opportunistic and very close to beating us. So I think it really begins with just giving our opponent tip of the cap for a really valiant effort. I just talked to Coach Rice in the hallway and told him as much and I told the team when you step into the postseason it's a different animal. It's thinner air and teams are galvanized and playing with a purpose because they have an opportunity to go to the NCAA Tournament. Also teams that are well coached like Rutgers are getting better with each practice and game experience so they're a better team than they were the first time we faced them and obviously better than they were earlier this year because none of their players let go of the rope.
On the flip side, I'm proud of our players to have the composure and the poise to find a way to win a game and that's what you have to do at this stage of the season is try and advance.
Q. Coach, how about that play by Justin Brownlee there at the end?
COACH LAVIN: You know, I'll have to go back and watch. It was kind of a chaotic, you know, flurry of sequences, so to be honest I was trying to patch it together from the players and coaches in the locker room. So until I actually see the can actually review the game and the closing moments I wouldn't be informed enough to speak about it.
Q. Steve, the guys on the stage with you are very important to what you guys want to do in the next couple of weeks but specific to D.J. Kennedy, how important do you think he is in terms of maybe making the difference between you guys being a first weekend or second week end, maybe a third week end team?
COACH LAVIN: The strength of D.J. is his versatility. He can help us at both ends of the floor, influence a game both offensively and defensively, so it gives our coaching staff some flexibility or versatility to take advantage of, to try and put our team in a competitive advantage. For instance, when he rebounds the ball for us, you know, he has the skills to push it in transition so he's a point forward who can see over the top of defenses and finish at the rim and take it coast to coast with three dribbles and long strides so that puts pressure on opposing defenses and the strength of this team is the players are complimentary to one another. 4.
D.J. would be an example of that with his skill and versatility and size. That gives our team a chance to continue to win games.
Q. Dwight, can you explain how difficult it was for you to persevere against that defense today? They were knocking you around pretty good and can you explain what happened on the inbounds pass?
DWIGHT HARDY: I want to give them credit. They switched players on me every time I came off a screen or I was moving around the court so I think they did a good job of contesting my shots and making me take tough shots and they get all the credit tore that but it's a learning experience for me and next game I have to switch it up and find another way to score.
As far as the last play, the ball went through my hands it hit my shoulder and we want out of bounds. I take total blame for that, it was an accurate pass, I just didn't catch the pass.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the theory of following with 17 seconds left?
COACH LAVIN: We played Rutgers earlier on our home floor this year and we didn't foul, 30 seconds to go we tried to get one stop and they buried a 3 on us with 8 seconds to go in the game 37.
So we weren't going to allow them to do that because they'd done it to us once this year and we've actually had other teams that have done that so us as well and it probably has cost us. So I had confidence that we would be able to execute offensively and be able to solve the game away.
One of the strengths of this team is making free throws in late situations, obviously it didn't work out as we planned. That's the beauty of sport.
Q. Hey, Steve, you mentioned obviously teams being galvanized in the postseason and you've talked about different break throughs that this team has had. How to you use your experiences at UCLA to help this team enter a new phase that they haven't dealt with, the postseason?
COACH LAVIN: I think it's more in simple terms, just trying to draw on the experiences in terms of how to navigate the postseason.
I just think, you know, familiarity with tournament conditions helps. I was fortunate to be part of 13 connective NCAA tournaments as an assistant and a head coach, so just the conditions that come with getting through a first weekend getting to the second weekend. I think, you know, being aware that at this time of the year I like to see the haze in the barn, an old phrase Pete Newel used, and less is more and having a team that is mentally fresh is more important than making dramatic changes or adjustments at this stage of the game.
It's doing what you do well and being focused on your execution and having fresh minds and fresh bodies on the floor for game time. I think the biggest mistake at this time of the year is sometimes people overcoach or wear their team out and they don't have a fresh team mentally and physically and if there is one thing I learned from Duke, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, he is good about that, making sure they do more mental preparation and walk throughs and goal sessions, film, using the conference room in our hotel so we got 'em off their legs in particular when you have to play back to back games in tournament conditions like that.
