|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
March 18, 2011
THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by Morehead State student-athletes. We'll go ahead and start with questions.
Q. How do you feel about Kentucky, Louisville, the kind of publicity they get in your state in terms of basketball, and how much sweeter did yesterday's victory become because it was over one of those schools?
SAM GOODMAN: Yeah, it felt good to beat a team that good. We can't be complacent with that type of win, though, even though it felt as good as it did. We have a very good Richmond team to play. It does have a good feeling to it, yes.
TY PROFFITT: Obviously, like you said, Kentucky, Louisville, well-deserved, notoriety around the state, great basketball traditions. Obviously school such as ourselves, mid-major programs, Morehead State, Murray State, we're fighting to get there.
Wins like this are a great boost to our school, to our community. It really helps us out with fan support, kind of puts us on the map, that sort of thing.
Like Sam said, it felt great. Obviously we got to move on to the next game. Time doesn't stop for us. We have Richmond, a great ball team coming up. We just got to prepare for them.
KENNETH FARIED: To reiterate what Sam and Ty said, it did feel exciting. Words can't express how good it felt to beat Louisville. If we had played Kentucky, it would have felt good, too, to play them, to beat them. We're still focused on our goals, what we're willing to achieve this year. We'll not stop by being complacent by beating Louisville. On to the next game, put that behind us.
We have a great Richmond team. I mean, wow, they're really good. I saw them play yesterday. We just got to stay focused on that.
DEMONTE HARPER: The win definitely felt great for us. It did a lot for our program. Louisville and Kentucky are both great programs, as Ty said. They established theirselves as the top programs in America. The win, it was great. Like they said, we just gonna move on and focus on Richmond that's coming up Saturday.
TERRANCE HILL: Well, Louisville and Kentucky are two great teams in the state. Fortunately we had to play them in the second round of the tournament. Fortunately we won the game. It was a hard-fought battle. We're looking past that win going to Richmond.
Q. How crazy has the last 24 hours been? Got a lot of messages, phones blowing up? What has it been like?
SAM GOODMAN: Yeah, like 50 text messages, Facebook. I mean, people are so excited back at Morehead because now we're getting some recognition and stuff nationally. They're just happy that we could play and compete with a team like Louisville.
TY PROFFITT: Where I'm from in Kentucky, southeastern Kentucky, everybody is a Kentucky fan. Everybody hates Louisville. So everyone has been calling, thanking me, Facebooking me, texting me. Just so happy that we beat Louisville.
Obviously for guys like Te, being live on SportsCenter, stuff like that, that's awesome. Who would have ever thought Morehead State would be in this position we're in. We're very fortunate to be here. Hopefully we can keep this thing going.
KENNETH FARIED: Everybody's excited, happy. They say it takes a team to win games, and that's exactly what happened yesterday. Our team stepped up as a whole and we won the game. People just were so ecstatic about it, I think they burnt Morehead down now (laughter). Everybody's just excited that we got the win. And beat Louisville, in-state team, how good their program is, is just that much sweeter.
DEMONTE HARPER: Plenty of Facebook messages, text messages, people calling me about the shot in the game. It's unreal. But definitely me, too.
TERRANCE HILL: To sum up what Sam and Demonte said, Facebook, text messages, phone calls, it's ridiculous. Don't even check them, just wait.
But it was a good game, a great game, a good win. Fortunately, just move on.
Q. Kenneth, what is the most unusual way, or some of the most unusual ways, people tried to keep you off the glass, particularly the offensive glass?
KENNETH FARIED: There's nothing unusual to me now. I've been through it for four years. My sophomore year was really my breakout year for rebounding. People just boxing me out, different people, groups of people grabbing me, pulling me. I'm used to almost everything probably.
Q. As big as the Louisville game was for you guys, now you're one game away from the Sweet 16. In some ways is the Richmond game even bigger for the opportunity to take that next step?
