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 30, 2006

Tarence Kinsey

Dave Odom

Rocky Trice


DAVE ODOM: Let me just say, I know you're on deadline and we'll try and be as brief as we can. This is an important time as the time I just spent. I've always felt that the two most important team meetings a year is the first one and the last one. And sometimes you don't know when your last one is going to occur. When you play in a tournament like this and you get The Finals, you know when your last one is going to occur. I just finished my forty-first year of coaching and I know enough to know that when you have a special group, and we did, it's never the same when you go back to your hotel or you go back home. You break that locker room, the ring is broken a little bit and it's never the same. So I always choose to spend time with my team, and of course we don't always end with championships, have been fortunate last two years, but it's important that you spend time with your team the last meeting. So I appreciate your patience and your indulgence. Why don't you talk to the two players here and we'll let them get back to the team and I'll stay with you.
Q. What does it mean winning the Championship here?
ROCKY TRICE: It means a lot to us. Me and Tarence are seniors, to go out with a win in our last year in our last game is really great.
TARENCE KINSEY: Just like he said, it means a lot. We have a chance to go out with a win. You know, this team been through a lot from the beginning. We never gave up. We kept believing. I'm not saying no Cinderella story or anything like that, but it just so happened that we only had eight players and this team just came together like no other. Just like a family that prays together, I also believe that a team that prays together stays together and that's what we did.
Q. Talk about how Renaldo stepped up and played in this tournament, he seemed animated and emotional, maybe those of us that don't see him all the time, maybe that's the way he always plays, but seems like he was at another level. What did you see as players from him?
TARENCE KINSEY: He is phenomenal. He was everywhere, rebounding, blocking shots, getting steals, dunking balls. That's the Renaldo that we can get used to. I don't think he could have played any better than what he has been showing. I think next year if he can keep that up, the sky is the limits for that guy.
Q. Did you guys learn anything, you had a stretch of three straight losses by five points or what-have-you, but after that you guys started this run. Was there anything that you learned in that stretch that's helped you through this or that you needed to learn?
TARENCE KINSEY: Just like the old saying, it's not over till the fat lady sings. That's what we kind of stuck by. We just kept believing. The coaches, they did a great job, keep boosting us up, keep lifting us up. The team did a great job, we stayed together, we really thought that we belonged and at the end it really showed.
ROCKY TRICE: We just pushing and pushing. Coach said through every practice, you know, we're losing by five points or one point here or there, but we just knew we just got to keep pushing.
Q. Did you feel you were going to dominate this game the way you did and were you surprised when you did?
TARENCE KINSEY: We didn't think with we were going to dominate. We knew we were going to play well because Coach told us we were going to play well because we prepared well. That's one thing we always have done is prepared well and practiced well and that carries over to the game.
From here on out, I think that next year's team is going to do the same thing, also.
Q. It takes resolve for the players to come together and do this down the stretch, but can you talk about what Coach Odom meant keeping you guys together? What did he do to help keep you guys together through the tough times in January and February?
TARENCE KINSEY: Basically he just kept believing. Putting phrases on the board. I can't remember the phrase right now, but Coach I remembered --
DAVE ODOM: "A point at a time"?
TARENCE KINSEY: "A point at a time." The last phrase was extremely important. I got it on the Sunday sermon. But it was extremely important. I can't remember off the top of my head but we just keep doing things like that. And also, you've got to believe in your coaches just like the coaches believe in the players and that's one thing we have done throughout the whole season is believe in each other.
Q. Is there anything different in this year's championship from last year's championship for either of you guys and now the place in history, only the second team to win back-to-back titles in the NIT in the last 60 years?
ROCKY TRICE: I don't think there's anything different from this team. We kind of played the same style of play as last year. You know, we had Carlos, he was a great leader and Tony stepped up as a great leader, so I think it's the same.
Q. You jumped off to that big lead, talk about how that set the tempo for you.
DAVE ODOM: You know, we didn't come into the game -- I was very, very nervous about the game because, you know, we had so much fun playing on Tuesday night against Louisville. Fun as in, we won, but, you know, we won and in kind of loose fashion. We got to the rim easily and had what was it, 10, 11 dunks, record number of dunks or whatever it was. You know, that was a fun game.
I told our team yesterday after looking at the tape, and that's the first time I had really seen Michigan play. I said the one thing that I like about our team right now is that we can play different styles. We can play different types of games. You go back and you look at our four games in the SEC tournament, every one of those games was different and we won three of those four and easily could have won -- well, not easily, but had a chance to win that fourth one against Florida. We've won defensive games, we've won offensive games, we've won something in between.
You look at the NIT, our time there, we've won power games with power post men. We've won games where the game was almost -- we walked it from end-to-end. And then we won games like the Louisville game where it was free, up and down, shot the ball well, passed the ball well, caught the ball well, defended well and all of those things. I tried to make them understand that your opponent, you've got to give your opponent some credit and that they will have something to say about how we play tonight, how the game is played tonight.
And I tried to make them understand that Michigan is a prototype Big-10, slug it out, bruise you kind of team. And they were not going to let us get to the basket as easily and that it would be more difficult; and that they had had a chance to see us in the flesh and they knew that we were fast and they knew that we were quick. Louisville might not have had that advantage.
So when you say to me, you jumped out to that big lead; yes, we did. But also, at the first time-out when I think Coach Amaker called that quick time-out and I think it was 9-2 at the time, I reminded our team we were down 11-2 against Louisville and came back and actually won the game. I said, you know, it's a 40-minute game. We've just got to keep playing.
That's the good thing about our team is that they can adapt to different styles. I knew that tonight with Sims, with Hunter, with Brown and those guys, they are all big guys and I knew they were going to try to push us inside. I knew they were going to try to go inside and foul and fatigue. But I also knew in one game, fatigue would not be a factor. And if we could just keep ourselves out of foul trouble, I thought we had a chance.
Q. On Tuesday Rick Patino told us that Balkman was a Dennis Rodman of college basketball, can you expound on that?
DAVE ODOM: Rick did ask me, I don't know, I think we were running in the park and we got back and he said, "Tell me about Balkman." You've seen him on tape, but some games he plays good and sometimes he doesn't. And Rick has a real good NBA perspective, he's seen it with two different teams. I told him, I said, "If you ask me to compare him to somebody that has played NBA basketball, I think Dennis Rodman would be the guy." He's not overly tall, about the same size height-wise as Rodman. He can rebound in double figures. Not the greatest of shooters. But tremendously fast, tremendously quick, and quick off his feet, and he has the ability to electrify his team and the crowd in a positive way. On some nights, he plays really, really good defense.
So I thought that was pretty good analogy and I still think it is.
Q. Did you get that emotional after the meeting with last year's team the final time?
DAVE ODOM: I probably did. I mean, you know, I love my teams. I love to build a team. I like the process of building a team. When I know the job is complete and it was done right, that's one of the great satisfying things about coaching is to see your team become just that, a team. Our team is that. I mean, really, really are a team right now.
I guess I am emotional, but that's a good emotion I think.
Q. How has Balkman improved himself over the course of the year?
DAVE ODOM: I think he's improved over three years. He came to us, truly a raw talent as a player, and really as a person. He was raw was a person. By his own admission, he'll say that, you know, he bounced around a lot as a high school student and younger. You know, he came to us and I think in his own way said, "Here I am, I need your help, I'll accept it. I'll probably fight you on certain days, but stay with me, coach. This is the first place I've ever" -- and he actually said this to me about the half of the first year, he said -- "This is the first place I've ever been where people truly cared about me." That was a great thing and I knew we had a great kid in the making. We just kind of stayed with him.
Q. What does this victory, winning the Championship two years in a row mean for your recruitment program?
DAVE ODOM: We'll see about that. It's certainly not going to do anything except help it. People have a way of looking at things in different ways. Certainly from a recruiting standpoint, I don't know how it could be anything except helpful. You play in Madison Square Garden. All you folks are the biggest media people in the country up here, unless some of them have gone to Indianapolis, but New York as a city is where it's at media-wise. And the Garden, you can never be here too much.
It will certainly help us, no question about that. But I think the thing that will really help us is, you know, seeing our team enjoy themselves and win. That's the greatest seller I think that you can have.
Q. You had to get your three No. 1 seeds in the last three games, if someone had told you at the beginning of the tournament that you were going to play three No. 1 seeds, beat them all, would you have believed them?
DAVE ODOM: Well, I probably would have dismissed it from the standpoint that believe them, no, but be afraid of the challenge, also, no.
One is a number, nothing more. It doesn't mean that you're preeminently better than anybody else. It's something that it's a tag that somebody put on you and you've got to uphold it.
Sometimes it can be detrimental to you. When you look at our team and this tournament, remember that we played the first game at home and we went on the road two games. The Florida State game was brutally difficult. The Cincinnati game was equally difficult for a lot -- for different reasons. To be able to come out of those two venues and win I think speaks volumes.
Remember now, we've beaten The Sunbelt, ACC Team, Florida State, BIG EAST, Cincinnati, BIG EAST, Louisville, and now Big-10. So we've gone pretty much the whole gamut. Again, I'm not boasting, but I'm saying that this team has accomplished. They have accomplished a great deal, and they had no easy road here. They have had no easy road. And that was coming off four very, very difficult, intense, SEC games consecutively. And they turned it around and they have been playing non-stop since March 9th or something like that, whatever the first day of the SEC tournament was. Nine games in 21 days, that's a lot.
Q. Because the public generally kind of looks down it's nose at the NIT, do you think it can be fully appreciated winning back-to-back NIT Tournaments?
DAVE ODOM: Probably not. Probably not. But really, I only care about our team and our university. I know our university is proud and I know our state is proud. I only care about -- I want to make sure that the people that support us the most, and they are there, that they will. I'll go to Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon and everybody's going to congratulate me, they are, and they will be sincere about it and I know that. But in the end, it always comes back to you need to get to the NCAA Tournament and you need to play for the National Championship. That does not demean this at all. Somebody told me that we were the first team to win back-to-back NIT postseason championships since '43, '44. While I don't remember those championships, I do know the name Joe Lapchick, and I don't know that I ever saw him coach, but I know that when you look at the annals of college basketball, he truly was one of the best. Even today, he is revered today. Those teams he coached, when you go back and look that up could be the best in the country at that time.
Now, I don't know that our team rivals that, and I certainly don't rival him, but the accomplishment remains the same. We did win two back-to-back. And for that, I am thankful and very, very proud.
Q. Can you talk about tonight, Balkman's game and also you said Tre' did a tremendous job as a floor leader for you.
DAVE ODOM: Let me tell you what I told him in the dressing room. I turned to Renaldo first. I said, "Renaldo I want to congratulate you on the trophy you got, the MVP trophy. You richly deserved it, you did. You earned it. But Renaldo, I don't believe you'll mind if I say to Kinsey, 'You really deserve a piece of that.' And Tre' deserves a piece of that. And Brandon deserves a piece of that and Rocky," because each one of them in their own way were most valuable at certain times. And he stopped me dead cold, kind of stuck his trophy out as if, "Hey, take a piece of it." Because, he understands. He did have two great nights and he did deserve that award, the trophy, there's no question about that. But when you look at the leadership that Tarence had, you'll have to go back a ways to find a player who has had more success in the NIT at Madison Square Garden than Kinsey has had in two years. Remember, he hit the shot that won it for us last year. He's had great success here.
Renaldo responded the right way. He kind of offered a piece of the pie, so to speak. And how about Tre'? Good gracious, he was immense as a leader, scored the ball when we needed him to, did everything, just truly I think came of age as a point guard. And Brandon Wallace, statistically not there tonight, but boy, I tell you, he was a leader on the bench and he got key rebounds and he defended well.
Q. Did you say big about the confrontation late in the first half?
DAVE ODOM: I think we prepared him for what was about to happen yesterday. I told him that Michigan is a very, very physical team. They will put their bodies on you, put their arms on you, but they are not dirty. It's just the way they play and you've got to keep your minds on how we play. You've got to get your mind back to playing against Randolf Morris in our league, get your mind back to playing against Alexander Johnson at Florida State, get your minds back to playing against Eric Hicks. That's who you're playing against tonight, you're playing against those kind of players.
When that happened, I think he remembered what I had told him and he responded very well.

End of FastScripts...

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