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NIT SEASON TIP-OFF


November 21, 2012


Jamelle Hagins

Monte Ross

Devon Saddler


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Kansas State テや 66
Delaware テや 63


THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach, if you could make an opening.
COACH ROSS:テつ I would say, first off, congratulations to Kansas State.テつ Thought they played a good ballgame.テつ I thought they executed some things out there that allowed them to get a little cushion, hold us off when we were making a run.
I was very proud of our guys.テつ I told them at halftime that we just didn't play.テつ That was the first half all year where we just didn't play.テつ We just weren't ourselves for whatever reason, whether it be the stage, the event, the Mecca of college basketball, whatever the case was, we just didn't play.
I was happy that in the second half we played our game.テつ We were more Delaware basketball in the second half, so I was really proud we were able to bounce back from that regard.
It's always tough to swallow because we ask these guys to put everything they have into every game we play, and they did and they do.テつ When you don't get the desired result, it hurts.テつ So we're down right now, but we'll pick ourselves up.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the players.

Q.テつ Devon, did you feel the energy of the game change once Jamal went out of the game?
DEVON SADDLER:テつ Yes, I knew I had to step up as a leader.テつ I had the freshmen Terrell and Kyle with me and make plays, try to keep everybody together, try not to get frustrated.テつ They made their run, we knew we was going to make our run.テつ I was trying to get stops on defense and take it one play at a time.

Q.テつ Either player.テつ Do you feel any sort of pride that you gave them everything they could take today?
DEVON SADDLER:テつ I knew coming into the game we could play with them. テつI mean, it's Kansas State, a big conference.テつ It wasn't no pride thing.テつ We're not into moral victories.

Q.テつ Jamelle, did you ever have problems with cramps before?テつ Was that a sudden onset thing?
JAMELLE HAGINS:テつ This was the first game for me, it was a new experience.テつ I don't know, must have been something I ate or didn't eat.

Q.テつ How difficult was that for you to kind of sit there and not be a part of what you wanted to be a part of down the stretch?
JAMELLE HAGINS:テつ I mean, it was hard.テつ But I feel like they played hard.テつ We was in the game till the last couple of seconds.
I mean, I think the guys stepped up.テつ Devon made some big plays.テつ Personally, I just felt like I was hurting the team more than I was helping them, and I couldn't move like I wanted to move.

Q.テつ Jamelle, do you think the results of the game would have been different had you been able to go the full‑time?
JAMELLE HAGINS:テつ I'd like to think so, but you never know.テつ We gave it all we could give it.

Q.テつ Clearly the game didn't end the way you wanted it to.テつ The moment, the opportunity that this event gives you to be in the Garden on national television against a power conference school with an opportunity to win, do you have a moment where you look around, not a normal thing?
JAMELLE HAGINS:テつ I think it just shows what we can do.テつ It's early in the reason season.テつ We haven't meshed together like we can.テつ Once we get rolling, we're going to be pretty much unstoppable in the NCAA.テつ We have so many weapons, play defense so hard.テつ By the time everybody learns their roles and starts clicking, we're going to be a great team.

Q.テつ Devon, I've seen you have some great games.テつ That was a special game you had out there.テつ Coach Weber complimented you on it.テつ How does it make you feel?テつ Do you have a bittersweet mixed emotion to walk away from a game like that to know that personally you excelled but couldn't get the win?
DEVON SADDLER:テつ I was just trying to win.テつ I'm not really into what I did in the game.テつ I was just trying to win.
I know Coach Ross put his all into it, he was out there giving his all.テつ I was trying to give him my all.テつ Jarvis and Jamelle wasn't out there for me.テつ I was trying to give it all for my team.
It wasn't about the points or nothing like that, it was about the win.テつ Getting on the ground.テつ I was cramping, too.テつ I just had to do it as the team captain, stay out there and suck it up.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.テつ Questions for coach.

Q.テつ How big is Terrell's addition been and how much more can his addition make you as the season progresses?
COACH ROSS:テつ I think Jamelle put it best, that it's still early in the year for us.テつ It's really early in the year for Terrell because he is a freshman.テつ A lot of these experiences and situations that we're putting him in are very new to him.テつ So it's going to take some time for him to adjust, take some time to become efficient in certain situations.
He went crazy a little bit out there for a few minutes, but you have to allow that as a coach, because with 27 seconds to go, he makes a big bucket.テつ He has a big heart.テつ He has a big heart.
We've always been a program that has played their best basketball at the end of the year, just the way that we practice.テつ We really pride ourselves on playing our best ball at the end of the year.
I'm really excited to see how this group responds to the way we're going to practice and be good at the end of the year.テつ But I'm also excited about a player like Terrell Rogers and how much better he'll be a month from now, a month and a half from now.

