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March 20, 2013

Jim Crews

Dwayne Evans

Kwamain Mitchell


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by student‑athletes Dwayne Evans and Kwamain Mitchell.

Q.テつ I know you guys have been talking all season about Coach Majerus and all that.テつ But this is a new thing.テつ And a lot of people are interested, particularly here in San Jose.テつ How do you think his personality and what he meant translates to what we're seeing on the court.テつ In other words, what part of his personality is most inherent in your team's games and how often do you think of him?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ Well, to answer your first question, I mean, that's easily answered.テつ The way we play, we play 40 minutes, from the tip to the end with hard work and competitiveness of our team.テつ That kind of spread from Coach Majerus, he's so competitive.テつ He hated losing.テつ And that's one of the things he preached and he coached.テつ And he got everybody on the same page to coach and play the way that he does.
So just the competitive aspect of just fighting for the loose balls, just valuing every possession.テつ That's what our identity in that sense, since we've been at Saint Louis.
The second question is we think about Coach every day.テつ There's no second that he's not with our team.テつ We run the same offense, the same philosophy that Coach has been teaching us since I've been here.テつ He's still there.テつ He's always going to be there personally for me and players like Dwayne and some of the seniors.
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Yeah, I think Coach's passion is really evident with this team.テつ And you can tell guys are really happy to play together and get out there and compete.
Coach gave it his all, 24 hours a day, he talked basketball, he could practice forever if the NCAA would let him.テつ I think we have guys who are really dedicated to the game and really dedicated to each other.

Q.テつ If memory serves I think you were one of the first recruits of Coach Majerus.テつ What about him made you want to go to Saint Louis, and the offer and the first meeting, what do you recall about it?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ Just some of the accomplishments that people were saying about him, where he coached at Utah, took that group of guys to the NCAA tournament, to the National Championship game.
Another thing me and my family was excited about and surprised with, he was more worried about the players' education.テつ And that's one of the things that me and my family, me we growing up, always wanted me to get a degree, whatever school I go to.テつ That was one of the things that Coach made emphasis about, his passion for the game was so high compared to other coaches, he still wanted his players to get a degree.テつ And that's one thing I remember to this day.

Q.テつ Just on something separate, both of you guys, this tournament seems a little more wide open than in years past, particularly for seeds like you that aren't getting as much attention.テつ Do you feel it is more wide open without one or two dominant teams and teams such as you can make a run?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Yeah, I think that's been pretty obvious throughout the year there's a lot of parity in basketball this year.テつ Top five, top ten teams are getting knocked off.テつ Every game you turn on SportsCenter and you see a bunch of upsets.
But I think that provides a lot of exciting college basketball.テつ And as I team I think we have a legitimate chance here.

Q.テつ The only Bay Area team you played this year was Santa Clara, which was a loss early on.テつ What's the difference between then when Santa Clara played you and now?
KWAMAIN MITCHELL:テつ That was early.テつ Obviously I was hurt at the time.テつ I wasn't ‑‑ I didn't help my team get the win.
But I think as a team we're more, you know, we're more focused on the little things than we were at the beginning of the season.テつ As the season has gone on, the teams they get better in areas that ‑‑ those little areas that make them a great team.テつ And that's what we strive throughout the season every day, day‑by‑day in practice film.
I think right now we are playing the best basketball that we've played.テつ And Coach Crews said at the last game we could play even better.テつ We're excited for this opportunity that we have, and we want to take every advantage of it.
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I think early on in the season guys hadn't really fully bought in yet.テつ And we were just making a lot of mental mistakes, we weren't where we needed to be on defense and I think that provided a couple of losses.
But since then we really refocused and everyone kind of bought into the same concepts and ideas, and once the team knew we could be special if we really did the things we needed to, I think we really improved.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined now by interim head coach Jim Crews of Saint Louis.

Q.テつ The last time most Bay Area people were aware of you was the Santa Clara game, and that didn't go well for you.テつ It was early on.テつ What is the biggest difference between that day and now?
COACH CREWS:テつ Well, that was a ‑‑ first of all, Santa Clara had a good basketball team, they played good basketball and deserved to beat us that night.テつ We didn't feel like ‑‑ our guys played with pretty good energy throughout.テつ We didn't play with very good energy that night.テつ We still can't figure it out.テつ We had good practices going into that.
We were kind of laughing about that the other day about that game.テつ But certainly Foster had his way with us.テつ And for the most part our team defense has been able to contain individuals and teams.テつ But that night they got the best of us.
And the basketball season is long.テつ You're going to have good games, you're not going to have such good games.テつ And every team is like that.テつ So it's just part of the season.

