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 13, 2009

Billy Donovan

Walter Hodge

Alex Tyus


Auburn – 61
Florida - 58

CLAUDE FELTON: Opening comments from Coach Donovan.
COACH DONOVAN: I thought our guys, considering the fact that we got in so late last night, really did, I thought, a pretty good job in terms of scouting report and preparation. Really did a pretty good job defensively. In the game we struggled offensively.
But Auburn had a lot to do with that. I thought their speed, their quickness and their strength really made it very difficult for our perimeter. And we didn't get a whole lot from them, but I thought that we played well enough defensively to at least give ourselves a chance to win. You know, outside of maybe Alex and Erving.
We just could not find any scoring from anybody else, and I thought at times we had some pretty decent looks. And, you know, I thought they did, too. But certainly I thought for us offensively just the way they physically, you know, really got after us and banged us and knocked our guys around, I thought that was definitely a factor in the game.
CLAUDE FELTON: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. What did you Erving in that situation? How did you console him?
WALTER HODGE: I told him that was not his fault. He just has to keep his head up. He played a great game, and he was fine.

Q. What was particularly tough about the way Auburn played defense today?
ALEX TYUS: They did a really good job at attacking the lane, the passing lanes and pressuring all over. They really do a good job at using their athleticism, quickness. But we just had to be tougher with the ball and, you know, run pick-and-rolls and get off screens and do that.

Q. Who knows what's going to happen? But what would it mean to end your career back in the NIT?
WALTER HODGE: We just have to go back and wait. I have a great career over here. I love these guys, and, you know, we don't care where we're going. We just have to do it as a team.
CLAUDE FELTON: We'll excuse the student-athletes and continue with questions for Coach Donovan.

Q. I know you called the timeout between the free throw attempts. What were you looking for in that last shot, that last possession?
COACH DONOVAN: I think at that point we got a good look at Walter for the possession Erving had a decent look, and it was almost similar to the Tennessee game where a guy came out of the lane and got a piece of the ball. It was really a good play by Nick. Good ball movement.
And at that time we talked about if it was quick enough to raise it up and get a quick two, but we were probably going to take the three. So we spaced the floor, and Nick created and made the play Erving had it, caught some time to get it off and there was a block on the play.

Q. Is Auburn an NCAA Tournament team?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, I don't know. I have no idea. I think that Jeff has done a fabulous job. You know, I'd love to see as many teams for our league, you know, go. But I don't know enough about the other teams in the tournaments and things like that. I think based on all I can say is based on what we've played against in the league this year, I think that they are as good as any team and playing as well as anybody in the league right now. And if that warrants them going, then, absolutely, I think they should go.
You know, I'm just not - whether it be for Florida or anybody else, just come up there lobbying stuff, it's just hard for me. I think they're a very, very good team. Certainly I hope. I love Jeff. He's a great guy. I'd like to see him go just for him. I don't know his kids. I know him well. I've got great respect for him as a coach, and I hope that he can go.
Whether or not they deserve it, should, shouldn't be in, there's always teams that are unhappy. There's always teams that are excited at that time. So that's a difficult part. But I hope they do make it.

Q. You talked about Auburn a lot, basically in the answer to that question. In the locker room, did you say anything to your players about post-season playing?
COACH DONOVAN: No, I didn't talk to them at all about any of that. You know, I just talked about the game and some things that we probably needed to do better and that we didn't do well enough. You know, that was really all I talked about.

Q. What did you say Erving after the game? Obviously, he was inconsolable, and were you surprised at his reaction?
COACH DONOVAN: No, not really. You know he is a - I think sometimes when guys cry, some people look at that as being a bad thing. I think a lot of times it's a sign of a guy who really cares.
I know that he cared. He made some plays that kept us around in the game. You know, maybe if it wasn't for a few of the shots he made, we wouldn't have been in that position.
But at the same point, too. Auburn missed a free throw. It would have been a four-point game. We made good ball movement. Walter gave us a chance to make it a one-possession game. So we gave ourselves a chance at the end.
But I'm not surprised by him crying because I know how much he cares. And I think as a coach you always admire that.

Q. Speaking of Walker's huge shots down the stretch, did it seem like or did it actually happen that Auburn countered every single one of them with another huge shot at the other end?
COACH DONOVAN: Yeah, they needed to make huge shots. They had a couple of times and one time we broke down and lost a man. And they knocked down the big three. It was a one-point game and took it to four. But they definitely did answer.
I thought our guys really battled and competed pretty hard on the things that I think Auburn had been doing well. You know, Auburn is a great 50-50 team with loose balls. I thought our guys did a very good job taking away their transition points. They really push it hard.
But I think the problem for us tonight is, you know, offensively we didn't get a lot from a lot of guys. And that definitely was a factor in the game.

