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March 16, 2012

Cody Ellis

Dwayne Evans

Rick Majerus


Saint Louis テや 61
Memphis テや 54

THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll start with an opening statement from Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus.
COACH MAJERUS:テつ We'll save one of those health questions for after these guys leave.
And I thought the guys did‑‑ I appreciate Pastner's nice words about myself and our team.テつ It's interesting how we miss layups that are really good shots, and then like Dwayne has that rhythm up, wide‑open 10‑footer, and then we pull those two at the shot clock to go down.
So it's sometimes the bounce of the ball.テつ But our defense was solid throughout.テつ And our guys played hard against a very good team, and I'm very proud of them.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Dwayne, looks like offensively you guys talked about having to follow the game plan.テつ Looks like you guys followed the game plan that that game went exactly how you wanted it to go defensively?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Defense is something we proud ourselves on, and that leads to our offense.テつ And early on shots weren't falling, but we didn't really let that affect us.テつ In the second half we were able to knock down some shots and keep up the defense.テつ So it ended up going our way.

Q.テつ After you guys‑‑ when you guys got down by eight points there, got midway through the second half, what went on‑‑ what went on in your mind at that point?テつ Because after that it kind of looked like the second half of the Xavier game where you just took off.
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Yeah, I mean, the guys kind of just came together on the court.テつ And it's just all about resiliency.テつ We could have given up and went down 10, 15points, but the guys kept fighting back, making big shots and knocking down key free throws.

Q.テつ It's been a while since your school's been to the tournament.テつ But Coach Majerus has a pretty good record in the first round of the tournament.テつ Is there anything that he said this week, today that stands out to you as far as preparation?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ He just told us not to let our emotions get to us and to save it for the game.テつ And just to not be happy to be in the tournament and just know that we have a team that can actually win in the tournament, and I think we showed that tonight.
CODY ELLIS:テつ One of the good things about Coach and our coaching staff, no matter what game it is, no matter who you're playing, we prepare the same way.テつ And I think the coaching staff did a great job of preparing us for this game, and I think we as a team definitely came together and executed the game plan perfectly.

Q.テつ Obviously Kwamain's had a big year for you guys.テつ After what he went through last year emotionally, he hit some of the big 3s that kept you guys in the game.テつ Can you talk about what he brought on the court and what his message was to you guys in those moments where Memphis seemed to kind of come back?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I think Kwamain is a competitor.テつ He's willing to make those big shots and make big plays for us.テつ He's done it all year.テつ I wouldn't expect anything different now, and hopefully he'll continue to do that for us.
CODY ELLIS:テつ With Kwam coming back, he's such a leader on the court.テつ He tells us what to do and everyone respects his game, everyone respects him as a person.
I think the main thing is, like I said, his leadership.テつ And, I mean, Kwam being Kwam, he loves to make the big plays like he did tonight.
And it's really helped us this year.

Q.テつ For both of you, aside from just the X‑and‑O stuff, what makes your coach an effective teacher of the game?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I think he holds all the guys to a high standard.テつ And, I mean, a lot of coaches wouldn't take the time and details that he does.テつ And he kind of just inspires us to be the players that we know we can be.テつ And no matter how it is to get there, and if we make mistakes, he knows‑‑ he allows us to make those mistakes and to learn from them.
CODY ELLIS:テつ I mean, same thing as Dwayne said.テつ He holds everyone accountable, through the starting five, all the way through to the walk‑ons.テつ And I think that's huge for everyone.テつ And that definitely gets us over the line in those close games.

Q.テつ What happens in a practice if he sees a little mistake?
CODY ELLIS:テつ I mean, obviously every mistake he'll let us know about it.テつ He'll tell us what he wants us to do and what's going to make us successful.

Q.テつ Obviously you guys wanted to play a slower pace.テつ Did you guys go in thinking that if you could just get them to play slow early that they would start running their offense, shooting quicker than they normally do?テつ Did you think that was something that you could lull them into?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I don't know if we necessarily looked to play slow.テつ We tried to get out on the fastbreak as much as possible.テつ But we worked to get good shots.テつ And we don't really hasten ourselves to take shots early in the clock when we know we can get ones later on.テつ And I think that kind of wore them down that we made shots later on on the shot clock and locked up defensively.
CODY ELLIS:テつ Like Dwayne said, we look to run as much as we can.テつ What our game plan was was to slow them down, like you said.テつ And I think that definitely took a toll on them.テつ They had to execute plays to score and they're not really used to that from the film we watch.テつ They're out running and gunning.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the defense against Will Barton?テつ He had a rough time.テつ He was kind of choked up about it in here.テつ But with defending him and how that worked?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I think it really was a team effort.テつ Not just through me, Jordair, Kwam and Mike and the other guards who guard him, but the bigs did a really good job too on drives and stopping penetration.
We had a bunch of key V backs.テつ So it really was a team effort; it wasn't just individual.

