Thursday, December 28, 2017

Kevin Willard quote book: Creighton

On biggest turning point for Seton Hall:
"I really thought the biggest thing in the second half was I thought we did a little bit better job of just trying to get them to shoot jump shots. They just had too many easy layups in the first half that kind of were deflating -- deflates the crowd, deflates you as a team -- we just wanted to get them to shoot a little bit more jump shots. Even though they're a very good shooting team, you just can't let (Martin) Krampelj just keep dunking the basketball, so I thought we did a better job at least getting them to shoot some jump shots."

On defending Marcus Foster:
"Again, I thought we switched everything that they were doing. I thought, again, we were switching aggressive in the second half, that kind of got him going a little bit more away from the basket. And again, in the first half, we were a little bit stuck in mud and we were letting them get too tight to the three-point line on early entry passes, and they're just too good offensively to let them get in a rhythm, and we really let them get in a rhythm."

On Seton Hall's senior leadership willing them back:
"We never -- we were talking about that in timeouts, talking about that at halftime -- when you play upper level echelon teams that we're playing, you're gonna be up eight, you're gonna be down six. You've just gotta keep doing what we're usually doing. I liked our defensive mentality much better in the second half."

On Michael Nzei's unsung hero performance:
"Yeah, that's the way Mike played the last eight games of the season last year. I think that's the way Mike always plays, to be honest with you. I thought he had an unbelievable pass to Angel for a big assist that kind of really kept us going, so that's the way Mike's played. He always plays that way. He practiced really good over the last couple weeks, and if he makes his free throws, he gets a double-double, which is pretty nice."

On significance of winning Big East opener against a ranked team:
"It's a big win, because you've got to protect your home court best as possible, especially when you know you're going to go there and you're going to play in front of 19,000 people there, where it's a tough place to win. Every home game is extremely important in this league."

On crowd atmosphere:
"The crowd was great. We talked about that before the game at walkthrough that we usually get good crowds for the local teams and the east coast teams -- the Providences, the 'Novas, but to have the west coast teams to get a draw like that was phenomenal."

On Creighton bringing out the best in Seton Hall:
"I think our guys do like to play up and down, and I think their tempo kind of gets you chances to get open court buckets and get a little bit more of a -- you can get in a really good rhythm with them offensively because of how good they are offensively, and I think the last -- I know last year, I think it was pretty much a similar game. It came down to the wire, I think Deeno stole the inbounds pass to make it a six-point game. Our guys like to play up-and-down, so I think their offensive rhythm complements our offensive rhythm."

On Angel Delgado fouling out and Seton Hall's response:
"I think his words in the huddle were very -- he just -- the first thing he said was, 'Maybe now we can stop a pick-and-roll,' and the second thing he said was, 'We're not losing this game. Do what you have to do to win the game,' and I thought he showed great leadership for not being in the game."

On team balance:
"I'm not crazy about my balance in minutes, but I think we've done that most of the year. I think we have four guys averaging double digits, I think that's what makes -- everyone on the floor really kind of benefits from having Myles Powell out there, just because it's such a weapon. You're worried about him all the time, he hits big shots, he's a momentum changer, and I think the rest of those guys enjoy the fact that when he's on the court, it opens up the court."

On Ismael Sanogo and his return from suspension:
"I thought Ish responded great. We made a family decision on the 26th. The seniors called a meeting, they had a meeting with me, they had a meeting with the team, they had another meeting with me, then we had a meeting with Ish, his family and the seniors. The seniors were very adamant about the fact that he started with us, he's a big reason of why we are where we are, and he's a great young man who has just made a couple of bad mistakes, and they wanted him the rest of the way. It was pretty much a -- I call it a family decision, but the seniors showed unbelievable leadership in the fact that it was their decision."

On Jordan Walker's progress since his return:
"I think he's progressing really nice, and again, coming off Christmas break is tough because we took two days off. I think we're all looking forward to having Christmas break, where we can kind of really sharpen up what we need to do defensively and offensively."

On Nzei vs. Sanogo at power forward:
"You can just flip a coin with those two. They both bring -- I don't really think it matters who starts. Our power forward spot's been averaging close to 12 points and 12 rebounds per game. That's pretty darn good, so I think they both complement the team in different ways. Obviously Ish, defensively, off the ball really helps guys, but Mike on the ball has really gotten good and we're doing a lot more switching with Mike, so I think they both -- it's always been our strongest spot for the last two years."

On stressing importance of holding serve at home to open Big East play:
"We're going to have go on the road and win some road games too, so it's one game at a time. I didn't tell them that we have to win this one, because we were 3-6 last year and I didn't think we had to win the next game. That's just the way the schedule was. You've just gotta focus on who you're playing, and that's gotta be your only focus in this league."

On St. John's:
"I'll be honest with you, I have not watched them in a while. I gotta do my homework tonight, so I apologize."

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