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March 22, 2013

Jake Barnett

Jim Crews

Dwayne Evans


THE MODERATOR:テつ We are joined now by Saint Louis student‑athletes Jake Barnett, a junior forward, and Dwayne Evans, also a junior forward.

Q.テつ You were part of the rebuilding here and your freshman year was a tough year, a lot of hard knocks.テつ What would it mean to you personally and what would it mean to the program to get to the Sweet 16?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I think it would be the biggest accomplishment we could make, just that Saint Louis teams haven't really been there before, and basing off where we've come from, especially our freshman year, being Coach Majerus' only sub .500 team, it would just be a great accolade.テつ And really just proving you can really change things around in a matter of years.

Q.テつ For both you guys, your defense has given up less than 16 the last five games, can you talk about the key defensively.テつ Have you gotten better as the year has gone on?
JAKE BARNETT:テつ I think the biggest thing that we focus on is disrupting people's plays.テつ And so a lot of that means denying, getting up in the guys and really getting a jump‑start on their plays.
If we know what they're going to run it gives us a chance to really blow it up and disrupt what they're going to do.テつ I think it gives us an advantage.
I think as the year has gone on and progressed I think we've done a good job of locking in more, understanding what we have to do to win.テつ I've definitely seen an increase in the way the guys play defense and pressure guys and get into them.
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I think we've definitely been getting better on the defensive end.テつ From the middle of the season on, from where we are now, our defense has improved tremendously.テつ It's more consistent is the biggest difference.テつ I think that's what's propelled our play lately.

Q.テつ Dwayne, getting back to that first question, can you give us some examples of when you first came to Saint Louis, how maybe the perception of the school was then and things you've seen versus how it is now?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Well, obviously it was a tournament drought.テつ Saint Louis basketball really wasn't on the map, even Saint Louis.テつ So that was interesting.テつ But I knew what the guys who were there and the coach we had then and Coach Majerus said we could easily turn it around.テつ And obviously after some bumps in the road I'm very proud of where we are now.

Q.テつ For either of you guys, I know Oregon and Cal are kind of trying to team up and get their fan bases to unite for this game and make it a home atmosphere for them.テつ What kind of atmosphere do you expect tomorrow and how much do you think that might affect the game?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ We have played in hostile crowds and atmosphere, so I don't think that will play too much into it because we have a veteran team who's used to adversity.テつ But bring it on.

Q.テつ You guys are obviously not front court players, but Oregon dominated in the post and in the paint, especially rebounds against Oklahoma State on Thursday.テつ When you look at their front court and their big guys, what are you guys going to be able to do to avoid what happened to the Cowboys on Thursday?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ We're going to have to gain rebounds.テつ Obviously I rebound a lot, so I help the bigger guys out.テつ We're going to need 5 men on the glass and boxing their man out.テつ It has to be a team effort all around.
JAKE BARNETT:テつ I agree with Dwayne.テつ It's definitely a team effort.テつ And one of the things where all the guys are going to have to rebound, and even their guards crash.
It's going to be us little guys getting in there to box out the big guys, and the same vice versa, helping us out.テつ That's the great thing about basketball, it's a team sport.テつ And we will see how we stack up against their front court tomorrow, yeah.

Q.テつ Dwayne, going back to your freshman year, human nature being what it is, when you kind of get kicked around a little bit maybe you question things or wonder about things.テつ Did you ever at any time in a moment of weakness think I made a mistake coming here, I don't know if I can stick it out, just the things that go through your mind when it's really tough?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ As a freshman on a losing team and having such a demanding coach in Coach Majerus, I think you question yourself, I think that's only natural.テつ I knew how good a coach he was.テつ I knew how good we could be if everybody stuck to the game plan and really bought in.
All the guys that were there my freshman year are still here or graduated, and I think that's why we've been so successful.

Q.テつ What's the feeling for the team now in this round versus last year at this time waiting to try to get to the Sweet 16?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ What's the feeling?

Q.テつ Just how does it compare, the mindset of the team now versus last year, trying to get to the Sweet 16?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Last year we were kind of wide eyed and just kind of there for the experience, and obviously we were taking on the 1 seed of Michigan State.テつ I think there were some nerves there.
But this year we're a confident, veteran team, we know how good we can be.テつ And we have bigger goals than making it to the round of 32.
JAKE BARNETT:テつ I agree exactly with what he's saying.テつ Last year obviously playing Memphis first round, gaining confidence after that first game, and then stepping into Michigan State, I don't think we realized how good we really were at that point.
This year stepping forward there's a renewed confidence not only in our coach but in each other.テつ So I think this game stepping forward, I think we know we have a chance to win it and if we do what we're supposed to do, then we have a chance to win.テつ So stepping into the next game is just doing the things that we need to do to win.

