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ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 17, 2013


Jim Crews

Cody Ellis

Dwayne Evans

Kwamain Mitchell


BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Saint Louis テや 62
VCU ‑ 56


Q. テつKwamain, can you just talk about your injury, sitting out two years ago and everything you've gone through in your four or five years here, can you talk about what it means for you and this program?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ It means a lot to me.テつ Myself and my team has been through a lot, me being injured, losing one of the best coaches in NCAA basketball.テつ But I think all those things kind of brought us together, all those hard times, and it paid off.テつ Right now I'm just excited that the guys stuck with it, and right now just carry it over to the NCAA Tournament.

Q.テつ Kwamain, can you talk about that three‑pointer that you hit with that shot clock winding down?テつ When it left your hand, did it feel good?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ Yeah, it kind of reminded me of home game playing against Davie.テつ It took us to overtime and it went in off the backboard.テつ But that whole time I just said, I don't want to let my team down.テつ Reddic, he's a great player, and I kind of got a little space and got it up there, and it went in.

Q.テつ Dwyane, you had one iso post‑up today where you caught and then you kicked to Cody in the corner.テつ The shot went up and you just started running back like it was already‑‑ can you just talk about the kind of trust and confidence you have in your teammates?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Yeah.テつ I mean, they were staying in on me in the post the entire day.テつ I knew once I kicked it out‑‑ I know Cody had missed a couple, but when we need them he can make the shots.テつ The same goes for Kwam.テつ I just had a feeling it was going; I don't think I turned around.テつ I just have so much trust in my teammates and I know they're going to be there for me and I know I'm going to be there for them.

Q.テつ Kwamain, you guys handled the havoc defense pretty well today.テつ Can you talk about why they weren't able to get you out of rhythm aside from that one stretch in the second half?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ I think it was just keeping off the post.テつ Just looking at the UMass game, they kept trying to get the ball in the corner.テつ Coach Crews always says keep the ball off the of the corner, around the half court line.テつ We try to keep it in the middle.テつ We knew they were going to try to speed it up and cause turnovers.テつ But I think everybody, all five guys on the court kept thinking about keeping composure, they're going to make their runs, and at the end of those three minutes we stayed together.

Q.テつ What was said in the huddle or time‑out when they were making that stretch run because VCU that's kind of what they do, they claw back late in games with the crowd and everything going.テつ How did you guys stay focused and maintain such a big spot?
CODY ELLIS:テつ We just stayed composed.テつ We had trust in each other that we could get out of the little slump that we were in and stop their run.テつ And Coach Crews did a good job of making sure that we were settled down and we weren't worried, they were only a point behind after being up 10, 11 points.テつ The boys did a great job.テつ The composure was unreal.テつ This is a testament to how far we've come this season.

Q.テつ Kwamain, can you just talk about your injury and stuff, how frustrating was that for you beginning your final season, and what was going on throughout your rehabbing and when you finally got back?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ It was heartbreaking.テつ It was the second or third day of practice, and I feel like all the stuff we put into preseason and during the summer, I felt like we were going to have a great year, not only personally for me.テつ But I just want to thank the guys for how they handled the team when I was out.テつ They kept fighting every game.テつ They didn't worry about if I was out there or not.テつ I know what helped me get through rehab and everything was the team.テつ They saw me up there working on the bike, getting in shape, and I've got to thank my strength and conditioning coach and my trainer for everything they did for me to get me to the point where I'm at now.テつ I can't even explain right now in words.テつ I'm just so excited right now.

Q.テつ You mentioned that Coach Crews did a good job of settling you down.テつ Exactly how did he settle you down because there were those few moments when it was getting kind of tense, there was some trouble inbounding and guys did get uncharacteristically get a little rattled.
CODY ELLIS:テつ I mean, he just stays calm and composed.テつ You know, we were in time‑out and he was there making sure that we were all good and making sure that we were settled down.
I think VCU sped us up a little bit, and I think us slowing down started in the time‑out.テつ He made sure that we were ready, made sure that we were still good.テつ Yeah, he's done that all season.テつ When teams have made a run, he's been calm and composed for us.

