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March 13, 2016

Phil Martelli

DeAndre' Bembry

Isaiah Miles

Aaron Brown

Brooklyn, New York

Saint Joe's - 87, VCU - 74.

Q. Isaiah, I talked to you after the game and you couldn't put it into words. You've got a few minutes to let it sink in. What do you think?
ISAIAH MILES: Oh, man, it's an amazing feeling. I'm just happy for all the seniors being able to finish on top, and it's just like a senior's dream, finishing as high as you possibly can. I've been saying that all year, and finally all the work, all the summer work, everything paid off. I'm happy for all our seniors, me, AB, Papa, it all paid off.

Q. DeAndre', you guys for really the first 80 percent of the season looked like one of the -- maybe the best team in the conference and then it seemed like you lost three out of five coming into here. How would you describe what was going on with the team and how it made you feel about coming in here?
DEANDRE' BEMBRY: Well, we were still on the same page. It was just -- as far as defensively, we didn't play any defense. We went back and forth with teams, scoring wasn't a problem. The games we lost, high 80s, 90s, so scoring wasn't a problem. Just came out of defense.

Saint Bonnie's, guy puts up 47 on us. He's obviously not being guarded good enough. But we just came out of defense. We were still confident after those losses. We knew it was our fault we lost. But coming into the game, we just knew if we played defense and just make the right play out of the trap that the VCU would havoc, we knew we would be good, and that's what it was today, a team effort.

Q. The first half what were the keys offensively?
AARON BROWN: Man, we just wanted to punch first. In the previous two games, VCU got off to some hot starts, and it really wasn't close. They weren't really challenged as we could see. We just wanted to punch first and play from there.

Q. Isaiah, at the beginning of the year I don't think many people would have picked you as a tournament team. You were picked seventh or eighth in the conference. What led to you winning the championship?
ISAIAH MILES: Not to play attention to any of that. Like Coach has been preaching we're all we've got. The guys in this room, the guys in that room, the guys in the locker room, the guys who work hard, work our butts off in practice, those are the guys we're playing for. We're not playing for the media, we're not playing for rankings. We're playing for each other and having each other's backs. We really didn't focus on any of that. That had no play on the season. We just played our game and we played hard.

Q. Aaron, when a team shoots 65 percent in the first half, do you expect that at some point it's going to cool off and you guys are going to have to stay ahead in a different way?
AARON BROWN: Yeah, you know, we just had to keep playing. Things were going our way, and we wanted them to continue to go our way, so we just had to keep playing the way we knew we could play and guard the ball, and good things will definitely happen as you can see.

Q. Are you surprised you guys never did cool off?
AARON BROWN: No. We were out there just playing and enjoying the moment, and good things happened, as you can see.

Q. DeAndre', going over what Isaiah said about playing for each other, offense and defense and Javon came out and you ran all the way across the court to give him a high five and pound his chest a little bit. Is it important to do things like that to exemplify playing for each other?
DEANDRE' BEMBRY: Yeah, definitely. As the leader of the team, each person and each effort that's given to the game is well worth it. Isaiah is not big enough to guard Mo Alie. I don't know anybody is. But we knew Javon is just as strong, just as big. He came in and got a couple good stops for us. That's what we needed from him. He came in and came right back out, and he didn't complain at all.

Q. DeAndre', this is three out of three. How is it different than the other ones?
DEANDRE' BEMBRY: I guess because from last year, most of the guys on the team last year was one of the worst teams in the A-10 last year. We're just happy that 80 percent of the guys that was on that team last year is on this team, so I'm happy to see that we went through the struggles together and now we're going through the highs together.

Q. DeAndre' and Isaiah, how would you sum up Aaron's game?
ISAIAH MILES: Oh, man, aggressive. I mean, he came out swinging. When he said like he wanted to punch first, everyone knew that he was punching. I mean, wow, he came out and he scored 10 straight, right, or something like that? Wow. I mean, this is aggressiveness that definitely set the tone for the game. And then as a team, we feed off that. We're all getting fired up. We know how aggressive a player he is when he starts playing like that, and we feed off that, so we match his intensity. We match his aggressiveness. Him playing like that from the start was huge for us.

DEANDRE' BEMBRY: Yeah, we know that he's that type of player. He's an aggressive player. He was known as that. Before I knew him Coach Martelli told me he was a dog in high school, and I'm happy that he brought the dog out today for us.

PHIL MARTELLI: Moments. Moments, moments, moments. DeAndre' is like the coolest dude, old spirit, and he was in tears on the court. Checko Oliva, hasn't had a ball go in the basket in forever, and on the three-pointer that bounced, bounced, bounced and went in, the kid broke out into a smile. Moments.

Parents, this team's parents contact me like I'm a high school coach. Nothing negative, text, you're the one, you're the best thing that's happened to my son. Trust my son. So those kind of moments.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you that what Papa Ndao did was embarrassing. I've never, ever had that happen, and I am infuriated about that. That's not how we represent ourselves. I apologize to the Atlantic 10 that that would be a way the league was shown nationally.

But the basketball, like that was special. The ball movement, the shot confidence, and you're all right, it started right in the beginning, we took the ball at them, and we knew that they would be fierce. It's what VCU is known for. I have great appreciation for them and for these Atlantic 10 teams that are going to get called this afternoon, the rest of the country better watch out because these are bright young coaches with really good players. Melvin Johnson obviously a little bit banged up, but moments, man, moments for these guys to go through that.

I told them in August they were the best team in the Atlantic 10, as a team. Now, whether or not that was going to transfer to basketball, I didn't know. I just think that it's -- to have played probably your best game of the year on this stage, this late March, a great tribute to them, to their willingness to be coached, and the way that they've been coached by the assistants.

