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 15, 2008

Demetri McCamey

Shaun Pruitt

Brian Randle

Bruce Weber


THE MODERATOR: As we've done previously, we'll take a couple of opening comments from Coach Weber, then we'll take questions for the Illinois players and then finish with questions for Coach Weber.
COACH WEBER: I mean, it would be an understatement to say we're not excited to be here in this situation. You know, there's other years we've been fighting for No. 1 seeds or top four seeds, and we didn't take care of business the way we should have all season.
But we kept together. We had some very frustrating losses and could have given up, to be honest, and we didn't. And now I wish it would have come earlier, but it didn't. But maybe it's coming at the right time. And you keep battling and now seems like we're able to win close games.
We had a game tonight where they tied it up. They seemed to have the momentum, and we make some big plays, boom, boom, boom. I think Demetri three, run out by Shaun, run out by Brian, and some big defensive stops.
So we've learned to win. This is what our program expects, to be at this position. And I know there's a lot of people that would not anticipate us being here, but we took care of business this weekend. We deserve to be here. I think we feel that we can beat anybody. But we're going to have to show it tomorrow against a very, very good Wisconsin team.
I thought our bench did a very good job again. We had some inside presence with Shaun early, threes weren't going. We shoot a little too quick, we had to calm some guys down a little bit. Good defense throughout the game and then some big transition baskets when it really counted.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Brian, Demetri or Shaun.

Q. Brian, just talk about being in this game and comparison with your thoughts three days ago to be here in this Sunday championship game?
BRIAN RANDLE: I mean, the thoughts haven't changed, to be honest. This is where we want to be, this is where we expect to be. The regular Big Ten season didn't go as we had hoped. A lot of down days. But as we have gone along, we've gained some resilience, gained some toughness and a lot of maturity, I think, that's shown throughout these past three games.
And, like I said, this is the position we felt we should have been in during the Big Ten season. Didn't happen that way, but we've had to turn it around and done well so far.

Q. Talk about, the three of you, how tired are you? How much different is it to play three games in three days?
BRIAN RANDLE: I'm not tired at all. I mean, if you can't get up to play a championship game, you shouldn't play basketball. Again, it's a game, supposed to be fun and enjoy yourself. Everybody on our team's been through AU, playing five, six games and one day in 100-degree gym. I know for me I'm amped as anybody.
SHAUN PRUITT: Pretty much what he said, it's a great predicament we've got ourselves in. We're so excited that the fatigue and injuries, we're just not thinking about them. We're just thinking that we have a chance to go to the NCAA tournament, even though we haven't had a great season at all. So it's just a great opportunity.

Q. Shaun, the last couple of weeks, even less than that your game seemed to have stepped up a lot. Are you getting the ball more or are you doing anything different or how do you explain it?
SHAUN PRUITT: I think I've been eating a little bit better. That's part of my independent study is nutrition. I've been eating a lot better. I actually think it's helped me a little bit. So great timing.

Q. Tell us about that?
SHAUN PRUITT: About eating better? Staying away from ranch and mayonnaise and being more focused, besides the dieting, and just focusing in and just being more about my team and things like that has helped me out a lot, and listening, listening to coaching staff and stuff like that has helped me out a lot.

Q. Demetri, your role was a little different today. Could you talk about the assists, seemed like you had a good thing going with Brian and a couple of other guys. Was that just from your playing with them or what's going on?
DEMETRI MCCAMEY: Knowing your teammates. When I came out, first couple of shots, they didn't go in. Coach talked to me, calm down, get your teammates involved. Get yourself in the game another way, you don't always have to score. As a point guard, it's my job to get other people involved. And I found my big mans running the transition, Shaun made some big plays and we played good as a team.

Q. Brian, could you talk about a third match with Wisconsin? And you guys showed the other day that you had it both ways, where you beat somebody that had beaten you twice and here's another team that you were able to sweep. Talk about the Badgers this matchup?
BRIAN RANDLE: I thought we matched up well, obviously Butch inside and him and Shaun matching up. And Flowers and Chester, and Demetri and Trevon Hughes, depending on how that works on myself and Landry. I think it's a good even-keel matchup. And then Trenton and Bohannon.
So really the big thing, like I've been saying, it's for us to be focused tonight and then tomorrow in preparation with the scouting report and walk-through, just making sure we understand what we're doing offensively, defensively. Our defensive principles and just concentrating, that's going to be the biggest thing. Because we've got enough heart to go around. We just have to make sure we're smart about it.