Q. Can you talk about excuse this year, you're 7 1 in the garden this year, you're only loss to them, can you talk about that?
DWIGHT HARDY: They got a terrific zone, they're long, they're big, we got to find ways to get the ball in the middle and space 'em out and for driving lanes and short corner passes to our bigs.
I mean, we feel that we've been playing better against zones down the stretch so we feel like we can come into the game with a great mind set and be ready to play them.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH LAVIN: They give us our only loss here. We are excited to play them at the same time we don't want to get overexcited and not come ready to play, just come and play St. John's basketball.
Q. Steve, we were trying to make sense of that crazy ending. Were you aware that it appeared that Justin Brownlee stepped out of bounds with about a second and a half and did you get any explanations?
COACH LAVIN: No. When I was interviewed after the game it was mentioned to me but I hadn't seen it and then the players in the locker room were discussing it a little bit and some of the staff and I thought maybe he threw it in the air. I don't know if he threw it in the air before he stepped out of bounds or if he stepped out of bounds and then threw it in the air. I'm not sure what the sequence was. It was chaotic. I heard the horn and I felt I seen a ghost in the Garden so I was fortunate that we were going to be able to go to the locker room and get to the next round.
March 9, 2011
St. John’s: 65
An Interview With:
COACH RICE: Again, loved the toughness of the team, whether they're down 10, halftime, made a turnover, bad shot, they just kept fighting. They kept playing and credit to the seniors and a credit to again how they developed through the season and it's such a different team and I'm proud of these guys. Again, circumstances, it is what it is. Can't control what happened, you can't control how you respond. I tell it to them every day and these guys responded like men and I'm very proud of them.
Q. Mike, whether it was Sean Evans stepping out of bounds or what appeared to be a foul on Gil at the half court, do you feel that the officials took this game away from you guys or at least took the decision?
COACH RICE: No, was there a mistake made? I saw it on YouTube. There was a mistake. They will admit it. I made several mistakes, my players made several mistakes, I'm sure that my staff who thinks they're always right made several mistakes. We have the greatest officials in America.
Q. Mike, about the Mike Coburn drive to the basket, how did you see that play unfolding?
COACH RICE: That's different I thought no, I'm kidding.
It's a judgment call. The block on Gil, Mike's incredible swaray to the hoop, the end where I thought that was the play and we had a I didn't love the execution of what we ran, I saw the difference but, again, I'm not a very good referee.
Q. Coach, clearly a ball went out of bounds with 1.7 seconds to go why was there no review?
COACH RICE: I have not heard any response from the Big East or the officials, for 3 of them to again, it was a mistake. It's got to be a mistake I watched it on YouTube. It's something three great officials, I've had 'em all throughout the year, impeccable reputation, it's unfortunate, my heart believe me, there is going to be blood coming through my tongue right now but it's what it is, we're going to control how we respond.
Q. Mike, talk about the baseball pass by Robert Lumpkins as opposed to having one of your guards drive to the basket?
COACH RICE: I love my two guards but that's not our strength. That's just not our strength. Again, it's one of our set plays we work on every time. 4.3 seconds I like to throw it long just like I didn't like the foul yesterday, you have to go with what you believe in. That's not our strength going by people. If you watch us time and time again we're not the brightest team. We do well with our team offense, creating off the bounce is not our specialty, you can pick and judge but I'm okay with what happened.
Q. Coach, talk about the optimism for next year with the effort of your players and with you
COACH RICE: Again, these three have built such a mentality, helped me build such a mentality by buying into not stopping, the toughness that you have to do to win in the Big East and we've developed that. The class coming in has to understand that this is our formula. This is how hard you work. This is the level of demand that we have and if you want to be successful this is what it takes and these three seniors have done it all for us.