Q.テつ Kind of generally your game was over before the Oregon game on Thursday, have you watched tape, if you didn't see it in person, and what were your impressions of the Ducks?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ They're big.テつ They like to get out and run.テつ Obviously have a bunch of fast break points.テつ And I noticed a lot of offensive rebounds.テつ New Mexico State was the same way.
Those are things we've addressed.テつ And I think if we execute the game plan and do the things we talked about in practice and walkthroughs, then we'll be all right.

Q.テつ Talk about some of the past players, Brian Conklin, who is from Eugene and grew up as a Duck fan, have you heard from him in the last couple of days and kind of your thoughts on what he did to help this program, too?
JAKE BARNETT:テつ Brian is a huge Ducks fan.テつ I remember watching countless football games with him and having him yell, going outside and yelling, and just really excited.
I think Brian is the epitome of what it means to be a student‑athlete.テつ He was a great leader on the court and off the court.テつ He's left an impact with me in terms of what do you need to do to be a leader.テつ And that means saying the things sometimes that someone doesn't want to hear, and also just coming out every day ready to play.
And I think Brian was the epitome of that.テつ He came out every single day, and was an example to us young guys.テつ And hopefully now we can carry on his tradition of being good leaders and good students, too.

Q.テつ For either one of you, the perception of this game is you guys are going to want to slow it down, they're going to want to speed it up.テつ Can you give us some examples when you guys have played up‑tempo teams and you've been able to slow them down?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I wouldn't say we really want to slow it down.テつ We like to get out and run, as well.テつ Our major focus will be stopping them from running.テつ If that goes as planned, we'll be running and they won't.テつ I think it will be a pretty effective game for us.
I think obviously we played VCU, who gets out and runs, thrives on turnovers.テつ We played Kansas early in the year, they like to get out and run, they're an athletic team, too.テつ So we've been in this position before.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're now joined by Saint Louis interim head coach, Jim Crews.

Q.テつ Your first NCAA win was over Oregon State and Ralph Miller's last game.テつ Can you give recollections on that, and also you coached a lot against Dana in the Missouri Valley Conference, can you talk about your match‑ups with him, too?
COACH CREWS:テつ I like him personally, No. 1.テつ And then No. 2, professionally he's an outstanding coach.テつ I don't know how many years we competed against each other when he was at Creighton and we were at Evansville.テつ But a lot.
His teams play with high energy and really well set up.テつ And he's a very masterful guy of making adjustments throughout the game, looking at what you're trying to take away and then adjusting accordingly.テつ And so he does a great job with that.
And then Oregon State game ‑‑

Q.テつ '89, Ralph Miller's last game.
COACH CREWS:テつ What was the question about that?

Q.テつ Your thoughts on that game, a couple of decades later?
COACH CREWS: テつIt was a great game, it was Gary Payton's team.テつ I think it might have been his last game, too, I think he went pro after that.テつ I think we held him to 35, which was fine.テつ It if he had 37 we would have lost, but 35 we won.テつ So that was good.
Actually, I was telling Verne Lundquist, he was doing our game in Brooklyn, the thing I remember most about the game, we had a kid who hit a shot at the right ‑‑ in overtime, a three.テつ And we ran this offense, and he just kind of dribbled out, we were going to take the last shot, and we had all these guys moving, he just pulls up and shoots a 25 footer.テつ It had nothing to do with the offense.テつ Nothing but net, it goes.テつ That's how he played.
We were going down the hallway after the game and our SID comes up and says, Hey, Jim, this is Verne Lundquist.テつ I said, Mr. Lundquist, how are you doing?テつ Meet Reed Craft [phonetic] and Reed goes, Verne, hell of a game, wasn't it?テつ So he called him by the first name and I was calling Verne by Mr. Lundquist.テつ That was the kind of player he was.テつ So that's my best memory of that.

Q.テつ Just a quick follow‑up.テつ I forget to ask you this yesterday, but it had been like 24 years and X amount of days since you last won an NCAA tournament game.テつ Your thoughts on that.テつ I know you're not making this about you, but that's ‑‑ I don't know how many times that's been done before in the NCAA where somebody wins a tournament game and then 24 years later wins the next one, it's kind of unique.
COACH CREWS:テつ For a coach to last that long without winning another tournament.テつ I've been lucky.テつ I've been lucky.
Yeah, I mean, that's a fact.テつ So that is a fact.テつ We had teams that went and didn't win that first game.テつ And that's always tough.テつ And that's why you really get ‑‑ we got a big kick out of last year when the kids won the first game.テつ Because you're so ‑‑ I always said, you know, college basketball is really tough because you play all season and you have a great year.テつ So everyone is excited about ‑‑ what do they call that ‑‑ Selection Sunday, and you get it and literally we could have done it yesterday, because we played that early game, then by 2:00 on Thursday it's over.
So you have all this buildup and excitement and then, boom, it comes crashing down.テつ So anytime that you can win a game like the kids did last year and then our guys did this year, and obviously 32 teams or 34 teams didn't do that in the first round.テつ And that's hard on kids.テつ It's a very difficult, emotional thing.テつ So we feel very fortunate to be continuing to play tomorrow.

