Louisville Transcript 4-6-2013
Louisville – 72
Wichita – 68
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and student‑athletes. We’ll start with an opening comment from Coach Pitino.
COACH PITINO: Well, last year we played the No.1 RPI schedule in the nation, and this year we played a top‑five schedule. I don’t think we could face a basketball team any better than Wichita State. They are great.
Something different has happened to me this year than ever happened before. In a tournament, I went against three coaches, after watching 10 to 12 films, I just thought they were tremendous. I never really coached against them. Just awesome, awesome coaches.
It’s tough for Wichita State to lose this game tonight because they played great. We had to dig in. Russ had a good night, Russ is our best free throw shooter, but four of our starters had the worst night of the season. We had to win this game with our second unit of Steven Van Treese, Tim Henderson, one of the best sixth men in basketball Luke Hancock, and Montrezl Harrell. The reason our starters played poorly is because Wichita State is that good. So we’re really happy to be playing in the final game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. About Luke, what have the last two games shown the world about his poise in tough situations, to stay there in the last game with Kevin and now tonight?
PEYTON SIVA: Luke’s an excellent player and an excellent person. He didn’t get named team captain for nothing before he even played a game with us.
He showed his leadership out there tonight. He showed his leadership when Kevin got injured. He’s an all‑around great player and person. Tonight he showed the world what he’s capable of doing. He picked and chose his spots. He knocked down countless big threes for us. He played an all‑around terrific game.
RUSS SMITH: If you watch Luke in practice, you wouldn’t be too surprised. He really like hoops in practice. I’m so happy for him, man. I’m thankful that I have a guy like that on our team, you know, a leader, a guy who can step up in the big situations, a guy who can keep the team together, and he does it coming off the bench.
He always had his head in the game. He’s just a tremendous person and I’m very grateful to be on a team with him.
Q. Peyton, do you think the depth perception of playing in the dome affected your jump shots?
PEYTON SIVA: Well, in my layup also. I couldn’t really see, it was too far away (smiling).
It was just one of those nights, to be honest. Nothing was going right. It was other people’s nights tonight. Tim Henderson stepped up big coming off the bench, Luke stepped up big coming off the bench also.
For me, I just wanted to win. That’s all that mattered to me, whether my shot was going in or not, whether the depth perception of my layup was closer than it was. As long as we won, I was fine with the way everything panned out.
Q. When you’re behind by 12 points, I know you faced deficits before, but you’re in a game, high‑profile game with a good team, was there concern?
PEYTON SIVA: Well, we weren’t too concerned with it. We know Wichita State is a great team, well‑coached team. Their players are really talented.
We just knew that we had to stick together. Coach P told us we had to continue to go out there and have fun. We’re going to win, we’re going to win. That’s what he kept repeating to us. We believed it. We known we came back from other deficits. He told us to stop hanging our head, he knew this was going to be a dogfight from the beginning.
We made our run late. That’s the trademark of our team. We got to continue to push and push. We made a good run at the end.
RUSS SMITH: Well, I feel like when it went to 12, I looked at it and the time kept going down, people kept getting fouled. It was like, Man. I was actually waiting for our run. And it happened. Luke exploded. That was actually what I was waiting for. Then Chane exploded. Then Peyton made a big layup. Then Tim Henderson. It just kept going and going.
Obviously I knew it wasn’t my night. But I was just so happy to see everyone else contributing for us to win. It was so special. I really can’t put into any words for us.
LUKE HANCOCK: I think they both said it great. You know, we were kind of waiting to make our run. Obviously you’re a little concerned when you’re down 12 in the second half. We just had to stay together, make our run. We tried to turn up our intensity, maybe gamble a little bit more. We made our runs with some key players.
Tim hit those shots, Chane picked it up. It was impressive.
Q. Luke, can you talk about the Zone Busters. Tim said you call yourself that in practice. Who came up with that?
LUKE HANCOCK: I really have no idea where that came from. When we prepare for teams that play zone, both teams run zone. Tim and I, we feel like we’re pretty good shooters. I guess that’s where it came from, just knocking down shots in the zone in practice.