SAM GOODMAN: It's really an important game. We've been talking about this ever since August and stuff, making it to the Sweet 16. When coach first said it, I was like, Yeah, yeah, and stuff. Now it's like it's almost here. This game I feel like is a lot bigger than the Louisville game.
TY PROFFITT: Yeah, I would definitely agree with what Sam said. The upcoming game, the next game, it definitely the biggest game. You can't look back to the past. We beat Louisville. That is our past. As big of a win as that was, we have to put it behind it, as hard as it is to do. Being in the national spotlight, people talking about that game, we have to keep that down, keep things in perspective.
We have a great team in Richmond coming up tomorrow. We have to get our game plan into the game and hopefully advance to the Sweet 16.
KENNETH FARIED: We do want to advance to the Sweet 16 as a team. That is our main focus.
But we have I believe put this Louisville game behind us. With these group of guys I have right here, we're so focused on the next game that we don't dwell on the previous game or anything like that. We just stay focused on what coach want us to do, to the game plan, get everything we need to do into practice, just listen to everything he has to say for us.
DEMONTE HARPER: This game is definitely bigger than the last game. This game is really important because we all, like he said, coach told us we have a chance to make it to the Sweet 16 before the season even started. It got here really quick.
We're just gonna prepare like we always have been, focus on this game Saturday, put that game behind us.
TERRANCE HILL: Making it to the Sweet 16 was one of our main goals during the season. Finally here. So now we just got to get the win, make it to the Sweet 16, go further, be the Cinderella team.
Q. Kenneth, looking ahead to Richmond, a team that uses the Princeton offense, their center plays outside quite a bit, what does that do to your game? Will that minimize your rebounding effectiveness or will you not play him?
KENNETH FARIED: We played against teams like this before. Out of eastern Kentucky, they run kind of a modified Princeton, five out, no in. It doesn't minimize my rebound. It just kind of takes it lightly for me. I'm able to go out and close out a little bit more and showcase some of my footwork.
But other than that, we're still going to have the same game plan and I'm going to do the same thing I do every game. Just go out, another day in the office.
Q. Demonte, Richmond plays a matchup zone on defense. Have you faced one of those before? How hard is it to prepare for that on such short notice?
DEMONTE HARPER: Yeah, we've played against a zone like that once before. I mean, we just gonna prepare like we always have. Those type of zones is kind of packed in a little bit so you tend to take more threes than attacking the basket.
We're just gonna be focusing on attacking the basket and get some mismatch opportunities. With that type of zone, they switch with big man.
Q. Demonte, can you say how many times you saw a replay of your shot yesterday? Can you talk a little bit about just the feeling of making the biggest shot of the day. The three-pointer seems to be like the great equalizer where it can make teams right. If you hit 'em, you can beat pretty much anyone. Talk about that a little bit.
DEMONTE HARPER: I can't count on my hands how many times I seen the replay. It was one of the greatest feelings ever. I never would have imagined myself in this position a few years ago, to be in the NCAA tournament on the national stage and hit that type of shot.
I mean, just a tribute to my coaches and teammates, they all been believing in me the whole year. To just give me an opportunity to help our team get a win was just one of the greatest feelings ever.
Q. I'm wondering about Coach Tyndall, what you can tell us about him. He's not a guy that people know much about. Is he all business? Does he break the ice sometimes?
SAM GOODMAN: On the court, it's all business. He's a hard-nosed coach. But that's the type of coach, most of us type of players, we need that type of coaching.
Off the court, he's a real funny guy. He's kind of laid back. He likes to jokes. I like him a lot.
TY PROFFITT: Yeah, Coach T is very passionate about what he does. It's obvious to each and every one of us that he cares greatly for us. He respects us. He'd do anything in the world for us.
Just from seeing the players that have graduated, how he keeps in touch with them, it's just a guy that you love to play for. Anytime you can tell that your coach or someone cares about what you do, how hard you work for him, winning games like this for him just makes it that much sweeter.
Like Sam said, Coach Tyndall is a great coach. I really enjoy playing for him.
KENNETH FARIED: I respect Coach Tyndall. Our whole team respects him because of the way he coach. He doesn't back down from any of us.
