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March 8, 2012

Meyers Leonard

D.J. Richardson

Bruce Weber


Iowa テや 64
Illinois - 61

MODERATOR:テつ We'll ask Coach Weber to make an opening statement and then go to questions for D.J. and Meyers.テつ Coach.
COACH WEBER:テつ Well, I thought we played with great energy at the start, and that was the thing we had talked about.テつ You know, D.J. came out and made some shots.テつ When we had the opportunity, got it to Meyers.テつ And then I thought a big basket finished the half by D.J., gave us good momentum into the second half.テつ And then you get a little run, I think, 40‑33.
And to Iowa's credit, at that point in the game you can go one way or another, and they made the plays.テつ For us it's just that gut check part of the game.テつ We've talked about it, where you get to that brick wall in the game and you've got to make a decision on how bad you want it and how you're going to maintain a lead.
But we turned it over.テつ We got killed on boards in the second half.テつ And they made plays.テつ I think Oglesby with the 40‑33, Oglesby with a big three, Gatens with a three, and then I think the steal by Gatens.
And then you could just see our body language.テつ We kept trying to be positive, pump them up.テつ And, again, to our kids' credit, it's been a great group.テつ I just feel bad for them that they haven't had more success.テつ And they didn't quit, down to the last play.
So we'll go from here.テつ The NIT is a possibility.テつ I think we're probably a bubble.テつ Just depends what happens in other things.テつ But I think our kids want to play if we have that opportunity, and we'll just see what happens.
MODERATOR:テつ Questions for student‑athletes.テつ Raise your hand.テつ I'll get mic out to you.

Q.テつ For Meyers, can you just talk about how difficult the last few months have been with the losing and just everything this program has endured recently?
MEYERS LEONARD:テつ You know, it's been a very tough situation.テつ Like Coach Weber always says, we have a great group of kids and a great coaching staff and just a great environment.テつ Obviously we went through a tough stretch with all the losses and just some down moments in the season.
We definitely showed some great moments with the win against Ohio State.テつ Michigan State was a big win.テつ And early in the season we had some success, but, you know, like the last week in media we were just kind of missing that one thing.テつ I'm not really sure what it is and I still don't know to this day.
We have so much talent.テつ I was talking to Tracy after the game. テつWe just have, I feel, like every piece that a team could possibly need, but we're just missing that one thing.テつ It was hard.テつ But off the court, great group of kids.テつ Probably the best team I've ever been a part of.テつ Each and every one of them means a lot to me, along with the coaching staff, and they always know if they call me and need something, I'm going to be there for them.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Other questions for the student‑athletes?

Q.テつ D.J., did any rumors with your coaching situation‑‑ did that wear on you at all?テつ Did it affect things in recent weeks?
D.J. RICHARDSON:テつ No, not at all.テつ You hear stuff going around campus, you know.テつ People say stuff here and there.テつ But we still did what we had to do, and coach still coached us, and he did a good job of just getting us through a tough situation.テつ And, you know, me and Brandon the upper classmen, being leaders, we try whatever we can to help coach out on the court.テつ We're out there, and we're out there making the turnover.テつ So coach is doing a good job of coaching, and we just gotta do a better job out there on the court.

Q.テつ Both the players, could you talk about what was going on with Brandon Paul today?テつ He's obviously very talented and things weren't going well for him.テつ What did you guys see?
MODERATOR:テつ D.J., let's start with you, please.
D.J. RICHARDSON:テつ Brandon kind of struggled tonight.テつ He couldn't get it going offensively.テつ First half he did a pretty good job on Gatens.テつ His offense wasn't too good tonight, but first half he didn't do a good job on Gatens.テつ Second half we kind of switched off on him, and obviously he performed better.テつ He stayed consistent.テつ He did some good things for us the last couple of games.テつ You've got to stay consistent.

Q.テつ You guys were up by seven, and then it seemed just within a couple minutes they're up by seven.テつ Can you describe what changed the momentum there?
MODERATOR:テつ Meyers?
MEYERS LEONARD:テつ We had a couple crucial turnovers I recall.テつ One on an inbounds play.テつ And kind of missed some defensive assignments.テつ Oglesby, like coach said, hit the three.テつ Gatens got the steal off of us, hit another three.テつ He just kind of made a run.テつ I'm not really sure what happened.
We definitely lost focus there for a minute.テつ And like coach said, we weren't able to get through the wall.テつ We didn't stop playing, but we just we missed some assignments and maybe just weren't cutting enough, cutting hard enough and just executing the way we should.テつ Because whenever we went to whatever coach said to do on offense rather than doing our own thing, it seemed to work.テつ So I think if we were more cut in and able to execute better, it probably would have turned out a different way.
MODERATOR:テつ Time for a couple more.

Q.テつ Coach brought up the NIT.テつ Is that the something that you guys feel that you could get up to want to be in?
D.J. RICHARDSON:テつ I mean, it's always great to play in the NCAA.テつ We have a great group of guys, like Coach and Meyers said.テつ We just want to keep playing games.テつ And it's fun being around these guys, you know.テつ This is the best group of basketball players I've ever been around.テつ I love everybody on the team, and we love each other.
We had chemistry throughout the whole year starting in Italy.テつ The NIT, you know, if that's what we have to do, we'll go there and try and win some games there and try to win the championship.
MODERATOR:テつ One more for these guys.
Okay, fellows, you can go back to the locker room.テつ Thank you.
Questions for Coach Weber?テつ Anybody?

