March 5, 2008
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Quotes vs. Minnesota
Interim Head Coach Dan Dakich
"I thought our players, the last eight minutes of the ball game, really committed to making sure that D.J. (White), Lance (Stemler), Mike (White) and Adam (Ahfeld) got to that microphone with a happy ending."
On D.J. White's three-point basket before the half:
"You know, it looked good from the moment it left his hand. It had the perfect angle on it and it looked good. It was just a matter of if it was going to get there. And when it went in it was, by far, the most difficult three we took in the half. We had some pretty good looks and couldn't make them and D.J. throws one in. Lance made the play on it, though. I am just screaming to throw the ball in and he's thinking about making a play which is pretty good. It worked out pretty well."
On the hustle of Jamarcus Ellis:
"He is a really competitive guy and a proud guy. And he got hit at the end of the half and got real emotional. And I took him out for the last second and then at halftime we talked about it . The thing about Jamarcus is this: he appreciates when people try to calm him down and get him on the right path. And when you do that, he plays really hard. He's not one of those guys that sulks and continues to. He settles down and plays hard because he has so much pride in his ability to be a winner."
On solving the defensive struggles:
"I don't know that we've solved them. I kind of saw them all year. The other night, we got outhustled...just down the floor and getting back. I think that sometimes you get to playing zone and it is hard to go back to man-to-man zone, that kind of thing. What we talked about after watching it was everything... getting back on defense, getting to the help line, getting after the basketball. You can talk about it and show it, but you have to work at it."
On Eric Gordon playing just 13 minutes in the first half:
"I thought he looked tired after the first few minutes so I wanted to get him out. I didn't want to go to the end of the game having him played every stinking minute. I think I've got to be careful with that. Guys continued to play defense and we actually made a run the first time Eric came out. But Eric did an unbelievable job at the end of the game. We moved him over to (Lawrence) McKenzie and I think McKenzie had like two points maybe that last eight minutes of the game and I think in part because he was fresh."
Senior Forward D.J. White
About hitting his first career three-point shot just before halftime:
"I knew it was good as soon as it left my hands. You all might not believe me, but I knew it was good. It was supposed to be a play where I catch it at the top of the key but I don't know what Lance was doing, he just threw it and I had to go and get it. But like I said when I released it , it just felt good. It was lucky, but I knew it was going in."
On being emotional on Senior Night:
"It was emotional...my last time here, great fans, a great crowd. I am going to miss it a lot, playing in front of 17,000 every night that care so much about this program. I will miss it."
On being a fan favorite:
"It means a lot. There have been a lot of great players who have come through this program and for the fans to care for me and cheer for me and love me like they love those players, it means a great deal."
On his favorite memory at Assembly Hall:
"I would probably have to say beating Wisconsin last year. They were number two in the country. Also, the fans cheering my name, night in and night out."
Junior Guard Jamarcus Ellis
On his play tonight:
"I like to do a lot of things for my teammates, take a lot of pressure off D.J. and E.J. ... open up the floor a little bit. That is what I like to do; it makes the game more exciting to me, and it really gets the fans into it when they see a lot of hustle plays."
On his rebounding tonight:
"I have to fight D.J. for them. That is part of my game. I love to rebound. We lost a couple of games to Connecticut and Michigan State that we lost the rebounding. You can't win a game without rebounding. So I work really hard on my rebounding. Every day I have to go against D.J. to get rebounds, so I think that makes me really tough."
Indiana vs. Minnesota
March 5, 2008
Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith
"I want to commend and congratulate Indiana, certainly their seniors. It's always an emotional time and they played well tonight, especially D.J. He is a load. When you have a player of Eric Gordon's caliber and ability, who can control the game, it puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team to try and get a stop. He can take it to the basket and score or get fouled and make his free throws. We did some good things to get back in the game. They gained a lot of momentum when D.J. made that jumper at halftime. We responded right away. It's kind of the same MO we've had in the past. We play well and then we'll shoot ourselves in the foot by turning it over like we did and not playing with the poise that we need. We cut it to two and proceeded to turn it over and take some bad shots, and that will beat you every time."
On the team's defense:
"We played a lot of minutes, our big guys played a lot of minutes, but they played a lot of minutes too. Dan [Coleman] played 37 and I thought he had a good overall game. He really played well and shot the ball well. He was very consistent tonight. I would like to see him get to the free throw line. He needs to attack the glass a little bit better. Overall, our guys have to step up. I think Lawrence maybe got a little winded there. He was working pretty hard out there. They are logging a lot of minutes as well. We really didn't press until the end and were pretty much back in the zone. Our gameplan was working, for the most part, until we started to panic and turn the ball over."
On Eric Gordon:
"The only guy we have that can match up with him is Lawrence Westbrook and Lawrence gives away four or five inches to him. He is physical enough to battle in there and did a good job on him in the first half. Great players, they find a way to overcome anything you put on them. He is a good one.
"He has the bad hand and Jonathan [Williams] is just playing better than he is. Jonathan is giving us a better effort, and he is more physical. Jon had a very good game tonight. I would like to see him get on the boards a little better, but he did some good things for us."
On D.J. White:
"He doesn't just have the athleticism. He is doing what he can, but you are talking about a first-round guy who really can play. We tried to give him some help inside to double team him, but when he starts making jump shots like he did, it opens up a whole new can of worms for you. Your best shot is to make him take a jump shot, get a hand in his face and hope he misses it. But he was making it tonight.
"You expect that from great players. They have to will themselves and we have to do things to try and take him out of it. He made the jump shots...there is no question he is as talented player as there is in the league. He is my candidate for Player of the Year."
On being elected into the Kentucky Hall of Fame:
"That is really hard to fathom. It is a compliment to all the people I have had the good fortune to be around. That is what it takes in coaching, having players that play well and love the game. I know it is a great group of people going in as well....It's a special time. It's all about longevity in this business. If you do things the right way good things happen."