Q.テつ It is Selection Sunday, so I guess we should go ahead and get that over with.テつ How big are your NCAA dreams?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I mean, with a team like this, I don't think there's a limit how far we can go.テつ We've got a lot of really good special pieces that work well together, and I really don't think there's a cap how many games we can win or what we can do.
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ Last year I kind of had a little taste of it and played a great Michigan State team.テつ But I think we can go even farther than that with the group of guys, with the experience that we've got, just the momentum that we've got right now, I think we can go deep in the tournament.
CODY ELLIS:テつ Yeah, I think we've got the team to make a pretty deep run.テつ I think we're playing really well right now, and I think we're going to scare some people in match‑ups.テつ If we keep playing the way we've been playing, we're going to do well.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about the history of the program, the second tournament title.テつ You guys have accomplished something that not a lot of other teams at Saint Louis have accomplished.テつ Talk about putting this program back on the map.
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ It just shows how all the stuff that we've been through, we stayed with it.テつ Coach Crews kept saying there's not a lot of teams that can win a regular season conference and the tournament conference, so throughout the whole game, that was running through my mind throughout the whole game, and I just felt like every possession had value, and I made sure my team did that, too, and I'm thankful for the Saint Louis community who supported us throughout this whole year, with coach passing away, me getting injured, all those things that I'm just thankful to Saint Louis for having our backs.

Q.テつ Cody, you mentioned that you guys can be a scary match‑up for some teams.テつ When teams look at you guys on tape, what do you think it is about you guys that frightens them the most?
CODY ELLIS:テつ You know, I think our defense is a big part of why we're successful, and I think teams find it hard to run their sets against us and get into the flow of an offense because we try and disrupt that sort of stuff.
So I think that's going to be a big, big part of the match‑up problems.

Q.テつ Kwamain, you mentioned that with the passing of Coach Majerus that was another obstacle that you guys have overcome this season.テつ What kind of things did you guys do to come together after that and now looking at this tournament championship, what does it mean to you guys?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ It's an honor.テつ Us hearing news like that, the quick reaction is to weep and feel sorry.テつ But I feel like the guys‑‑ Coach Majerus was a big part of this program, obviously individually, including me.テつ Stuff like that happens like that.テつ Just kind of me, Cory and Cody as seniors and leaders, we made sure the team was together.テつ We didn't let stuff like that affect the way that Coach would want us to play.
I could just hear him up there telling us with just joy and being part of a great group of guys.テつ This accomplishment is great, and it means a lot to us.
JIM CREWS:テつ Well, we're obviously very thrilled to win a championship, and as we went into the season or into this week I should say‑‑ when they announced that the tournament was in Brooklyn, I was really excited about that because I just think‑‑ I might have mentioned it yesterday, but it's an exciting thing.テつ It's a great experience for kids to play in New York, and I can speak about that from experience when I was younger, and any time when I was coaching and we had chances to get to New York, it's just a different place.
That being said and then winning the championship, that's just tremendous icing on the cake.
These guys being able to win two championships within a seven‑ or eight‑day period, whatever it is, is quite a testament not only to them, they just keep doing the next right thing.テつ I mean, basketball is not a game of perfect, and we aren't perfect by any stretch with things, but they just keep plugging away.テつ VCU, that behind‑the‑back pass was like the best pass I think I've ever seen; for a three, that was awesome.テつ I almost applauded‑‑ that would have been probably inappropriate for me to applaud, but that was really‑‑ I liked that.テつ That's good basketball there.テつ I love that.テつ I love that, and that spearheaded their run, and we knew VCU was going to make a run, and we didn't want them to make a run and we tried to stop them from making a run, but we knew they were going to come.テつ They're so well set up and so difficult to play against, and they compete.
But our guys, they were able to take more than one or two hits and then make some really big plays.
I think we didn't lose our aggressiveness, which I was really pleased with both offensively and defensively.
Any questions?

Q.テつ The guys have done a great job of running shooters off their spots all year.テつ The adjustment going from Butler to VCU has to be significant, and can you talk about that?
JIM CREWS:テつ Yeah, really hard. テつIt's hard to play back‑to‑back games, and the A‑10 has so many different systems of play, it's kind of a really unique league from that standpoint.テつ Fun, but you're certainly almost starting from scratch each game it seems like.
And obviously VCU, nothing is‑‑ you've got to go over the sideline, how to get the ball‑‑ most teams, we let everyone have the ball in, which 99 percent of people do, well, VCU doesn't do that.テつ And if the ball goes in the dead corner, they've got a press on you there, so you've got to go through that.
And then it's a full court press situation, and they change up the presses, but then if you just get over half court and say, okay, now let's run this offense, they just relo run you again, so we think you've got to run one offense, and our guys did a good job of that.
I thought early we were able to ‑‑ early and then some other part of the game, mid second half, our kids really did a good job of getting stops and pushing the ball up the floor and getting some buckets that way.