Q.テつ Obviously for a few months now Rick Majerus has been a big part of your team in your memories and things.テつ At this point, how much motivation is that?テつ Has it become something you guys don't talk about anymore, you still like to keep alive, looking back three months?
COACH CREWS:テつ I don't know, maybe you asked the players and they gave you an answer.テつ But from our standpoint, or my standpoint I should say, I don't know if Coach has ever been a motivational part of it.テつ We have not beat that drum, because I think his life is far more ‑‑ I shouldn't say "think," I know his life and anyone's life is far more important than a basketball game or a championship or a season.テつ So we weren't going to do that.
However, Rick's imprint on this program, the lessons are permanent.テつ He did a great job of training these guys.テつ So that goes on and on and on every day in practice.テつ So it's a big part of it, but not in terms of ‑‑ at least from my standpoint ‑‑ a motivational standpoint.

Q.テつ Just to follow up, what were some of the last memories you had of Rick and some of the coaching advice he's given to you then and over the years?
COACH CREWS:テつ I've known Rick for 35, 40 years.テつ So there's so many great memories.

Q.テつ Specific about this team?
COACH CREWS:テつ About this team?テつ Well, he just loved these guys.テつ He was really ‑‑ last year at the NCAA we really had a good time.テつ I just think that we were in Columbus and we had a big team dinner and a lot of people were there and Rick was having fun with the kids.テつ It was really enjoyable then and then certainly from looking backwards that was pretty cool experience and everything.

Q.テつ Have there been moments this year when something happened on the floor and you said to yourself, Rick would like that?
COACH CREWS:テつ Oh, yeah.

Q.テつ Give me an example of that, if you could.
COACH CREWS:テつ Oh, I think anything with ‑‑ a kid does something very intelligent or he does something very tough or someone does something very unselfish, Rick would always have a smile on his face.テつ I think he promoted power of team as well as anybody.
And he just got a real big kick out of kids that were able to do a lot of little things that don't show up in the box scores and mom doesn't understand it or the media doesn't ask about it because it might have something to do with rhythm or angle or spacing, those types of things, coach jargon, and these kids are very wise at those things.テつ They've been taught well.

Q.テつ Could you just talk about New Mexico State, what do you think about that as a defensive team, with the big center and some of the ones that they have?
COACH CREWS:テつ Well, actually a very good team.テつ The 7‑5 kid certainly anchors their defense in terms of he protects the bucket so the other guys can be ultra aggressive in the way they play because they've got a big insurance policy back there.テつ He's not big ‑‑ he's good and big.
So that's a real compliment to him, because we saw some tape earlier in the year and how he's progressed has been really enjoyable to watch from a coaching standpoint.テつ That's pretty neat.
But they're long.テつ He's not the only long guy on the floor.テつ They've got other long guys on the floor.テつ And a good quickness.テつ They present a lot of problems both from a defensive and offensive standpoint because it's very unique.
The A‑10 was a league that played so many different systems, so every three days we had a completely different system, every three days, that, okay, a lot of guys started asking in the media, will you be prepared for the NCAA because of that?テつ And I thought probably a pretty good chance.テつ There's no 7‑5 guys in the A‑10.テつ So that came as a shock when we got that draw.

Q.テつ Looking at the tournament from the outsiders' perspective, there really hasn't been one or two dominant teams in college basketball.テつ What does that mean for teams such as yourself, is it more wide open this year than in years past or how would you assess the field?
COACH CREWS:テつ I'm probably not very good at answering that, because I don't follow it that closely.テつ Can I just do a ‑‑ it's hard enough for me to coach one team without worrying about other teams.テつ So I don't know.
But generally speaking, it seems like over the last few years it's been a little bit more wide open for teams and more teams and the parity within college basketball.テつ I'm probably the wrong guy to ask.

