Pregame Quotes: St. John's vs. Cincinnati

Jan. 21, 2011

- Head Coach Steve Lavin
On addressing the high number of turnovers the team committed against Louisville:
“We showed video just to break down how the turnovers occurred so we can kind of analyze and get to the cause or the origin of having 25 turnovers. They can see for themselves that the majority of them were unforced, whether we’re bouncing the ball off our foot or just not jumping to meet a pass or whistling one over the top into the fourth row. So just better judgement, better decisions, closing down distance between passers and receivers – what we call ‘jumping to meet a pass.’ When you beat the press knowing that the back row is coming, so you know there’s going to be someone coming from behind you, some of it was the alertness. Some of it was the readiness or the alertness to know that someone is going to come from behind, trying to flip the ball away, which happened once or twice. So they’re all things that, if we’re more mindful and more alert, we can clean up, that we can cut down, as far as the number of turnovers. Then we’ll always work on passing and catching in practice, so we’ll amplify that.”

On assessing Cincinnati:
“They are as quick and as athletic as any team we’ve faced. So taking care of the basketball against their pressure will be really important as will attacking baseline-to-baseline as we wanted to against Louisville, but didn’t have much success. We had some good looks and didn’t convert. And then there when we just turned it over and then Louisville was hot. Then before you know it you’re behind 15, 20, 25 points. So against Cincinnati, there will be some carryover in terms of Louisville being good preparation – not in the way we performed but in terms of preparing for a similar style of play. Cincinnati likes to pressure and Mick Cronin is a disciple of Rick Pitino having worked under him. So we have to be on our game in terms of taking care of the basketball and being mindful of valuing ball possession, but yet be aggressive in attacking them baseline-to-baseline when there’s opportunities against the press; and then show good judgment and run an offensive play through the post when we don’t have something in the open court.”



On if the team will get a boost from returning to Carnesecca Arena after games on the road and in Madison Square Garden:
“I think the student engagement at Carnesecca is what makes it unique. And obviously there’s great tradition on campus at this venue. But I think what makes it unique is the degree of the student presence. The students are there supporting our players and I think that’s something that creates good energy.”

On Dwight Hardy’s improvement from last season to this season:
“I didn’t get to see a great number of games last year, but from the film that we watched, I think he’s more confident and more aggressive and beginning to develop the playmaking dimension of his game. So he’s adding that into his arsenal and his ability to break defenders down off the bounce in particular when executing the pick-n-roll, whether it’s the shot or splitting the defenders and then playmaking off of that with a shot in the midrange or the kicks to open teammates. He’s beginning to turn up. We’re still working on it. It’s always a process about amplifying – not changing who he is, as I said yesterday to him. He has to be true to himself and be authentic and not change his personality. He doesn’t have to turn into a cheerleader. But within his own way, like a dimmer on a light switch, I said, ‘You can be who you are, same light bulb, but with the dimmer bring up the brightness.’ Similar to the volume. It’s the same CD, same lyrics, same soundtrack, just turn the volume up a little bit. Be who you are but amplify the volume or turn up the light. That’s the one aspect that I think he’s made progress in but can continue in between now and the NCAA Tournament or the next 47-49 days.”

On Dwight Hardy’s health status”
“I think he’s on the mend, which is the good news, but I wouldn’t have a number (from 1 to 10) for you at this point.”

On Cincinnati’s 3-point shooting:
“I know I haven’t looked at all of the statistical breakdowns from non-conference to conference, but I’m not sure if there’s been a team that’s faced more expert marksmanship or expert marksmen when you look at Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Davidson, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Louisville the other night and now Cincinnati. So we’ve had good preparation. We’ve won some of those games in very impressive fashion by shutting down 3-point attacks, in particular Georgetown comes to mind and Notre Dame on Sunday, we completely stifled their attack from the 3-point line. The flip side is we’ve been lit up by some teams as well. So that will be a real challenge for us – how can we defend the 3-point line, but also provide resistance at the rim because it’s a pick-your-poison deal. If you’re out there stretched, chasing shooters, then you have guys inside flushing home dunks and getting high-percentage looks on the interior of your defense. So the ideal thing is to get quick enough to defend 3-point shooters, be able to collapse like an accordion or Venus flytrap and get to the rim and provide resistance, but also be quick enough to get back out to shooters. Easier said than done, but that’s why we’ve got to provide energy and rotate players in and try to keep fresh bodies on the floor to face a team like Cincinnati, so athletic, so gifted, so quick in transition particular.”

St. John’s Senior Guard Malik Boothe
On coming back to Carnesecca Arena for the first time in 10 games:
“I really hope the energy on Saturday is great. We want the fans to come in and give us energy that we can feed off and get a win.”

On the importance of teammate Dwight Hardy:
“Since the season began, his vocal leadership has really progressed. He went from not speaking much and scoring to scoring and speaking. The guys feed off him.”

On Cincinnati:
“I know in high school (Sean) Kilpatrick really scored the basketball and he’s carried that throughout college so far. We’re going to have to lock-in, focus and try to contain him. The guys are spreading out their shots more without Deonta Vaughn and Lance Stephenson from last year’s team, which makes them more effective.”

On taking something away from the Louisville game to improve on:
“It would have to be the 25 turnovers. In order for us to be successful we have to get back to how we were playing earlier in the year in not turning the ball over and pressuring guys.”

St. John’s Junior Guard Cameron Edison
On the BIG EAST Conference:
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience and something I’ve been dreaming of since I was young. I can’t really put a price on the experience I’ve had so far. Being able to travel with the team, we have an all-star coaching staff, being with the guys, it’s been very nice.”

On who he matches up against in practice:
“I usually go up against Paris (Horne), which is extremely tough. I go up against Dwight Hardy as well.”

On the shot he made against Notre Dame:
“Coach put me in with a minute or so left in the game and I kind of had in my head that it was a lot more time than it actually was. We went with a four-flat set and I was able to knock the shot down.”

On the tryout process:
“It was actually about 30 guys, we all came in at nine o’clock on a Saturday. Everybody was riled up because Coach Dunlap ran it, so that was my first experience with Coach Dunlap. It was supposed to be three hours, but it ended up being about 40 minutes, so everyone was pretty scared as far as if anybody made it or not. We just ran up and down a couple times, everybody was extremely tired, but that too was a nice experience. I think I was able to show athleticism and that I understand the game. I knocked a few shots down so I was able to shine in those aspects.”

St. John’s Senior Guard Paris Horne
On preparing for Cincinnati:
“They’re a pretty deep team, but that’s why I’ve got my teammates. D.J. (Kennedy) can guard on the perimeter, Dwight (Hardy), Malik Stith and Malik Boothe so we have people that can help.”

On Cincinnati without Vaughn and Stephenson:
“They play more as a team without Vaughn and Stephenson. The focus used to be on them, now they’re more of a team that can move the ball and anybody can score at any given time.”

On taking something away from the Louisville game to improve on:
“Coming out with a sense of urgency and cutting down on turnovers.”

On winning in the BIG EAST on the road:
“It’s very tough to win on the road. There’s nothing like the BIG EAST. It’s hard no matter what team it is, from the bottom to the top. Playing at home is good for us; it gives you confidence knowing the crowd is on your side and you’re just amped and happy to be home, especially when you’ve been on the road.”


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