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 19, 2009

Jon Diebler

Dallas Lauderdale

Thad Matta

Evan Turner


THE MODERATOR: Joining us today are Ohio State student-athletes Jon Diebler, Evan Turner and Dallas Lauderdale. Questions for the student-athletes only, please.

Q. Evan, how long after you found out you'd be facing Siena were you told that they upset Vanderbilt in the first round last year?
EVAN TURNER: Probably 15 seconds later. And we were aware they're a good team and we knew in the past what they did. We watched the tournament a little bit last year. And I mean, once it comes to this point I don't think it's an upset, I think it was just a win. A lot of teams prepare to win and have full faith in their system and their program. So I really don't think it was an upset, I think it was a basketball team. And I think the tougher team won that day.

Q. Can you guys talk about Siena's style of play and how you feel you match up to that?
JON DIEBLER: I just think like Evan says, unique style of basketball, but we're very confident in our defense. We know we'll have to stop them in transition, but, again, we know they like to get out and run and shoot and get to the lane. So it's going to be contrasting styles, but, again, I think both teams are going to stick with what they do.
DALLAS LAUDERDALE: I think they're great in transition. They have great guards. I think it's an advantage/disadvantage type game, because the advantage we have is obviously we have size on them, but then the advantage they have is they have quickness on us. So I think it's going to be a great college game.

Q. I know you guys are disappointed not making the NCAA field last year, but what did the NIT experience do for you?
EVAN TURNER: I think as underclassmen with the two people sitting next to me I think it helped us get better. We played some great teams in the NIT. We just realized what it takes in order to stay focused and survive a one-game elimination tournament and it helped out a lot; helped out tremendously and it gave us confidence.
And just for the simple fact that we missed out last year, just makes you a lot more grateful to be a part of the tournament this year. And we're just taking full advantage of it and laying everything on the line.
JON DIEBLER: I think it was kind of a wake-up call for us, just because not having that name across -- just because we're Ohio State doesn't mean we're guaranteed a spot in the NCAA. But like Evan said, it gave us confidence coming into this season, but I think it also gave us a lot of motivation to work hard in the offseason and capitalize on our opportunities early on.

Q. After seeing film and going over the scouting reports, does this team remind you of any team you faced already this season?
DALLAS LAUDERDALE: I think they might be the best transition team we've seen this season. We know Michigan State in the Big Ten, they're a transition team. But the way the guards in Siena, the way they push the ball and their bigs, we're going to have to focus on getting back in tomorrow's game. I don't think they're comparable to any team we've played this year, though.

Q. The Big Ten's kind of taken a national beating both in basketball and in football, mostly from the press. How do you guys think the Big Ten's going to do this year in the tournament?
EVAN TURNER: Just having full faith, I think all our teams in the tournament will do fine. I think we have a strong understanding of basketball. Our competition -- our competition level is pretty high. I think we play great defense in the Big Ten. I just think everybody's trying to seize the opportunity and the moment and try their hardest.

Q. Do you think the conference gets a bad rap?
EVAN TURNER: Depends on what you like. I mean, sometimes it might be boring to watch or score 50 points, win a game by 2, 50 to 48, makes you tough here. Once you play nonconference teams makes things a lot easier. My teammates and I are fortunate enough to be in the Big Ten and get better every single game and play against tough defense and competition as opposed to other conferences that might not play as strong of defense or they might just be offensive-minded.

Q. What do you guys expect just fan-wise you guys are pretty close and so is Louisville and Pittsburgh within driving, are you expecting pretty pro-Ohio State crowd?
JON DIEBLER: Definitely, I think we'll have a pretty good following. I think all the games will actually -- Louisville I think they'll bring a good following just because there's so many good teams playing down here, I think there will be a lot of fans coming to watch great basketball. But I think we're hoping we're going to have a lot of Ohio State fans out here.

Q. Dallas, you're going to have a size advantage. Do you think this is a team you'll be able to be physical with?
DALLAS LAUDERDALE: Definitely, we have to be smart in our physicality, because we can't get in foul trouble or the advantage won't be to any use. We want to -- me and B.J. and Evan and Kyle want to play our physical game, but we don't want to do anything stupid that will hurt the team. But we're going to go hard, we're going to go hard.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.
Coach Matta, welcome. If you'll begin with an opening statement.
COACH MATTA: Well, obviously always great to be back in Dayton. I think as a coach and as a player who spent a lot of time in this building, and for our guys to be an hour away, it worked out well for us because of what we've been through this week. You play three games last weekend and get back at 10:00 at night and guys got finals the next morning.
We were able to get through those and as we head into playing Siena tomorrow night, obviously a tremendous basketball team with great experience. I think that the challenges that we have trying to get our guys ready and understanding how fast Siena wants to play and finally be something that I think we'll see, and we've seen with a couple of teams this year, but, like I said, it's a great challenge when you're in the 8/9 game, it's going to be a war.

Q. When your team's playing a mid-major team that they may not be familiar with, how much of a selling job do you have to do with your team so they realize that this is a real-deal game, a real-deal opponent?
COACH MATTA: Well, honestly the selling job is just watching tape with them, and our guys have a great understanding with what they did last year in the NCAA Tournament, with the win over Vanderbilt, that is immediate respect right there, and the schedule they've gone out and played.
I think our guys have a very good appreciation and understanding. And I think that I've been on both sides of that fence of where they draw the line of labeling you. And the one thing I've learned in this tournament, there is no low major/mid major/high major. It's about two teams going out there and competing.

