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March 20, 2008

Nick Calathes

Rob Ferguson

Phil Martelli

Ahmad Nivins


THE MODERATOR: We have the student-athletes St. Joseph's and we'll start with questions for the student-athletes.

Q. For all three of you, the Oklahoma guys basically asked to compare you guys to a Big-12 team. They came up with Texas A & M as a team they thought you were like. Looking at that, do you see them similar to any of the teams you have played this year?
PAT CALATHES: Well the coach kind of compared to -- I don't know if you remember, last year's U Mass team they had a team that pounded the ball inside and really went more inside outside rather than outside inside. So we kind of look at them, compare them to them. They got two really strong post players and stuff and I think that's going to be one of our main focuses tomorrow. We're going to have to eliminate that.

Q. I guess if y'all could kind of talk about what you've seen, you talked about Oklahoma pounds it inside just what you've seen from them and if you like, kind of underdog role after the last time St. Joseph went to the tournament as a top seed.
ROB FERGUSON: Throughout the whole season we have been pretty much seen as the underdog. So we're kind of used to that. And that kind of gives us extra chip on our shoulder. So we'll go out there and we'll play and we'll give our hearts tomorrow to everything that we do out there on the court.
PAT CALATHES: I've been saying all year, if we play the way we can play in a lot of games this year -- we have played that way against, you know, Nova and Xavier both times and a couple other games, we're a very, very competitive team. And I think we can compete with pretty much anybody if we play at that level and we set our pace early and play the defense I think, that I think we can play, but if we don't, then as you can see all year we have struggled if we haven't played the way we can play. So pretty much we're really looking forward to tomorrow's game, we're really prepared, and we're going to come out and it's going to be a good game.

Q. Pat, Blake Griffin said he met you through your brother. Did you play against him or what are your impressions of him in general?
PAT CALATHES: He's a very good player. I've seen him play at the McDonald's game. Nick, my little brother, played in the game this last year and I met him through there. And very, very strong. He's really a strong player. He's a very good player. So he's definitely done well this year, and in my opinion, he is the guy we're going to have to try to contain tomorrow night.

Q. A couple of you guys talked mark about what Tasheed Carr has brought to your team this year?
ROB FERGUSON: He has brought, last year we didn't have like a vocal leader, Tasheed came here and he says everything that needs to be said when no one wants to talk and he's just always leak in practice he'll be there. He's the one that will get on you if you're doing something wrong. But he's also the one that helps you if you have any trouble. And basically he's the vocal lead are right now.

Q. Is he kind of like what we hear a Philly ball player is?
ROB FERGUSON: Yeah, he's a Philly guard, because all the guards in Philly, they're all tough, they, like he just has a mentality like that.

Q. For Pat, if you and your brother, would you have bet him before the year which of y'all were going to make if one of y'all was going to make the NCAA tournament that it would be y'all. That is just the way it turned out?
PAT CALATHES: I thought we had a real good shot at the beginning of the year in making the tournament. We started out 4-4. But just, I really thought we are a very good team. I said that through the whole year, we just didn't really start out, we didn't use our skills and our advantages to the best we could at the beginning of the year. When we really started doing that we became really tough. So I didn't think at all that Florida wasn't going to you can ma the tournament. I really thought that they had a real good shot, especially how they started out. They were arranged halfway through the year, I think they were ranked maybe 18th. So they just didn't really finish the way they wanted to.

Q. Ahmad, I assume you've seen Griffin on tape now, your impressions of him and how do you deal with him?
AHMAD NIVINS: I think he's a really strong player. He has really good foot work, he has great hands. And I think just like Pat said, he's going to be one of the vocal guys that we're going to have to focus on and that we're really going to have to tune in on both ends of the floor if we want to be successful. But I think our defense is going to be really crucial in this game and hopefully we'll come home with a win.

Q. Even for guys that aren't Philly guys, once they get there do you kind of adopt that mentality that we all hear about?
PAT CALATHES: I think so. Just seeing, I don't know from other Philly schools or anything, but just seeing from the way our school is and how and our team carries itself and how we practice and play, every game, I think. So I think everybody becomes really tough minded just coming up here. I think a lot of guys, I've seen it in myself and I've also seen it in a lot of my teammates when guys come in soft mentally and then they really just I don't know if it's just playing college basketball, but definitely playing for St. Joseph's I think you become a lot mentally tougher and physically tougher. I don't know if that's just college basketball in general but that's definitely what's happened at St. Joseph's since I've been here.

