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March 7, 2001

Omar Cook

Sharif Fordham

Anthony Glover

Mike Jarvis


THE MODERATOR: We can get started.

COACH MIKE JARVIS: First of all, I just want to, you know, say that I got three fine young men sitting up here with me and the reason why they're here is because I think it's very important for them to finish the year off here. Because if it wasn't for these guys and the effort that they put forth, I don't think we could have continued to dream, I guess, the impossible dream, which is what it turned out to be. At least for today. So I know it's very hard and very difficult for them to be here, but if we had won, they would be up here and smiling, and unfortunately we did not win the game. But as long as we continue to put the effort forth, we'll never lose the game. You know, before anybody asks me about, first of all, I want to say that this was not a losing season; this was a learning season. I have coached teams that have won 20-plus games and felt awful. In fact, felt kind of happy when the season was over because they weren't the greatest guys and the hardest working guys. They may have underachieved. This team or this season is part of the reason why I coach, and I hope why they play. That is to learn and that is to grow. So this was a learning season; it was not a losing season. If anybody saw Omar Cook play all year, Sharif Fordham, who has averaged almost double-figure rebounds at 6'3" in his last few games, Anthony Glover at 6-foot-whatever he's supposed to be, going after the giants, I think most people would feel the same way that I do today, and that's that these kids have given a tremendous effort night in and night out. Unfortunately, we're not ready yet. But we're going to be. That's why they're here tonight, to finish this chapter off, because 2001-2002 season began about 30, 40 minutes ago. We will be back, and it's going to be a little different obviously in the future I believe. So anyhow, the end to an eventful learning effort-filled year for us has just occurred. I think I mentioned the other day that for us the NCAA tournament came a week early. Next week 64 teams will be faced with the win go home dilemma. Unfortunately for us we were faced with it tonight. We'll go home, get ready for next season. I can promise you that this will be the last time that our season will end early. So with that said, any questions?

Q. How does the team improve for next year?

COACH MIKE JARVIS: How does the team improve?

Q. What do you need to do?

COACH MIKE JARVIS: Well, first of all, as I said next season has begun already. I think that each player has gone through so much this year that they can take from it. I think guys will understand even more what areas they need to work on individually and collectively. There's a few other little things that hopefully we'll be able to add to the mix. And hopefully we'll have a more complete puzzle. But I like the fact that I think we got a lot of nice pieces to begin with. So there will be changes, I think, individually, and there will be changes collectively. All positive with most of the guys who were here this year.

Q. It seemed as if the last couple of days have been the poor free throw shooting. Is that going to be stepped up in the drills next year? You knew this question was coming.

COACH MIKE JARVIS: Well, yeah. In fact, it's really funny, we probably -- maybe next year we're not going to practice free throw shooting. That might help because we have never spent as much time on free throw shooting as we have this year: Form, technique, drills before you shoot so you're tired, drills before you get tired so you can really work on your form. We've done everything we think. But we'll continue to look for maybe something else. We haven't found the answers obviously yet. You're absolutely right, if you look at our last two games, the free throw line alone, awful. Awful, awful. But if you think we lost a double overtime game the other day to Syracuse. We missed 20-something free throws. So that, to me, gives me a tremendous amount of encouragement knowing if we can find a way to make free throws, those become victories.

Q. Just to follow up on that, the best free throw shooter was Rick Barry, he shot them underhand. Any chance of you guys doing that?

COACH MIKE JARVIS: If we could kick them in the basket, we would. Except that would be a violation so we won't do that.

Q. Samuel and Eddie had great games inside. They altered shots, blocked twelve shots. Can you talk about how that affected the game?

COACH MIKE JARVIS: It affected the game tremendously. You know, I really felt the very first shot of the game was a goal tend. I think how the first couple of shots are called determine how the rest of the game is played. You know, if goal tends are called early, then people are going to be hesitant to be blocking shots. If they're not called early, you got to dunk them in the basket. We didn't do that. You now got to go through them and you got to put them in the rim. So, you know, hopefully once again, you know, we'll learn from that as well.