Q.テつ Cody, at halftime when it's 23‑23, was there a feeling even though it's a tie game, 23points was scored by Memphis?テつ I think they had three times in transition in the whole half.テつ Would you feel right there that you guys were doing what you needed to do to win the game?
CODY ELLIS: テつAbsolutely.テつ Look, our game plan was to slow them down, like I said earlier.テつ And to keep them to 23 in a half is really good, but, look, that's what we pride ourselves on is our defense.テつ Like I said, we executed our plan well.

Q.テつ Cody, wondering if you guys out on the court could sense any frustration from them.テつ Was it nonverbal?テつ Could you sense that they were starting to rush just a little bit?
CODY ELLIS:テつ A little bit.テつ But, I mean, look, we don't really look at what their body language is, how they're talking to each other.テつ We try to stay as our team.
But, look, I think we definitely started to frustrate them with our defense and they couldn't get the shots that they wanted or usually get.

Q.テつ Has anybody spoken about Mitchell's‑‑ he hit four 3s, but the three in particular, the one from the corner that gave you the lead for the first time, then the one late in the shot clock, and the one at the end of the half.テつ Could you address those?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Like I said before, we expect Kwam to come up big for us and make those kind of shots.テつ So when he did, we weren't surprised, but we just tried to rally with him to sustain a lead.テつ And we made the plays and the free throws down the stretch that ended up giving us the win.
CODY ELLIS:テつ Kwam's made those big shots all year.テつ Like I said earlier, he's our leader.テつ He loves to take those shots.テつ That's part of his game.

Q.テつ Dwayne, a few moments ago you said Coach Majerus said not to let your emotions get to you.テつ What did that mean?テつ What kind of emotions?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I mean, none of the guys here have played on this stage yet.テつ And so there was a lot of excitement coming into this tournament.テつ And you just can't let that build up before game time.テつ You gotta get that excitement out by playing tough defense, executing on offense come game time, not just doing all the antics beforehand.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.テつ Questions for Coach.

Q.テつ Did you bring these guys out there because they played great defense?テつ I'm assuming that's why.
COACH MAJERUS:テつ Well, actually the SID picked them.テつ I didn't pick them.

Q.テつ It's not every day you see guys with 6 and 2 points in a game‑‑
COACH MAJERUS:テつ Is Brian here, our SID?テつ He left us?テつ I didn't pick'em.テつ It didn't make any difference who came out.テつ I'm not trying to be‑‑ all my things on my mind tonight, that was not even in there.

Q.テつ Could you possibly envision you'd, in terms of fastbreak points, have 11‑6 advantage in this?テつ And then was the tempo exactly what you had hoped it would be going in?
COACH MAJERUS:テつ We don't like to slow it down.テつ We tried to make sure that we limit fastbreak baskets and put defense as a priority.テつ We felt if we limited the fastbreak baskets, made them play longer in the clock‑‑ you know, we had a couple of calls that were blocks instead of charges, but those are good calls because it establishes that we're going to hold our ground.
We tried to make sure that Barton had to earn everything and took away his curl.テつ And we tried to make Crawford bounce it and took away his 3 or rush his 3.
And guys, let me underscore, the guys accomplished all four of those objectives.
That was an intuitive comment by Pastner, because really, as I said many, many times, players win games; coaches don't win games.

Q.テつ I'm just wondering, your personal feelings about being back on this stage and having a win and going forward, anything to share on that?
COACH MAJERUS:テつ Well, you know, I mean, it's nice to win, let me tell you that.テつ But I felt good pretty much every win, and I felt very badly at every loss.テつ Like right now my mind's on Michigan State.テつ I'm not going to go watch it here.テつ I'll watch it at home.テつ I'll watch the tape.テつ I've got great assistants who work the way I used to work as dedicated as I used to be.テつ I just can't stay up all night anymore.
And I'm very confident that they'll‑‑ they've already done a lot of work on Michigan State.テつ We didn't think Long Island would win, in the event we play them.テつ I hope Long Island wins.

Q.テつ Coach, Brian Conklin, seemed like he was rushing there in the first half.テつ Did he need halftime to kind of settle down just a little bit to kind of focus maybe a little?
COACH MAJERUS:テつ He gets frustrated.テつ He tries too hard.テつ And he lets his emotions get the better of him.テつ And like that one layup where he got the charge and the break, but he's a manufactured player.テつ And it's all him.
Like I'm wondering who my players are going to have the Conklin summer.テつ Like if this kid has the Conklin summer and Mitchell has a Conklin summer, then we're going to be really good again next year.
Conklin‑‑ the gym is 85 steps from where they live.テつ The reason I know that is I had a great senior who I loved named Danny Brown.テつ And he said now we're getting a great facility.テつ We have‑‑ our facility was voted the best arena in the country like under 12,000 or something.テつ We have a great facility.テつ We have a great practice facility.テつ And it's open to the players all the time.
So if you want to go over there and become better, you know, you're able to do that.テつ And so I think with Conklin, he wants it so bad.テつ He tries so hard.テつ Sometimes perfect is the enemy of good, and that's the case for him.