I'm arguably one of the best players on our team. But even if I'm slacking or if I decide I don't feel like practicing that day, which is very rare, he'll jump right into me, make me run and do everything that he'd do to a freshman, to me a senior. I respect him for that. Our team respects him for that. Assistant coaches respect him for that.
It doesn't matter who you are, what position you are, I believe you earn that man's respect.
DEMONTE HARPER: Yeah, Coach Tyndall, I respect him a lot as well, too. He's a very passionate guy about what he's doing. He's hard-nosed. He comes into practice the same every day. He's not a different guy. He's going to be the same every time he steps on the court.
Like Sam said, off the court, he's laid back, he's cool, he makes jokes, he talks to us, interacts with us. He cares about us a lot.
TERRANCE HILL: I respect Coach Tyndall as well. He's a very good coach. He's very intense, very hard-nosed, like Demonte said. He rarely smiles on the court unless we win the game. I respect him a lot.
Q. Do you feel like you guys have proven something to yourselves? Do you feel like you've proven to people around the country with what you have done or are doing? Talk about the emotions of the moment. So many people wish they could be in the spot you're in. What's it like being in your spot?
TERRANCE HILL: I mean, we proved that we can be a good team in the state of Kentucky. But we're going to still keep moving, climbing, make it to the Sweet 16, like Butler did last year.
Being in the spotlight is crazy. You have fans, crazy fans, everybody on Facebook, Twitter, like Demonte and Sam said. It's a very good feeling.
DEMONTE HARPER: Yeah, we all feel as if we just had an opportunity to show what MSU basketball is about. We got the opportunity and we took advantage of it. I mean, all the media attention is great, but we also know what we got to do at the end of the day, which was at least get to the Sweet 16.
KENNETH FARIED: Just agreeing with these guys. It feels good. We got to stay focused. But we are trying to be that Cinderella team, the team that people root for. I mean, we must have messed up a lot of people's brackets lately. We're hoping we can pull out some wins. We just got to stay focused on each and every game, and put no team that we think, Oh, we're better than this team and past us. Richmond is a great team so we're focused on them right now.
TY PROFFITT: We definitely wanted to prove that we could play with the nation's best. We went to Florida and Ohio State, played them tough. Being competitive wasn't good enough for us. We felt like we could doing something, win big games. We were lucky to make one more play than Louisville did. That's what the bottom line was.
It feels great. Obviously growing up as a kid, you want to be in this situation. You want to be sitting right here talking to the media after you just won a big game, you were part of a big win. Obviously we made history yesterday.
We don't want to be complacent. We got to put that behind us, obviously move on to Richmond. Got a great deal of respect for them, what they do. Hopefully make one more play than them tomorrow.
SAM GOODMAN: It feel goods to showcase our talent, show that we can compete with any team. Just 'cause we're a mid-major doesn't mean much. We still play hard, have talent all over the court. That's pretty much it.
Q. Ty, could you talk about your decision to leave Notre Dame and why you felt like Morehead was the right place for you. Have you kept up with Notre Dame, their success? Did you hear from any of your old teammates after yesterday's game?
TY PROFFITT: Yeah, I still talk to them quite a bit. Kopko and Abromaitis called us when we won the OVC Championship, saying they watched the game, congratulations.
Basically for me, I'm a homebody. I wanted to be closer to home. Fortunately I had a school like Morehead State that would take me, let me play for them.
Very happy with my decision. I wouldn't have said that if I went to a school where the guys weren't my type of guys. But fortunately for me, I got players like the four you see up here right now. They care about me. These guys are my brothers. I really enjoy playing with them. That's the basketball part. You don't see what goes on behind the scenes. These guys would do anything in the world for me and I'd do anything in the world for them.
Winning with these guys, doing conditioning, lifting weights with these guys, it makes it all worth it. These guys are my brothers. Fortunately I can't be happier. Demonte making that shot, T-Hill playing like he did, Kenneth, they do that day in, day out. I'm proud of these guys. Happy for them.