Q. Brian, would you explain what happened at the end of the game? I didn't understand why the clock went down to 4.8 and what did they rule as far as the play when Brock got the rebound?
THE MODERATOR: We'll come to that.

Q. Shaun, could you also address playing Wisconsin a third time? Neither of those games went down to a wire. You've had so many close, but those didn't. What's the hope this time from your point of view?
SHAUN PRUITT: I thought we did a good job in Wisconsin up there. They blew it open at the end, but for the whole game we were in the game with them. It was pretty much about our defense. And then we got a defense let-up at the end, that score really wasn't how it really looked.
I think at home I think we just didn't lock in on defense as much as we did the first game. But, I mean, we're excited about it. Our energy level tomorrow is something that should definitely keep us in the game. I mean, they're a tough team. It's not that much room for error versus a team like Wisconsin. They don't mess up that much. They always stay to their focus and game plan. We'll have to be disciplined tomorrow to have a chance.

Q. Brian, would this one game tomorrow make up for the entire previous 35?
BRIAN RANDLE: Yeah, it would. You strive every year to win a Big Ten championship and to get to the Final Four national championship, I think given the heart attack we had early on to win four games in a row, you know, beat two top 25 teams would be huge.
And really it would give us a lot of momentum going into the NCAA. We're not looking back at this point. Everything's going forward. We're much more mature, I think we have a better sense of how to play and where we want to be where we need to be. So most definitely, this would make up for it.

Q. Shaun, if you could address that, too, what would it mean to win tomorrow?
SHAUN PRUITT: It would mean a lot I mean to us and the coaches. I mean it would mean that we came together and put the season back to where it should be in perspective. And I think it would mean a lot to the fans who stuck with us and in a sense may have thought we let them down.
But it would mean we just kept fighting to the end. We're just going to try our hardest tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll finish up with questions for Coach Weber. If you want to address the question.
COACH WEBER: What happened at the end, I believe he called an injury timeout. Calvin got poked in the eye. I guess you could have called a foul or traveling, instead he called injury and stopped it. What happened with the clock, when they inbounded the ball, the clock did not start for three seconds. One of our assistants noticed it. We asked them, we requested the officials to watch the TV monitor and we were right. So that cut off, what, three-point something, which put it at 4.8, which made it a little bit easier for us to kind of get the game done.
So that was I guess the story of that situation.

Q. Coach, you're able to match the Illinois women now. Comment on that a little bit? Did you talk to your team about that?
COACH WEBER: We have. I'll be honest. It's kind of ironic they were the 9th seed, we were the 10th seed. They've had some heart-breaking losses. Last weekend we watched a couple of their games after practice, you know, just everybody together cheering for them. And we were all heartbroken to see them lose on a blockout and especially the effort they gave, the fatigue factor you guys asked about. They only had nine people and only played six or seven and they got through four and really had a chance to win the last one.
And so I don't think it will be a factor. We have to make sure we use our bench. I thought Calvin was very good today. And he had struggled a couple of games. Came through for us. And Mike Davis has given us solid minutes, Jeffrey just defending.
But those guys will be very important. And as you saw in the first game, you know, I think Michigan State had, what, five people foul out or four people foul out. So it's going to be even more important because Wisconsin is patient, they do get the ball inside. And we'll have to make sure our bench does a great job, if we do have any of those foul problems.

Q. Your starters have played a lot of minutes the last three days, what's your sense of how they are physically and then what are they going to have left tomorrow, do you think?
COACH WEBER: I think they're fine. I think the only one you worry about is Chester. We tried to get him out a lot quicker than normal. But he has so much tolerance of pain that -- and he just has such a will and a desire to be successful that I think he'll be fine. I don't think that's going to be a factor tomorrow, at all, to be honest. It's going to be more what Shaun talked about: Having the discipline to match their system.
It looked like Michigan State had them today. We were watching in the locker room. All of a sudden you turn the TV off and we're getting ready for the game and we turn it back on and it's tie score.
So they just -- and we've used them as an example, to be honest. Wisconsin, they don't show emotion. They just come and play. They don't talk trash. They do it old school-wise, and we've talked about it with our guys: Be smart. Be consistent, and do it on the court.
And if you find a way to win it, then we'll do some celebrating tomorrow.