Q.テつ The opportunity to be on this stage is something that it's dwindling in college basketball.テつ For someone who coaches at your level, is it frustrating that this is the only early‑season tournament where a smaller conference school is able to play its way to this type of stage?
COACH ROSS:テつ Well, frustrating is probably the wrong word because you have to deal in reality.テつ It is what it is.テつ To beat your head against the drum would probably not do a lot of good.
But I will say this to the pre‑season NIT committee, we are just thrilled and thankful that we were invited because, like you said, this is an earn‑your‑way tournament.テつ It's not one of those that predetermines who is going to go there, that sort of thing.
That's what makes this tournament so special.テつ For us, it was such a big deal to be able to earn our way here and then have an opportunity to play a Kansas State.テつ I can't say enough to or about the committee, for the NIT for, one, inviting us, and two, having it set up the way it is so that a school like us, would have been anticlimactic to beat Virginia and not get a chance to go to the Garden.
Then the other thing is, the atmosphere tonight for the NIT, I thought one of the things was me being an East Coast guy, being from Philadelphia, I thought this tournament was really special anyway.テつ But then I read some of the comments of John Beilein and some of the other coaches, and it magnified to how special they think it is also.
I hope it never changes, I really do. テつIt's fantastic to have an opportunity for a school like Delaware to have an opportunity to be here.テつ Like you said, it's dwindling.テつ But it is what it is.テつ We just have to hopefully keep getting invited to the pre‑season NIT.テつ Hint, hint.

Q.テつ I guess outside of being able to play on this big of a stage, what positives can you take from that game going forward?
COACH ROSS:テつ Well, it's early.テつ It's really early in the season for us.テつ For us to have an opportunity to challenge ourselves is good.テつ It will help us down the line.テつ I think, in my opinion, as a coach, what you want to do is you want to find out what are your weaknesses, what are your strengths, what is it that you need to go to the drawing board and work on.
We have played the type of schedule this year that will allow us to really figure out how can we become the best possible team that we can become.テつ Playing Virginia, playing Kansas State, playing Pitt or Michigan tomorrow will allow us to do that.テつ I'm very excited about that.
Like you said, we didn't get the desired result, so it's kind of a bummer, but we will take a lot of things out of this and go back and work on it and try to become the best team we can become down the line.

Q.テつ You never held back your praise on Devon.テつ Did he maybe even go above and beyond your expectations tonight or is that what you always knew he could kind of do?
COACH ROSS:テつ It's crazy because I don't know if this was appropriate as a coach, but what flashed through my mind was Kemba Walker for UConn.テつ It was strange because Kemba Walker did the same thing for UConn in the Big East tournament two years ago, and he just willed his team to victory.
I asked him at one of the time‑outs, after we use our last timeout, I said, We have no more time‑outs left, how do you want the shot next time down?テつ He told me how he wanted it.テつ I said, Okay, that's what we'll do.
He is a young man that is not fazed by anything.テつ I knew for sure that he was not going to be awestruck by playing in the Garden or awestruck by playing Kansas State.
He wants to win.テつ When you start with that base of wanting to win and not worrying about how many points you score, how many shots you take, that sort of thing, when your basis, I want to win, I think you build off of that.テつ He's a special kid for me to coach.
Wrote an article, said he was a senior.テつ I almost called you up.テつ I tell you what, if he is a senior, I'm leaving with him.テつ We need that guy around because he's special.テつ You get a chance to see him a lot.テつ He's a special young man.
Again, with this 'me first' type of society that's coming about, he's all about winning.テつ That's all he cares about.
Another quick thing is we had a bad practice two practices ago.テつ We started off sluggish.テつ He called everybody out at that practice, took off from there.テつ You need your leaders to be able to do that and be willing to do that as a leader, to lead.テつ That's why he's special to us.

Q.テつ What did Jamelle eat and how concerned are you?
COACH ROSS:テつ I'm very concerned.

Q.テつ Didn't Jarvis have a cramp thing?
COACH ROSS:テつ Yes, he had a cramp as well.テつ To be honest with you, I'm very concerned about it.テつ I watch a lot of basketball.テつ We're the only team in the country that's cramping.テつ We need to go back to find out what we're doing, what we're eating, what we're not eating.テつ If it's stealing secrets from somebody else, we need to steal some secrets.テつ I'm not afraid to say we would have come into this Game3‑0 if Jarvis hadn't cramped in the LaSalle game.テつ That would have been a win.テつ Who knows how this game would have turned out, because as soon as Jamelle went out, that's when they started pounding us inside.
So kudos to them, not taking anything away from them.テつ We have to find out exactly what the problem is here.

Q.テつ How tangible of a difference was it with Jamelle not playing in the second half and what kind of difference did it make?
COACH ROSS:テつ I mean, don't look any further.テつ 15 rebounds in 27 minutes.テつ He's our rock.テつ He's our guy in there.テつ He was six for seven from the field.テつ He are the guy out there that when we need a bucket, we throw it to him.テつ When we need a rebound, he gets it.テつ When we need a key block, he blocks it.
When you take away one of your hearts and souls, we're not built to just, Okay, you go ahead and replace Jamelle.テつ He's our guy.
So it was a big deal for us.テつ We missed him.テつ Again, we'll go back to the drawing board here and find out exactly what the problem is that our kids are suffering these cramps and remedy it, because we don't want to have situations like this and have a situation like we had at LaSalle.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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