Q. Similar question to what the players got. You didn't end the season particularly well. Did you see this turnaround coming? Was there anything in practice the next couple of days, or did you come into this tournament a little nervous that that would be what you saw here?
PHIL MARTELLI: No, I was more nervous to be honest with you on Tuesday when we started practice, and I didn't know if they were going to curl up and go into a ball and worry about the outside noise. The Bonaventure game, we got beat. A guy put 47 on us, plain and simple. The Duquesne game, I couldn't explain it. When we started on Tuesday, once we reviewed the Duquesne game, I just moved on and said, okay, here's what we're going to do.

I took a second to speak to DeAndre', and he did what he's done for all three years that I've had him, and he just looked at me and said, I've got it, we've got it, it's all right. And it's not false with him.

Like everybody grinding their hands about three field goals yesterday. He had 11 today. Or 13. The first play of the game, he dribbles in, shoots a lay-up. So more Tuesday. I was more anxious to see what they would bring Tuesday because we hadn't lost two games in a row all year, so once Tuesday I was fine. I settled in and said, let's beat GW.

One of the things I would just suggest to you, the biggest basket of the weekend, the biggest basket of the weekend was his drive at the end of the first half against GW. We were down 16, and everybody in the whole place has their head down, and he gets the ball and drives it to the basket, and we go down 14. That's the biggest basket of the weekend. And I haven't said anything to my team about it, nor has anybody said anything about it to me, but that's the one that kind the broke the damn, so to speak.

Q. DeAndre' said that the dog in Aaron came out. How would you describe Aaron's tenacity on the court?
PHIL MARTELLI: It's mal-managed. It was chaotic when he first came back because he was playing to show everybody that he was wronged at West Virginia. It's not wrong. Seven other kids transferred. He wanted to show everybody that he was a player of this description, or what the guys in the neighborhood would say, this is what we need you to do.

So his first year when he sat out and he was on the scout team was difficult because we weren't improving his game. He was all over the place, trying things that he can't do.

Last year, like every kid, he wanted to start, and it was hard for him to look at James Demery and say, he starts and I don't. I'm sure he's hearing that at home. Not home, family home, but home in the neighborhood. It's hard to be a local kid and come back to Philadelphia because people think you're a star, and you have to be honest about your game.

But he from the summer on stayed -- like he stayed on the reservation, so to speak, and he did what we asked him to do, and he played in straight lines. He's still an awful lay-up shooter. For a kid that that's skilled and that size, he should be a great lay-up shooter. Games 18 through 24 I gave him his stats, and I said, this can't continue. He looked me in the eye, and he said, I get it, and it won't. The last six games ending with Duquesne averaged 13 a game, he shot 58 percent, and now he's all-tournament because of the way he played for these three games.

Yeah, he's got it in him. You just have to make sure, and I don't want to be disrespectful, but that it's a domesticated dog and not a wild dog because wild wouldn't help us.

Q. What was it that you saw in your team back in August that made you say that, and was that a motivational thing or did you believe it?
PHIL MARTELLI: I believed it or I wouldn't have said it, and to be honest with you, it was the noise. Every time I was around them there was noise. Now, whether it was laughter, whether it was talk about how to play, talk about how to make a play. The noise. And it's continued all year long. So every NBA team that came in, half of those NBA guys are at least acquaintances of mine if not more, and they would all say the same thing, man, your team really likes to play, they really like to play together. Ed Rush, the great NBA official came, brought his grandson for like a birthday party, and he said to me, it's January, and most teams are like in their own little bubble. Each kid is in his own little bubble. These guys are talking and excited like they all just made the team. That's what it was. It was the noise around them, and then noting that they were going to allow me to coach them and not manage them.

A lot of times you manage egos, cliques, expectations, but I was able to coach these guys from August on, and not alone. My assistant coaches deserve a lot of credit.

Q. Does that make it any more special to watch them celebrate a win in the tournament championship?
PHIL MARTELLI: There's no question about it. There's no question about it. Look, championships are forever, okay. So whether they want to get tatted up or not get tatted up, they have a tattoo now. Every kid on that team, 2016 Atlantic 10 champions. That's their tattoo. That's theirs.

The celebration, and I've often said this, I do this to put smiles on people's faces, and to see those smiles from my family and to see those smiles from those players, and to hear what those parents would say to you because they trusted you with their son, that's pretty cool.

Look, I'm going to tell you the best day. The best day in this job is graduation day. Graduation day. Because that to me means that I did what I promised them that I would do. I want to hand back these parents a man, a guy who has graduated from college. I didn't graduate them. They graduated from college, and I want as many of them as can to play as long as they can. I'd like them to play for money. That's what I tell every parent. You're going to get everything that I have to give you a man, a graduate, and a pro. So add champion to it.

Q. You talked about taking the ball at VCU. You guys usually score a lot of points in the paint, but 54, seems like a lot. What was it today?
PHIL MARTELLI: Well, we had some -- because of the size that they play with, we had some opportunities to get straight-line drives. We were able to do that and I thought that the passing was extraordinary. We cut -- we told them that they had to treat it as if everything was a trap, and you had to make a cut off the ball. And I think that as the game got longer and the score started to mount, I think VCU started to stretch the floor, and we were able to slice and dice a little bit.

But I would have thought to get to that number, we would have needed multiple three-point shots, and even saying 87, just from a basketball technical point of view, like that's our group. We shot 65 percent and 53 from the foul line. Give me a break.

In the next game, 53 from the foul line could be collect uniform time.

But just the cutting. The cutting and their implementation of a plan that we put together in a hotel room last night for them was extraordinary.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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