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March 21, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and take questions for the student-athletes of Wisconsin.
Q. This is for anyone who wants to answer the question. Talk about last night, the game got over about 10:15, obviously a very exciting deal. What did you guys do last night? How easy was it to get to bed and how rested are you guys going to be going into tomorrow?
MARCUS LANDRY: It wasn't easy getting to bed, I tell you that. But it was a great game. Guys really came out there to play. Just a great feeling. We are going to ride on that. We're going to go and practice today and really work on what we need to work on for this next game.
Q. Marcus, Joe, I'm not sure what at this stage what you know of Xavier, but can you talk a little bit about their front court and some of the challenges that they present.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: We don't know a whole lot. Seen them play on TV quite a bit. They have had a great year. They're very talented. Very athletic and strong.
It was interesting to see them in person yesterday, to see how big they really are. And they really attack the glass like comparable to like a Michigan State, I would say. But it's hard to compare teams, but we'll learn a lot more here in the next less than 24 hours even, in the next few hours, I guess, and be as prepared as we can be in a short time. Our coaches always do a great job, so we'll have wide open ears and ready to learn.
MARCUS LANDRY: Same thing. We don't know too much about them, but it was good that we got a chance to watch them play yesterday before our game kind of to see what they were. They're a very big team. So like he said, you kind of compare them to Michigan State. I know they're going to be all over the glass, just like those guys.
So we have to be prepared and ready. We'll learn more about the team within less than 24 hours here in the next hour or so and even tomorrow morning.
Q. For Marcus and Trevon Hughes, Marcus, you grew up in Wisconsin. Can you just talk about the state of basketball in Wisconsin given that you and Marquette are both here. And then Trevon Hughes, I guess growing up so far away, did you have any idea Wisconsin basketball throughout the state was such a big deal?
MARCUS LANDRY: Well, Wisconsin basketball has really been on the rise. Growing up I didn't know too much about Marquette or Wisconsin. I really didn't get into it until I saw myself developing as a player. But it's really been on the rise. Only thing I know about it was the bugs.
So it's just been a great experience to watch the teams grow over the years. And some of the guys that came out of Marquette and Wisconsin, to watch those guys play on beyond college basketball has been great.
TREVON HUGHES: Coming from New York, I had never heard of Wisconsin or Milwaukee. So therefore, Wisconsin, Marquette didn't exist in my head. I was just all about the Big East schools. But I went to military school in Wisconsin, I started getting recruited by Marquette and Wisconsin. And just the talent level that's in Wisconsin is just -- it's great. Like people don't like take it for granted any more that Wisconsin basketball is just for big guys that's slow.
But we can play. We shown people that we can play with any team out there and it's good basketball. We are out here and Marquette is out here and they're playing great without their point guard.
Q. Trevon Hughes, the two programs, Marquette and Wisconsin, seem to play a very different style of basketball. One is a smaller private school, other is a bigger public school. As somebody that's recruited by both of them, do they kind of really present a nice contrast for you in terms of what you want?
TREVON HUGHES: I would say so. Marquette tried to recruit me, talking about they going to be in the Big East and I'm going to be close to home, but that didn't matter because Bo Ryan is from the East Coast, he made it out here. He done a good job in the D-III level, in the Division I level. So he recruited me.
I liked the coaching staff, the team, the team that was here before me and my teammates that's here prior. And that's like what drew me here because it's such a nice group of guys and I wanted to be here. They made me feel like family, so that's why I came.
Q. Being from New York there's a stereotype of how the game is played there. And it seems like it's the antithesis of how it is at Wisconsin. Was there any trepidation of going to a system like that where it's a slower pace?
TREVON HUGHES: No. But Coach always beat it in my head that don't try to make the great play, make the good play. Coming out of high school I was pretty flashy, always wanted to make the crowd say, Ooh and ah. But with kind of a steady pace, it's more of a team game and when we need to, he let us play.