Q.テつ I know you say coaches don't win games, but after the game there's a big poster with your head on Superman's body and it says "SLUperman."テつ Do you take pride in that and just where this program is now and that you're the face of it?
COACH MAJERUS:テつ Well, that was probably a restaurant owner.テつ That might have been the guy from La Russo's or something like that.

Q.テつ You had six‑pack abs on the poster.
COACH MAJERUS:テつ Six‑pack abs.テつ I was born with a jelly belly.テつ Interesting thing is my mom was a very statue‑esque beautiful woman.テつ Lean.テつ I never got that gene.テつ So I don't think much about that.テつ But I appreciate the nice thought.

Q.テつ Is it difficult at all to sell your kids on playing defense and they see highlights of dunks and stuff like that?テつ But I'm assuming that you're not crazy about that.
COACH MAJERUS:テつ That's a great point.テつ The first thing CBS came and said when I was on ESPN as a broadcaster, I would always talk about defense.テつ And I tried to put together some defense montages, and they called me aside and said, look, you're a good guy, you really like the game.テつ We're not going to show somebody in their stance on SportsCenter on defense.テつ And I loved the worldwide leader.テつ I loved working for them.テつ It was an honor and privilege.テつ I enjoyed every moment of it.テつ But that's just the way the world goes.
Right away after the game, the CBS guy hit me up:テつ What about Kwamain, is this a stepping stone to stardom?テつ And he didn't mean it.テつ And I went right back to, you know, it's defending, it's rebounding.
Those teams with the exception of the Houston Rockets when Olajuwon won in those two back‑to‑back seasons‑‑ and was Jordan playing baseball then?テつ Yeah.テつ So like I always say, too, the Zen master didn't have that mojo when 23 was in Alabama hitting the ball.
And, you know, with the exception of that, every NBA team that has won‑‑ and that is the best ball.テつ You're deluding yourself if you think it's not.テつ And I can't hardly wait to go up with Thibodeau and George Karl and those guys when the season ends, because I always learn a lot.
And I think that when‑‑ I try to talk to them about good defense.テつ I mean, I like D'Antoni.テつ He's a nice guy.テつ I love to go eat with him.テつ But I'm diametrically opposed to that.
When you have the guns, you have Nash, and then don't forget they had Marion who was perhaps the best individual defender in the years in which the Suns had those great teams.
I know this is a collegiate press conference, but they look at the pros, and every one of those kids wants to be there.テつ And they all watch'em.テつ And if they're going to watch'em, might as well have them watch the Jordans of the world, the guys who defend.
And it's important‑‑ you can always defend.テつ You can try to defend.テつ You can get back.テつ I mean, you can‑‑ and sometimes it's fatigue.テつ Sometimes you're overwhelmed.テつ Sometimes it's just individually they stretch you out with shooters and then you have all kinds of issues.
But you can make a defensive effort.

Q.テつ When you were down 8, 11.5 to go roughly, you've been in worse jams than that, obviously, but you had to maybe turn back the tide a little bit or it could have gotten away from you.テつ What do you think happened where your guys reset and reestablished what they had to do and got back in it?
COACH MAJERUS:テつ Most of the time we came out of those situations and scored, number one, or we got a good shot.テつ So at least we had an opportunity to set something up offensively.テつ Then defensively we made a couple of adjustments and we made some substitution adjustments, and fatigue and we tried to break Memphis's momentum.テつ So those were all the objectives of the timeout, and particularly so that one.

Q.テつ What do you think your players‑‑ speaking about the players, what do you think they did effectively tonight defensively against this Memphis team?
COACH MAJERUS:テつ As I said, we got back in transition.テつ So they saw‑‑ we sent four back and they saw kind of a wall, and we weren't going to get run on.テつ That was our objective.テつ Then we wanted to try to take away Crawford No.3's 3s, and we did that for the most part.テつ Then we wanted to take away Barton's curls, Barton's drives, Barton's stare‑down and Barton's change of pace, dribble start and stop, which is primarily to his right.テつ Barton is an NBA athlete.テつ Now it will be interesting to see if he goes back home over the summer, develops a left hand and can facilitate his curl and fade, shoot off his fade.
So that was that.テつ We tried to take 10 and do the best we could with them to make them score over us, try not to let them get that dunk in and try to bother them.テつ A lot of times Rob doesn't look like he's effective.テつ But Rob holds his ground pretty well and makes him hit a difficult shot, and Rob, the first half they scored 23points and they had Cody on the non‑block‑out on the left side of the basket away from our bench, Rob on a non‑block‑out, and we didn't go on the loose ball.テつ And that was‑‑ I let him know about that at the half.テつ We visited about that.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

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