Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kevin Willard quotebook: Columbia postgame

On Myles Powell and Madison Jones against Stanford:
"I was probably too cautious with him. He probably could have played full bore against Stanford, but I'm just not going to mess around with that foot. If it was his other foot, I'd probably have no problem playing him, but we wanted to get him back, get an X-ray, and he felt great, looked great. Madison hyperextended his knee in the second half of the Stanford game and I wanted to be extra cautious with Maddy."

On starting Powell:
"Maddy missed Tuesday and I only practiced him a little bit yesterday, so that's the reason why I decided. Myles practiced both Tuesday and Wednesday and he felt good, so it was more or less he got more practice and me being more cautious with Madison."

On how the team responded:
"Again, I wasn't that upset about the Florida trip. We're not good enough if we don't have our full complement to beat good teams. You can't not play (Ismael) Sanogo and not have Myles Powell and expect guys early in the season to be ready to play positions they haven't played. I've been very unfair to Veer Singh, I've tried to throw him in the four spot and he's playing against a 6-foot-11 guy. It's just not going to go good. I thought we did some really good things down in Florida, I thought we did some things we need to correct. You don't want to go 1-2, but sometimes it happens and you've got to learn from it."

On Angel Delgado (19 points, 11 rebounds) and his involvement:
"I think the guys were really happy about passing him the ball and not seeing a 6-foot-11 guy. That's one of the things we learned down in Florida, one of the things that we have to work on is double-teams and work on what teams do. We had two good days of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, we went three hours on Tuesday, three hours on Wednesday, we did individuals each day. We really concentrated on what we had to get better at, and the guys understood what we had to get better at and I think that's why we played so well offensively. We just had two good days of repetition and kind of getting back our flow."

On ball movement tonight versus Sunday against Stanford:
"We played really well against Florida until Ish got hurt and Myles got hurt. I think it was 47-42 when Ish hurt his shoulder, and Myles got hurt earlier than that. We were playing pretty good offensively, we scored 90 against Quinnipiac. We just didn't play well against Stanford. Every once in a while, as we've seen with this group, they can throw up a stinker and every time we've thrown up a stinker, we've come back and practiced well. Last year against Creighton here, we got blown out by twentysomething here at home, we bounced back and beat Providence on the road. Every once in a while, you don't play well. It happens, and it just happened to be against them."

On Powell remaining in the starting lineup:
"I think I might make that decision on who we're playing, offensively and defensively."

On Myles Carter being unavailable:
"Myles Carter was reintroducing himself to the classroom. He's going to get the understanding of how important it is to need an education. He had class tonight and I hadn't been overly enthused with his enthusiasm in the classroom, so he's understanding that class is much more important than basketball."

On Carter's availability in Hawaii:
"It depends. When my academic advisor talks to his teacher and if he did what he's supposed to do, then yes, he will go to Hawaii."

On offensive balance:
"I think that's one reason we've been good offensively six out of seven games. It's because we are a little balanced. We were a one-trick pony last year, but these guys now again, for the most part, the ball distribution has been good and these guys have really stepped up their games."

On getting Ismael Sanogo back:
"Michael Nzei's been playing great and progressing great. He's giving us a whole other option where we could play him and Ish together, that's how confident I am in Michael. But Ish in that first unit covers for everybody. He really does a phenomenal job defensively. He has eight rebounds, five assists, one block. It's not a stat line that looks phenomenal, but when you watch film and people really watch the game of basketball, it's amazing how many phone calls I get on a daily basis saying 'boy, I really love to watch Sanogo play.' With that unit, he just fits our personality. We know what we're going to get, we trust his personality."

On what it means to be competing on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack:
"It's a phenomenal opportunity for...I'm a little bit of a history buff...for this generation to understand the sacrifices of past generations, what an honor it is to play in this country, when the anthem is played, how many soldiers have lost their lives so we could play this great game. When you have an opportunity to educate younger generations on the greatness of past generations, I don't think you could pass that up."

On Seton Hall's defensive effort:
"Probably the biggest thing we miss about Isaiah and Derrick is the fact that we lost two big, physical guards. They made up a lot defensively at times. Madison is a very good defender, but in a much different way than Derrick. Derrick could gamble, he knew angles a little bit, he didn't care if he made mistakes. I think that's one thing that, when we get Jevon (Thomas) back, he'll be able to help with that. Even though he's not a big guard, he's a tough guard. We have to work on being creative and getting more turnovers."

On what he expected from Powell this early in his career:
"I did not expect the work ethic he had. We recruited him since he was a freshman, and everyone had always told me he was a little lazy. Once he got in shape, he's been one of the hardest working kids we've had and his work ethic has really, really improved to help him to be here. I think once he lost all his weight, his game has transformed. He can play longer, he's not just shooting threes, he's getting to the rim, he's making good moves. His game has really changed because he's worked so hard to change his body. Anybody that loses 45 pounds in four months has to be dedicated, so I think once I saw his dedication to his work ethic and how good he was, I saw that the sky's the limit for this kid."

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