Q. Joe, I know seeding kind of goes out the window at this point, but when you guys found out that you were a 12 seed, did it give you a little more incentive or did you come into the tournament with a little more chip on your shoulder getting that seed?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: I don't know if necessarily due to the fact that they gave us a 12 seed. I think we were just pleased to be in the tournament given only 19 wins.
But like I said, we thought we built up a good enough resume to be in. But I think that you just need to find a chip on your shoulder other than being a 12 seed.
There's 65 great teams in the tournament. You got to find other ways to have a chip on your shoulder and we just were upset with a few -- the way a few games went this year and that was enough motivation there itself. So the 12 seed didn't really have a whole lot to do with it, but we just go out and play the same way we do any night.
Q. You guys are here so often, this is the 11th straight year and once you get to the tournament, you have a habit of staying and making it a few rounds. How much of that comes from the experience?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: I think a lot -- it helps a lot. But this team, you saw a guy in Jordan Taylor who made his first appearance in a NCAA game. Jon Leuer, I don't know how much they played last year, but the first real significant playing time in a NCAA tournament. So there's these guys next to me are experienced along with a couple others, but just the kind of the way the system goes.
And this team is just doing a great job, as have other teams in the past here at Wisconsin, it's just the way the system works and it's working its course right now and doing a good job.
Q. John or Marcus, can you talk about the length of the timeouts and what you guys do as players? Does it disrupt your rhythm at all? Does Coach Ryan have enough to say during those timeouts?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Is it longer?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Okay. It seemed a lot longer. Yeah.
MARCUS LANDRY: Go ahead, John, I mean Joe.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Well, yeah. I mean our -- he has so many rules, I mean, he just had to pour his water into a cup. And so we can't have our managers on the bench much, so we have some of our red shirt players who aren't going to be able to play in these games, they sit our chairs down, so that they're not used to that. So maybe that takes up the extra 30 seconds because it really didn't seem any different. But maybe because they're not so used to doing that, they're a little slow with that.
We were joking today at breakfast about I almost fell down because the chair wasn't behind me. Right where it usually is because of the managers. So maybe that took up the time. Because it really didn't seem any different. I didn't feel any different.
MARCUS LANDRY: Well, I guess we just get more rest. I guess that's a good thing. I don't know, it gives you longer time to recover and just go out there and be ready. I mean, it's great for guys that play a lot of minutes to have the extra minute or so or whatever how much time it is.
Q. I know you guys don't know a lot about Xavier, but do you think the Mid Major label is appropriate for them?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: No. They're good. I don't know, I don't think the players are -- I don't even know who is the judge of judging Mid Majors. I think when you see Gonzaga, when you see Xavier, those type of teams and those teams come to mind, I don't see them as Mid Major. They may use that title as a chip on their shoulder and that's great for them, but they have earned the respect of the nation as far as the players and coaches, media.
They're a great team and I don't know if Mid Major is being disrespectful even, I don't even know where to go with this, but they're such a great team, they can play with anybody. I think that's the best way to put it.
Q. Trevon Hughes, you talked about trying to make the flashy play. How long did it take you to get over that and how often were you in Coach Ryan's doghouse for that?
TREVON HUGHES: It took me a whole year, my freshman year, you know. I spent a lot of time sitting next to him. So it took me, I want to say just a year. But my second year I kind of got the ropes as coming in as a guard and had to make the good play. If I didn't make the good play, guess where I was at? Right next to him again.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thanks, gentlemen. We'll take questions for Coach Ryan.
Q. Coach, Trevon Hughes was just up there and talked about coming from New York he tried to make a lot of flashy plays and you told him just to make the good play. How long did it take for your message to sink in with him and how difficult was that process?
COACH RYAN: Well, here's my reasoning, and it's not a theory, it's obviously based on a lot of facts and observation: If you try to make good plays as compared to trying to make great plays. Great plays work about one out of every four or five times. Good plays will work three out of four, four out of five times. So on passes, make the good pass, doesn't have to be the great pass. And I learned that from my high school coach, because that was one of the reasons he kept me on the team was because I could deliver the ball to the scorers and that was after being the leading scorer in bitty league, by the way.
