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November 22, 2015

Steve Alford

Eric Bovaird

Tom Crean

Danny Manning

Chris Mullin

Dave Rice

Bill Self

Kevin Stallings

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

MEGAN GODFREY: Aloha, everyone, and welcome to the Head Coaches Press Conference and Charity Free Throw Contest. I'm Megan Godfrey with the Maui Jim Maui Invitational and on behalf of the tournament, I want to thank you all for joining us today. This morning we'll hear from all eight head coaches followed by the official photo with the tournament surfboards. Then we'll begin the charity free throw competition in which students from local Maui middle schools are paired up with each of the coaches for a chance to win money for their school.

Finally, we'll have a 15-minute round table Q & A session in which you'll have a chance to speak to the coaches and tournament chairman Dave Odom in a one-on-one setting. Former Virginia head coach Terry Holland will also be available for questions after the press conference. Holland was the coach of the Cavaliers in 1982 when the team was upset by Chaminade which led to the creation of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

We ask that you hold all questions for The Q & A session, and we plan to be wrapped up by 9:00 a.m.

Now, I'd like to introduce our moderator for this morning's press conference. A play-by-play announcer for college basketball on ESPN since 2007, Jon Sciambi will be calling his third Maui Jim Maui Invitational this year. Jon is a graduate of Boston College, and has served as the play-by-play voice for Major League Baseball on ESPN Radio since 2010. Please welcome Jon Sciambi.

JON SCIAMBI: Megan, thanks very much. Yeah, back here, it's as tough a gig as we get here at ESPN, and all my friends back home let me know.

First thing I want to do is recognize Bro. Bernard Ploeger, President of Chaminade and just say thank you for all of your support. Chaminade, of course, so connected with this event and Brother Bernie, thank you, thank you so much. And obviously, thanks to the folks at Maui Jim and KemperLesnik as well.

It's just great to be here. An amazing field, some of the most storied basketball programs in the history of the sport. Four of the winningest programs, combined for 20 national titles, an amazing group of coaches right here, and I know everybody's excited to get the basketball going tomorrow.

I think all the coaches are looking forward to watching their teams play in three games in three days. So let's get to meeting all the coaches.

We start with the man, all the way down to the right, Eric Bovaird, fifth season at Chaminade. You return three of your top four scorers. You've been to the NCAA Division II tournament three times. Tell me about your team, but tell me also about this event and, Coach, what makes it so special?

ERIC BOVAIRD: It's a remarkable experience for our student-athletes. This event has always been so special to Chaminade, and it's special to myself. I remember watching it as a little kid growing up in cold Pennsylvania and just dreaming of one day -- well, first I wanted to play in it. But Kansas never recruited me, so now I have an opportunity to at least coach in it and it is a phenomenal experience for everybody.

As far as our team, yeah, we have a lot of experience coming back, and a lot of good recruits that came in. We're just getting started though. We've only played two games and we're trying to find our identity, and hopefully we can do that this week.

JON SCIAMBI: Best of luck. Tom Crean, head coach of Indiana. 8th season with the Hoosiers. Obviously got to the Final Four with Marquette as well. Three times in the last four years you've been to the NCAA Tournament. You've got Thomas Bryant with you now. You've returned a team that can really score the basketball. Tell me about the potential of this year's Hoosiers team and what you're looking for here in Maui.

TOM CREAN: I think our front line is so young, and Thomas is a very young 18-year-old. We have two other young freshmen on the front line with Juwan Morgan, and O.G. Anunoby, and we added Max Bielfeldt from Michigan. So they're young in age, and in Max's case, young to Indiana. But love their upside and work ethic.

I think the fact that we have experience in our back court, whether it's Yogi Ferrell as a senior or Nick Zeisloft as a senior or Troy Williams as a junior now or James Blackmon or Robert Johnson as sophomore, those guys can help us along. Our team is learning to play with a consistent level of toughness every day and with an ability to get better defensively. If we keep maxing out that ability, we have a chance to have a really good team. That's where our potential will be. It's going to be in our upside defensively, and our upside rebounding the ball, which will hopefully make our offense even better.

JON SCIAMBI: All right. Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers.

Bill Self from Kansas. Got a chance to watch you guys the other night at the Champions Classic. Your 12th season at Kansas, 11 straight Big 12 titles. Let's talk a little about your team. One of the things I wanted to ask you about. What's three games in three days do for your team and what are you looking for specific to that? Because it's something that doesn't happen usually.

BILL SELF: I think obviously conditioning will be a huge factor. Depth will be a factor in this situation. I think all of the coaches here, especially early in the season, we'd like to look at different combination and play maybe more guys, more minutes than what you would during a conference game just to see how everything plays out.

But it's a grind. Certainly it's a grind here, and it should be a grind. To finish three games, I mean, things like cramping and things like that, I think will be very important in how the guys take care of themselves while they're over here, because I think everybody that's been here before has had at least players experience this. So it will be a grind, but certainly one that I know everybody is looking forward to.

