Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fordham 87, Manhattan 64: Quotes From Steve Masiello

Opening statement:
"Well, congratulations to Fordham. I thought they came out very well prepared, I thought Coach (Jeff Neubauer) did a terrific job. I thought their kids really competed at a high level. He's doing a great job with the program of getting kids to buy in to his philosophy. I take my hat off to him, and a great win for Fordham."

On Manhattan's energy in first half after Wednesday's win over George Mason:
"That's what we do. We better have energy."

On injuries:
"The game has changed in a sense of where as coaches, we've got to watch what we do with injuries and how much we push, how much we look into things, so for me, I can't give you a clear answer because I don't know a clear answer. Some seem like they're going to be some time and some seem more of the nagging type. The biggest issue we're having is you take a guy like Carlton Allen, who hasn't practiced all week, so even though we have a body, it's not a body who knows, per se, what to do against Fordham's schemes and everything. We haven't been able to practice in, I'd say, twelve days. We only have five bodies, six bodies. We're bringing in Rhamel Brown to practice. It's what it is. I'm hoping we can get back, and I'm trusting the training staff to do what we need to do to get guys back. I just go on what I'm told."

On how injuries are affecting Manhattan most:
"This style, I think for four years, I've averaged ten guys, definitely nine, in double-figure minutes. It's why we've won. I press, I play a lot of bodies, I keep us fresh. No one except for George Beamon has really played over 32 (minutes) consistently, and George was a freak, he just didn't get tired. But we wear you down, and right now, we're wearing ourselves down. That's what happening, we're wearing ourselves down, and you see we're competing for 16, 17, 15, 14, 18 minutes, 25 minutes, and we're running out of gas. Unfortunately, and I don't want to say this arrogantly, when you get a lot of credit for playing hard; which I think we have done over the years, it's tough to tell guys 'don't play hard to save yourself,' when you've taken two years just to get that foundation up. We only know one way to go. Now, do I come in and say 'okay, guys, play at a 6 out of 10 and save yourself,' or do I think macro and say 'okay, I'll have everyone for January, and let's just get great experience right now, get beat up a little bit, get some black eyes, some scars, but not get killed, and then in January, come back and make a run at this thing?' It's tough, because nights like tonight make it tough."

On different approaches:
"I'm trying to come up with things. I think the biggest thing right now is we've got to get healthy. I just think at the end of the day, our team's got to get healthy. And that's no excuse. We might have had ten guys and Fordham still might have won tonight. I'm not going to take anything away from any team that's beaten us, but I can't worry about that. I've got to worry about Manhattan, and what I've got to worry about is getting my team healthy as best I can, but unfortunately it's tough when things aren't in your control. That's the tough thing. It's very vital to you and your program, but you're not in control of that, so it's a tough thing."

On Shane Richards and adjustment to being primary focus of opposing teams:
"I've never been a coach that says we just missed shots, I've always given the defense credit and I always will. I thought he missed shots he normally makes, give Fordham credit, they did a very good job of keying in off him. I thought he did get some good looks, though. I think the thing for Shane, though, is he's used to having a RaShawn Stores, so if you play Shane a certain way, RaShawn can go make a play. Even a Calvin Crawford, who's a skilled big and can put it on the floor, can go make a play, or a Jermaine Lawrence can go make a play. Now it's Matt Maloney or Tommy Capuano, the freshmen. Like anything else, that's just going to take time, and I think on the defensive end, you see us really hurt because we don't have any depth up front. Calvin Crawford is out, Samson Akilo is out, Jermaine Lawrence is no longer with us, and (AK) Ojo is out, so that's four bigs right there, and I'm looking. I'm trying to sub in coaches, trying to get Len Elmore to come back. I'll take anyone."

More on Manhattan's injuries:
"I think the thing is, and this isn't just me: If we get healthy, when we get healthy, let everyone enjoy this now, because when we get healthy, I think we'll be different. Everyone should enjoy this now. We've been on a nice run the last couple of years here in the metropolitan area. Everyone should enjoy beating us now. We're undermanned, and if it was the other way around, I would enjoy it and I would take it to a team, so I'm not looking for any mercy or pity, but I am going to say that when we get our nine or ten, I think we're going to be the Manhattan that we're supposed to be, and that's something I'm confident in."

"I think RaShawn and Ojo could be (ready) this weekend, I'm hoping. I think Calvin could be a January situation, Samson Usilo I'm not sure about. It is what it is, and then the other thing is when guys come back and they're not 100, (percent) now you reevaluate whether you want to bring a guy back at 80 percent or sit him out two more weeks and let him get to 100 percent. You just saw that with RaShawn against Bucknell. He came back and he tweaked it again, and it's tough because the kids want to be out there."

On his message to the team:
"It's hard for them to sit there and watch that, but there's no excuses. We've got to take it and let this be the fuel for us. We haven't had this happen to us in a while, so I told guys as Fordham was dribbling out the clock to remember this. It's kind of like Iona, 60-57, three years ago (in the 2013 MAAC championship game). Remember. Let this be the fuel when we come back in January, because the one thing I do like is, let us get angry about this. Let us be mad about this. I think it's great. I don't shy away from that. I want them to feel this, I want them to feel the pain, because this is going to be our motivation come January and February."

On Saturday's game in general:
"I thought Fordham just did a great job. I give Coach a lot of credit, I just thought his kids competed, I thought they made good shots, I thought they had a great game plan to attack us inside. I think they knew we were thin up front, (and) I think they set the tone right away by going to (Ryan) Rhoomes inside. I thought they did a really good job of punching it inside. I think he did a good job. I think Fordham came out and played good basketball, and they've been playing good basketball. Playing any A-10 team on the road is never going to be easy, and I think sometimes we lose perspective of that when teams at our level have success, but I thought they did a terrific job. I give them a lot of credit, I thought they were well-coached, and I thought their kids did a very good job of knowing who they were and staying true to themselves, so I take my hat off to them."

On challenges Manhattan is facing now, and how they will help moving forward:
"It only makes us better. I've always said this: You're not going to kill us. We were 2-7 last year, and three years ago, I can't remember what we were. The process is the key, and I'm going to stay true to my process as I always have. You're not going to kill us, it's only going to make us stronger and tougher, and the one thing is I've got a lot of pride in that locker room right now. Rich Williams is a Brooklyn kid with a lot of pride, Tyler Wilson is a Bronx kid with a lot of pride, RaShawn Stores is a Bronx kid with a lot of pride, Shane Richards is a Manhattan kid with a lot of pride. They're not sleeping tonight. This is going to bother them, but I want it to, because we haven't been bothered in a while. When you have success, you don't get bothered. This is great for us. This is, in an ironic way; and you never want to lose, but it's good for us because now, we can get a little mad. We can get a little angry. We can get like, 'oh yeah, I remember this taste. Let's do something about it now.' You want to be able to stay there without losing, but you've got to find a positive in everything. You've got to make wine out of water."

On evaluating whether his players are 100 percent:
"I really don't get involved in that, that's really between the players and the trainers. When the players are ready to come back and the trainers say they can go, I evaluate from a functional standpoint, can he help us? Is he going to hurt us defensively, is he going to hurt us in any areas? I always want to put the kids in a situation to be successful, but it's in the back of my mind at all times."

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