Q. Rob have you seen any of that?
ROB FERGUSON: Like Pat said when you first get to college, like probably like mentally soft, but just like the whole Philly area just like especially the big five, like you have to have that mentality or like you'll be over powered and it really helps for you to have the mentality like that. Because then you can go forward and you'll be able to see everything that you can do with your teammates and your coaches, especially like Coach Martelli, he kind of makes you adapt to that mentality like he wants you to have that mentality. No one can beat you and he just makes you stronger.

Q. Guys, apologize I've been outside, if I repeat a question slap me down. Is it refreshing in a way to step out of the A 10 and play somebody else like a Big-12 team this time of year. Pat, you start and head on.
PAT CALATHES: Definitely this is what we have been planning on doing all year, make it to the tournament. So definitely if feels great to be in this position, just making it here is a great thing but also we want to obviously move on and past Game One. So definitely it feels good to be in this position.
ROB FERGUSON: It always feels good because you can see where you stack up with all the best teams in the nation. And see where you stand.
AHMAD NIVINS: It's just a great, wonderful feeling all around. You watch these big schools throughout the year and you wonder all season how you will matchup against a team like than we finally get that chance and I'm glad my teammates are here with me we just got to move forward and hopefully we'll get a win.
Q. Pat, what in the world was it like growing up in that house with the three of you guys as competitive as I guess you all were?
PAT CALATHES: It was -- in one word I don't think I could really explain it. Definitely, it was definitely different. Just growing up having the three of us. Really, my dad pretty much drove us to be competitive against each other. We would go over to his house probably five o'clock at night and stuff and probably stay there out on the court for probably 7:00 to 11:00 almost every night and that was just weekdays and stuff and that was when we were little kids and everything just growing up try to be in the position we're at now. So I guess all the hard work and everything really has paid off in the long run.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, guys. We'll go ahead and get an opening statement from Coach Martelli and then go right to questions.
COACH MARTELLI: I think that having the opportunity to get an extra day and play the Friday night segment probably helped us because the anxiousness that we felt going into selection Sunday. Monday we were able to get just a shooting and lifting session in. Tuesday, a session at home and then traveled here and got a chance to have a full practice early last evening and then we practiced already today.
So I think that for the three guys that you had up here to have the opportunity, creates a lifetime of memories and that's really what every coach in here would tell you that that's what they're trying to do, to give these kids a college basketball experience that they would never forget and being selected has allowed us to give that, this group that special opportunity. And feeling.

Q. How does it feel for you to have your team back I guess the last time was 2004 when you played an Oklahoma team in a regional final. Just how do you feel about being back this year?
COACH MARTELLI: Would you remind me, how did that game end up that? Well -- I have a twitch every time I hear Oklahoma, to be honest with you and see orange, but that's just me.
I think that for our program it's very significant. Because what could happen when you're in a non-BCS conference is where have you gone and what have you done?
We have had terrific years since that 2004 team played in the regional final. We played in the NIT Championship Game, we played in the Atlantic 10 Championship Game, the next year we played in the A 10 Championship Game. We played in the NIT again and we won a couple of home games in the NIT. And last year was the kind of the blip, we won 18 times but weren't good enough for post season play. So I think that any time out of sight out of mind and this team and these players to accomplish an at-large bid is very significant for our program. And we haven't gone away and we're not as good as we were, obviously, in 2004, but this is a group that has a unique talents also.

Q. Could you talk about what Tasheed Carr has brought to this team; and being a Philly guy, is he typical of the Philly guard?
COACH MARTELLI: Well, Tasheed, number one, has a vocal presence that this team doesn't have. Basically if you were down in the locker room right now Tasheed's doing all the talking, and his teammates are doing all the of the listening.
And that's the way it is on the court also. If Tasheed was not talking, then we would have a group that only wanted their coach to do the talking. We tried that last year and to be honest with you it was exhausting. And it was exhausting for the players to hear me beating on their ears and it was hard for me to physically do that day in and day out.
Tasheed is, he was voted captain by his teammates before he ever played a game this year, so that's the significance of what he brings intangibly.
I think that on the basketball floor, there's a lot of improvement that could happen with Tasheed. And he's really like a sponge with Doug Overton. Doug was a 12 year NBA player, he never had anything longer than a one year contract. And Doug was a Philly guy and played at Lasalle and Tasheed has really soaked up that atmosphere from Doug.
I still think there's aways to go, I think he can become a more consistent shooter, he could become a better long-range shooter, and he at some point in time he has to eliminate the emotion from his game. I think that emotion is good, but when you get over emotional at that position, it could be detrimental both to you and to your team.
So I would say typical Philadelphia guard? Probably not yet, but I think by the end of his career next year he will be.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Coach. Thank you.

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