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March 18, 2010

JaJuan Johnson

Chris Kramer

E'Twaun Moore

Matt Painter


THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with questions for the Purdue student-athletes.

Q. E'Twaun, we haven't seen you in a few games. Update us on your ankle. It seemed like Sunday night it was okay. But are you feeling even better and how close to a hundred percent are you?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Yes, my ankle is definitely fine. Practiced this week and didn't have any problems. And I'll be a hundred percent come tomorrow.

Q. What have you seen of Siena on tape? They seem like they have a four guard offense, want to push the ball and stuff so maybe similar to what you guys are at this point.
JAJUAN JOHNSON: They're a team that really plays hard. Their point guard pretty much controls a lot of the game. He led the nation in assists for a reason and they have capable scorers outside of him also and it's going to be a real good game.
CHRIS KRAMER: Like he said, Ronald Moore led the country in assists for a reason. They run a lot of ball screens for him, give him situations to make plays for himself or other people, Jackson, Edwin Ubiles. They have a lot of people that can score. Rossiter averages double doubles. We got to shore up our ball screen defense and go from there.
E'TWAUN MOORE: They got a lot of guys that score for them and they got to think about four guys that average over 10 points. So they start up top with the guards, just locking down and letting them penetrate and letting them do the things they want to do offensively. As long as we contain the guards and rebound and play good solid team defense, hopefully we should be okay.

Q. For those of us that aren't around you guys, what do you have to overcome with the loss of Robbie, besides the obvious points and rebounds? What on the court did you have to change?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Once he went out we had to play a smarter lineup, so that's something we had to adjust to. That's probably the biggest issue. And just learning basically how to play with four guards and finding a way to make up for the rebounding. That's been our challenge lately. And the game tomorrow will be no different. We need to go out there and rebound and play defense and if we do those will be big factors to us winning the game.
CHRIS KRAMER: With losing Robbie, one of the things you lose aside from the points and rebounds is just that leadership and that experience that Rob had. Rob obviously did a lot of things for our team, offensively and defensively. But just having him out there having him be a threat on the court is something that really got our team to be in a position to be successful. So that's one thing we're doing trying to get past, to have more people step up in a leadership role and we obviously have to rebound by committee now since we lost about seven or eight rebounds a game.
JAJUAN JOHNSON: I think one of the biggest things that just kind of adjusting to playing without him any time you lose a guy that's averaging 30 plus minutes and you play with him the whole year, I think it's a big adjustment. It took us a game or two to get in that rhythm, but our team's done all right adjusting without him.

Q. JaJuan, a few weeks ago you were probably a number one seed, you come here as a number four seed, and you had a lot of adjustments maybe to kind of trying to reidentify yourself a little bit. How was that metamorphosis trying not to feel sorry for yourselves and just trying to regroup over the last few weeks?
JAJUAN JOHNSON: Honestly, I don't think we had time to really feel sorry for ourselves just because we were in the middle of the Big-10 hunt. We wanted to win the Big-10 championship and we knew we really couldn't afford to lose any games or really feel sorry for ourself. But still being in the Big-10 chase really I think helped us remain focused and just kept us on edge, really.

Q. So many people including the selection committee have decided that you guys are not nearly the team you were I guess when you had Hummel, give me an argument or give me arguments as to why you guys are a legitimate Final Four type team.
E'TWAUN MOORE: Basically I think that we still have the same identity as a team. Just go out there and play hard and lay it on the line and play good defense. Those things are things that have won games for us before and it's no different since Rob left. So I think that's basically all we can do now is just go out there and play the game tomorrow and hopefully try to win that and let everyone know that we still are the same team we were before.
CHRIS KRAMER: I agree, our identity still hasn't changed. When you think of Purdue, it's playing hard, laying it on the line every night, and playing hard nosed defense. Those are the same keys for us now as they were when we had Rob. We won a bunch of games when Rob didn't score for us. We beat Ohio State, West Virginia. We beat some very good teams when Rob wasn't as assertive on the offensive end as he was in other games and we're still right there.
The only thing we can do to prove anybody wrong is win basketball games. There's a quote that says losers make excuses and winners make it happen. So we just got to go out there and make it happen.
JAJUAN JOHNSON: They summed it up pretty well. It's just it's one of those things where you got to concentrate on things we can control and as always been defense with this with this team and playing together as a team and you think it doesn't matter what five is on the court, we can always control that and that's the big thing with this team.

Q. JaJuan, the Saints have two of the best post players in their conference in Ryan Rossiter and Franklin. You're one of the best post players in the Big-10. Can you talk about that matchup and how excited you are about it?
JAJUAN JOHNSON: It's going to be a tough matchup. But again we have an opportunity to watch a lot of film of those guys and any time you average a double double you are an effective post player and I've seen both of them. They're really capable of finishing around the basket so it's going to be tough for me. I got to play good solid post defense and just do, give it all I got, really. Because they're really talented.