Q.テつ Can you talk about Kwamain, he sat out a couple years ago and then came back and he was injured early in the season, didn't play for one third of the season, then came back.テつ Can you talk about his performance today and the growth he's made over the past year.
JIM CREWS:テつ Well, Kwamain is a really good player, but if I'm going to be on the mountaintop cheering for something, it's cheering just how he's matured and how he's grown.テつ He was out for two and a half months, he didn't have a pity party.テつ Second day, last year, out ‑‑ two and a half months is a long time, but he came to practice every day and he was an encourager, he passed his wisdom on, he had a great attitude about it, and then when he finally comes back, he didn't try to push, whatever, the Kwamain Mitchell show or anything else or the Jim Crews show or whatever.テつ It was all about the team.
He didn't try to overdo things, and that's a mature, unselfish kid, and I think that‑‑ we talked about the best success is shared success, and he has been certainly a pillar with that kind of mentality and attitude.
He's been good.テつ I mean, I think‑‑ he said it today, too; there's been a couple games where he's telling us, hey, let's get it inside, where he's always been a scorer.テつ Great tribute to him in terms of how his attitude and mentality and really serving others instead of worrying about himself.テつ Pretty cool.

Q.テつ VCU cuts it to one and they go on that frenzy and you guys are starting to look a little bit frustrated, crowd is into it.テつ Cody said during the time‑out you did a good job of settling them down, you've done that all year.テつ What's the key to that when everything is kind of jumping off like that?テつ What gets them to settle down that you have to do?
JIM CREWS:テつ Well, you know, these guys off the court have had a lot of situations, and certainly on the floor you always have different situations.テつ You're going to have ebb and flows, you're not going to not play well, you're going to make a mistake, you're going to have a period of time where things aren't going your way, things you might not even understand, on the court or off the court.テつ And all you can try to do is do the next right thing.テつ So if you make five mistakes in a row, hey, no one is perfect, let's just try to do the next right thing.
We just talk about, hey, eight minutes, seven minutes in the game, whoever rebounds the best, whoever keeps the ball in front of them the best, whoever is the strongest and the best is going to win.テつ It's not the end of the world if we lose, but hey, let's try to do our best and compete and let's be aggressive.テつ We're going to go down, let's go down aggressively.

Q.テつ Some of your players mentioned your calmness.テつ Can you talk about that?
JIM CREWS:テつ I don't know.テつ I'm old.テつ My wife says boring.テつ (Laughter).

Q.テつ We like to write and talk about how composed your team is, but at Jordair Jett appears to be a completely transcendent level of composure and calmness.テつ Can you talk about his approach to the game?
JIM CREWS:テつ His approach to the game?テつ I think we've got a lot of guys‑‑ again, this team is not a jump up and down, let's get excited‑‑ they might be excited‑‑ they are excited, but outwardly they are not a real outwardly exposed team.
Actually yesterday this happened:テつ Probably shouldn't say it publicly but you guys aren't going to write this stuff, I'm sure.テつ (Laughter).
Talked to the team before the game, and pretty big game, pretty big game, just like every other game, they just kind of stand up.テつ They don't even stand up quick.テつ Get together, a little team together, walk out of the locker room.テつ And for the first time ever in my life, I thought, I want to be able to coach the pros because we don't have any of that college rah‑rah.テつ We have very little of that rah‑rah, and Jordair is probably the prime example of it.
But they play with such a passion, but they aren't real outwardly excitable guys.

Q.テつ You mentioned how special it was for the players to win two championships in a span of around eight days.テつ How much more special does it make it after what happened earlier in the season with the passing of Coach Majerus?
JIM CREWS:テつ I think‑‑ I don't know to tell you the truth, because Rick's footprints, fingerprints, his lessons are embedded into those guys, his wisdom is embedded into those guys, which is pretty cool, and that's been a fun thing for me, and I think I mentioned it yesterday, they've taught me things and brought light to this or that, and when they take ownership like that, you know you've got a chance to be a pretty good team.テつ I've had teams like that before, and when they start interjecting, and they have ‑‑ hey, that is better than what we said; that is a better idea how to play this or how to play that.テつ And that's pretty neat.
And it would be great for me to say‑‑ and again, I don't know if I'm right, wrong or indifferent, I really don't.テつ It would be great to say, hey, this is for Rick, this is for Rick, this is for Rick.テつ But you know what, what if they lose.テつ I just don't buy into that.テつ Rick's life and his friendship and his coaching and the relationships that he had and the people that he touched is a lot bigger than winning a game or winning a championship or having a good year.テつ That's how I see it.テつ Again, I don't know if I'm right, but that's what I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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