Q. Omar, I know it's difficult because the season has ended. Can you talk about what you may have learned from your experience playing here, in a high-profile program like St. John's, what you might take from it next year?

OMAR COOK: Basically, I just got to put a little extra effort out there in practice and things like that. Uhm, just come prepared to play every day and not only when you feel like it.

Q. Was this team prepared today, Omar, do you feel?

OMAR COOK: I felt we came in here, we were prepared today. We gave it our best effort. Like I said, on the day they got some calls in the beginning of the game that affected the whole game. So it just really -- the guys inside made a big difference today.

Q. Omar, what kind of difference do those big guys at Seton Hall have on the mindset when you're shooting and you know they're so big inside?

OMAR COOK: Well, they block shots so well and then when you lean, you go to them and you don't get the calls, it's really -- it's really, uhm, depressing when you keep going at them and you don't get the call. Then if you go straight up, they gonna block your shot. There was nothing else we could do.

Q. Omar, what is the collective mood of the team right now?

OMAR COOK: Well, we not happy. Our season is over. We wanted to go farther than this. We just know what it takes for us to do -- we know now what it takes to be a winner, and we didn't win this year.

Q. The two of you guys have been through stuff like this before, why do you think, like, for instance, Anthony, last year you guys were able to go far and win the Big East tournament. Why was this team not able to get over the hump?

ANTHONY GLOVER: Well, I think that, you know, we had some new guys in. I don't think that, I mean, everybody would have knew what it take and how we felt last year winning the tournament. I mean, we had some other guys come in and we had some transfers that really wasn't, I think, really experienced yet. So, uhm, these guys are working hard every day from the first practice to the last practice. They gave it their all. You seen them play this whole season. You know, I think the feeling of winning a tournament is totally different from the regular season.

Q. Anthony, you've been through these Big East wars before. How does this loss rank for the rest of them?

ANTHONY GLOVER: It's like when you get in a tournament, you lose your war. In the regular season, you always know you got a game ahead so you prepare yourself for the next game. In the Big East, you either win or you go home. So that's the big difference.

Q. Anthony, you hit a three-point to beat the buzzer at the end of the first half. Did you think that would be a catalyst for the second half, the momentum would carry over?

ANTHONY GLOVER: I thought that momentum would have carried over. But, it was just a shot that I was open, Omar penetrated. He just threw me the ball. I knew I had to get a shot out. So I just shot the ball. It wasn't luck, though.

Q. Sharif, what was the impact of the big guys inside in your estimation?

SHARIF FORDHAM: I think that Seton Hall, the two guys they have, was blocking shots. It changed the game. Like Omar said, it was kind of frustrating going in, getting hit and they still was blocking their shots. They changed a lot of shots. It was just like frustrating for everybody to go in knowing that they're there, but I gave my guys credit. They kept going. They wouldn't stop.

Q. Coach, what do you think, besides experience, what do you think your young guys, especially guys like Omar, Willie, what do you think they can take away from this?

COACH MIKE JARVIS: First of all, it's not about what they can take away from a defeat. Like I told you, it's more what you take away period. There's only going to be one team that's going to win this last game -- I'm sorry, two teams, the NIT championship and the NCAA championship game. Everybody else is going to lose their last game. What determines who any of us are is what we do with defeat, temporary setbacks. That's all losses are are temporary setbacks. So I hope what the players will learn from this year is first what they individually have to do; second, what they have to do collectively, the same as the staff and everybody else; and as I said to you before, you know, if you learn from your mistakes, if you learn from your temporary setbacks, then it's all worth it. You know one of the things I told the guys after the Syracuse game, I told them today, "God knows what he's doing." Okay? And obviously we're not ready yet. So we're going to have to sit in the pot a little bit longer until we're ready. That's the name of the game. That's what makes sports so beautiful. When one season ends, the next one begins. The 2001-2002 season has officially begun at St. John's. Next week it will begin for everybody else in the country. We got Christmas a week early; that's all.

End of FastScripts....

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