Q. Chris, not that you guys need motivation, but the fact that Siena beat Vanderbilt two years ago, if that doesn't get your attention, nothing will. Do you agree that them having beaten a high caliber team like that is even more of an emphasis for you guys that you got to have to play well to win?
CHRIS KRAMER: They have definitely had a lot of success in terms of beating high major teams. We watched the game last year in the hotel and we know they've had a lot of success. So for us we're just excited to get another chance to play after our showing in the Big-10 tournament. So if we don't come out and play as hard as we can and leave it on the line there's something wrong. But definitely our team's ready and we just got to go out there and show it all tomorrow. We'll definitely be ready but we know definitely what Siena is capable of doing.

Q. Obviously, Chris, everybody talks about Purdue now obviously and talks about Rob and this game I don't know if you're conscious of this stuff, but it's a pretty popular pick for an upset, does that impact the way you approach this game at all? Do you kind of take an underdog mentality?
CHRIS KRAMER: We watched selection show, we watched the ESPN, we watch all those things. We saw as soon as our name came up and Seth Davis and those guys just said, Oh well this might be the only 4-13 game where the number 4 seed's the underdog. And Barack, our President picked against us, everyone is picking against us. So the only thing we can do is go out there and win basketball games. We have to go out there tomorrow at 11:30, lay it on the line and if we can do that and we're fortunate enough to win that basketball game, then Sunday do it all over again. The only thing we can do from here on out is just win or go home.

Q. Chris, how similar is Edwin Ubiles to Evan Turner from what you've seen on film?
CHRIS KRAMER: I think it's a tough comparison just because Evan Turner has the ball in his hands 90 percent of the time making plays for everyone else. Not taking anything else from Edwin Ubiles, he makes a lot of great plays and with him it's a lot of angles and getting space to be comfortable. He makes a lot of tough plays. He'll be a 2000 point scorer I think by the time he's done. So that's in itself saying he can score the basketball. But any time you're comparing anyone to Evan Turner who dominates the ball for his team, it's kind of a hard comparison.

Q. You sound particularly offended that the President picked against you. Is that motivation for you?
CHRIS KRAMER: Yeah, you know it is. As soon as Rob went down they counted us out. And sure, there's that one player on your team that does a lot of things for you, but after everything you put into it in the season, conditioning, the weights, the open gyms and just going on through the line, we have a lot of people that can step up and make plays.
So one person goes down, it's just an opportunity for somebody else to step up. And that's what we got to do is have everyone on our team raise their level and play with that kind of chip on their shoulder.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, guys. Let's take questions for coach.

Q. If you would, we haven't really seen you guys since Sunday, E'Twaun said he's fine, but in watching Lewis the past few days, evaluate how he looks to you and should he be close to a hundred percent tomorrow?
COACH PAINTER: I don't think he'll be a hundred percent. But I don't think he was a hundred percent before. When it happened, I think it scared him more than anything. We have been cautious and he's went about half the time in practice this week. He'll go the full 40 minutes today in our shoot around. So you'll be able to see him. But I think he'll be fine. At this time of the year everybody's got somebody who is injured, who is banged up and you got to be able to fight through that. If it's not broke, you got to be able to go out there and just fight through and play.

Q. Are you going to start him?

Q. How tangibly different is your team without Robbie? What effect did that have on the floor?
COACH PAINTER: It has a big affect. We don't plug in another guy whose 6-8, 220, so from a physical standpoint we play smaller, we play four guards on the floor without him most of the time. At times we will play Johnson and Bade together. But we really just try to use our defensive pressure now to get us some more offense but you don't replace a guy like Robbie Hummel. He helps us offensively with his balance, I've always said that he ties everything together for us in terms of a team defense and a team offense.

Q. In terms of Hummel's leadership, those kind of things that I know he's brought to you guys, how have you replaced or have you come close to replacing them?
COACH PAINTER: I don't think you do come close. Rob's one of the best players in the country. His strength really lies in his intangibles. He understand how to play, he understands what's going on. He's very coachable, he's tough, he can guard a lot of different people. It's been an adjustment for us what we have really tried to emphasize to our guys is be consumed with what we have and let's learn how to play basketball with the guys we have. We can't look back and say what if. But Rob's a big part of our team, he'll be a big part of our team next year. But we got to be able to get it done with the guys that we have in the locker room.

Q. The third leg of that is how people are perceiving you. Everybody from the committee to President Obama. How much of that weighs into this and the way you motivate your team? Some of the guys here were saying we're kind of motivated that we're somehow cast as an underdog almost?
COACH PAINTER: Well everybody has an opinion and their right to their opinion. And it's tough when you have to make adjustment late in the year. But we weren't favored three years ago against Arizona. A lot of people didn't think we would beat Baylor in Washington, D.C. Nobody felt we were going to go to Washington and beat the Pac-10 champs in Portland. So once again we got to the NCAA tournament now and we have given them I guess another reason why we shouldn't win the basketball game.
But our guys have always felt good about themselves themselves and we put a lot of time in and we really focus in on recruiting 12 month guys and guys that care about Purdue. So we just got to go out and play the game. When we got our seed and were knocked down a little bit we didn't begrudge the committee because they did it, I thought it was accurate and I thought it was fair but we also gave them a reason to do it by the way we played against Minnesota. And now we got to be able to turn the tables a little bit and play better basketball and I think we're capable of doing that.

