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March 15, 2012

Gregory Echenique

Greg McDermott

Doug McDermott

Antoine Young


THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Doug, would you comment on Alabama's defense and just some of the challenges that you see there.
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  They're a real athletic team and really physical and we have watched a lot of their pressure.  They full court press, and we have been working on that a lot the last couple days in practice.
Guys like Green, he's a great defender and can block shots.  We know we're going to have our work cut out for us and they really pack it in, so it should be a tough challenge for us.

Q.  I guess I'll get the obligatory question about playing for your dad out of the way, but what advice would you give to a high school prospect right now that's in a similar situation looking to go play for his dad?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  It's been a great experience so far.  Just basically just because the season's been so fun being able to enjoy the success of him as a coach and me as a player has been a lot of fun.  It really‑‑ at times he's a lot harder on me than some of these other guys, but for the most part just to maybe send a message to the team and not necessarily just to me.

Q.  For any one of you, you talked about the defense, what do you feel like you have to do to beat this defense?  They're only giving up 58 points a game and best in the SEC.  What do you have to do to beat this team?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  We've definitely got to take care of the ball.  I think their length and athleticism causes a lot of problems for a lot of teams.  They get a lot of points and a lot of their offense off turnovers, so taking care of the ball is huge, a huge task tomorrow.
GREGORY ECHENIQUE:  I think that you have to be patient.  They are a very good defense team, but I feel like if we run our stuff and we play to our pace and we don't panic, I think that we should be able to get what we want.

Q.  For any one of you three, talk about making it to the tournament, the excitement of growing up wanting to get to this stage and actually being here.
GREGORY ECHENIQUE:  It's great.  It was one of one of my personal goals.  And since I started playing basketball, I always wanted to make it to the tournament.  I wasn't able to accomplish that at my other school.  And I transferred here to Creighton and that was one of the reasons why I came here.  I know the school has a great tradition and I felt like they had a good group of guys and right now it's good to be here and it feels like everything has paid off for me.
ANTOINE YOUNG:  Definitely been a goal.  It's tremendous soaking it in, being here, it's been a long time coming since Creighton's been back here and it's good to get the tradition back.
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  It's always been a dream of mine too.  Growing up watching the tournament, every kid dreams of that, I think.  And I think it's just been our expectations all year and I think it's our program's expectations is to make it to the tournament each year, so we're really excited to be here.

Q.  After the brackets were released, have you talked to or texted Harrison about how that was done?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  Yeah, I have, I texted him back and forth just the possibilities of possibly playing him would be really cool.  So it's kind of crazy how it all worked out, but definitely working forward to it if that comes up.

Q.  With Harrison, what do you remember about him as a high school player and from you've seen of him in college how much has he grown?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  Yeah, he's grown a lot.  He's got a lot of talent on his team right now.  In high school he was obviously our guy.  He's got a lot of guys around him now, but I think he's a great player.  He was always a great leader for us, and I have never seen anyone work as hard as Harrison does.  So a lot of credit to him.  And I think that's why he's where he's at today and he's got a great future ahead of him.

Q.  With your defensive struggles you've had at times this year, would you rather have a matchup against a team that's better at defense and not so good on offense?  Do you think you match up better with that?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  I guess you could say that.  I think our matchups on this side of the bracket is pretty good with any team on this side.  I think that we cause some problems for some people just as well as they cause problems for us.  It's just I think a matter of who is going to exploit it more.
GREGORY ECHENIQUE:  I feel like we have been working our defense.  I know sometimes we struggled a little bit, but we take on any challenges.  And if we have to play a team that ‑‑ I'm sure if we can accomplish this win tomorrow, we eventually are going to play a very good offensive team.  We will be ready.  We have been working on it.  We know that it's one of our weaknesses, but coach is making a lot of emphasis on it.  So I feel like we'll be able to take on any challenges.
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  I think we're in the tournament, I think everyone's going to be playing their best basketball so we just got to expect that.  Alabama's a great team and they are very capable on offense.  I think they showed signs of that, but they're a great defensive team and I think it will be a really good game.