Q.テつ It was strange for me to see after the season you had for everybody to be calling you still the interim head coach.テつ I'm wondering if you can tell us where that stands and what your hopes are for perhaps removing that label or where things will head?
COACH CREWS:テつ Labels are labels, No. 1.テつ Remember, we're all interim, No. 2, literally, and all coaches are very interim, if you really want to get technical.
But I was offered a situation.テつ My stupid analogy, because ‑‑ is to paint a house.テつ And this is a six‑month job, and that's what I was hired to do.テつ And that's what we've done with it.テつ I've been treated more than fair.テつ I've been treated honestly.テつ The administration has been incredibly supportive.
Our mission this year was to get through to these kids and have the best experience they could in a very unique, no blueprint for this situation that happened this year situation.テつ And that's exactly where we've taken it.テつ We haven't gone outside that box an iota.
And I think the kids have responded to it.テつ The coaches have been great about it.テつ The administration has been great about it.
For a hope for the future, I really don't have a hope for the future.テつ My hope now is just for these kids to have as a good experience as they can.テつ I think they've had a great experience.テつ Hopefully they can continue the experience and make it longer.
I'm in a very ‑‑ hey, I'm a happy guy.テつ I mean, I was happy outside coaching, I'm happy inside coaching, I'll be happy next year.テつ I know that probably sounds like fluff, and people probably don't believe it, but I can only tell you the truth.

Q.テつ Would you like to be coach next year?
COACH CREWS:テつ I have no idea, I don't know what the job description is.テつ I'm serious.テつ It's not going to be painting a house.テつ You might have to paint the neighborhood, that might be too much, I don't know.テつ I haven't checked my paint cans lately.

Q.テつ Your defense ‑‑
COACH CREWS:テつ I was more concerned about my ‑‑

Q.テつ Defense the last five games held everybody below 56. テつTalk about the way the group works together on defense and the key to that.
COACH CREWS:テつ They've gotten better.テつ As I said before, I think the fundamentals of basketball, these guys start very, very early now.テつ You can even work them out in the summers now.テつ So it's just a long process.
Fundamentals can be very boring and mundane.テつ These guys have not dealt with it in a boring and mundane place, so their development continues because they don't treat it with that mentality.テつ And when you work on something, things, and you get sound with things and create habits, you get better as the process goes.
A little bit off the subject, but on the subject, someone was asking about Dwayne Evans, he's really playing well for us.テつ He's a junior now, and the game ‑‑ the game is a very fast game.テつ And when you're early in the process it looks like a blur at times.テつ It goes very, very fast.テつ And the older you get, the more practices and the more game time you get, it slows down to where it becomes a manageable game.
I think our team has done that, because we've got juniors and seniors, and obviously I brought up Dwayne, but Dwayne has done that, also.

Q.テつ What would it mean to Saint Louis to make the Sweet 16 and what can that do to raise the profile or change the perception of the school?
COACH CREWS:テつ I don't know what ‑‑ all the perception I've heard, it's always been a great school.テつ I don't know if we want to change the perception of the school on that, unless I'm missing something.
In terms of exposure, it does bring more exposure.テつ I don't know if exposure is good, bad or indifferent.テつ And again, I'm not trying to throw that off, but all we try to do is we try to do the best we can and just do the next right thing and worry about our input instead of worrying about the outcome and see where the chips fall.
I mean, in sports, just like tomorrow, it's like yesterday and like every other game, there's only two teams that show up.テつ One is going to win and one is going to lose.テつ It's not like a marathon race and you can finish 147th and that's great because there's 3,000 people racing.テつ It's just a different animal.
Obviously in tournament play, you know, it's more painful when you lose because it's over and you see kids, seniors careers end as soon as you lose in tournament play.テつ And that's a sad thing.テつ I've been in locker rooms and take that ‑‑ they don't want to take that uniform off too quick and get those shoes off.テつ That's a very, very emotional time for kids.
And so anytime you can do well, it's good for everybody, I guess.テつ But our whole success is not predicated if you win a game or lose a game.

Q.テつ It's simplistic to say this game is a contrast in styles.テつ It seems that way.テつ How would you describe Oregon's style and your own team's style?
COACH CREWS:テつ Oregon really tries to be ‑‑ well, both of us are very aggressive defensively.テつ They have a little bit more full court stuff at times than we do.テつ We don't normally pick up full court or rarely pick up full court.テつ We have in a game or two, but that was probably because we were desperate.テつ So they have a little bit more variety defensively.
Both aggressive, very team‑oriented defensive team, as well as on‑the‑ball and off‑the‑ball defense.
From an offensive standpoint, they're a little bit ‑‑ both have space.テつ They like to really get the ball up the floor very, very fast on maids and misses.
So they're really pushing it down your throat.テつ We're not like that.テつ We'll run, but we don't run off mades like they do, so we don't run as much as they do with it.テつ So their tempo is a little faster than ours.テつ We're not slow, not even close to being a slow tempo.テつ But we don't run off mades, I guess, as much as they do.

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