Q. Can you assess what you've seen of Ronald Moore on film so far?
COACH PAINTER: Ronald Moore is one of the best passers I've seen in a long time. He's one of those guys that is able to get the ball from A to B and make other guys better. We kind of talked about Hummel earlier. Robbie Hummell makes guys on our team better players. I think that's about the best compliment you could get as basketball player. Ronald Moore, they talk about the balance on the four guys that average 13 points or more and it's because he gets them the basketball. But he let's also gets them the basketball in scoring position. He's tough to play against. We played against the guy from Illinois and he had 16 assists against us and he's a guy that can score it and pass it and he hurt us one game with 28 points and hurt us the next game with 16 assists. And he concerns us in the same way just because he's one of those guys who you know what he's going to do and he still accomplishes it.

Q. Siena is a pretty good rebounding team when you go with a four guard lineup. How do you go about in a day continuing that team asset and dealing with their rebounding?
COACH PAINTER: You got to box out, put a body on them. Even though that sounds simple it still is so difficult to do when you got guys like Rossiter and Franklin, Edwin Ubiles, who is a long kind of a combo guard that can get to the glass and we just have to do a good job of putting a body on them. I think it starts keeping them from an offensive rebounding standpoint from keeping the ball in front of us. If we're constantly in help position and rotating out it have we're not going to have good rebound balance.
If we can keep them in front of us and taking shots over us, we'll do a better job rebounding. But if they're going to break us down all game and get to the middle of the floor we're going to struggle rebounding and that's something at the other end for us is we got to take good shots. If we take good shots and take care of the basketball, we're going to have a chance obviously to shoot a higher percentage but also get to the glass. If we're going to force things, rush things, shoot the ball off the one or two passes, then we're not going to have good rebound balance on the offensive end.

Q. Besides when you lose the great player near the end of the year, besides replacing his points, rebounds, even his leadership is there a psychological hurdle that you that the team has to overcome?
COACH PAINTER: I thought we had a big psychological hurdle that happened in the game he got hurt. We were down nine, ten points with ten minutes to go. In Minneapolis at the barn, which is a tough place to play if you've ever been there. Very loud, our guys came become and won that game and so I thought that was a big hurdle for us at that point. But now we have to be able to play, beat NCAA teams on a neutral court without him and this is a different type of a test. So I think our guys are really going to embrace it. They really want to go out and play well and do some things against NCAA caliber teams because they hear everything. As the coaching staff you don't talk about it you this they hear everybody talking. They're not capable of going out and wining games and I think they are.

Q. I know E'Twaun's coming off of one of his worst games of the season but talk about the season he's had and the impact he's had on your team.
COACH PAINTER: E'Twaun Moore's been very consistent his whole career. Each year he's made improvements. He's a guy that needs to score the basketball for us. I felt three years ago he was a good scorer, not necessarily a good player. And now I feel he's a good player. He defends, he does little things he understands what's going on, he leads by example. And I think that he's really matured especially this year. But there's no secret that E'Twaun and JaJuan Johnson have to score the ball for this basketball team to be successful.

Q. How supportive has Robbie been through this whole process and is there a story with that?
COACH PAINTER: He was with us in all the games up until we won the Big-10 championship. Then obviously he had good strength in his knee, good range of motion to they wanted to go ahead and perform the surgery right then but we knew that would keep him away from being around the team as much in the Big-10 tournament and the NCAA tournament. So he's been the same guy as before but now when you have to lead the team and/or leave the team and have surgery and then start your rehab, that's difficult.
To be there for guys that's difficult. And I know they want to go out there and play and continue to have a positive season without him, but he's a big part of our team. Very instrumental in our success and we're in this position because he he's played a big role.
He really helped us I think at that time being with our team when we were able to win the Big-10 championship. And just being there supporting our guys.

Q. To be clear, he will not be here this weekend.
COACH PAINTER: No, he will not.

Q. Can you talk about how Chris Kramer kind of leads your defensive philosophy and how you guys are able to be so effective defensively?
COACH PAINTER: Chris has been a very good defender for us for his four years. Little different now. When we play smaller. He's normally guards that four and we have liked to put him on twos and three, even at times when we play McCamey or Kalin Lucas or Evan Turner we'll keep him away from that point, especially in the first half now we put him on those guys last ten minutes of the game, I just feel points wear him down. But he's really done a great job on guarding twos and threes and then since Rob's went down he's done a great job of guarding those fours, but it's a little different for him from a post point standpoint he's got to do a good job for us he's got to really get into those guys and keep them off the glass but any time you give him a challenge he normally steps up to it and is very successful in the defensive end.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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