Q. Mike, did you think it ironic yesterday you were talking about how if you foul on the 3 you could end up losing the game and they do it to you guys and you get the ball back under the basket and down by 1?
COACH RICE: No, I didn't say ironic after that right there, but after a couple of cold ones I might say, see, I told you so. It's just basketball. When you don't stop playing, when you completely make a good play for one another, good things happened. I loved the out of bounds play. I loved the execution of if, exactly what I told Mike in Providence, if the same thing happens you're going to get another opportunity I disagree on some of it but those are three good officials, so I have to believe that they made the right call.
Q. I appreciate your believing in them but I was wondering if you had any reaction with them when you confronted them at half court?
COACH RICE: No, because I was a lunatic to be honest with you and I lost some self control, I admit it, and I thought he got again, it was a judgment call. Had I known it was 1.2, I might have literally held on, done a Van Gundy and held one of their legs on the court. It is what it is, judgment, and I'm sure they're going to admit it's a mistake because it's on YouTube now.
Q. Mike, when you reflect back on the season was there a moment where you felt like this group could be in a day like they were today when you didn't think maybe they could when you started practice?
COACH RICE: Was there a game, guys (turns to players) where we started clicking, toughness? No, not really. It was a process through time and putting them through chaos, J. Mitch said it perfect yesterday, we're comfortable with Coach Rice and his level of demand and his antics or the pressure of the Big East or employing up against a top 20 team every single night. They became comfortable with that and embraced it and I'm proud of them for that.
Q. Mike, where did you get access to the YouTube so quickly and what did you see, the stepping out of bounds or the foul or
COACH RICE: Again, the judgment calls I have to believe that they are right. I watched him step out on our SID's iPad or iPhone. Yeah, it's, again, it was 1.7 whatever it was, he literally took three steps and it was a mistake. I'm not going to the game should have been one more play, does that mean we're going to win? Certainly not. It was a mistake and that's what happens in basketball. I made a ton of mistakes in the last 48 hours in my life.
Q. Guys, what kind of a way was this to end your careers with the effort you had, J.B.?
JAMES BEATTY: I can't hang my head. Coming into the season nobody has taken anything from us. This is not by any means, you know, saying that how do you say it, more victories, but I'm proud of my teammates, the way we were outmatched, the controversy we faced coming into the coaching switch and with the players transferring, everybody stayed together no matter all the situations we've been through from day one.
Coach came in from the first day we met him, he said this is how we are going to do it, this is the formula we are going to run, and I would never trade this opportunity to play with this exact team, this same exact coaching staff because, you know, we fought hard and if we lay down and just gave them the game, then I would be very upset but now I can't be mad because of how the game ended and how hard my teammates fought with me.
MIKE COBURN: For me, like Coach was saying, calls are going to be made but we can't really hang our heads on that. We got to just for me it's disappointing. I'm a senior, been here four years and to lose your last game and I really wanted to see us continue on, that's the only thing I really wanted to keep winning and it's tough but you can't hang your head on that.
There were plenty of opportunities throughout the game that we could have controlled and maybe we could have done something better and had a better outcome.
Q. Is that out of bounds play is that reviewable at the end?
COACH RICE: You probably could review it if calmer heads prevailed. Sure, you could probably say, again, they were the referees were out of there quick and in a title contested ballgame like they usually are so it's just one of those things.
Q. Coach, how did you like your first year as a head coach in the Big East?
COACH RICE: If you don't embrace going up against the legends, Hall of Famers, great players and coaches in this league it's the absolute best. I love the direction where our guys are going, where the program is going and we're going to get back at it probably in a week and a half start our individuals for the spring.
Q. Coach, before you reflect on the end of the season is this definitively your last game of the season? If you get invited to another tournament?
COACH RICE: Yes, we have a losing error we're not going anywhere, you're not going anywhere with a losing record.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Rutgers.