POSTGAME QUOTES: St. John’s vs. Central Connecticut

Nov. 14, 2017

St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin

 

On overall takeaway from first two games of the season:

“I see a lot of good play, both individually and collectively, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I do see that we can be much better in a lot of areas, but we are doing some good things. We just have to understand that and keep on working. I think we’ve identified our weaknesses as a group, and we continue to work on them in practice so we can execute them in a game. I’ve seen some good, overall improvement.”

 

On Marcus LoVett shooting 60% from the field in win:

“We have some guys who can shoot the ball, no question. However, I’m more concerned about how those shots are being generated. We are out in the open floor…I love that. I love inside-out play, draw-and-kick, and anytime we go into the post we like to get some action. If we are setting good screens and cutting hard…we are going to get our looks, and we have guys who can knock those shots down. I’m really not that concerned. I thought tonight we had good shot distribution and good ball movement. When we do that…offensively we are going to be okay.


 

 

 

On forcing 20+ turnovers in back-to-back games:

“It’s something that we’ve worked hard on in the offseason, that’s for sure. Part of that is conditioning because to play defense, you have to be fit. We ask our guys to get up and pressure the ball, we don’t want to gamble…but we want to get up and wear them down all night. Whether it be Marcus [LoVett], Shamorie [Ponds], or Justin [Simon] they have done a really good job of that. That’s their job to pressure the ball and our bigs are there to support them…that allows for us to be in the backcourt and be a presence all night long. It’s something we’ve worked on, and I think we are good at it now…but we are going to get better at it.”

 

On upcoming game versus Nebraska on Thursday:

“It’s going to be a physical matchup. I told our players tonight, this is going to be the biggest and strongest team that we’ve played so far. They are going to bring their physicality…that’s always been the case with the Big Ten Conference. We have to meet that with force, and then get back and play our game. That’s going to be a big focal point of ours…keep them off the boards, being physical with their cuts, and matching their physicality. Then on offense and defense, we just have to go out and do what we do.”

 

On importance of Gavitt Tipoff Games:

“It’s a great tribute to Dave Gavitt, who I knew very well and was very influential in my career. He’s been a huge contributor to basketball, not just college but also USA Basketball and the NBA. I think these games are wonderful, and I’m glad we have them. As far as the opponent goes, it’s a typical scouting report and then go out there and play for 40 minutes.”

 

On Central Connecticut’s performance without Head Coach Donyell Marshall:

“I told our guys coming in that they’ve played two really good road games coming into tonight. They scored the ball at a high level. I watched the Hartford and Rutgers games, and they came back in the second half of that second game. They are playing tough…they have some nice guys who can really score the basketball, and they play the right way. I think we were prepared for that. I told them that they were a dangerous team, and they came out and played hard, played together, and they are well coached. I missed Donyell [Marshall]. One of the reasons why I scheduled this game was because I wanted to see Donyell. I send nothing but my best his way. He was one of my teammates with the Warriors, and I can see his influence on those guys. They are playing the right way, and are playing hard.”

 

On upcoming schedule and tougher games ahead:

“Well we knew our schedule ahead of time. We will get the scouting report done…tomorrow we have a quick turnaround, so we will do more mental work tomorrow to let their bodies recover a little bit. I’m excited for it…I think it’s a great test. We have plenty of tests coming. We have a tough schedule and we are all looking forward to it.”

 

On finishing tonight +9 in the rebounding margin:

“Again, we have to do it as a group. Who gets them is not that important, but we have to go get them. Tonight, Shamorie [Ponds] and Justin [Simon] had 9 and 11…I’ve asked them to get into the paint. If their guy is not underneath the basket, get in the paint and help our bigs get the basketball. They are doing a good job, but it’s going to be a huge test on Thursday. Overall, much improved with four offensive rebounds, and when we get those boards it gets us out into the open floor.”

 

Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds

 

On the team’s defensive game:

“Coach preaches to us to pressure the ball so we just try to stay on them from both the front and the back end and to just put as much pressure on them as we can.”

 

Thoughts on team’s chemistry:

“I feel like this team is really special. Off the court we are all together as a whole, we do everything as a team and I think that carries over onto the court. I am pretty confident in my teammates and the coaching staff, I think we can go far, we just have to put in the work day-in and day-out.”

 

On upcoming schedule:

“We are confident enough in ourselves and our ability. I feel like this team is ready for the big games and big teams, and I feel we’re going to go out there and get it done.”

                                                                          

 

Redshirt sophomore guard Justin Simon

 

On moving forward:

“We just have to play hard all 40 minutes. I think both halves we came out a little flat, but we played well defensively, got a lot of stops when we needed to, and kept the pressure up.”

 

On upcoming schedule:

“I think the coaches will prepare us pretty well for everything coming up. I have a lot of confidence in our team as well; we are ready.”

 

 

Central Connecticut Acting Head Coach Mike Witcoskie…

 

On playing a BIG EAST team:

“It’s certainly not in our league to see two guys score so easy, it is tough. We said going into it that Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett are going to make some shots that we are not going to be angry with because they just go right in. We will build on it. We had some guys who did some really good things. Part of this is the bad that gets exposed and needs to be exposed so we can watch film and say this has to improve.”

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