JON SCIAMBI: We're looking forward to watching your team play. Chris Mullin from St. John's. Three-time Big East Player of the Year, went to the Final Four in 1985, and here you are back at your alma mater coaching. You start off your coaching career, and you get to take your team to Maui. That's pretty good.

CHRIS MULLIN: Yeah, but if everything Bill said, we're going to be in trouble because depth we don't have right now. We've got a young group, nine new players, all new coaching staff. So this trip here will be really good for us to bond together. Every experience we have, good, bad, indifferent, is really a building block and a foundation for us.

On the court we've got two guys speaking French, two guys speaking Italian, two guys speaking Brooklyn-ese. So we're growing from the ground up.

And as far as three games in a row, I'm going to do the best I can managing minutes. As Bill said, we did spend a lot of time on conditioning and fitness, so when we get our full roster, we'll be able to put that in place.

JON SCIAMBI: I'd really love to sit here and ask you and Coach Alford about the free-throw shooting contest sponsored by the Elks Club back in the day, but we don't have time for that, so we're not going to do it.

CHRIS MULLIN: I don't think either of us can remember that far back.

JON SCIAMBI: Steve Alford, head coach of UCLA. Third season, consecutive Sweet 16 appearances, and here you guys are in Maui. You talked about the fact that this is a good litmus test for your team. What are you hoping to see out of the Bruins?

STEVE ALFORD: Well, I remember the free throw contest, because Chris won his division, and I finished third in nationals, so I've got a picture of that. I'm really upset, and he's feeling good about himself.

But, yeah, it is. As all the coaches have said, it's obviously a great tournament. We're honored to be one of those teams and programs that get a chance to play three games in three days. We've got a lot of new working pieces to our team and trying to play a little different with our depth up front. We've got some experience in our back court, and we're going to need that because we've played three really good teams already, and we've got to value the ball more. That's something that we've been talking about. And defensively we've got to get better each and every game.

When you're playing the quality opponent that's what we're going to get to play in three games here, you're going to leave the island with a much better idea of who you are and what you've got to work on early in the season. Hopefully we'll look a lot different at the time we get to Pac-12 play.

JON SCIAMBI: Steve, thank you very much. Now from UNLV, Dave Rice, you're coaching at your alma mater. You got a chance to play and win a national title for Jerry Tarkanian, been to the NCAA Tournament a couple of times at UNLV, and there is excitement around your team.

You've got a very athletic group. Tell me about the positives and the things you're looking forward to watching from UNLV this year?

DAVE RICE: Well, yeah, it's very good to be here. We're excited to be at the Maui Invitational. One of the priorities for us when we took over as a staff was to get back to Maui. UNLV, we haven't been here since 2000, and this is one of the prestigious tournaments that takes place.

But we have a team that we're excited about. It's a pretty good blend of returning guys. We've got six returning scholarship players and a number of new guys. And we're just trying to fit those guys in like all the coaches are talking about here.

Tremendous challenge for us certainly tomorrow playing against a very good UCLA team. But every game at Maui is tough. So, again, I think like all of us, we're trying to build a foundation of something special, and hopefully we'll continue to get better as the season progresses. But, again, we're very excited to be here.

JON SCIAMBI: It's great to have you here.

Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt, I really toyed with the idea of just firing baseball questions at you because I know you love your baseball.

KEVIN STALLINGS: I'd be better at answering those.

JON SCIAMBI: Longest tenured coach in the SEC, 17th season, and obviously you guys are loaded with a lot of talent this year, and the top spot in the SEC, I'm sure, one of your goals. But an early season tournament like this, what can it do to help your team grow as the season goes on?

KEVIN STALLINGS: I think that this tournament, obviously, as all the coaches have said, gives your team a chance to come together. I think that you're being engaged and playing against some of the very best teams in the country. So we're all going to know a lot more when we leave here later this week than we do right now.

The depth thing is a challenge. The three games in three days is certainly a challenge. I really like my team. We have a team that is as unselfish as any as I've ever coached, and they're fun to be around. We're still very young. We've got a lot of experience and we're very young. We start three sophomores and two juniors, so all those freshmen that got playing time last year is benefiting us now. But it's going to be an interesting week for all of us, and we're, like everyone else, very excited to be here.

JON SCIAMBI: All right, Danny Manning, you guys with Kansas you won the national title. That year you guys played in Maui, and now you're in your second season as the head coach at Wake Forest. Tell me about your team and what you're hoping to get done here in Hawaii?

DANNY MANNING: Well, first of all, we didn't fare well when we came over as Kansas as a player, so hopefully we can do better this trip out. We're excited about being here. We think this is a wonderful field, and it gives us a chance to mirror some of the conference play we'll all see because we play three great teams.

We have a fairly young team. I think our guys are going out and they understand what we want now in year two. They're putting forth great effort, and we have to go out and play with very good attention to detail and put forth the intensity necessary to give ourselves a chance to have success.

JON SCIAMBI: Excellent. Guys, thanks so much. Look forward to watching all of your teams play. For now, I'm going to turn it back over to Megan.

MEGAN GODFREY: Thank you, Jon. All of the coaches and Dave Odom will be available for questions immediately following the free throw contest.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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