Hopefully we can send these three seniors out with a bigger bang than we already did.
Q. Ty, you talk about being a homebody. You know what it's like to play ball in the Commonwealth, how important basketball is to the state. Does that make it more special what you pulled off yesterday?
TY PROFFITT: Oh, absolutely. Kentucky's huge, huge basketball state. These guys understand it. They've lived in Morehead long enough, they know what the Kentucky atmosphere is like. They got to play at Kentucky. They got to see the fans, how supportive they were.
But fortunately for us, these past four years since Coach Tyndall got here, Morehead's community has picked up. We got a lot of support back home. Whenever Kentucky is not playing, Morehead is playing, we have the Kentucky fans that back us. I was joking with a guy, I wish we would have went to the same place that Kentucky was playing at because all the Kentucky fans would come cheer for us hoping we'd beat Louisville.
It's a great atmosphere. The fan support is amazing. The community is amazing. It's a dream come true really.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. We'll dismiss you and continue with questions for Coach Tyndall.
Q. What has the last 24 hours been like for you? How do you make it so complacency doesn't settle in?
COACH TYNDALL: You know, the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind, a lot of media requests, which is a great problem to have at this time of year. It's been fun. I'm one of those guys, I tell my players and staff to embrace the moment, enjoy yourself.
I don't think there will be any sense of complacency because we talked to our team this summer about reaching our goals. One of our goals was to get to the Sweet 16.
We have a lot of work to do. We know we have a great opponent in Richmond who is talented, well-coached, disciplined, have a great player in their point guard Anderson.
Our team will be prepared. We certainly don't predict we're going to win the game. But our team will play like we expect to win the game, I can assure you that.
Q. You set the stage yesterday in your game. Can you talk about the four teams that are here. There's no traditional basketball powers here. What do you think this means in the context of March Madness?
COACH TYNDALL: I've been so absorbed in our team, I know that BYU has Jimmer Fredette, an All-American. He probably is Player of the Year. Ourselves and Richmond. I apologize, who is the fourth team?
COACH TYNDALL: Gonzaga. So some pretty good mid-major programs there that, like you mentioned, have surprised everybody.
I think that shows - I don't want to use the watered-down term - but I think it shows how maybe saturated or level the playing field is across college basketball now when you have senior players in your program like Jimmer Fredette, Kenneth Faried, Demonte Harper, Anderson at Richmond. When your seniors or your team is upperclassmen-dominated, it lends itself to having a good team, an experienced team that can play with poise and confidence in these type of settings.
I think that's the nature of college basketball. Like I said to someone yesterday, when guys are leaving high-major programs after one or two years, sometimes they never get to have a seasoned team. If you just think about Louisville's team, Samardo Samuels came back, how good they would have been. They probably wouldn't have been a fourth seed. My point is they probably would have been a much better team. I think that's what helps level the playing field.
Q. You are in the unusual position having pulled off the upset to play another team that pulled off an upset. That opens the doors for your fan base to think, Wow, look at the possibilities now. How do you deal with that? Do you approach this game as, Yeah, we do have an opportunity than if we faced a Duke or somebody the next round?
COACH TYNDALL: Absolutely. You're not looking ahead, but you're talking about the opportunity that may present itself. But obviously you talk about having great respect for the opponent. Obviously, Richmond doesn't beat a very good Vanderbilt team unless they're a great team themselves.
We just talk about playing four minutes at a time as hard as we can to each media timeout and doing the very best we can to survive and advance, as they say. I think that our team, again, has a confidence and a swagger about it right now that if we were playing Duke, Kentucky, Richmond, it doesn't matter. We're still gonna think we're going to win the game going into it.
Q. You're not getting one-and-done players. What does it take to build your program to this level?
COACH TYNDALL: Well, I think the key is player development. When you take a young guy like Demonte Harper, who when we signed him was 6'3", 164 pounds, now he's 6'4", 195. His bench press has improved 140 pounds since his freshman year. Kenneth Faried was 6'7", 182, he's now 6'8" 235 his bench presses went from 205 when he walked in the doors as a freshman to 325 now. That's the key at the mid-major level.
