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March 11, 2009

Dar Tucker

Jerry Wainwright

Will Walker


Providence - 83
DePaul - 74

JOHN PAQUETTE: Coach Jerry Wainwright. Dar Tucker and Will Walker.
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: Obviously, we think we took an awful lot from our stay here and played two good basketball teams, teams that we had faced only once during the year and had a lot of respect for both programs.
I have always had great respect for Wayne -- I always say his name wrong, Weyinmi, is a wonderful kid. He's really improved his game and he's got a great smile and great personality. Really enjoyed watching him grow up. He certainly was a difference maker today.
We had to change our matchups, started to get in a little bit of foul trouble and seemed like our whole team was in foul trouble through most of the game and short bench right now. Our guys got a little bit tired in the second half. We missed free throws that would have maintained the lead. We went a lot of 1 for 2s there and we needed to get to the three minute mark maybe we could get Mac (Koshwal) with four fouls.
Didn't work out that way but I couldn't be prouder of how we played and how we attacked the tournament and hopefully this group of young kids will stick together and grow from this experience and take positives from it and know how hard you have to work to be successful in the Big East.
JOHN PAQUETTE: Questions, please.

Q. Jerry, did you almost expect at some point you're going to hit some kind of wall? What was it going to take at that point to get over that?
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: We talked about it at the pregame talk was, we just had to find a new level of -- we -- again, we have three guys go 40 minutes. That's back to back for Will (Walker). Close for Jeremiah (Kelly). Dar (Tucker) was able to go 40 tonight. He switched with Mac in terms of foul trouble. It was going to take its toll on us at some point, Brian. You do get a little bit tired.
It was a little bit more of a fast-paced game tonight. We turned the ball over at inopportune times for points. I think there were two straight times in the game where against the press we just made lazy passes and they got two straight baskets which closed the lead real quick.
We only had 9 turnovers and I think we lost our legs at the free throw line in the second half but again I don't want to demean anything Providence did but I can't -- couldn't have asked for more in terms of effort.
We don't have a lot of guys left standing and I was proud the ones who played and got a lift today from Mario (Stula) his shots meant a lot to us and overall, anybody who played did the best they could.

Q. Did you ever sense you were about to pull this off and win another game?
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: We certainly thought we could win. We thought we were very positive in the locker room. I thought we were really solid during the game.
You know, we knew we had to play 40 minutes. We had that one wall. We hit that one wall and really hurt us. A lot of that is dictated by personnel, foul trouble. You have to be able to manage your way through that and it did hurt us today and so we played with different lineups and I think ultimately that hurt our defense and -- but we certainly felt we could compete with Providence.
We knew they were a team that's had a great chance to make the NCAA tournament. We knew we had to play our best. We had a two minute span where we didn't and that decided the game, really.

Q. For Dar and Will. Jerry talked about taking stuff away from these two days. What do you guys take away from the past couple days?
WILL WALKER: We take the experience and just take that we know we were working hard, we can keep winning and be a force in the Big East with the young guys getting a lot of experience, especially Jeremiah. He got a lot of experience at the point guard position.
It's going to carry on and keep trying to get better and better throughout the year and we also going to take this in the preseason and keep working hard so we can get better next year.
DAR TUCKER: It was like Will said, we just going to use it to get better. I mean sit back on this and think about it all year. Get better and work on our game, watch film, see what we got to work on and just do better next year.

Q. Coach, I'm guessing that DePaul is actually not a team that people can say that if 16 teams weren't mixed to come into the conference, that you now are more encouraged by what this team has done in these two games as opposed to the regular season. Now you can now have one person. I would say that would be a --
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: Right. Again, I talked a little bit about this yesterday. These kids played 18 conference games as did, I don't know, exactly the order of the Final Four teams. This is a really difficult league, very demanding and I think we would all agree that an awful lot of the teams that are at the bottom have younger players. This is an incredible classroom, Madison Square Garden with the attention, you guys, neutral floor.
If you're not motivated by this then you probably won't be much of a success at basketball and why should those guys at least not taste that? Why shouldn't that be something that allows them to say, you know, this is why I came to a Big East school, this is what it's all about and I really do believe, circumstances, that it motivates them.
I think -- if you're -- I think as a student athlete, for all that they give up -- everybody thinks they give get a lot but they give up an awful lot.
This is a great, great experience, life long experience. Just think of Matija Poscic, a kid from Croatia, who ultimately will go back with a college degree to his country and be able to relate memories of this tournament to a whole different group of people.
So I do believe it's a positive to have everybody here. I think, you know, in a different setting every team in this league is competitive. Certainly will help our program, without question as a springboard maybe the next year, but for all the kids I've always been -- it's like I told you yesterday, by the NCAA rules, the teams that didn't make it couldn't even get a T-shirt.
You battle all year and you do all the things you have to do and this is a great league. I know these guys take a lot of pride in saying they're from the Big East and they want to be part of it at the end and we didn't have the best year for sure but I think we showed that we can be a representative team in this league and we're just a couple of guys away from being pretty good. I agree with you, I think that's a great boost for your program.

Q. Dar, have you given anymore thought about your future? I know, are you considering turning pro or going through workouts? Have you given anymore thought about that?
DAR TUCKER: It's a thought, you know, but right now, I'm just focusing on what I got to work on and things I got to do. I still feel that I'm really -- my game ain't up to the pro level yet. I watch a lot of pro basketball, a lot. I don't think it's there yet so I just got to work on my game, just play for him.

Q. Is it fair to say you expect to be back at DePaul next year?
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: We're a quarter school. He's got finals next week. I know --
DAR TUCKER: I brought a couple papers down here.
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: We brought our academic advisor. These are two exceptional kids. I hope they have all their dreams come true in their lives. Both of them are Dean's List kids and that's -- we got to get back to reality here real quick when we get off the plane in Chicago. Anything else?

Q. With the season over, can you just reflect on what type of have toll it's taken, what you guys have been through?
COACH JERRY WAINWRIGHT: Well, you know, we made kind of a personal comment today that afterwards it's been very, very difficult but in no way has it been embarrassing. Somebody used the word "disgrace", which is as far from anything that we feel. I got good kids that go to class, work hard in school and really conducted themselves as men. This is an unforgiving league. We knew what we were getting into when we got into it and that's the beauty of it.
So we never asked -- we haven't looked for a shoulder to cry on. We are a maker of our own. We didn't make -- we did this or that. We go back over every game and identify weaknesses. Obviously what we're committed to is going back and correcting them.
Disappointed? Maybe a little bit frustrated but in no way embarrassed or in no way do we feel like at some point we're not going to be a team that the Big East is proud of.
JOHN PAQUETTE: DePaul, thank you.

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