home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 20, 2014

Desmond Haymon

Jacob Parker

Brad Underwood


THE MODERATOR:  We have Desmond Haymon and Jacob Parker here from Stephen F. Austin.  Ask away!

Q.  You guys have gotten a lot of national publicity for your winning streak, you're sort of seen as a potential Cinderella team, as a team that cannot just beat VCU but get to the Sweet 16 and I wondered what you thought of all that and what you made of all that?
JACOB PARKER:  I think with the guys that we have, we think anything is possible.  We never set low standards, but we take it one day at a time, not try to fall into all the fame and the glory that we have been getting.
We're taking it one game at a time and we hope we can get there.
DESMOND HAYMON:  Speaking like Jacob said, we're going to take it one game at a time and stay focused on the task, the game tomorrow.

Q.  Seems like we just talked!  Your coach has a reputation for letting you guys be who you are.  He comes from a background from some pretty tough coaches.  What's he been like to play for?  How does he let you guys operate?
DESMOND HAYMON:  It's been fun.  Going into my senior year with a coach like this, it was a blessing.  Coach Underwood is a intense person to push you to go hard every day and motivates the student athletes to come to work and be able to practice every day because it prepares you for the games.
JACOB PARKER:  Just like Desmond said, intense on the court, but off the court he let us have a personality and I think that's what has been a key for us this year, he lets us kind of do our own thing and be ourselves and that's, I think, contributing to our success.

Q.  (No microphone.)

Q.  Guys, how have you been preparing for VCU's style of defense?  I'm sure you've heard of havoc or at least the way they play.  How have you been simulating it this week in practice?
JACOB PARKER:  We have done a lot of different things, pressure‑oriented schemes, the craziest thing we have done is getting trapped and there will be music blaring at practice just to create some havoc.  Many.

Q.  What kind of music?  Am?
DESMOND HAYMON:  Crazy music going, crowd, hollering, barely can hear each other in practice.  Get us talking and be prepared for anything that come our way.

Q.  Is it rap, heavy metal?
DESMOND HAYMON:  It's a mixture of everything, a lot of stuff going on.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, gentlemen.  We are now joined by head Coach, Brad Underwood.  Comments, Coach?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  Well, we're obviously very excited to be here.  We know we've got a great opponent in Virginia Commonwealth who Shaka has them in and out of the top‑25 every year and performing at a high level.  We've got a great locker room.  We feel like this team has achieved a great deal and has a tremendous amount of confidence coming in, and we know we will have to play well, and, you know, we'll throw it up, go have some fun and see what happens.

Q.  Coach, the guys said you were playing music at practice to simulate the style of play.  What was the thought process behind that, and what kind of music was it?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  AC/DC "Thunderstruck" all my favorites, actually.  We did that one day, and then we went their way the next day with a little rap.  We had a guy who liked the soccer chants, which is the most annoying thing that's maybe ever been put on the‑‑ been recorded, but just to create an energy, create a buzz.  Do something that's a little different, a little fun, yet understand that they're not going to be able to communicate verbally all the time, and to play through things.  We turn the ball over we can't hang our head, we've got to move on to the next play.  Whenever that situation arises, I don't know, we will find out if it worked in 24 hours or so, but we can't simulate VCU's athleticism, but we take a great deal of pride in being able to work extremely hard ourselves, so we wanted to make it as energetic and as vibrant as possible and that was something that we thought might be a little fun and create a little atmosphere.

Q.  Coach, what impact has Tanner Clayton made for you this year?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  He's been huge!  He's had great year.  As the season has progressed, making the transition to this level especially after having such a storied volleyball career and getting back into the flow of things, basketballwise and understanding the physicality of the game and the speed of the game, it was different than junior college and as the seasons progressed, he's a tremendous face‑up shooter, he's a good pick‑and‑roll guy and he's become one of the better shot blockers in our conference and did that in 18, 22 minutes a game, depending on what that role was called for that night.  You know, he's going to have a terrific year next year and I'm excited about him, get him another year in the weight room and get him stronger, but he's impacted our team a great deal.

Q.  Coach, you're not exactly what we would call an overnight success, so was there ever a time in your career when you thought, well, I might never be a head coach and how important was it to you to be a head coach at a Division I school?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  I've used the moniker "dream big" but there was a certain qualification with that dream.  It was very, very important for me to find a place to go that was‑‑ had a culture of winning, had a culture of success that I felt fit my family, that I felt fit an atmosphere where you could be successful year in and year out, not just be a one or two year out of every five year success.
So finding that was crucial for me.  I've always wanted to be a head coach, that's the dream.  To be here is something that's extremely special to me, and to be able to represent Stephen F. Austin, to be able to represent east Texas, the state of Texas makes it more special just simply because here is a school that believed in me, and it became a right fit for me and for my family, and all of the records and all the streaks that have gone on, that's, that's‑‑ to me that will soak in at the end of the year, but it's a special group of people at that institution and to me those relationships are the most important thing and that's what's been made there.

Q.  As soon as they flip the brackets and your name popped up, some of the pundits said you were going to go to the Sweet 16.  What was your reaction, was it oh, gosh, don't say that or were you glad they thought of you highly.
COACH UNDERWOOD:  No, I wish it would have been quiet.  There is some respect in that, honest to goodness, and in people saying that and I'm respectful of that.  VCU doesn't need any bulletin board material, they're good.  There is a reason they're a 5 seed.  Shaka has that program at a point where nationally they're elite, and they're playing elite competition, they're getting elite recruits and they're winning battles on all fronts.  So they didn't need anything else, but it was‑‑ they're very good and we all respect that, and I've been a fan afar from the job that he has done, and, you know it's quite an opportunity.  It's where‑‑ to be very honest, it's where we want to go.  It's one of the reasons when I took the job, we want to become that, that 2011, let's make a run and, you know, anything can happen and it's why I keep telling my players all the time "dream big" let's not put limitations or restrictions on anything!  Let's go see what can happen!

Q.  Coach, your players talked about you let them be themselves on and off the court and they also say you're a very intense guy.  I wonder how do you manage to do that?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  I think it takes a very mature basketball team.  I use that term all the time, this is a special group.  A big part of that saying is because they understand the difference between "on" and "off" and I mean when we step across the line, I'm intense, it's my job to challenge them.  It's my job to make them the best basketball player they can be and for us to become the best basketball team.  For, I guess, my old Kansas ways, for lack of a better term I use the term "duds" I don't enjoy duds, coaching is hard and winning is hard and I enjoy laughter.  If you don't enjoy what you do and enjoy the people that you're around, boy, you can become miserable in a heartbeat.
I love the fact that I can laugh and cut‑up and practical jokes and whatever, and enjoy the personality of this team off the court, and I respect the heck out of them on the court, because they‑‑ this is a hard‑workin' basketball team that has done everything that a coach could want on the court.  So for that I've got tremendous respect for them and appreciate the job that they do on the court.  Off the court, we're‑‑ it was important for me to let them be who they are.  They're 18, 19, 20, 21 year old guys and the creative times of their lives and fun and yet they've never crossed the barrier mixing one with the other.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297