Q. Coach, there was some talk of moving the championship game up to 1:00 into the SEC's time slot. Were you aware of that and how would that have affected you in terms of preparation?
COACH WEBER: Well, it would make it tougher. I'll be honest I hope it doesn't happen. And I hadn't heard that.
I knew there was some -- I saw the news last night with the dome and all the damage and I knew about the delay of the game and I knew Kentucky -- I heard they lost this morning and Georgia has to play twice today.
But if it happened, you gotta deal with it. You gotta suck it up. We what Wisconsin does. They're not complicated. It's kind of -- I grew up in Wisconsin it's the old Green Bay Packers sweep, you know it's coming, can you stop it?
And on the other end, Brian mentioned it or Shaun, they played a pack defense and they're going to be in there. It's almost like a two-three zone, you're going to have to get good ball movement up there. We had some success at home. It wasn't one of our better games.
And I think they kind of caught us when we had our hearts kind of taken out so many times and maybe lost our spirit a little bit.

Q. Talk about your players, every time Minnesota made a run, you guys kept pushing and kept pushing?
COACH WEBER: And this is something we've struggled with all year. We hit these walls and we're not -- we don't find a way around them or through them. And now for some reason I don't know if they realize it's the end of the season, this is it, this is do or die, whatever, they have finally come together, and they understand they're doing it as a team.
We're keeping our poise. We don't argue as much on the court, helping each other. And it's all the things we've kind of been emphasizing all year, and finally I guess we got to them. So I guess it's better later than not at all.
And Pruitt's effort today, we have a play hard chart, and it's loose balls and deflexions and charges and all those types of things that never get in the stats. And he was our leader. I don't know if he's been a leader all year. So I think he's hooked up and he fought in the post, didn't really Williams get going.
That's what we're going to need tomorrow. We're going to have to fight every possession, get loose balls, have some things go our way, maybe some balls bounce off our head and go in the hoop. Just some things are going to have to happen magically for us to have some success.
If you have a will and desire maybe that will take care of itself.

Q. Hughes was a tough matchup for you guys, looked like he was hurt late in the game. If he doesn't play how will that affect what goes on tomorrow?
COACH WEBER: Tollackson didn't play last night, so you can't depend on that. Obviously Trevon has hurt us. He's had big numbers in both games. But at the same time once, it's Krabbenhoft, then it's Flowers, then Hughes and Butch. They consistently come up with big efforts. So Brian said we do have good matchups, we have to stay out of foul trouble. We've really had trouble with their ball screens. I think we're better at that now. We understand it. Now can we do it in the game.
And then we've got to keep any time we get Chester, different people out, we've got to keep them rested. I saw Tom Izzo, he was in so much foul trouble, used guys that haven't been in games in months. And those kids fought it out and gave him a chance to win. Like our guys did yesterday against Purdue in the first half.
And that's probably what is going to have to happen if we're going to have success.

Q. Bruce, have you ever coached a team in four consecutive games like this and do you make any adjustments strategically to account for fatigue?
COACH WEBER: Well, just get back. I just told them I'll walk back, they can get back. We need to get food, get them rested and hydrated. We talked about that. We've talked about being here all week, and we've talked about rest. Making a commitment. Shaun talked about his eating habits and actually has an independent study class, his last one. And the whole class we set it up to help him. And he's studying nutrition and his eating habits. He's writing a paper on it and really he's monitoring himself.
So it's a good thing for the future and I wish he would have thought about that a while ago, but, as he said, maybe it's a good thing at the right time. So we'll go back, eat, we'll watch some tape. We'll meet like we always do about 9:30, have some ice cream sundaes and get up in the morning and walk through the hotel and make a go of it.
That's all you can do. This is in my five years our third matchup with Wisconsin in the finals. They beat us the first year here, we beat them the second year in Chicago, and we have a lot more to play for than them.
I think I gotta believe they're a 2 seed somewhere in there. I don't think it's going to change for us with our record. There's not much unless we find a way to win it. So I hope that's the motivating factor.

Q. Following up on Pruitt, besides his diet what else has come together for him. Because he's playing like you probably expected all year?
COACH WEBER: I think he gets it now. And I'm not sure he got it, to be honest. And when I say get it, it's a general term, but he understands what it's about. And I always talk about who makes All-Conference, who makes All-American. It's the guys from the teams that win. And if you have success, you'll get those honors, you'll get those accolades.
And it's really bassackwards, if you win, we had three guys make All-American that didn't average over 15 points a game. But we won. And people appreciated that. And now I think he gets it. I think a lot of them get it. It's the team that's more important and hopefully we can bring that out of them tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time, Coach.

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