Q.テつ Bruce, obviously you've talked a lot, I guess, about the struggles throughout the latter part of this season, but now you're at a point where you know you're not going to make NCAA tournament, can you kind of reflect on where this kind of went wrong for you all?
COACH WEBER:テつ Well, we were a young, inexperienced team going into it.テつ I'm not sure where people's expectations were.テつ You always expect to be successful as a coach.テつ And it's a group.テつ We went to Italy.テつ I thought we developed, as they said, some good chemistry.
We started out pretty well.テつ We didn't play pretty basketball, but we were finding ways to win with defense and hustle and togetherness and won some close games.
You know, I think a lot of people probably feel maybe the Ohio State game was maybe the turning point because all of a sudden expectations changed, mindsets changed.テつ And then I don't think it was really a good situation after Ohio State to have nine days off, and that I think‑‑ and then you had two buys in a short period of time and then all of a sudden you lose a couple close games.テつ Grumbling starts and‑‑ but, again, I've said all along, they haven't quit.テつ They come to practice.テつ They have great spirit.
I think they want to win sometimes too much.テつ Like tonight when the other team made the run, instead of, like Meyers said, just executing, guys would just go try to make plays.テつ And we've emphasized the whole time, you've got to execute and let the team win the game, not the individual.
So, you know, our spirit was tested.テつ There's no doubt.テつ But they hung in there, and they hung in there until the end today.

Q.テつ Bruce, what was your take on Brandon's situation today?テつ What was going on with him?
COACH WEBER:テつ I think he's had a tendency all year to force things and try to do too much, and then once it started going bad, I think he just kept, you know, going and trying to do‑‑ trying to make the big play.テつ And then you start‑‑ you know, you hang your head, and now you're worried about the next play and then he turns it over, whatever.
And I think down the stretch he just was trying to make plays for us.テつ And, again, that's been one of our problems.テつ Let the team do it.テつ Move the basketball.テつ Get it to people.テつ And so he did a good job on Gatens first half.テつ Second half he slipped a little bit.

Q.テつ Bruce, it's been such a rough ride for you and the team the last couple months.テつ Your thoughts‑‑ is there relief here?テつ Is it disappointment?テつ Are you playing‑‑
COACH WEBER:テつ When you lose and don't have success as coach, of course there's disappointment.テつ And, you know, that's why you coach, to help your team be successful.テつ And so you just‑‑ all you can do is come every day and give your best effort.
And I thought our staff did, our kids did.テつ We just‑‑ you know, again, you have zero free throws today.テつ Certain things, sometimes it's not meant to be.
You can go back to the Minnesota game, the call at the end of the game.テつ We should have won the game.テつ And all those things just kind of add up, and sometimes life isn't fair.テつ Basketball's not fair.テつ It humbles you, and you have to keep plugging in life, you have to keep plugging in basketball.

Q.テつ Coach, have you ever been in a game where you show the no free throws as a team?
COACH WEBER:テつ I don't think so.テつ Not that I can remember.テつ I didn't realize it until about midway through the second half, and then I reminded the guys that control that, but it didn't seem to do any good.
So, you know, we shot‑‑ we shoot jump shots.テつ They got to the free throw line with offensive rebounds and they got it inside a little bit.テつ But Meyers gets fouled all the time, and it's really baffling to me how they can call touch fouls away from the basket and then they can let people beat up big guys.テつ And it's almost a disadvantage to have a big guy at times, to be honest.
MODERATOR:テつ Any further questions?

Q.テつ Meyers, seems like for stretches like he could dominate in that game, but yet the last 10 minutes, touches, shots weren't there.テつ What did you see?
COACH WEBER:テつ We turned it over.テつ Quite a few possessions.テつ We had some open shots.テつ Sam made the three, had a wide open one after that.テつ And we haven't shot the three very well all year.
But that's where you've got to execute and be patient and make sure you get he ball.テつ When Meyers said what are we missing, probably a leader.テつ And I think early we had that a little bit with Sam.テつ And then when Sam's didn't go in, you know ‑‑ and Tracy did a great job.テつ I think he's going to be a very good player.テつ He has a great heart.テつ He loves it.テつ He's kind of been our leader, to be honest.
And I said it before.テつ It's the good and bad.テつ If a freshman has to be your leader, it puts you in a bind, to be honest.
But, you know, all year‑‑ we're not great passers.テつ And then Meyers, I think‑‑ I think he got a little tired.テつ He gets frustrated.テつ He leaves the post.テつ He stands up.テつ And when you add it all together, you don't get many touches.
MODERATOR:テつ Time for a couple more.

Q.テつ Bruce, have you been given any assurance or do you expect to coach in the NIT or beyond?
COACH WEBER:テつ I don't know.テつ I don't even know if we'll be in the NIT, to be honest.テつ So I don't know anything.
MODERATOR:テつ Last one.

Q.テつ Bruce, coaching this game can give you exhilarating highs and crushing lows, and you've seen both.テつ When you've been at one end, had hard is it when you're at the other?
COACH WEBER:テつ It's just like life.テつ There's great moments in life and there's moments that aren't so good, and every day you've got to approach life with a positive attitude.テつ If you just go in a pity party for yourself, nothing's going to happen.
And that's the whole message I've given to our kids this whole time.テつ Sometimes it's not fair.テつ But what you do about it makes the difference.
We showed the video last night, we've done it before, a professor from Carnegie Mellon that was dying of cancer, and he went around, and his view, approach to cancer and life and dying.テつ And, you know, he talked about brick walls, and they're there in life not to stop you but to see how badly you want it.テつ And we hit that brick wall in the game today.テつ But they kept battling down to the last play.
MODERATOR:テつ Coach, thank you.
COACH WEBER:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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