So he took the scoring away from me and said, Okay, you're the guy that's going to play D and pass the ball and distribute the ball. So I made a behind the back pass one game as a sophomore and he pulled me aside and he said, You know, it's a good thing that pass got through. And I said, Well, you know, that was the best way I could get the ball to him, Coach. Coach, he says, No, no, I know, I know, but for your sake you're lucky it got through or you're fortunate that it got through.
So he would let me do some things through the legs or because Bob Cousy was the guy that I always tried to copy, and it's kind of nice being on the Bob Cousy Award Committee right now because I just always pictured him playing. And every day I would go to the playground and try to do what he did.
But I can see as a coach if a person's out there trying to be flashy and it's not getting done, then you say, Don't be flashy. The key is, if you can make it happen, then results are still what it's all about.
So I've been after Trevon on things like that for a long time and he's improved. There's no question about it. And I think he understands, especially when at practice we chart points per possession and if you're turning the ball over, you can't get a point on that possession, the statistics tend to go against you. But he's learning. Not quite there yet.
Q. When you see or read or hear that your team isn't as, quote, "athletic" as some of the other teams you play, how do you interpret that? What does that mean to you?
COACH RYAN: I've been asked that a lot over the years and not just in Division I, Division III also. Athleticism, a race car driver, good eye-hand coordination, that's athleticism. Being able to jump high is athleticism. Being able to hit a 98 mile an hour fast ball is athleticism. So it all depends on how you want to describe the individual function of being an athlete. There's a lot of different things that make people an athlete.
So if people are looking -- if I have a bunch of guys who have good eye-hand coordination, who anticipate well, who have good court awareness, all those things are athletic traits. I think some people get very limited in their scope when they think of athleticism as only speed in a sprint or high jumping or long jumping as far as events or skills are concerned.
So I really don't buy that we're not athletic, because I think in order to play college basketball, period, to be on the floor, especially in an environment like this, the NCAA tournament, you have to have athletes. It's just people measure athletes a little differently.
Q. Can you give your thoughts on Sean Miller and what he's been able to do with the Xavier program?
COACH RYAN: Yeah, I was waiting for somebody to ask me about Sean. Did he tell you about nine years old being in Madison? We dressed him up in a Superman contest at what I call -- I got a chance, the coach that I worked with, Bill Cofield, we were talking about ways of getting kids to the field house in Madison, stimulate interest in basketball. And you know, being an East Coast guy myself and thinking that the basketball program needed a little promoting and selling tickets and trying to be -- since marketing and economics was my major, so we had this Roundball For Youth night.
And I got a chance to get some people, we had Crazy George come in, anybody remember Crazy George? Did all the ball handling, could spin 47 balls at the same time. I'm exaggerating. And we had Tanya Crevier, who was the best woman's ball handler, because I was very sensitive to making sure we covered everything in the Roundball For Youth night. And we invited kids, we had an inter-squad scrimmage, but I felt we needed one more ingredient. We needed a kid, we needed somebody a little more entertainment.
And I called up John Miller, and knew about Sean and these different things that he had done as a nine year old. We bring Sean Miller into the field house in Madison -- I still have people that come up to me and say, Oh, I remember that night in the field house when you had this person and that person and we had Stretch Gregory and Claude Gregory, Wes Matthews, Larry Petty, Joe Chrnelich, Danny Hastings, a bunch of those guys at Wisconsin at that time and had a good scrimmage, but afterwards all the kids got a chance to bring their basketball down on the court after Crazy George, Tanya, and Sean Miller did their thing.
Well, we put together one of the other assistants, his wife had made a Superman costume, put it on Sean. So Sean had this cape flying behind him with the tights on, and I have video. (Laughter.)
And I sent Sean a copy of this. And it was the most fun I think I've -- just see the smile on the kids, the kids had a great time. And Sean and his dad were there and he did some ball handling and some shooting and did some things. And it was very well received. And that's how I first met Sean Miller.
And then, of course, he coached at Madison with Stu a little bit and I followed him as a guard. And you know, being from Pennsylvania, when you're at Chester all the teams in the western part of the state they all think that they're the best and the teams on the east think they're the best Lower Merion, Coachfield, Chester, and then Beaver Falls and Shendley and the rest of them on the other side of the state. So I had a chance to follow his teams. Coach Miller's a very, very good coach. Both of them. So that's how I know Sean and it's, he's just, he's a basketball junkie like I am. I mean just, that's what we, that's in our blood. My dad didn't coach high school, but he coached kids. So I kind of knew where he was always coming from.
And we kind of played the same position and so probably more than what you expected. But there it is. And if you ever, if anybody needs a $29.99 for a copy of the video from me. Roundball for Youth night.
Q. How would you define a Wisconsin player? And if you had a guy out there say who was a McDonald's All-American, a great talent who wanted to come play for you, but didn't meet whatever criteria you have for bringing guys in, would you say ever say, son, you're a great player, but we just, you wouldn't fit what we try to do here?
COACH RYAN: Well, we check players out first. And there's and it just because we don't happen to get a lot of those types of players, I think that, you know, in our society there are things that nobody ever wants to talk about but are facts. The national attention that are given to X number of programs in this country automatically, whether it's a commercial for a soft beverage and they got one team's fans jumping up-and-down in the stands; or they got a commercial about rivalries and dropping suitcases and picking it up for the other one; or there are things that you fight at a Wisconsin in recruiting where we don't get the national freebies. That's what I call them. In marketing and exposure and everything else.
But we're still a part of the game and we still think we can get players that can play and we still think we can compete. And I've never turned away somebody who said, hey, I really want to be at your school, but I only want to stay one year. I mean, I don't know of too many people that have done that.
But the guys that we, we have to have a connection. Academically, it is very, very difficult at Wisconsin. Every coach tells you that, but I'll tell you right now talk to a lot of coaches, and when I tell them the things that are required they go, really? Yeah, there aren't any shortcuts at Wisconsin.
So sometimes in the recruiting maybe your field that you get to select from isn't the same, but when you say what type of person? Do they play hard? Are they passionate about the game? Are they coachable? Are they respectful? Are they studious? Do they have a direction, do they have a vision of trying to be a better person and to make things better for others. I know that sound idealistic, but all those things tend to make for some pretty good players in what we do.
And we have had obviously very good players. Players drafted in the first round and players that have played overseas and players that are very successful in business and other areas.
But to say -- it kills me inside -- not kills me, because it just, I think it's hilarious, oh, he gets the guys that fit his system. And I always say, well if taking good shots, taking care of the ball, playing solid defense is a system, well why doesn't everybody else have the same system? They do. It's just, we are who we are, just like Xavier is who they are and Florida State's who they are. And, but I always find that amusing when people say, he gets the players to fit his system. And I have never been in a clinic and heard somebody ever talk about a different system than what we have been preaching.
Q. You talked about growing basketball in the state of Wisconsin, with that story, can you talk about the state of basketball in your state? I know four teams had winning record, you and Marquette are both in the second round of the tournament, for people outside of the state, can you just talk about the state of basketball within Wisconsin?
COACH RYAN: It's very good. When I first got to Wisconsin in the '70s, a lot of the high school coaches were coaching 2003, three sports. And we were starting basketball camps and the Roundball For Youth nights and things like that and it just seemed -- I'm not saying it wasn't good, I'm not saying it was bad, I'm not saying or anything other than I know that it, with McGuire in Milwaukee, that Marquette had that certain flare and, but let's face it, in the '70s how many teams were making the NCAA tournament, how much exposure was there on TV compared to now.
And the other thing was, you know, the most notoriety other than in the '70s than Marquette was the Eau Claire teams that were going to Kansas City. And playing in the NAIA -- Ken Anderson was the coach -- and then other Division III NAIA level teams were developing in the state of Wisconsin, which brought national championships to the state, one school won four down in the southwest corner of Wisconsin. Platteville.
