Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Quotes From Manhattan/Iona/Fairfield Media Day

Manhattan forward Rhamel Brown on biggest difference between last year and this year:
"Our maturity. We approach the game a lot differently. We have a lot of veterans, we just make sure everyone's doing their job, doing the right things on the court and off the court. It's changed the complexion of the team."

On forward Ashton Pankey and how he affects the Jasper lineup:
"He's a monster inside, he's a load to deal with. He's going to cause a lot of matchup problems, including with me and Mike, (Alvarado) Shane, (Richards) Donovan, (Kates) RaShawn. (Stores) It just makes us have a lot of flexibility as a team."

On freshman point guard Tyler Wilson:
"He's light years ahead of his age. He's 17, and I've never seen a 17-year-old be such a floor general at the college level."

One word to describe Manhattan this season: "Heart."

Manhattan guard Michael Alvarado on expectations this season:
"(To) get back to the (MAAC) championship and win it this time. Me and my teammates are working hard and competing, and that's in the back of our minds."

On biggest difference between last year and this year:
"Our experience. We're much more coachable, last year we were coachable, but this time, we're more patient. We're locked in to everything Coach (Steve Masiello) has to say, because we know he wants to win, and so do we."

On Tyler Wilson:
"He brings toughness and he's an incredible floor general. He's going to be a big part of our team this year."

One word to describe Manhattan this season: "Tough."

Iona coach Tim Cluess on outlook for a second consecutive MAAC championship:
"We have to kind of find ourselves as a team right now, we have a lot of new players. We have to establish different roles, and we have a lot of work ahead of us to be considered a team that can even think about that right now."

On team chemistry with a personnel overhaul similar to last season:
"We need a lot of work right now, we have not gelled to the level I wish we were at, (at this point) and I think a lot of it is finding someone to replace Momo. (Lamont Jones) No one's going to quite be that type of scorer, other guys have to understand there are a lot of gaps we have to make up for, different things Momo could do that other guys don't."

On backcourt in Jones' absence:
"I think our wings are doing well. I think our point guard situation is a thing we have to straighten out. I'm hoping Tavon Sledge continues to advance so he can get more minutes at that spot this year, he's not somebody like Momo who's a scorer at that spot, he's a distributor, and he's done a great job with that."

On role of wings in Iona's offense, namely Tre Bowman and Isaiah Williams:
"That's a good question, I think we're going to be as good as our wings. If Isaiah Williams comes in productive for us, and if Tre can be more solid; last year, he was very up and down, so if he could be more consistent for us, I think we have a chance to be pretty good. I think David (Laury) will do a great job for us inside, we'll have a couple of young guys that will give him a rest here and there and play alongside him. I think Mike Poole's a solid player, but I think a lot is depending on a couple of guys that have to really knock down some shots to give Sean (Armand) some breathing room so everyone can't focus on him."

On hand check rule and increased fouling:
"It's a big concern for us in a lot of areas, obviously with Dave Laury for one. If he's in foul trouble early on, we don't have an experienced guy behind him. Then you can just look at your guards, and we like to press and run. Calling everything may affect how we have to play the entire game."

On newcomers Daniel Robinson and Ryden Hines:
"They're both young kids, both can stretch the defense, believe it or not. Their best assets right now are (that) they can shoot the ball to the three-point line, they just have to be more of a force inside. I think Ryden has a little more physicality than Daniel Robinson right now, Daniel has a bright side, and Shack Scott has done a nice job for us, a kid we didn't expect a lot out of as a freshman. He's playing with a really high motor, high energy, and he's a really good athlete. He just comes out and competes, and probably has a better competitive level than the other two right now."

Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson on how to go about replacing Fairfield's backcourt:
"I would say it's a million-dollar question, but I don't have that much money! But it is a big part of our season to replace that leadership. We've got three kids in particular, K.J. Rose, Lincoln Davis; two freshmen, and Sean Grennan is a sophomore transfer. Can they be elite guards? Can they be true classic point guards? I'm not sure if that's a position in play so much, but we need somebody to man the ship, and those are the three that we'll call on, and there'll be some games for them to figure it out and for someone to take the lead."

On Sean Grennan and what he brings in having transferred from Seton Hall:
"One thing is that experience, and that's at the highest level, and I'd say a natural feel. He can pass, dribble, shoot, you know? He's just comfortable being effective in a lot of different ways, so I think for us, the big charge is his consistency. If you've played at that level and you're not jaded or thrown off by anything coming your way, we need to see that every day, and his teammates need to rely on that, so that's the big push we're asking from him."

On Malcolm Gilbert joining Amadou Sidibe up front:
"Great question. Amadou is phenomenal in what he brings, but he can only do so much, and there are times where he got in foul trouble, or maybe he just had an off game; not a lot of them, that's why he was Rookie of the Year, but point being, we need to shore up our post defense, our post presence on offense, and Malcolm brings that tremendously. He's a huge kid, he's got great hands, he has a defensive presence, he's highly coachable, so we're really encouraged to see his production. He's not going to be Patrick Ewing right from the jump, but he's going to be a very good player over the course of his career."

On Fairfield's bench and its improvement:
"It's interesting for me: I'm going into year three, but in many ways, it seems like year two in a sense that I don't have guys that have been with us that know everything we've gone through. We've relied so much on guys like Justin (Jenkins) and Coleman, (Johnson) and they've only had one year under their belt. Normally, you put juniors and seniors in that role, but they know that much more than say, some freshmen, and they've gotten that much more experience, but they'll still be learning as they go, so it's a bit of a catch-22."

On biggest key to this season:
"I think there's two keys, to be honest. I think you always have to stay healthy. When you have injuries at some level, it kind of just throws off your momentum, I'm big into that. If we stay healthy and we get better month to month, you know, people may think I'm crazy, but the No. 1 rated team has not represented this league in the NCAA Tournament year in and year out in the last decade. You know, you have your second, your third, your fourth, sometimes your fifth-best team going to the NCAA Tournament, so all we want to do is make sure we're healthy and we're improving, and we truly believe that we have a chance to play for a championship in March. That's what we're gunning for."

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