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March 6, 2012

Eli Carter

Dane Miller

Mike Rice



COACH RICE:  Obviously, it's very hard to win a basketball game only scoring three field goals in the second half.  We made some mental errors that led to their transition, led to their wide‑open looks in the paint, and it just snowballed from there.  A young team might not have responded as well as I would have liked, but these things happen.  Learn from it.  Hopefully use that as motivation in the spring and the summer to improve, to get stronger, to maybe be able to finish some of the shots down in the paint.  But that's life when you have a very young basketball team.

Q.  Can you just comment on Maalik Wayns and how he was so difficult for you guys to handle?
COACH RICE:  Very difficult, especially in the second half.  I thought he was somewhat corralled in the first half.  He's going to make very good plays.  He's very dynamic with the basketball.  I was okay at halftime, and then the second half, our rushed shots, our response to missing lay‑ups, instead of springing back in transition and getting to the gap and helping, do all the things that we talk about, they just didn't do, and guarding him one‑on‑one is not a favorable match‑up.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH RICE:  Well, when you make only three baskets, that's how it does.  I don't know how many lay‑ups it was, but it was a ton of missed lay‑ups and opportunities.  The execution wasn't there.  We didn't execute like we did in the first half for some odd reason.
Again, maybe it was a case of not responding after you miss a lay‑up or miss a shot or something happened.  We just didn't‑‑ and I couldn't reel them back in during the huddles.  They kept snow balling.  Maalik Wayns just kept the pressure on and made all the right moves.

Q.  When you look at what Maalik is, is that what you envision Eli and Myles being in a couple years, and how confident are you?
COACH RICE:  I am very confident.  It's going to happen.  Rutgers is going to happen.  I keep telling anybody who's going to listen.  You get bigger and stronger.  We need to be‑‑ we now know what we don't know going into October.  They all thought they knew it.  They had the answer.  It's hard to win a Division I basketball, and it's hard when you have a pro playing a point guard position on the opposition.
But these guys will get it.  They had incredible learning experiences.  They all developed.  But yeah, I mean, the person right in front of me had a half that was as good a half as a freshman had all year.  Very consistent.  Didn't respond exactly, but they'll get there.

Q.  Is it kind of good that this off season you don't have seniors now because you don't have turnover and you can say this is what we did wrong?
COACH RICE:  Sure.  Again, when you have everybody back, it's always a good thing, as long as you like that team, and this team is going to get bigger and stronger.  They're going to understand what makes Division I teams successful, what makes winning basketball teams, making winning plays, playing for one another, doing your job, doing all the little details that goes into it.  I love that I get to work with them in the summer.  I get to work with my whole team, spring, summer and fall, including Wally Judge.  Yeah, I'm encouraged.  Boy, it's a tough second half.

Q.  How frustrating has this year been given the fact that you didn't‑‑
COACH RICE:  After this half, it's a high on the frustration meter after three field goals.  But again, I didn't know what I didn't know going into it because I never had experienced something like this with so many young players.
And so I had to learn on the job to be honest with you.  Would I have liked us to be more consistent?  Yes.  Would I have liked to learn things at a quicker pace?  Yes, but it's a process.  Again, this will be something that's going to be brought up time and time again when maybe our work ethic is not good, 12 percent and 3 field goals against Villanova, pretty big stage in the Big East Tournament.

Q.  Eli, Coach is talking a lot about these learning experiences.  What have you learned in the last two, three weeks about basketball?
ELI CARTER:  Just how hard you have to work to compete at this level and to be a good team in the Big East.

Q.  For Dane, what have you learned, and how did the season match what you thought going in with the highs and lows and everything?
DANE MILLER:  As a team, we've just got to stay consistent, and every possession just play together and play hard and leave everything on the court.

Q.  Eli, did you feel like you had an opportunity to stay home and do something going in, stay home from New Jersey?
ELI CARTER:  I definitely did, but now I know I can take a little bit of time, work hard in the off season and hopefully make it half.

Q.  Dane, you guys now know what you have to do in this off season.  Is it kind of clear and crystallized in this last month, month and a half?
DANE MILLER:  Yeah, definitely.  I think a couple things we've got to work on is attention to details.  I mean, locked in and being real focused on both ends of the court, and I think now as the games go by, we saw that you can't win a lot of games like that without being focused.  We just come in in the off season and listen to Coach Rice and the coaching staff we should be successful.
COACH RICE:  We're going to lock them in the weight room, too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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