You have to push your guys each and every day, whether it's in conditioning, the weight room or on the practice floor, so that at some point in time that maximizes their potential. We're not going to sign McDonald's All-Americans. We're not going to sign top-50 players at our schools. But we can develop those guys we do sign to the point where they compete with those guys in year three and four.
Q. Talk about Ty Proffitt. You got him from Notre Dame. What has he meant to this process of y'all taking the step to have a chance to play for the Sweet 16?
COACH TYNDALL: You know, Ty had a storied high school career in the state of Kentucky, won a state championship, was three-time All-State. Had as good a high school career as anybody could have. Signed at Notre Dame. Didn't work out the way he hoped it would his freshman year. Decided to transfer. I recruited him some coming out of high school.
We're very fortunate to have him. I think even he early on, his first year, was shocked at how good of players we had in our program. He certainly was shocked at how hard we worked. He said, Coach, no offense to Coach Brey, he's a great coach, but we don't work nearly as hard there as we do here.
But, again, that goes back to how hard we push our guys to maximize their potential.
What Ty did last year, he had some injuries, battled a stress fracture, missed about the first four weeks of the season. It set him back a little bit, although he really came on the second half of the season and helped us play for a championship again.
Then this year what he's become is our vocal leader. He's a guy that, even though he's not our best player, he's arguably our hardest worker. He's the voice in the locker room. He's the guy that the players respect. When he does talk, it's not fraudulent or fake in any way. When he speaks, our players listen. He's kind of become a coach on the floor for us.
Q. Fans and everybody on the outside sees the 40 minutes. Describe the challenge trying to get ready for an opponent on such short notice? How much is simply looking at stats, playing the odds, things of that nature when you look at what an opponent does well and not well?
COACH TYNDALL: The biggest thing is we had prepared for all three teams before we left. Wade O'Connor, my associate head coach, had the Louisville scout, Adam Howard had Vanderbilt, Joseph Price had Richmond. Then we had everything broken down and organized, whoever we're going to play next for the most part is prepared and ready to go. Then we'll hand it off to Wade O'Connor, take the scout, present it to the team, like we started doing last night.
They changed one or two little things in their game against Vanderbilt for the most part. We know their tendencies, what to expect. I'm sure they're going to know our tendencies, what to expect. In games like this, I think even though it's a short day and a half for game preparation, both teams will be prepared and it will be about players playing hard and making plays.
Q. Does the Princeton offense tend to slow games down? If so, will your players have to be more patient or do you change your game plan much?
COACH TYNDALL: Well, you know, we play predominantly a matchup zone. We press full court back to our matchup. So we'll try to force tempo a little bit with our press and get the game going up and down a little bit. The Princeton offense, they do run some of their man stuff against zones, but it will take a lot of the Princeton offense away by us playing zone.
But they're a still a very efficient zone offensive team with some of the Princeton principles in it. They're a very good passing team. They don't beat themselves. But we just hope we can speed the game up a little bit, get it going up and down at our tempo, and we'll see how it shakes out.
Q. We've heard Kenneth talk about how his parents taught him to rebound from a young age. How far back in your life did the idea of a coach go? What is it like to now be on the podium and kind of have validated all the effort with what this team is doing?
COACH TYNDALL: Basketball has been my life literally since fourth grade. I was one of those guys, I always dreamed big as a 5'10" bad player at Morehead State. I thought I'd play in the NBA. That's just the type of person I am.
When you're sitting here realizing a dream or a goal, it's humbling because you always hope it's going to happen, you always work like heck to try to make it happen. But there's been a lot of great coaches that have never won an NCAA tournament game, there's been a lot of great coaches never to coach in the NCAA tournament.
It's humbling. There's no part of me that feels bigger than the situation. I'm proud, most proud, that I can have my friends and family around to be part of it and enjoy the experience, especially my daughters. That's special for me.
