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March 15, 2012

Maurice Bolden

Larry Eustachy

Angelo Johnson


Kansas State テや 70
Southern Mississippi テや 64

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Southern Miss.
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ You know, that's a very good team that beat us.テつ That was a very good coach, very good players.テつ I've had a game that doesn't haunt me, but bothering me, when we lost to Hampton when I was at Iowa State, a 2 seed to a 15 seed.テつ When your effort is not there, it really bothers you.
Angelo played this same team, Kansas State, when he was at USC, and he didn't think their effort was ‑‑ it wasn't lack of effort today.テつ You know, it really wasn't.テつ So I'm not disappointed.
Obviously we wanted to win.テつ We just didn't make the plays.テつ You know, we didn't execute the things we needed to do, particularly in critical situations.
But you cannot fault this team's heart and this effort, and you cannot fault these two guys with the same thing.テつ I mean, we just try and try and try.テつ It's a record‑setting team for Southern Miss.テつ These two guys I invited with me because they're the cornerstones of what we've accomplished here.テつ They've got great futures ahead of them.テつ There's nothing for them to hang their head at.テつ They tried very hard.テつ Mo didn't try to miss free throws, Angelo didn't try to throw it away.
In some areas we broke down.テつ A lot has to do with the opponent and who you're playing and where you're playing them.テつ And they're very, very, very good.テつ Look who they've beaten.
We're right into the thing till the end.テつ I'm not sure the score indicates what it was, and I think Frank would say the same thing.テつ Really proud of our team and proud of Kansas State.テつ I think it was a great college game.テつ I don't think anybody left the TV till the very end.
So good luck to Kansas State.テつ Very proud of our guys.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, coach.テつ We'll now take questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Angelo, was a little tight.テつ Once the shots started falling, seems like y'all started playing better defensively than you had.テつ How good were you feeling heading into halftime?
ANGELO JOHNSON:テつ We was feeling good.テつ We didn't get our game on the court defensively.テつ Kansas State is a great team.テつ They did well today.

Q.テつ Mo, you got Henriquez there his fourth foul.テつ How disruptive was he in there?
MAURICE BOLDEN:テつ Coach reminded us.テつ We watched film.テつ He's a shot‑blocker, top in the nation in shot blocking, top in the conference in shot blocking.
I guess when we were dropping the ball, we weren't thinking at the time.テつ It's all about thinking.

Q.テつ Final game.テつ What is the thoughts as a senior going out?
ANGELO JOHNSON:テつ I couldn't ask for a better season, man.テつ Undefeated at home as a senior.テつ Broke the school record.テつ Made the NCAA tournament.テつ I just wanted to win tonight.
Kansas State just beat us.テつ They were the better ballclub today.テつ I couldn't ask for a better senior year this year with J. Mills, and Neil, LaShay.テつ I'm going to miss these guys.テつ I just wish the best for Southern Miss and coach.テつ I'll always be a Southern Miss die‑hard fan.
MAURICE BOLDEN:テつ I'd like to thank coach and my teammates, the people he surrounded me with, making me a better person on and off the court.テつ Besides basketball, I'm doing great in class.
Like Angelo said, we did great in basketball this year.テつ It wasn't a letdown season.テつ We had high expectations.テつ I think we worked hard and deserved it, but Kansas State was the better team today.

Q.テつ Angelo, talk about McGruder, what kind of player he was?
ANGELO JOHNSON:テつ He's a very special player.テつ Reminds of Will Barton in our conference.テつ If he was in our conference, he'd be the MVP.テつ Smart player, knocks his shots down, makes his free throws.テつ Nice frame on him.テつ I think he's going to make it to the next level.テつ He's a pretty good player.

Q.テつ Angelo, you had only one field goal in the first eight minutes, then you really settled down and played better.テつ Was it nerves in the beginning?
ANGELO JOHNSON:テつ We just didn't make shots.テつ I mean, if we don't make shots, we're not that program, we're a defensive program.テつ Our defense triggers our offense.テつ When we wasn't getting any stops, that affects our offense, because we're a defensive ballclub.テつ We just didn't make any plays today, Kansas State did.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, thank you.テつ We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.テつ What were you able to do to Rodriguez when you were able to turn him over?
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ What was that now?