Q. I know you addressed this earlier from Auburn's perspective. But do you think you've done enough to be an NCAA Tournament team?
COACH DONOVAN: That's not for me. We'll find that out on Sunday.

Q. Do you think he's pressing a little bit right now?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, I just think that Auburn really, really did a terrific job. They're very, very physical with it. We tried to get them off numerous ball screens. We tried to get them off ball screens, and, you know, I thought that their speed and their quickness and getting under him in the way their bigs really showed out, and the way they, the way they were able to bump and bang him within the rules. I don't think they did anything abnormal.
But the way they were able to bump and bang him it made it very, very hard on him I thought he had decent looks that went down. He missed some threes. And I think the one thing that's hard for Nick is when a guy has played as well as Nick has the entire year and certainly coming down the stretch here, you know, the intensity gets magnified.
The defensive pressure gets magnified. He probably wasn't able to do a lot of the same things he was able to do early in the year.
I'm hopeful it's been somewhat of a learning experience for him because he's got to learn that it's not going to affect the game all the time with scoring or making a great pass. Sometimes just facilitating and starting it is sometimes the most important thing.
But I think the last several games he's had a tough time in the shooting percentage. And I think teams have done a good job against him.

Q. I know you feel like this team was better than last year's team. But the end of the season is similar in terms of losing close games. What is your feeling this year compared to last year?
COACH DONOVAN: I think you're always disappointed after you lose. We were kind of fighting from behind. We had the lead and played pretty well. They were some offensive rebounds, made some big shots. There were guys that stepped up.
I guess when you start off, I made this comment last year. We are such at the ground level in terms of where we're trying to get to. You know, so much that we had to establish a work ethic, you know. They need to learn thousand win. That's the greatest thing.
The one thing that's been, you know, I think very challenging for me is getting them to really identify what goes into winning. And them understanding that for a lot of them, it's not really their personality. When I say personality. Not that they don't want to win.
But there's things that they have to do, you know, to find a way to overcome things. Whether it's physically block an out. Physically guarding the ball on the dribble. Physically going and screening. Mentally being tough when maybe it's not going great for you and being able to really stay into the game. There's so much of that stuff that they've got.
They're trying to get better at it. But we even had to establish a work ethic last year that I think had gotten better. And now I've said this before, it's one of those things where as young players, just because you're a year older doesn't mean you're a year better. You have to identify what the problems are.
Once they're put in front of you you've got to address them. The best teams address them because he they find out how important winning is to them. And I think winning is important to these guys and they want to win.
But they've got to understand what goes into it, and what the sacrifices are. And I think for those guys that's been a challenge are us to get them to real really understand that. Time for a couple more.

Q. This wasn't just a one night thing tonight. The last four or five games he's kind of struggled with his jumpshot. Why do you think he's been struggling in some of the most crucial games down the stretch?
COACH DONOVAN: Yeah, I think that's a legitimate question. Nick plays hard. I think what happens is it's that part I'm talking about where I think Nick puts so much pressure on himself to want to play well because he knows it's going to help our team.
But I also think, too, when it's not going great for him, not to lose focus of pressing even harder or trying to force the issue or, you know, losing an understanding of, okay, this is not going great. How do I affect the game here when this part of my game's not going well. I think that's part of his growth as a player is, as you mentioned, five or six games, maybe, shooting percentage, turnovers those type of things. His initial reaction is what his reaction has been his whole life. I'm going to fight, compete harder, go harder. Play. Sometimes that's not always the solution. And hopefully that's an area that he can try to get better at. Because he does play hard. He does love the game and wants to be a really, really good player.
Those are the things that you talk about what goes into winning, he's got to really figure those things out. He has all the other ingredients in terms of how hard he plays and the way he competes.
I think I said it yesterday. Sometimes eight points, five assists. Like, he shoots the ball well. But he affects the game in so many other different ways. And Nick has that type of ability.
I think for people looking at Nick they look at his stat line. He had this points, this assist. But a lot of times there are so many other things that go into his growth as a player how he can be right now.

Q. I haven't seen Auburn and Tennessee twice this year. What do you see as far as maybe some of the keys to that ball game tomorrow?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I think both teams have really, really good team speed. Clearly, the post presence of Tennessee across the front line at the basket, with Chism, Tyler Smith and Prince being long. Then being able to come off the bench with Brian Williams. You know, I think for Auburn they're a lot like us in terms of being undersized, so that's going to be a challenge for them.
I think it should be a terrific game because I think it's, in a lot of respects, on the perimeter, speed on speed, quickness on quickness. I think the biggest challenge will be for Auburn is how can they handle things up front as it relates to rebounding. And Korvotney Barber has played great. He's done a terrific job.
But I think Tennessee's length, size, physical presence up front, how well Auburn can handle it, I think, would be important in a game.

End of FastScripts

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