Feb. 22, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. -
St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin
On what its been like since Saturday's win over Pittsburgh:
"I had close to 400-450 text messages. The bigger wins against top 10 teams seem to lead to a range of 300-450 text messages. I distinctly remember after the Notre Dame and Louisville losses that there were six. On the losses it's between six and 10 text messages, and then on the wins it's between 300-450."
On being ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2000:
"You're please for this particular group of seniors because it's a first for them. And from a recruiting standpoint, the national exposure helps because of the media attention. I think it energizes your fan base. So it's important for St. John's basketball fans because they take pride in their program. Having us in the top 25 is going to make a loyal fan proud. But, a focus of mine has never been where we're ranked. It's more of how we're playing and wanting to play our best basketball in March. That's been the goal for every year I've been in coaching. It doesn't guarantee that you're going to have success in the (NCAA) tournament, but I think you enhance your probabilities for success by building a team for March. Everything we do on a daily basis is to prepare for the postseason."
On being mentioned as a possible candidate for National Coach of the Year:
On handling the distractions:
"Naturally, it's flattering to have your name bantered about for coaching awards, but like the top 25, the personal adulation was never a driving force for me getting into coaching or returning to coaching for this second tour of duty on the sidelines. It is flattering, but beyond that, it's about this team and wanting them to continually make progress. As we tell them, hammer to rock, and focus on the task at hand is the way I've always operated."
"We've limited the social media in terms of decision making and being prudent with time management. What I call `hooting with the owls' ... You can't soar with the eagles if you're hooting with the owls. All the ways that you can help protect the momentum that we have moving forward. Momentum can be elusive just like confidence and when you have momentum and you have confidence you have to be mindful of protecting it. And that means everyone involved with our program needs to stay on point and do the things it takes to replicate and duplicate the success we've had. Whether that's focus in practice, getting your rest at night, making sure you're not out partying, but you're making the sacrifices that it takes for this stretch of basketball to put ourselves in the best position to be successful."
On the mentality heading into tomorrow's game against DePaul:
"We have a bigger bullseye on our chest when you're in the top 25. You're having success and beating teams and now people are gunning for you. You're more of the hunted as oppose to the hunter and the higher you climb the mountain or ladder the thinner the air becomes. You have to be mindful of your steps and where you are on the journey and that comes back again to being prudent, our preparation and respecting opponents. We've been beaten by Fordham and St. Bonaventure, but we've also beaten some of the best teams in the country. So it comes back to that consistent approach, which doesn't guarantee success, but enhances the probability or odds that you're more likely to be on the positive side of things."
Senior F Sean Evans
On being ranked:
"It feels good. Any way that you can get an accomplishment like that is big for us as a team, as individuals and as a program."
On all of the media hype:
"It's going to be a big test to handle this, because stuff like this can become a distraction. You can lose focus on your goals, but I think we're a mature team and we know how to handle things like this. We've been through a lot of tough times and we want to maintain what we have now. We don't want any letdowns."
On when he heard about being ranked:
"I was excited. Not too excited because we still have a lot of work ahead. We have to finish the season out strong. But I'm excited that we're in the polls."
On the excitement around campus:
"It's been crazy. Students and everybody are excited about the program and us winning. There have been a lot of pats on the back."
On the DePaul game:
"We are going to come out with the same intensity and try to win the game. There is a lot of stuff at stake. We still have to win all our games. Nothing has changed. We know DePaul is going to play tough like they have nothing to lose. Why not play hard and try to beat us? They just had a nail-biter with Villanova, so we know they are going to come in ready to play."
On all of the hype since the Pitt win:
"By the time I got from the court to the locker room, I had 56 text messages. After I was finished with the media, I had around 84 texts. And then after we were ranked, I had another 30 text messages. It's been a text messaged-filled weekend."
On dealing with all of the distractions:
"Fortunately, we have a lot of seniors. I can't say that we've been through this before, but we are very hungry. We're going to try our best to not allow any distractions to come through. We're such a tight family around here at St. John's that if something does happen and someone gets out of line then we're able to discipline to get back on track. Our guys are great though. I don't think anyone is going to get distracted. We are extremely hungry."
On if the team's expectations have changed:
"We've beaten some of the top teams in the country now. If we get in the Tournament, depending on where we go and how we play, it's all in our hands."