Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Kevin Willard quote book: Creighton

*All quotes courtesy of Willard's postgame radio interview with Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin, AM 970 The Answer*

On Creighton's early salvo, from which Seton Hall was unable to fully recover:
"Yeah, we just didn't -- we came out and we just missed a couple of shots. They transition really well. We lost guys early, but we fought back and cut it to seven at the half, though. I thought that a lot of the second unit guys really battled back and we started doing some good things, and then -- on the road, if you don't have your A-game in this league, you don't have much of a chance, and Marquette and this, we just didn't have it."

On benching Desi Rodriguez for the game's final 34 minutes:
"He's been playing so well, he's playing so many minutes. He had that look on his face where he just didn't want to be out there, and when he gets that way, you just gotta kind of let him kind of regroup and refocus. It just never happened. But he's done an unbelievable job, so again, when you're playing the minutes he's playing, it just -- sometimes mentally -- he just didn't have it, so it's not like the end of the world. He'll get it back."

On Rodriguez responding to being benched, as this is not a first offense:
"He'll respond. He always does. He'll bounce back. All our guys will. None of the older guys besides Ish had a really good game, and again, just because they're older guys doesn't mean they're always going to play well. Everyone expects them to play great every night, but sometimes you just don't have a great night, and we didn't have a great night tonight."

On Creighton's Marcus Foster:
"He plays really well in this building, he really does. It's just something about -- he really turns it up a notch. I thought a big one was when he got going was the one in the corner, where we actually played decent defense on him. He just rose above Myles (Powell) and just knocked it down. He plays with such a tenacity on both ends, and when you play with that speed, he's a tough guy to guard."

On extended minutes from Seton Hall's bench:
"I thought Myles Cale did a good job. I thought he did a real good job defensively. I thought Jordan did a real good job in the first half, really coming in and sparking us on the defensive end. He hasn't played a ton, so he doesn't understand what a good shot on the road is or a bad shot on the road, but I thought he brought great energy. It's just one of those things that sometimes -- we're playing Saturday at 2:30 -- it's just, when you don't have it, you might as well get some guys -- as many minutes as they've logged and the stuff they've done, it's one of those things where you've just got to get ready for the next one, forget this one and get ready for the next one."

On Big East teams in general not being able to win on the road very often:
"It's just -- Creighton was down, what were they -- they were down 30 early in the second half at Xavier, and again, it's just a matter of there's some really tough places to play in this league. This is obviously one of them, and we struggled here last year early in the year, I think we struggled here early. And again, if you don't have your A-game; and really, it's more mental than it is anything else, you just can't -- at home, teams can find their footing, you can kind of get away with some stuff and then all of a sudden, the crowd gets you going. On the road, you've got to come up and you've got to be sharp, and unfortunately, at Marquette and at here, we just haven't been really sharp."

On Khadeen Carrington and whether Willard is concerned about his shooting:
"No. You know what, I think he's actually passing up a couple of open looks, and I think he's ball faking and he's trying to drive, which obviously he's great at. I think he's just got to get back to shooting when he's open. Both him and Myles, I thought, early in the game, had some shots where they could step in and make them, and they both ball faked and did some things. But again, I look at Khadeen and the minutes he logged and the way he's played -- he had five assists, he had a couple of late turnovers -- he's been playing hard, he's been playing really good defense. I thought his defense has been really good. He'll get it going again. Even older kids, it's hard for them to realize that when you're playing at a level that these guys have been playing at, how much of the scouting report, how much they're really trying to take away; technically, three guys: Desi, Angel, and Khadeen, those guys are getting it, and I thought Myles Powell did a pretty good job of being aggressive. I think he's still passing -- he's gotta shoot some shots when -- even though they're going to be tough ones, I think he's still got to shoot some of those tough ones. It's one of those things where if you play well, they're going to play well in this building. They don't not play well, so we've got to get back, we've got to recover and get ready for Xavier on Saturday."

On Xavier's Trevon Bluiett:
"He's -- him and J.P. (Macura) -- you've just got to be ready for them. They've both got such quick triggers. They rebound the basketball tremendously, and then when (Sean) O'Mara is in there, they're a different team because they really work inside-out. They go to him and he's really doing a good job of scoring on guys. He's really taking his time, and they're a hard team to double because they keep going into -- kind of what we do with Mike and Ish -- they cut him to the block and they find him, so it's going to be a big test, but just about every one from here is a big test."

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