Q.テつ What specifically were you doing to him defensively, the stretches where you were able to fluster him and turn him over?
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ I thought he murdered us.テつ I didn't see us frustrating him at all.テつ I saw him frustrating us, frustrating me (laughter).
These guys, again, they're extremely well‑coached.テつ They're well‑trained.テつ I thought it was an extremely well‑officiated game.テつ I think we got into him and bothered him a little bit, but then he was able to go by us.
I thought he made some huge baskets.テつ But you take Henriquez off that team, he's a huge factor.テつ We knew it. テつBut it's hard to say, By the way, this guy blocks shots.テつ I said that once about Kenyon Martin when we played him when he was at Cincinnati.テつ He broke the tournament record with 12.テつ So it's hard.
When you're used to going to the rim, he really changes the game.テつ When you get by somebody, you got to get by him.テつ I don't know how many blocks he had, but it seemed like he had six blocked shots, and those are all layups.テつ That's are 12 points.テつ I'm not sure what we lost by, but that's 12 points.
McGruder is a great talent, but Henriquez is as important to that team as McGruder.
To answer your question, when we got into Rodriguez, I think it bothered him a little bit.テつ But down the stretch, he got the best of us.

Q.テつ After you got past the 10‑3 start to the game, offensively the shots started falling.テつ You had to feel good about where the offense was going?
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ Yeah, I think we started out 1‑11.テつ I'm really proud of this group.テつ I mean, anybody that watched the game knows that‑‑ I don't know if you could watch any game and see a more harder‑fought game than this one today.テつ I mean, there were some bang‑bang plays that were just huge.テつ Five‑point turnarounds where we skipped it cross‑court, lost it, they got scored.テつ Just the free throws alone, the free throws we missed.
We're a really, really good team.テつ This is one of the better teams I've had.テつ Again, when it came time to make the key plays, you know, they did a better job at that than we did.テつ I think that was the deciding factor, is just in key moments we broke down.テつ They did that less than us.

Q.テつ Assuming Syracuse wins here, how do you see this team that you just played matching up with a Syracuse team without Fab Melo?
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ You know, I don't want to sound like a fool, but I didn't really know who Melo was until somebody mentioned it yesterday.テつ Like I said, I don't watch college basketball.テつ I see enough of it on the court.テつ I see enough of it in games.
I like On‑Demand, you know.テつ I like Law and Order.テつ I don't watch it.テつ And Jim Boeheim, you know, really came to my rescue with my Iowa State thing, was a really true friend.テつ So I can't tell you that.
I just know that Kansas State, I can see why they beat the teams they beat.テつ You know, they're going to play their game how it is on anybody's court.テつ So I can see them‑‑ if you can go to Missouri and win at Missouri, you can beat anybody on a given night.
You know, I don't know if that answers your question, but I can only answer what I know about Kansas State.テつ I know a lot about Kansas State, I know very little about Syracuse, except for their coach, who is a good friend.

Q.テつ What was it like for you today after some of the things you've been through?テつ Did you kind of have a different appreciation for being in the tournament?
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ Yeah, it was really cool.テつ I'm repeating myself from yesterday.テつ But they say when you start drinking, you stop maturing.テつ So I was basically about an 18‑year‑old for a long time.テつ And it's been a long, long time since I've had a drink.
So very much more appreciative of the situation.テつ Very much more humbled.テつ This is as special as it gets.テつ You're talking about the Super Bowl.テつ You talk about the World Series.テつ I didn't appreciate it as much, you know.テつ I really didn't.テつ I didn't realize how fortunate I was.テつ God has given me a second chance.
It's a great question.テつ I really have enjoyed the moment.テつ You know, I really did.テつ We fought hard to try to win.テつ You know, I knew once I got out on the court all that stuff would go away and I'd be myself.テつ But leading into it, it was just neat to be in the process.テつ More importantly, it was neat for our players to experience it because, as you all know, this is different.テつ It's special.
There's a lot of rules.テつ I got my pin on.テつ I can't drink my favorite drink on TV because of the sponsorship.テつ But it was humbling and very exciting.

Q.テつ What did you think about the way Darnell played today?
COACH EUSTACHY:テつ Well, I just wish we had Darnell for another year.テつ You know, it ended too soon for Darnell.テつ A lot of his own making.テつ It's quite a story.テつ You know, I'm really proud of him.テつ I think he's got a bright future.テつ He's really, really a changed person.
You know, there's no telling how far he can take his talent.テつ But more importantly, he's changed character.テつ He's turned into a man.テつ He's gone from a child to a man.テつ That's what's big for me.
Okay, I got to go watch some Law and Order.テつ This thing is over with.テつ I really appreciate you all.テつ I don't take it for granted. テつThanks again.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thanks, coach.

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