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March 15, 2013

Rotnei Clarke

Brad Stevens

Kameron Woods


LaSALLE – 58

THE MODERATOR:  Butler University first with Kameron Woods and Rotnei Clark.
COACH STEVENS:  I thought we played well the majority of the game.  Hard team to play against.  Hard to guard those guys.  They drive it so well.  Thought we had a number of contributions from a number of different guys.  The difference between last time and this time, certainly adding Rotnei helps, but the other difference, I thought our 4 spots played great, both Khyle and Kam really, really.
They switch all those screens.  They had guards on those guys a lot.  Those guys did a good job of going back to the ball and not accepting switching.  It was one of those things midseason where we probably hadn't worked on it enough to be as effective as we should have been and clearly have gotten better at handling it, which is a positive sign moving forward.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the players.

Q.  Rotnei, can you talk about what you've seen out of Kam, especially the last couple of weeks.
ROTNEI CLARKE:  He's really stepped up his game the last couple of weeks.  It starts in practice.  He's an extra spark for us when he comes in.  He's all over the boards.  He makes all the energy plays, effort plays.  He's especially good on the offensive glass, we got a lot of putbacks and got some end ones these last couple weeks.  So he's been huge for us.

Q.  Can you talk about how you tried to control yourself offensively, considering LaSalle plays a small lineup with the four guards.  Is it something you talked about coming into the game?
KAMERON WOODS:  We definitely talked about it coming into the game.  When people switch, sometimes you can guard and create opportunities for them because at the 4 spot we've got a lot of screens and pop.  So it gives us a lot of opportunities.  Switching, you think, takes it away.
I think this team went with smaller guys on you pretty much the whole game.  Whether it be slipping the ball screen or trying to post, my main thing is I was just trying to attack the ball, so shot went up.  I'm trying to go get it or slipping and posting hard.  Just all the little things.
I don't think it was necessarily one thing that stuck out.  I was just trying to be really accurate.  Trying to go get the ball.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for the players?  Bye, guys.  Thank you.  Questions for Coach Stevens.

Q.  I was wondering if you could just talk about what it's like playing here in New York, in Brooklyn, how do you feel it's going.  If you guys were to potentially play at the Garden next year, what are your thoughts on that?
COACH STEVENS:  I don't know about any of that stuff.  But certainly it's an honor to play here in Brooklyn.  It's a great tournament, and I feel like it's going pretty well so far.

Q.  Coach, you had two games against Ramon, and he's got 10 points combined against you.  He hasn't done that against most teams.  Is there something you guys are doing differently, or is he just missing shots?
COACH STEVENS:  Glad you said that because I only remember two, and I remember it very vividly where he laid it in to beat us.  He's a really good player.  I think clearly we put our best defender on him.  Roosevelt Jones is a heck of a defender, and there's a reason he was All‑Defensive Team.
But you have to pay him a lot of attention.  The problem with putting Roose on one guy, he can't guard the other guys, meaning you're going to have trouble‑‑ you're going to have to give up something.
I thought Wright played well in there.  We gave up a few more opportunities.  And I absolutely love Duren.  I think he's a great point guard.  He's a really good player.  I certainly hope they end up making the NCAA Tournament because they'd be a hard matchup.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about how the night that Rotnei wasn't shooting the ball very well, how the rest of your team stepped up, especially the bigs.
COACH STEVENS:  The bigs have played well.  Andrew Smith played great against these guys the first time, and Fromm has really played well in limited minutes, throughout the whole season and certainly the last two games.  We need those guys to be good against the smaller teams.  I think it hurts having Zach out for them obviously.  We tried to do what Dayton tried to beat us yesterday, and that was attack the paint all game.

Q.  I asked Jim Crews this earlier, and he said part of the reason why he thinks this league will have so much success in the tournament, in the NCAA Tournament, is because there's so many different styles that this league plays.  Do you kind of feel the same way, that there are so many different teams that do different things that it almost prepares you for getting random opponents in the NCAAs?
COACH STEVENS:  Yeah, I don't think there's any doubt about it.  We're better two months later because we played LaSalle twice because of the way that they play.  We're better from having getting beaten like a drum at VCU, and we're better from having played St. Louis twice.
And the styles, that's probably the most unique thing to our conference.  When we were in Horizon, it was very much a midwest style with some teams.  Everybody's got their own tweaks.  But here it's all over the map how people play, zone, man, switching man, whatever the case may be.  So it challenges you as a coach.  It challenges your team.  And it certainly, hopefully, adds to what you're able to accomplish at the end of the season, I hope.

Q.  You face St. Louis for the third time tomorrow.  What do you expect out of the matchup tomorrow?
COACH STEVENS:  Unfortunately, I don't believe that statement at all.  I'm not one of the guys that buys into that.  There's a reason they've beaten us twice, and we're going to have to play better than we did each of the first two times.  We played better the second time but just not long enough..
But credit to St. Louis.  As you're sitting in my shoes right now, we've gotten beaten twice, and there's really only been one common denominator in both of those losses from the defensive side of the ball for us, and that's Evans hurt us both times.  The first time we did a pretty good job on the guards, and the second time the guards blitzed us.
It's one of those things, how do you best prepare for them, and what do they try to take away because they've got so many things they do well.  I said all year, and I'll say it again.  I think St. Louis is one of the best teams in the country.  I don't care where they're ranked or where they'll be seeded.  Somebody who hasn't played against them next week, they're going to say uh‑oh.
THE MODERATOR:  Any more questions for Coach Stevens?  Okay, thank you.

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