home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 22, 2019

Tim Cluess

Asante Gist

Rickey McGill

E.J. Crawford

Columbus, Ohio

North Carolina - 88, Iona - 73

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Iona head coach Tim Cluess and student-athletes E.J. Crawford, Rickey McGill and Asante Gist. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH CLUESS: I want to congratulate North Carolina on the win. A hard-fought game. Our guys were really excited to play in this game, and I'm really proud of the effort that they put out and how hard they played for 40 minutes.

I'm going to miss Rickey McGill a lot. We've gone through a lot over the last four years, and I can't tell you how proud I am of him. And I'm also very, very proud of the other two gentlemen up here, plus the rest of my team.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.

Q. Rickey, could you talk about that first half, the way you guys came out?
RICKEY MCGILL: We just came out ready to play. We knew they was going to come out and try and get a win over us, try and beat us by a lot. So for us to come out like the way we did, that was a big one. And then things changed.

Q. Rickey, obviously last year a 16 beat a 1. How much was that on your mind, especially after the first half, as well as you played?
RICKEY MCGILL: We definitely had confidence with that. We all know UMBC beat Virginia by 20. We came out, tried to prove the world the same thing, tried to get the upset.

Q. E.J., seemed like North Carolina tried to change their defense in the second half to try to clog the middle, you were getting frustrated going down the lane. And they put a lot more energy on their offense. What changed in the second half?
E.J. CRAWFORD: They just made an adjustment on me. And that's really what they did, made an adjustment, yeah.

Q. Rickey, Coach Williams was in here saying some nice things about you. What did he and what did some of the North Carolina players say to you on the handshake line?
RICKEY MCGILL: They were just telling me, heck of a game. You're going to be something special. Just keep going, don't ever quit.

Q. Looked like a very emotional moment when you walked off the court for Iona the last time. Your encounter with Coach Cluess, what was that like?
RICKEY MCGILL: Like he said, me and him have been through so much, through practice, through the arguments, through everything. I'm going to miss playing for him. Just miss playing -- just miss playing for a great coach.

Q. Rickey, just overall, the memories of four years, four NCAA Tournaments, when you look at your legacy on this program, how do you feel you were ultimately defined?
RICKEY MCGILL: Just one of the hardest workers to ever come out of Iona. Not to sound cocky or nothing, but from where I came from as a freshman to now just shows how much I care about this game.

Q. Rickey, how much of the idea playing in your final NCAA Tournament contribute to your performance tonight, and what has these last four years meant to you being at Iona?
RICKEY MCGILL: Tonight, I just knew I had to give my all, all or nothing for 40 minutes. I knew I couldn't give up on my guys. I had to come out, give it my all, try and get a win. For the last four years it's just a blessing. It's just a blessing, man.

Q. Asante, as you prepared for this game and saw videotape, how unrealistic is that once you actually see the length of a team like Carolina?
ASANTE GIST: It was an adjustment for us. Our confidence is not like that. To go against a team, they were packing the lane on us. It was difficult to drive. Coach told us to move the ball. And we were going to get attack lanes after a couple of passes.

And it worked for us in the first half. And second half it worked for us, too, we just couldn't make some shots and we couldn't get back in transition. And they killed us on the boards; that was a big thing as well.

I'm still proud of my guys how we played and I'm proud of us for the season we had.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. What do you say about the team's effort in the first half on both ends of the court?
COACH CLUESS: It was terrific. I wish we could have done it for two halves. I think they gave it everything they could on both ends of the court. In the first half, couldn't have asked for anything more.

Q. Second half, looked like North Carolina changed their defense. They clogged the middle when Crawford would go down the lane, and they were just much more aggressive on offense. Was there anything you could do or was it just something you see happening?
COACH CLUESS: You need to make shots. We had a lot of open looks. And I couldn't ask for better shots. They didn't fall tonight. Some of our better shooters, especially in the second half, missed wide-open shots.

But on the other end they started playing on all cylinders and they started attacking the rim much harder, got down the court in hurry. Tajuan Agee being in foul trouble most of the game obviously was a hindrance to us because we don't have a luxury of having a lot of depth and that really hurt us as well. And all credit to North Carolina. They're a great team.

Q. What did you say to Rickey when you took him out? And if you can, how much did he mean to this program over four years? What are you going to miss about him?
COACH CLUESS: I thanked him for the four years and through everything we've been through, watch his development. And I told him I'm there for him the rest of his life, no matter what he needs, on or off the court, to help him out.

He's meant a tremendous amount to our program over these last four years. He's going to be the model when we bring players in and recruit players that I want to use, how somebody came in not highly recruited, really didn't do much as a freshman, and built himself up to the level he did and was part of four championship teams and four NCAA teams.

So what better way to, like, talk about a program and a team except using Rickey McGill as an example?

Q. I know in the past you told your guys don't die wondering. And they don't have to wonder for the rest of their lives how they would have done. How do you feel they did that?
COACH CLUESS: I think they gave us everything they have. No one's going to say this, but E.J. Crawford's had the flu for the last two days. Just the fact he was out there playing was tremendous by him to come out and try to give us what he could. He wasn't able to practice yesterday and that hurt our team. And I feel bad for him because he's worked so hard.

But they have nothing at all to be ashamed about. They should have their heads high. Like I told them, we're extremely proud of what they did this year. Iona's extremely proud of it. And hopefully anyone who watched us play enjoyed what they saw.

THE MODERATORK: I know you didn't have the second half that you wish you had, but as you will look back on that tape for years to come, you'll see how hard they were still playing in the second half. It's been a great story for us to follow. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297