And, let's see, a few years ago, I don't know if you are aware of that, and then Stevens Point won a couple and Whitewater won a couple and some other teams got to the finals and things like that. And that got a little bit of exposure, but as far as the Division I teams, all of a sudden -- the AAU programs in Wisconsin for the most part they are run very well, they have given opportunities to kids that did not have opportunities before. So the development of the AAU programs in Wisconsin, 90 some percent very up front, very you can deal with them, you can talk to people, can you say this is how, this is what I expect, this -- don't call me about this, don't call me about that. I don't want to hear this.
And they listen because I don't deal with that stuff. And nobody tries to sell me a player. And I'm sure it's the same way with the other programs.
But high school basketball got better, because coaches were becoming, going to more clinic, when I first started going to a clinic was in the early '70s BS, and it was at Valley Forge, Bob Knight was one of the clinicians and I remember the impact that had on me. And more and more coaches started doing more and more things with a lot of factors, but one, there were very good college programs in the state and not just on the scholarship level, and you were having teams Green Bay, UWM, getting into the tournament besides Marquette and Wisconsin.
And all those things were good for basketball. So it's a combination of a lot of things, but it's really been a lot of fun to come from the Philly area and go into Wisconsin in the '70s and to, for 30 some years be around what's happened in Wisconsin and be a small part of that. That's a lot of fun. It's, basketball in Wisconsin's pretty good. I know a lot of people don't know that much about it, but it's pretty good.
Q. Players from what they have seen of Xavier so far compared it to Michigan State in the way that they attack the glass. Do you agree with that and what's your assessment of Xavier from what you've seen so far?
COACH RYAN: Our players said they were like Michigan State? I think because one of the assistants said that. And our guys listen. So, yeah I mean they are, they're out rebounding teams by what? Eight, nine, ten, somewhere in there. And they're long and bouncy and aggressive. And they have numbers.
So that tends to be like a Michigan State, because you try to look at certain things and say, okay, what does this team have, this team has depth. What does this team have, this team has size. This team has quickness, this team has great outside shooters.
So one of the things that's been mentioned, obviously, is that Xavier's very, very tough on the glass. And that would be a great comparison to say they're like Michigan State.
Q. I apologize if you've been asked about this before, but with Wisconsin and Marquette at the same regional, did, do you ever recruit the same players?
COACH RYAN: Sure, it happens. Recruit the same players at a lot of schools in the Big-10 that they recruit. Marquette, DePaul, Iowa State, there's other leagues also that recruit Wisconsin, we recruit other states, other schools recruit our state. We recruit against Green Bay and Milwaukee too because sometimes there's a player that can play right away or maybe feels they can play right away, that may be at one of those schools that, which Green Bay and Milwaukee are pretty good at, maybe not every year, but Marquette's not the only school that you recruit against in Wisconsin.
Q. With the two schools seem to play in pretty distinctly different styles of basketball. Does either, do you feel like that that gives kids an, I guess, a good, a clear choice in what they're looking for?
COACH RYAN: Well, I think that kids are smart. The kids we want are the kids that are looking for the best education, the best environment, the best -- there's so many more things other than styles of basketball that a young man -- what did you choose a college for? Well I would hope that it was an intelligent decision about the environment and what's offered and what majors and everything else.
So it isn't just about a style of basketball that a young man or a young woman chooses a college. That insults their intelligence. So we are who we are, they are who they are, and Green Bay does what they do and Milwaukee does what they do and people choose a school.
I don't know if style of play is going to be the thing that is the most important thing in a young man's mind. Because if you can get a layup and you play at Wisconsin, you're going to get a layup. If you can get a layup at Green Bay, you get the layup. You get a good shot. I haven't seen any of the four programs not try to take good shots. And hopefully they're there to get a Wisconsin degree. The ones that are playing for me. That's all I care about.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you, coach.
COACH RYAN: All right.
End of FastScripts