Tim hits shots all the time. It wasn’t shocking for us for him to knock down shots like that. I’m just really happy for him and proud of him.
Q. Peyton and Luke, in your locker room, Kevin was saying at the second media timeout of the second half, I don’t know if it was like the pain meds got to him or what, but he hopped onto the court and joined you in the huddle.
PEYTON SIVA: Yeah, he joined the back of the huddle.
Q. What was that like to have him do that?
PEYTON SIVA: I thought he was about to sub in for me, I’m so used to it. He caught me off guard.
Just showed a lot of heart that he really came out there. He just wanted to tell us that we needed to pick it up.
He’s part of this team. We know how much it would mean for him to be out there. He just tried to give us whatever we needed, the extra motivation, the extra boost to get over the hump. That’s what he did.
After the timeout broke, it was a 30‑second timeout, just trying to make sure that nobody ran him over because he still has a bum leg.
LUKE HANCOCK: Like he said, Kevin is a huge part of our teams, one of the emotional leaders out there. I guess he felt like he had to tell us something to get us going. He does it when he’s out there on the court. He’s going to keep doing it when he’s not on the court. He’s an emotional leader for this team.
Q. Peyton and Luke, you both talked about you were waiting for the run. When Tim hit the back‑to‑back threes like that, was there a sense that, This is it?
PEYTON SIVA: For me, I was on the bench. I know Tim had it in him. When he got in the game and hit that first three, I was just ecstatic for him. Then the next one, hit it again‑‑ first one he missed, Luke told him to keep shooting it, don’t worry, we know you can shoot.
He hit those two threes. It was really big. I’m proud of him. He’s put in the hard work all year. This was the time that he finally got to show it. He made up for hitting off the side of the backboard in Madison Square Garden (laughter).
LUKE HANCOCK: Like I say, we’re really happy for Tim hitting those shots. We kind of knew that was going to be our time. Tim has to guard Russ every day in practice. A lot of times it’s not pretty. Russ kind of has his way with things.
If you guard a guy like that every day, you’re going to get better, be a great defender. Once he hit those shots, I knew this was it, we were going to make our run now or it wasn’t going to happen.
Q. Luke, you’ve hit big shots in the NCAAs before. Is there a calmness that you have to have in that moment where you know that one shot might tip the scales on the other end?
LUKE HANCOCK: You go out there and play like it’s any other game. You try to have confidence shooting the ball. I just shot it when I was open. I got a bunch of great feeds from Russ and Peyton. It’s all on them for finding me with open looks.
But you just try to play like any other game and shoot it if you’re open.
Q. Luke, you visibly were praying for Kevin last week on the court. He said in the locker room that he was praying for you to make those free throws with eight seconds left. Could you talk about what that means.
LUKE HANCOCK: I mean, that’s huge. Like I said, Kevin’s a big part of this team. We’d love for him to be out there. He’s out there in spirit. It means a lot. It means a lot. Kevin’s my guy.
Q. Luke, Kevin said you sort of showed these last two weeks your poise in pressure situations. Where does that come from for you?
LUKE HANCOCK: I mean, I’m a lot older than these guys. You know, just being around, I guess, playing. Poise in Kevin’s situation is totally different than poise in a game. My first reaction was to just go out there.
But, you know, in the game, you just try to treat it like any other game, Just try to go out there and play. If you’re open, shoot it, if you’re not, drive it and pass it to another guy.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We’ll continue with questions for Coach Pitino.
Q. Rick, can you go into that second unit a little bit more. Seemed like an unlikely lineup on the floor.
COACH PITINO: A lot of times when you pick up a stat sheet, you don’t get the true story. Like Steven Van Treese was the guy setting those great screens to free Luke on those drives, and Gorgui wasn’t doing that. So a lot of times you pick up a stat sheet and say, What did Van Treese contribute? It’s like the hockey assist, he contributed greatly.
When Kevin went down, everybody was asking, the first inclination is to try to play Luke at the 2. We had confidence in Tim. Luke is so profound because he’s got to go against Russ Smith every day. When you do that, you got to guard the best offensive player off the bounce each day, you’re prepared to play in a game like this.
And the players said they weren’t surprised about him making those back‑to‑back threes. They’re being very kind. I was shocked. Not shocked that he made ’em, just that he had the gumption to take them, then take it again. That’s pretty darn big on this stage. That shows incredible fortitude for a young man that hasn’t played any minutes, to go in and do that. So I’m real proud of him.
Q. In the second half, Wichita State takes the 12‑point lead. Did any thoughts of doubt creep in your mind that maybe this was the end of the line?
COACH PITINO: First, you’re elated when you win, so excited to be in a championship game. But there’s always a part of you that looks at the other team and says, They played their hearts out, they were superb, and they lost. So there’s always that part of you that really wants a win, but you appreciate so much your opponent.
No, I never think we’re going to lose. I mean, not since being down 31 points with 15 minutes to go on Fat Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I never thought we would lose again when we’re down. That doesn’t mean we’re going to win, we have lost.
But that’s the attitude, just pressing teams, have to stay in there. We were fouling too much. But then we started making some steals, picking up the heat. Then, of course, the guys were brilliant.
Q. Rick, when a guy like Luke can make a shot like that in a big situation, you’ve been around basketball teams enough, do you get the sense other guys on the floor know when that shot’s going to come, where to get it to in that situation?
COACH PITINO: Well, we worked all week. This team, if you look at what they’ve done in the tournament, they do not give you the paint. They play the paint better than any team I’ve seen in a long, long time.
So you have to drive the paint and get it to the wing. That’s the only shot they give you. We not only did that well, getting it to the corners and the wings, but we also hesitated. Luke is great at the hesitation pass to the corner and then explode to the rim for layups.
This is a young man that Fred Hina said to me, our trainer, Coach, I’ve been around so many baseball injuries, trainer for the Mets for 11 years, Luke’s separated shoulder was a bad one. The second one, I’ve never seen so much damage in my life. The doctor said it was the worst shoulder he ever operated on.
That man, in the beginning of the year, it took him a half hour of warmups just to lift his arm above his shoulder. I said, Is he going to play this year?
He said, No one but Luke will play. Toughest kid I’ve ever seen since I’ve been a trainer.
He’s a remarkable young man.
Q. You’ve been around a long time. You said something in your opening statement that you went against three coaches where on film it jumped out at you. How long does it take film running? How often does that happen for a coach?
COACH PITINO: Because I haven’t coached against any of those guys, I’ve coached‑‑ because I’ve been around, I’ve coached against Dean Smith, coached against Frank McGuire’s last game. I’ve coached against so many great guys and always left and said, Man, these guys are really good.
The first coach of North Carolina A&T, I said, I haven’t seen anybody get that much out of a team as that man gets. Then the next three coaches had equal talent to us in many areas. I was so blown away at how good they are at their profession, the way their teams play.
Colorado State, Oregon, and now tonight. I’ve never competed against these guys. Not that they need my respect, but they’re three of the better coaches I’ve watched on film for a long, long time from a fundamental standpoint.
We’re one of the better pressing teams in the country. They had four turnovers. We were giving them everything but the kitchen sink, and they wouldn’t turn it over. The flipside, they did a very good job with Peyton in getting him to shoot a low percentage. So he’s a terrific coach, terrific.
Q. On the press and turnovers, they went 26 minutes without turning the ball over, then a flurry. Did you change anything on your press?
COACH PITINO: We just made some adjustments and said, We’re going to rotate a little bit differently. What happens in the press, if you play an extremely well‑coached team, you may have one run per game. If you’re going against guys that are freshmen, not great ball handlers, then you may have three or four runs.