Q. You've taken young teams far in the tournament before. But with this group, do you worry about them feeling a sense of accomplishment that they've gotten here now?
COACH MATTA: You know, I would have if we would have won Sunday, had we beaten Purdue, maybe, and winning the Big Ten Tournament championship. The thing I love about this team and its youthfulness, they don't know.
And I think that's one thing that's really helped this team from the standpoint of everything is new to them. And that's helped us in a lot of regards with practice. Guys don't know what it's like to practice, practice in college, and we've been able to I think get a lot better throughout the course of the season.
And every team is a little bit different. I've never coached a team that's been this young, but it's been a very, very enjoyable year, because of the innocence, and when you lose a guy like David Lighty in December, and that was the one rock, that was the one guy I could say, "Hey David, make sure they understand this."
To their credit and the sophomores, they've done a very good job of kind of accepting the responsibility and leading this team.

Q. We posed this to the players and pose this to you, does this Siena team seem reminiscent to any team you've already played over the course of this season?
COACH MATTA: One is UMASS, very similar, guard-oriented, push the ball fast. But in regards to all the pieces that they have, I wouldn't say that there's a direct correlation. I think certain pieces you could pick and choose from a Michigan State or a Miami, Florida or Notre Dame, those types of teams I think can sort of symbolize who they are. But it's not verbatim any team that we've gone against like that.

Q. Your point about Lighty, seems like your team was searching for an on-the-floor leader when he did go down. Has Evan Turner now developed into that over the last couple of weeks?
COACH MATTA: I think he has, and I think he and Jon Diebler, the two cagey veterans, the sophomores have done a very good job of stepping up and assuming more responsibility and trying to help the younger guys through it. And that's the one thing that I think has helped this basketball team. They're a very close team. And they have an appreciation for each other and they're listening to what's being said. But I think Evan and Jon have done a great job of that, of saying, All right, fellows, this is what we need to do and this is how we need to do it.

Q. You hear us talk a lot about experience being an asset come tournament time, especially tournament experience. Why do you say that? And secondly, what do you have to do as a coach when you're dealing with a team that doesn't have a lot of that experience?
COACH MATTA: I think first and foremost, where the experience helps is you have guys that have been through the length and the challenges of a college season. And as you get into post-season play, maybe guys that have been in this environment just having maybe more of an understanding of you lose, you go home type of mentality.
And with a young team trying to build the experience, I think the greatest thing that's helped our team is we played, would it be 21 straight games of very, very competitive basketball in the Big Ten, and the environments that we have to go into, just the power of those teams, I think, has helped us. We're talking behind the curtain there, I want to say all but maybe two games in our Big Ten season have come down to like maybe the last two minutes of the game.
So there you're getting experience and the gun's pointed at your head, which is probably the best teacher.

Q. Again with Lighty, was there a point after that when you kind of realized things would be okay, or it wouldn't damage your season; that you guys would still be successful?
COACH MATTA: Until I saw him practice yesterday. And I'm like, Golly, if we only had him. I think that after he broke his foot against Jacksonville, we won the next game and we went against a very good West Virginia team and got beat bad at home. And I remember kind of saying, uh-oh, we've got to get this thing turned around. And the hardest part when you lose a guy like Dave is more along the lines of I think as a coach we've always tried to take October and November and December and really tweak and twist and turn and get everything kind of set for your conference race.
And we were headed there. We had the No. 1 defense in the country when he went down. Our offense was getting better. We saw signs of execution getting good, then all of a sudden you take a guy averaging 10 points, 6 rebounds, and I think David is one of the best defenders in college basketball, and now you're kind of like, geez, we've got to start moving guys here and there and changing what we're doing offensively.
So that was probably the biggest adjustment we had to go through.

Q. Playing so close to home is quite a reward for a No. 8 seed. Were you shocked that they sent you to Dayton?
COACH MATTA: I wasn't from the standpoint of this tournament -- I can't even fathom what those people go through in trying to put teams, and I think there's so much more that goes into it of as you're trying to take care of the higher seeds, where you don't cross paths again with teams that you've played.
And if you really look at the seedings, you could see why we might be here. And I think it's great to be here. The state of Ohio, obviously, we've got tremendous backing here. And I know even in the Dayton area there's a huge alumni base here. And being an hour away is good for us.

Q. Diebler's shooting percentages have gone up this year. Seemed like he got off to a bad start last year, never seemed to have recovered. This year it seems he got off to a good start, is it just momentum with him or did he do anything to get better?
COACH MATTA: I think with Jon last year coming in, there were times where being the all-time leading scorer in the state of Ohio, every time he shot the ball, the 19,000 people like in the Schottenstein Center would suck in like, Uh, he's going to make it. And started moving the ball around in the arena (Laughter).
No, I think there was so much, Jon put a lot of extra pressure on himself. And we would see himself shooting the ball every day in practice, and last year people would say throughout the course of the season Jon's shooting 29 percent. I'm like he's shooting 59 percent in practice. I know he can do it.
I think the other thing in looking at Jon, we made a couple minor alterations with his shot preparation, and one of the biggest things it's always funny to put a tape in from last year, you're going through and scouting, and you just look at the change in his body and how much stronger he is.
And I think with Jon's size and his athleticism, he's got a pretty quick release. But I think he's really slowed things down in his mind and just understands. And we set some goals for him in the offseason last year. And he's definitely exceeded those. I've just been as pleased as I can be with the progress he's made and what he's done for us this year.

Q. Ohio State's going to play different styles, how much is dictating the tempo of this game going to be a major factor in the tournament?
COACH MATTA: It's a good observation, because we have had to play a lot of different ways throughout the course of the season. And I think that the tempo really gets dictated once a game gets going. And are we scoring? Are we not scoring? What kind of shots is Siena getting? How the game's being called, is there stoppage in the game?
So, really, it's funny because we've talked about it. And I told somebody yesterday: If you said to me predict the score, would it be 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s, I won't know and probably won't until we're about three minutes into the game, exactly .
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, 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