Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kevin Willard quote book: NC State

Opening statement:
"I'm really happy for my guys. The four seniors have put so much time, effort, and work into this program, and for them to be rewarded with a hard-fought win just kind of validates everything that they've done, all the work they've put in. I'm just really proud of them."

On how Seton Hall endured not having Desi Rodriguez to end the regular season:
"I think that's the biggest difference from -- and I've said it all year -- this year's team from last year's team. I really thought our freshmen were really starting to develop nice, and although not having Des did hurt us, I had a lot of confidence in Myles Cale, that he'd be able to step up, and if you look at what he provided us over those five or six games, I think everyone's kind of seeing what an unbelievable player Myles Cale is going to be, so that late into the season, you really can't pout, you can't cry about it. You've just got to have belief in your freshmen, and I have an unbelievable confidence in both Sandro (Mamukelashvili) and Myles Cale."

On Eron Gordon stepping in while Khadeen Carrington sat due to foul trouble:
"Eron Gordon played fantastic. He came in, and I'll tell you what he did better than anything, he defended and really was physical with (Markell) Johnson. I thought his defense and his physicality really did a good job of kind of getting them a little bit off their heels, and then offensively, he just kind of did what he's done for us all year -- he was nice and steady, got us in our offense, and really played well."

On what this win means for the program and Seton Hall's seniors:
"I was watching TV with my wife last night, and I was thinking about (how) I'm Mr. Negative and she's Ms. Positive, and I was thinking about what I was going to say -- especially if we did lose -- about their legacy. These four kids, and Isaiah (Whitehead), have worked really hard, and I think the biggest thing that if we had lost, I was going to be disappointed about, is I always preach to these guys: No matter what in life, if you work hard, you'll be rewarded. I think the biggest thing is these guys have worked really hard. They're not a lazy group. We practiced the best we've practiced the last four days after Butler, and just for them to get rewarded for their hard work, I think that was the biggest thing and the most -- that's what I'm feeling right now -- is that it kind of validates everything that we've done and the fact that they've worked so hard for four years."

On Khadeen Carrington's leadership:
"He's gotten a lot of unfair criticism throughout the year about not being a point guard, not being this, and all I've told him is that he's been an unbelievable leader. He's been an unbelievable point guard. He's sacrificed scoring at times, he's sacrificed the fact that he's gotta guard the best offender, and I've seen over -- probably the last month -- a young man growing into the position and a young man that's going to have a very bright future at that position."

On why he played Myles Cale after Angel Delgado fouled out:
"Just for the fact that we were going to need free throw shooting. They're fouling, they're going to press, they have another ball handler. I can move Desi to the four defensively and I can move Ish to guard the pick-and-roll -- which he's probably our best defender -- so it wasn't anything besides just having another ball handler out there."

On preparing for Kansas and head coach Bill Self, before and after the NC State game:
"I know Bill and I have unbelievable respect for his program and I've watched them play, so I know how they play. But this time of year, you kind of get in a bunker and you hold down, and we'll watch a lot of film with the team tonight and put our game plan together. But you know you're going to play the 1-seed and you know it's going to be a challenge because the 1-seed is the 1-seed for a reason, and Kansas is Kansas because they're a phenomenal program with great players. When I watch them, I have unbelievable respect for the way they play offensively. They're unselfish, the ball pops."

"I respect Bill because he doesn't play the same way every year. He went small this year because they space it out, and now all of a sudden, there are a lot more pick-and-rolls. Years when he's had big guys, he's gone to a high-low offense where it's really hard to guard because they go high-low and they have big guys. I think the biggest thing with Bill is he's adapted to his personnel -- and he's done it really well -- because obviously, I think he's won -- I don't know how many Big 12 championships -- 14? I don't know. It's like I had to take off my shoes to get to where he is. But I think that's the biggest thing I respect when I watch his teams: The offensive pace that they play at, but it's not the same play every single time. He really adapts to his personnel and he gets the most out of his personnel."

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