But we had an extended run there and they don’t turn it over. The only mistakes we were making, we were fouling, and you can’t foul.
Q. Can you talk about what you saw of Luke early that convinced you he could play? Could you put into words what his impact was tonight.
COACH PITINO: Well, if you said to me, Is Luke top three player on the team?
I would say, Without question.
Then you may say, Why doesn’t he start?
We don’t want to get him in foul trouble. We want him to play as many minutes as possible because he’s the best passer, the clutchest shooter and free throw shooter, and one of the smartest players to know what to do in crucial situations. So we bring him off the bench because we want to get extended minutes.
There’s no questions that all of you can see he’s one of the better players on our team. He just gave us a tremendous lift tonight.
Q. What will you do between now and Monday night to prepare? How will your preparations be affected by or dependent on who you’re going to play Monday night?
COACH PITINO: Well, we don’t have to prepare too much if we play Syracuse. Certainly we got a lot of preparation if we play Michigan. We know Syracuse really well.
So one of the key things right now when you’re a pressing team is that you stretch, get a nice walk‑through, but don’t use up your legs.
And we had to work really, really hard tonight. That was a great basketball team we beat.
But I watched 10 or 12 films. When you watch Ohio State, LaSalle, all these teams down 20, they can’t score against this team, we knew it going in. I just kept telling our guys, Look, guys, this is a dogfight tonight. It’s not an offensive game like Duke. It’s a dogfight. You got to win the fight. It’s as simple as that. They’re going to make some of you guys have a tough night. You got to be mentally tough enough to get through that, and they were.
Q. You lost the rebounding battle. Can you talk about Chane and Cleanthony Early on the glass particularly.
COACH PITINO: He was great down the stretch. Chane’s hands sometimes come into play where he doesn’t come up with the ball. But he was big inside tonight.
More than that, I was so pleased that he wanted the ball. In crucial situations, he made the free throws and he wanted the ball. That to me showed me an awful lot. He has a great deal of pride in himself and he wanted the ball, made his free throws.
He came up big for us.
Q. For those of us who don’t follow your team regularly, can you explain why you made Luke a co‑captain before he ever stepped on the court.
COACH PITINO: Well, it’s a long conversation I had with Jim Larranaga and the assistant coach about him. They sort of filled me in on what he was all about. We tried to get Luke to improve defensively, and he has.
The players in the summertime decide what they want to do as workouts. We don’t have anything organized. They want to lift, get it over with at 6:15 in the morning. They’re really into weight training.
Rakeem and Russ, two of our better players, showed up late. Remember now, they’re just seeing Luke really for the first time. They knew him a little bit. Luke said, That stuff is not going to cut it here at Louisville.
Right away you think some guys would answer back, Who are you to say that? They immediately said, It’s our bad, it won’t happen again.
It was repeated to me. For the rest of the summer, everybody kept telling me from training and strength coach what Luke was all about. I named him captain right away. He has the maturity, he has that Louisville‑first attitude. It’s all about the team with him. He’s one of the better leaders I’ve been around.
It showed you when Kevin got hurt, he immediately went to pray over him, immediately took charge of the situation.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.
COACH PITINO: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Wichita State Transcript 4-6-2013
Louisville – 72
Wichita – 68
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall and student‑athletes. We’ll ask Coach Marshall to begin with an opening statement.
COACH MARSHALL: I want to congratulate Louisville on winning today and making the plays when they needed to to secure victory. And I want to thank the gentlemen to my left and everyone else in my locker room for taking us on one incredible ride.
I think they’ve gained fans, support and love across the world, and they certainly proved that not only do they belong, but they can play with the best.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll now take questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. Ron, what did you make of the tie‑up late in the game?
RON BAKER: The tie‑up?
Q. The held ball.
RON BAKER: I was forced to dribble the ball because I lost my balance. I thought the ball was loose before the whistle was blown. I tapped it to Malcolm. They already called jump ball, so…
That’s what I was trying to lean for.