Q. When Demonte is 6'3", 164, Kenneth is 6'7", 182, what did you see that made you think they could be players in your program and how heavily were they recruited?
COACH TYNDALL: Well, Kenneth Faried had one other school that semi-recruited him. That was Marist. He had an incredible motor. I love guys that compete and play hard. Even though he, at the time, was a skinny high school kid that played hard, he would get fatigued quickly. I still thought as hard as he played, through time he'd be a very good player for us. Never in a million years did I think he would become what he has.
And Demonte Harper, if you can believe this, we didn't even offer him a scholarship his freshman year. We said, If you come as a recruited walk-on as a freshman, we'll scholarship you the next three years.
But we liked his talent level. We liked his length, his athleticism. We just weren't sure if he was quite tough enough. We thought we may even redshirt him as a freshman.
He continued to grow and improve, became our sixth man as a freshman. Faried didn't start the first 10 games of his freshman year. Those two guys to their credit have stayed the course, worked extremely hard. Look where they are four years later. I don't think anyone would say Demonte Harper isn't tough enough now.
Q. How does Kevin Anderson rank among the guards you have faced this year?
COACH TYNDALL: Well, he reminds me of a poor man's Jameer Nelson that plays for the Orlando Magic. He's got the compact, strong body. He can shoot it, hit floaters, runners. He can get in the paint, make his teammates better. He obviously has the green light to create it at any time. When guards are playing with that confidence and that freedom, their talent is as high as his is, they're going to do a lot of good things.
So I think he's arguably as good as any guard we've played. There's a kid in our league, Isaiah Canaan from Murray State who is only a sophomore. Similar-type player. But he's a guy that's always in attack mode. He's fearless. He's a very good player.
Q. Have you thought much about the historical significance of what advancing to the Sweet 16 would mean for the school? How do you see the exposure and everything that comes with it?
COACH TYNDALL: I've tried not to think about it too much. Obviously we have to play a really, really good 40 minutes to make that happen. It certainly would be a goal met and a dream come true. It was a goal our team set for itself in the summer. So we're 40 minutes away.
I think when you talk about the impact that it would make, had one of our administrators at the university tell me yesterday that after our game, the day before there were 200 applications for admission, and after the game, there were 3,000 in one day, applications for admission to our university. I think that speaks for itself in regard to the publicity and notoriety, not just our basketball program has received, but obviously our university has received.
Q. The players and you talked about making the Sweet 16 a goal before the season. Considering how tough your league is, how many breaks you got to get, what about this group made you feel like this could be possible?
COACH TYNDALL: Well, it starts when you have a special player. You really can't talk about even going to the NCAA tournament, let alone the Sweet 16, if you don't have a special player at our level. Kenneth Faried is our Gordon Hayward of Butler a year ago. He's a guy that's going to be a first round pick. He changes the complexion of every game we play in at both ends of the floor.
I thought Demonte Harper could be for us kind of like Shelvin Mack is for Butler.
Then we have tough, hard-nosed guys that fill their roles, and more importantly embrace their roles. We don't have a guy on our team that is disgruntled with the role they have. They've accepted their role, embraced it. Our chemistry is fantastic.
I thought when you have a point guard that was arguably going to be the best guard in our league, a big guy like Kenneth who is an All-American, you give yourself a chance to not only make post-season, but have a chance to win a couple games.
Q. I heard Butler mentioned here three or four times today. How much did what they did last season have an impact on teams all over the country that have the same goal, to see a team do it, get to the final game?
COACH TYNDALL: Yeah, I think what they did was magical. It's the type of run that all mid-major teams look at and say, Why can't that be us? And yet, you know, when you're a coach, you understand exactly how hard that is to do. What they did was simply amazing.
Again, when you have a special player like we do, experienced veteran guys around them, you like to think, Why can't that be us? Again, as I mentioned earlier, I'm a big dreamer. I don't discourage any of my guys from dreaming big.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks very much, coach. Good luck tomorrow.
COACH TYNDALL: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports