Atlantis Media Day Quotes

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

Nov. 21, 2012

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Coach:  Coach Tubby Smith

Players: Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Rodney Williams

Coach Tubby Smith: "It is great it is to be here in The Bahamas and we are real excited we are able to participate and to be a part of something so special.  Any time you are able to bring your team to something like this, which I consider the best tournament in the country this year, it will be a real test to see how we perform."

"A tournament like this gives us a good indication where we are as a team.  It lets us measure against other teams around the country and in other divisions.  Even if you do not perform well, you will learn something about your team."

"It is good to have Trevor back after his terrible knee injury last year.  Getting the sixth year for him was a challenge. He is very grateful to get this chance.  He is an inspiration for our players and teams.  It is a lesson for all of us.  It has brought out team closer together.  He is a real physical force on the court and one of the most aggressive and physical players I have ever coached."

Rodney Williams:  "It is a nice court and the atmosphere is going to be real fun to be a part of."

Austin Hollins: "Basketball plays a big role in my family.  Everyone in my family has played basketball at one point.  I have always been around it and having that, it has helped me to get to know the game more."

 


 

 

DUKE UNIVERSITY

Coach: Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Players:  Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee

Coach Mike Krzyzewski: "We are excited to be here. It is a great field, and I think whoever wins this will have run the gantlet so to speak.  It is probably good for all the teams involved because I think you will be better after playing these three games.  We have all our guys except Marshall Plumlee ready to play and we will see how Seth Curry does playing three-straight days.  I know he will start and be ready for Minnesota and then we will make a determination after that game (win or lose) if he will play in the second game."

"I think one of the great things about college basketball are the tournaments.  You get a chance to play great teams early, like Minnesota is a veteran team with one of the best coaches in basketball.  This is good for our team now and we are going to learn from the game.  You want to work from winning and hopefully we can beat them, but having that opportunity, it is very much like playing a top ACC game for us on November 22." 

"Minnesota plays outstanding defense.  As good as they are individually, they are better together.  It is difficult to score against them.  They haven't taken care of the ball as well, but when they do, it is really a possession by possession game.  They are older, they play together and know one another.  Rodney Williams is an elite athlete and will be a match-up problem.

Mason Plumlee:  "As a team, you want to accomplish something, especially your senior year.  So I was looking forward to having my final year here at Duke."

Ryan Kelly:  "Every team we play, whatever happens, you are going up against an opponent that certainly has a chance to play in the NCAA tournament.  Our ultimate goal as a team is to win championships and to win championships, you have to beat really good teams.  We are going to have to go through tests every step of the way, and we are ready for that challenge and we look forward to tomorrow."

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE

Coach:  Coach Rick Pitino

Players:   Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siya

Coach Rick Pitino: "We are real excited to be a part of Battle 4 Atlantis.  I think it is the strongest field I have ever been affiliated with in my coaching tenure.  Every game will go down to the last few minutes and you will have to execute really well to come away with this championship.  It will be a great challenge for us early in the season."

"Gorgui has a great background.  He is a very discipline young man.  He is extremely bright and he came into the country at 190lbs and to work on his basketball skills and his body.  Now he is 248lbs and very strong - outstanding shot blocker, good passer, improved his shooting touch.  He is an extraordinary young man in addition to a basketball player."

"You can play good basketball, but lose three games because the teams are so outstanding.  What I like about it more than anything else is we are going to find out what we need to work on as we get ready to play a very difficult schedule.  It is going to be another strong Big East year and it will never be the same again, but will go out in fine fashion.  This type of competition gets us ready very early on." 

"We have a very mature group.  They want to win and great attitude, but they know and are very respectful of Northern Iowa.  The have watched tape on them." 

Gorgui Dieng:  "Coach Pitino is one of the greatest coaches in the game and he has coached a lot of good basketball players and knew he would guide me better.  He wants to teach you everything on and off the court and I think that is the most important." 

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Coach:  Coach Johnny Dawkins

Players: Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell

Coach Dawkins: "We are excited to be here.   It is a great field and this is something we have been hoping to be a participant of for a few years.  We are excited about the game tomorrow against Missouri.  They are a really good and experienced team, and we are looking forward to the game." 

"There are very few championships you can play for and during the course of the season, there are three - this tournament, your conference tournament and of course the tournament at the end of the year.  This is a great opportunity for us to see where we are in this type of environment and to learn and grow from this experience while keep preparing for the rest of the season."

For us, it is important to understand the importance of the tournament.  Like I said before, how many opportunities do you get to play for something special and this is one of them.  I think because of that, I think you need to be willing to sacrifice and make the commitment necessary to perform at your best."

Dwight Powell:  "I think as a team, we have a lot of things we have to prove this whole season.  We need to make the effort to play better and smarter and play more together this tournament."

"Missouri definitely has some size inside and some experienced guys that we are looking forward to competing against.  We have been preparing for them - we watched a lot of tape on them, so we know they are good players and we will be ready for fight."

Chasson Randle:  "Missouri has a lot of great guards, and we respect them and we will play hard."

VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY

Coach:  Coach Shaka Smart

Players:  Darius Theus and Troy Daniels

Coach Shaka Smart: "We are here!  We are excited to be here in The Bahamas.  It is the best tournament in the country with an unbelievable field.  We are excited to be playing Memphis tomorrow.  They have a great team and great coaching staff and all lots of good players.  It will be a heck of a challenge. "

"I think we are still considered one of the underdogs.   We like that.  That is our identity and what we are all about.  There are some terrific programs in this event.  Louisville doesn't take a back seat to anyone, Memphis is loaded and Duke is a premier program - everyone is great and loaded."

"I think our guys have a belief in each other - I certainly have a belief in them.  Every time we take the floor, we have something to prove.  These guys have a lot of winning experience and I think that is more important than momentum.  These guys and the other juniors on our team have won 6 NCAA tournament games, so that goes a long way to create more positive momentum and success."

"These are all great teams competing against each other.  I don't think you will see a lot of one-sided games."

"I think Memphis is going to be significantly better than last year's team.  Talk about a high level program with terrific players.  I think Coach Pastner has done a great job in certainly one of the best programs in the country.  I think [Chris] Crawford will benefit the most from Will Barton moving on because he is a talent." 

Darius Theus: "Just be all about the team.  If I put 100% of the focus on the team, then everything else individually for me will work out.  Whatever it takes to win, we will do it."

Troy Daniels: "Darius is a great leader and he plays a big part of the team.  His voice is heard.  We love him and we need him." 

UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

Coach:  Josh Pastner

Players:  Tarik Black and Adonis Thomas

Coach Josh Pastner: "We are blessed to be a part of this tournament - it is an amazing field with all good teams, good coaches and good players.  It is like a mini-NCAA tournament.  It is great competition because you learn a lot about your team and we are very thankful to be here."

"We are excited about tomorrow to play a good VCU team.  They are well coached and they have a lot of good player, with a lot of them returning this season.  They play a very good style of basketball.  They have had great success with their style of play - they like to play fast as well and think it is going to be a fun game for both programs, for the fans and the tournament.  We know we have to play a great game and I am expecting us to do that tomorrow night."

 "We are a talented group.  We have an opportunity to have a great season, I believe it.  We haven't peaked so there are things we need to get better at and to continue to improve in some areas.  The potential for this team is terrific and Adonis and Tarik are a part of that.

 "The next three days will be a good test of where we are at and move forward."

Adonis Thomas:  "Coming into this season, I am looking forward to everything - getting back on the court with this group of guys and the new guys on the team and looking forward to an exciting season." 

 "We plan to continue to execute and prepare as hard as we can.  For the pressure, we know they are going to be an intense team, so if we take care of the ball and execute our offense and match the intensity on defense, we will do a good job."

Tarik Black: "We are looser than last year because we understand what it takes.  We have to prepare right and we know that and we are doing that right.  And we are going to go out there and perform."

 "It is going to be a fun game that we like playing.  I think they are going to try to run up and down with us.  I am going to focus on that and let offense happen."

UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA

Coach:  Coach Ben Jacobson

Players:   Jake Koch and Marc Sonnen

Coach Ben Jacobson:  "We got a nice mix of young guys and experienced guys.  We have four seniors on our team that have done a lot for our program and have led us off to a good start to the season.  Our young guys are more improved from last year and are playing at a higher level and that is something that needed to happen for us." 

"We have to play our game and play the way we can be successful and for us, that is hard-nose/man-to-man defense and make sure our defense is set.  All of that will be important tomorrow as well as rebounding the basketball.  We have a team built to do some different things offensively.  We have the ability to score in transition and we have guys that are better inside and others that can make 3-point shots.  With it being this early in the season, we got to keep building our team and play the way it fits us best.  We have practiced enough to know what our challenges are against Louisville."

"Because Louisville tests you in every area possible, with their press and changing defense, they are so good in transition, they have good guys who can score, good physical upfront, quick guards and we will be tested in those areas and a chance to get better."

Jake Koch:  "It feels nice to be focusing not just on one thing - not just defensively and offensively.  It is nice to be able to do everything - it is easier some nights.  Some nights I just need to score and other nights I just need to pass and play defense.  It changes every night and will do whatever the teams needs me to do."

"It is a great opportunity coming to a great tournament like this with a good field of teams. It is a chance to prove ourselves right away."

Marc Sonnen:  "With the work we put in the off season, we all feel confident in each other and that comes with hard work. When you put the time and effort into it, you will start feeling more confident.    Our goal is just become more confident in each game and this is going to help us in the long run and be the best we can be at the end of the year."

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Coach: Frank Haith

Players:  Phil Pressey and Alex Oriakhi

Coach Haith: "We are excited to be here.  This is the best pre-season tournament field in the country.  I think all eight teams made the NCAA tournament [postseason] and we are just proud to be a part of it.  We are playing the Stanford team that is well coached, and I think they are a talented group.  They won the NIT last year and a lot of those guys are back so we know what we are up against, in terms of a well-coached team that will be very tough and we expect a really good ball game tomorrow."

"We like our parts and pieces and when you are a competitor, like our coaching staff and players are, we want to play against the best and we have the opportunity to compete against the best here."

"We are excited about joining the SEC.  The thing we have to get used to is the tempo of the league.  I think both leagues, SEC is more aggressive, up tempo and more pressing and that we have to get used to that.  Big 12 wasn't quite like that, so that will be a little bit of an adjustment for us.  We are just excited about being in a stable league and that is what the SEC is." 

"We are ready to compete.  We have a ways to go to get our chemistry where we want it.  I think we do have a team that will be playing better in December and January, so we aren't quite where we will be, but I do like our team." 

"Nothing is easy.  We have versatility and more length.  We struggle rebounding the ball, but are already better.  We are longer, bigger, more athletic.  This team will be different looking than last year."

Alex Oriakhi: "This is a great tournament with a lot of great competition.  All you can tell the guys is that they have to compete and play hard and don't take a game for granted because anyone can beat you at any game.  I hope we can end the tournament like I think we can end it."

"Phil makes the game extremely easy for me and everyone else.  Anytime I am down, he picks me up. He is not only a great teammate, but a great friend.  It is a blessing to play with someone you have known for such a long time. "

"I feel like I am the best shape of my life.  When I first got to Missouri, I was out of shape and overweight.  I was about 263 and now I am down to 248.  Our strength coach did a great job with me and was willing to put in the work and it paid off.  I am just happy to be back in shape and stay like this."

Phil Pressey: I know my guys when my guys score, everyone is happy. I try to make everyone happy.