Q. Can you talk about the six turnovers late in the game during the crucial point where the Cardinals were coming back.
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: You know, down the stretch, you know, we just was loose with the ball. We just didn’t take care of it. Pretty much you said it when you said the turnovers down the stretch. I can’t give you an explanation. It just happened.
Q. Cleanthony, can you kind of balance the emotions of playing one of your better games and coming up short at the end.
CLEANTHONY EARLY: It’s just mixed emotions of feelings. It hurts to have to lose, it be the end of your season.
But these guys fought till the end. We had a great season. We have to keep our heads high and know that the grind doesn’t stop. We’re always invested in getting better. At the end of the day, we have to keep working and top our O‑highs.
Q. Ron, can you describe their pressure. Wears away at you and keeps the pressure on.
RON BAKER: Yeah, first you get used to it and then they increase the intensity of their pressure. It kind of hits you in waves sort of. Towards the end of the game, it kind of took over.
We fought, but came up a couple plays short in the end.
Q. Cleanthony, you guys got the 12‑point lead in the second half. The kid, Henderson, who was probably the one guy you would leave alone to shoot, makes two threes in a row. How deflating was that at that point?
CLEANTHONY EARLY: It just hurt. It kind of hurt us, like you said. We had a defensive plan to just be in the gaps and force them to shoot those shots. They just happened to knock them down.
Q. Cleanthony, I thought a really important play you guys made was after there was a loose ball on the floor, you drove up for the basket, the foul. Can you describe to me what happened on that play, maybe how it kept you going.
CLEANTHONY EARLY: I just seen two defenders and I tried to attack the middle of them, and they reached in and the ref called a foul. I tried to put it up as quick as possible just in case it goes in. It happened to go in.
It was a good play.
Q. Malcolm, got up to an 8‑0 lead and appeared to handle the atmosphere, the crowd. Why were you able to come out so strong early?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: Just being confident and poised. We just was executing the game plan, trying to do what we do. We was able to be successful early on.
Q. Do you think Louisville’s experience, having come back from last season and the Final Four, do you think that had any impact on your young squad?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: I don’t think so. You know, we have experience, too, but just not as well as being deep in this tournament as well.
But we just, you know, made mistakes. It was us, you know, a lot of times. But their pressure had a lot to do with it, too, as well.
Q. Malcolm, why do you think you were a little off tonight?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: Just missing shots. You know, a lot of my shots were, you know, uncontested. So it wasn’t my night offensively as far as scoring the ball. But, you know, I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is defense and still being positive for my teammates.
THE MODERATOR: We’d like to thank our student‑athletes from Wichita State. We’ll continue with questions for Coach Marshall.
Q. In general, how long do you think an official should take before calling a jump ball?
COACH MARSHALL: Well, as soon as both players have control of it to prevent a wrestling match, I guess. So if both players have their hands on it, it should be a held ball.
Q. When Malcolm got his fourth foul with 5:22 left, was there an internal debate, how to handle that going forward?
COACH MARSHALL: I don’t think there was any debate. We discussed it. But we have to then try to keep him in as much as we can on offensive possessions. So any time we were subbing offense, defense, but only on dead balls. So when they scored, there were a couple of times when we would have loved to have had him in, but we didn’t want him to get his fifth foul with two, three minutes to go, so…
They were really driving us, Siva and Smith were really driving those ball screens, as well as Hancock.
Q. You went 26 minutes without a turnover, then there were a flurry of five turnovers in seven possessions. Was that something Louisville did? Do you think you wore down?
COACH MARSHALL: Louisville gets credit for that. You know, in the course of a 40‑ minute game against some of the best pressure you’re going to see every time the ball is inbounded, we had 11 turnovers, so that’s not bad.
Certainly when they were coming back, that was a part of it. But I’ve got to call a different zone press offense or man press offense. We’ve got to execute it better and make our cuts harder. Certainly part of it.