Q.テつ Because both teams are good defensively, can you talk about what kind of game you're expecting tomorrow night, a low scoring kind of game?テつ Seems like both teams are good and physical.
COACH CREWS:テつ Yeah, physical teams.テつ I don't know.テつ Our team is really unique.テつ They've done a great job of winning all kinds of different ways.テつ We played fast.テつ We played slow.テつ We played medium.テつ Throughout the game it might be differently.テつ We've shot the ball well and lost.テつ We shoot the ball terrible and we win.
But our guys have been able to stay with things.テつ And they do a good job of understanding match‑ups, situations, where we are in the game with different situations.テつ So they do a good job of that.テつ And they're very unselfish, so it comes from different people.
Just like anyone else, they're going to play their tempo, we're going to try to play our tempo, and someone is going to do a little bit better than the other one.

Q.テつ You've said a few times this year that when you took over that you leaned on the players, that they taught you.テつ You learned from them.テつ In fact, you kind of asked for their help.テつ Could you just offer some examples of ways that, in effect, the players coached you, or you learned from them, because of them being so schooled in the Majerus system?
COACH CREWS:テつ Right.テつ I think, you know, you get in situations where there's sequences in the game.テつ So it might be a back screen, down screen.テつ Or it might be a back screen and then a guy cuts off and then he sets up a ball screen.テつ Or you've got double screens, and I'm talking about all defense right now.
But my point being is there's all kinds of different ways to guard those things.テつ Or here's penetration and then you stay in there and you help and recover.テつ Or you don't help and recover.テつ And so those things ‑‑ and each team brings different ways.テつ As a coach, you say, okay, this is how we want to guard it.テつ But there's always enough different personnel that, all right, we need to tweak that a little bit.
And I think the players have done a tremendous job of understanding those tweaks and telling us, like, we'll say something, for example, like, okay, let's really hard hedge on this and protect from the first screen, and the second one we hard hedge.テつ And they'll say, well, what if we hard hedge from an east/west angle rather than a north/south angle.テつ And they'll put things on that with that.
Or angles of screens from an offensive standpoint, when we go to the second or third side, we like to change our angles of the screen.テつ Okay.テつ So that's ‑‑ and I don't know if I'm answering your question very well.

Q.テつ This is a clichテδゥ, so I apologize ‑‑
COACH CREWS:テつ We're full of them, coaches.

Q.テつ Is it almost like having some of your kids, not all of your kids on the floor, they're kind of like coaches in some respects, because they understand so well and there's presence of mind about situations and subtleties are so enhanced?
COACH CREWS:テつ Oh, absolutely.テつ The older ones, the juniors and seniors, absolutely.テつ Not only do they come over and say something to me or one of the other coaches, but they're always passing that knowledge to each other.テつ And that's what's really been enjoyable and cool of what they do.
It's the littlest things.テつ We want to screen with a certain ‑‑ against a certain guy.テつ Well, he's on the wrong side of the floor, so they'll just interchange ‑‑ within the offense they just interchange places, because they know.
Or we want to get a shot for a certain guy on this side of the floor and they know how to set that up where the ball goes.テつ They might tell the guard to go one way, because they know it's going to come back the other way to them.テつ So they're very quick with those type of things.
As I've said, they're wise and they're very cerebral and they know the system, but they know personnel extremely well.

Q.テつ What did you learn as a coach during your time off and did you learn anything special from the young girls that you coached?
COACH CREWS:テつ Oh, from a woman question, I like that.テつ What did I learn?テつ I think sometimes when you step away from it you have more time and then you can observe more ways to do things because when you're in your own vacuum ‑‑ coaches reach out pretty decent, but still there's time parameters on you and demands and so you don't get out as much, so you kind of learn from other people.テつ There's a million ways to skin the cat.
From the girls, you know, really I've always believed and I've always said this, there's good basketball and bad basketball.テつ It doesn't make any difference if it's 3rd grade or 6th grade girls or junior high or pro.テつ Either you're going to do it the right way in terms of how the game should be played together and as a team.テつ I think that's the most thing.
I mean, I've always had decent ‑‑ you get lost sometimes with it.テつ But it's a game and the game should be utilized in the right ways and it's tough in our society to do it the right ways in terms of it should be fun.テつ Sometimes it's not that much fun.テつ And it is a game.テつ It's not life‑threatening if you win or lose.テつ You compete as hard as you can and just do the best you can and then let the chips fall where they fall.テつ Don't get too stressed out about it.
Easier said than done, but that's what we try to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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