Q.  How different is the style of the SEC compared to the Missouri Valley?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  It's very different, lot more athletic.  There's teams in our conference that have‑‑ that can guard and pack it in, but they just don't have the athletes and probably not the length that Alabama presents.  So that's probably the main difference and we haven't really seen a team that presses full court like they do.
ANTOINE YOUNG:  It's definitely a little different with their athleticism and their length on the wings and with their guards causes us problems that we haven't really went against.  But they remind me of a Long Beach.  When we played Long Beach earlier in the bracket buster and they were pretty really similar to that.  In the Missouri Valley, we don't have anything close to their athleticism and their length, so‑‑
GREGORY ECHENIQUE:  I think it will be interesting to see how we react to it.  Maybe it's a team that's a little different than what we have seen all year, a little more athletic.  So I think it will be interesting to see how our goals and how they match up to us because they also got to deal with what we do, so I think it will be good.

Q.  It's one win away from tying the school record for wins in a season.  Is that any extra motivation?  How special would that be for you guys?
GREGORY ECHENIQUE:  We have a very special group and I think if we can accomplish even more that would be great.  We made it this far and we don't want our season to end tomorrow.  And like coach said, he said hopefully winning the Missouri Valley tournament was not the highlight of our season, so hopefully we can accomplish that and more.
ANTOINE YOUNG:  It would be definitely something special.  I think our team has done some pretty special things this season, and we don't want anything to end tomorrow.  Obviously we're going to fight to prevent that.
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  It's win or go home now, so we're just going to leave it all out there on the floor and whatever happens, happens.  But we feel like we can play with anybody, we're real confident bunch of guys, so I think it will go well.

Q.  What have you guys done kind of specifically to get ready for their press?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  We practiced all different kinds of scenarios.  Dead ball, they like to press a lot, like to deny our point guard.  So they're going to put a lot of pressure on us full court on ‑‑ especially on dead balls.  So we have got to probably put in a football playbook of sets for that.  So we're pretty prepared for that.  Obviously it's going to be different than having our scout team run it with the length that they cause, so‑‑
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  We have done a couple different strategies.  There's been times where we have put eight or seven or eight defenders out there on five of us, so that's made it tough.  And I think that, yeah, Alabama's definitely going to give us a much different look with their size.  So it should be a tough challenge, but we just got to be aggressive and not be scared of making the extra pass.

Q.  Does Doug have it easier or harder being the son of a coach in practice?
GREGORY ECHENIQUE:  No, definitely not easy.  It's not ‑‑ and it's like that for all of us.  It's times that he gets in his face.  There's times that he gets in my face.  And coach, he ‑‑ it doesn't really matter.  Sometimes we forget that that's‑‑ that Doug is his son, at least I don't think about that at all.  And he's just, sometimes he's even harder on him.  I get my fair share sometimes too, so it is what it is.
ANTOINE YOUNG:  I think all three of us get our fair share of kind of facial yelling at.  He's definitely the tough spot there.  I did it when I was young, played for my dad, constantly on me and that's something I was not wanting to do when I got to college.  So he's definitely in a position now that I wouldn't want to be in.  But Greg or coach has done a good job just making him seem like a regular guy.  Doug's done a great job making it seem like he's a regular guy.  So it doesn't really seem like he's a son or anything.

Q.  Doug, Alabama's been putting a lot of focus on, just how will you adjust your game as they try to limit your shots?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  I've seen a couple ‑‑ a lot of different defenses this year with double teams and guys just being more physical with me, but I think that if they're going to put a lot of attention on me, it's just going to open up a lot of things for these guys and I think we have done a good job of in those games where I haven't scored as much a lot of these guys have come up big for us.  So we got some really good shooters and if we can play inside out I think it will open up a lot of shots for these guys.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thanks, guys, we'll see you tomorrow.  We'll start with an opening statement from coach.
COACH MCDERMOTT:  Like most coaches that have the opportunity to play this time of year, obviously we're excited to be here, excited to have the opportunity to coach this team at least one more time on the biggest stage in college basketball.
It's been a very enjoyable year with this group of young guys simply because their chemistry has been as good as I've ever seen.  Very unselfish group, willing to make the extra pass, and as a result, we have been a very efficient offensive team.
We'll have our hands full tomorrow because Alabama's an unbelievable defensive team.  So we're‑‑ I wish the game was today so we didn't have to wait until tomorrow.  Our guys are ready to go and excited to play.
THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for coach.

Q.  Do you ever see a style of defense like Alabama has in your conference?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  I think that we have seen the style; I'm not sure it's been by the same personnel.  That's really where the difference is.
Alabama's length and athleticism across the board is something that we haven't really seen this year.
They can disrupt things on the perimeter, Releford is great on the ball, Randolph causes a lot of havoc on the ball.  And yet they still erase a lot of their mistakes inside because of Green's ability to block shots and change shots in the paint.  So they're different than what we have seen, without question.

Q.  With the Missouri Valley tournament being one of the early ones is that layoff a good or a bad thing?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  I'll tell you about 26 hours from now.  I think in some cases it can help and some scenarios it can hurt.  I think there's something to playing your conference tournament, win it on Saturday and Sunday and then turning around and playing again Thursday or Friday.  I think there's something to that momentum and the energy that you get from that momentum.
Having said that, we have had some guys that played some pretty heavy minutes.  We had some bumps and bruises that every team has this time of year, and we were able to take three full days off after the conference tournament just to rest physically and probably even more importantly just take a little mental break.  And then we have been able to zero in on ourselves for a few days that other teams don't have an opportunity to do when their conference tournament's a week later.

Q.  You already touched on it a little bit, defensive challenges that Alabama brings, but how do you prepare for length and personnel as you said a minute ago?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  It's tough for us to simulate.  But we're not going to change anything that we do.  We're going to shoot a bunch of threes, we're going to try to jam it inside, we're going to try to fly it up‑and‑down the floor, just like we have played all year.
And that can't‑‑ you can't change anything at this stage of the game.  Our guys understand what needs to be done, we watched a lot of film, I think they're well prepared.

Q.  How do you balance coaching your son and being his father?  And then also just what kind of experience is this for you guys?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  It was important to Doug last year when we embarked on this.  Doug came to me and said, dad, I want to be treated like everybody else.  And my comment to him was that's fine, but then you're going to treat me like your coach.  And not your father when we're at practice or in games or we're talking business.  That was probably more of an adjustment for Doug than it was for me last year.
This year there hasn't been‑‑ there hasn't been any problems.  He understands what my job is, he understands that as one of our best players my expectation for him might be a little higher than some of the others.  So I'm going to hold him to a higher standard and level of accountability.  That really hasn't been an issue.
What does it mean to us?  I think sometimes it's hard to see the photo when you're inside the frame.  We're caught up in the grind of a college basketball season and everything that goes with that.  I think when it's over and we look back on it as a family, it will be a very special time for us where Doug and I are probably both guilty of not enjoying it as much as we probably should have as a father and son while it's taking place.

Q.  Obviously you're focused on Alabama, but at the same time you're very familiar with Harrison Barnes and because he played with your son.  And Roy Williams too.  Just could you comment on some of the challenges that Harrison brings and what do you think it would mean for he and Doug to have a chance to play against each other after playing together for so long?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  Well, for that to happen we're going to have to beat a very good Alabama team first.  So I haven't looked at one second of North Carolina tape to this point.  Obviously my staff is; that's our job.  And I think every team has somebody looking ahead.
But if it ends up happening, it's going to be a cool deal.  Those two guys had an unbelievable success at the high school level.  One‑‑ in my opinion, one of the ‑‑ if not the best team to ever step on the court in the state of Iowa.  It certainly in the conversation.  Just a very talented team, even besides Harrison and Doug, some very good players.  And I think that Doug's development in basketball can somewhat be credited to Harrison.  We moved to Ames when Doug was a freshman.  Doug saw Harrison's work ethic and his desire to improve, all the different individual skills that Harrison was working on, and he approached ‑‑ Harrison approached it different than most high school players.  Having been that coach at Iowa State at the time and Harrison was in our gym a lot, he had an unbelievable work ethic, one that I've never seen from a high school player.  And I think Doug took that to heart and I think it's really been a reason that Doug's game has developed so much because his worth ethic changed I think because of his relationship with Harrison.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, coach.

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