Q. You were up 9. Ron had looked like a pretty open three. It looked like you wanted him to take that shot.
COACH MARSHALL: Yeah, we had that same situation I think in the Gonzaga game when he had a wide‑open three, passed it into Ehimen. All these kids, these young men, they believe in each other, man. In this case almost to a fault. He’s wide open at the top of the key, great shooter. He throws it, goes to the line and misses it. Yeah, we’d like for him to take that shot.
Next year I think he’ll be a little more confident to take it. I don’t think he lacks confidence now, but he believes his teammate could catch it, turn and score, which did not happen.
I think the two shots that Henderson hit were right in concert with the two 1‑and‑1s that Ehimen missed. You got to get some points there.
Then the six‑point run for them becomes a three‑ or four‑point run.
Q. When was the last time you felt like this after a game?
COACH MARSHALL: I’m not sure I’ve ever felt exactly like this. But any time you lose your last game, only one time in my career where we won our last game, and that was in 2011 in Madison Square Garden in the NIT, it’s hard. You know, it’s hard to lose your last game. Everyone does it except for three or four tournament winners.
This one’s especially hard because of the run we went on. We set a school record for wins, in the Final Four for the second time in school history. There was an Elite 8 back in 1981. There’s been three Elite 8 runs now.
This may be the most important basketball game that I’ll ever coach. It’s definitely the most important to the date and it’s probably the most important that Wichita State’s ever played in.
It’s tough because it’s such a group of young men in that locker room that you just grow to love, you know. They’re fun to coach. They’re great character kids. They’re tough as nails, tough as nails.
But we didn’t say good‑bye. We didn’t say this is it. This is just a beginning. This is just a beginning for us. A lot of good young players in that locker room. All they’re talking about right now is working hard this summer and getting better, so…
I’m pretty excited about it.
Q. When you did handle the press well for long stretches, what were you doing?
COACH MARSHALL: Kind of the same thing we did against VCU. Boy, I felt really, really good until we had that flurry of turnovers. I didn’t realize it was five in seven possessions, which is certainly big.
You know, they do that to everyone. They’re going to make a run at some point. We were looking really good there for 32 minutes or whatever it was. We just needed to be a little more secure with the ball.
There were some bang‑bang plays, ball went out‑of‑bounds. It was their ball, whatever. I thought Carl had it one time, had it taken from him. I thought a big play was when we got a defensive rebound, Mal got a defensive rebound, they came from behind. I think he thought it was a teammate. I don’t know what he was thinking. But they got that one. That wasn’t against the press, that was just a tricky play, and credit to them for making it.
Q. Can you talk about the game Cleanthony Early had and some of the big stick‑backs he had late in the game to keep you in it.
COACH MARSHALL: He’s a dynamite athlete. He’s like a Pogo‑stick athlete. He can spring up multiple times. It’s not the first jump always, sometimes it’s the second or third jump. He just has that ability.
He was right around the rim, hit a couple jumpers, made six or seven free throws. He’s a really good player. I’m glad he’s on our team. I’m looking forward to coaching him.
There’s a couple of things we’re going to work on specifically I’ve already got in my head, but I’m not going to talk about them. And I think he’s going to be even better next year.
Q. I noticed against their press you had some success throwing almost a deep ball into the front court. Was that something you put in especially for this game?
COACH MARSHALL: No, that’s a Hal Nunnally special from Randolph‑Macon College. He was probably running that before you were born. That’s something I stole from him. He’s deceased now, but he was quite a coach.
I think it alleviates a little bit of the pressure when you do that. We got them once for layup for Nick Wiggins. We threw a couple of bad passes or we would have got them a couple more times.
When you do that, that takes away a guy that could possibly come and help inbound the ball. Against Louisville they have five defenders guarding four guys, so you better be very diligent in getting the ball inbounds. That’s the first key. It disrupts your rhythm and whatnot, but they do a great job at it. They’re wonderful athletes. They go real hard for a long time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.
COACH MARSHALL: Thank you.
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