Nov. 25, 2009


THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for Derek first.

Q.  It seems like a lot of the offense your team generated in the first four wins was along the perimeter.  Was it frustrating that you guys couldn't get anything going outside?

DEREK GLASSER:  Our game plan was to attack off the dribble and use ball screens to get them to rotate and kick back outside.

I thought we had a great game plan for the game.  I think we executed early and we played with a lot of energy.  We just couldn't make that shot that we needed down the stretch.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach?

Q.  Coach, what was it like playing against Coach Krzyzewski; any flashbacks?  You used to play him two or three times a year.

COACH HERB SENDEK:  I certainly didn't forget any of those games.  Our focus was on tonight's game.

Q.  Herb, that stretch they had when they took control 19-3, how much of that had to do -- did they do anything differently defensively or was it something that you guys just couldn't change?

COACH HERB SENDEK:  I thought their defensive effort especially in the second half was terrific.  Nothing came easy for us.  Everything was challenged.  And I think the difference in the game was their defensive effort in the second half.

THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for Coach?

COACH HERB SENDEK:  Thank you, everybody.


THE MODERATOR:  Coach is going to start with an opening statement and then will take questions.

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I felt we won.  It was a hard-fought game.  We knew it would be that way.  You know, you play four games at home, and you're running and shooting and things are going easy.  And then all of a sudden, you know, you're going to be in a possession-by-possession game against a defense that you haven't played against before.  And against an offense that's going to control tempo.  And with our team, we're not a team that can force them by pressing and stuff like that.  So pretty much, I mean, I thought after the first five minutes our kids really played well defensively.  You know, the last 35 minutes of the game we gave up I think 38 points.  We do that, we're going to be put in a position to win.  And they played good defense too.

So, you know, shots, open shots were hard to come by.  One of our objectives to start out the game was to limit their threes.  So they made two.  So I thought defensively after the first five minutes was the key to the ballgame.  And Singler, who was not having good shooting night, after that time-out in the second half, he came out and for him to hit those two buckets right away, you see, I think that's better -- it's nicer if you go 9-for-12.  But when you can hit two in a row when you're 1-for-11 or whatever he was, when the score is tied, that's very, very good.

So, I'm pleased with obviously the outcome but also our efforts against a very good team.  I mean, they're going to cause a lot of people trouble because they can control the ball.  They have four guards out there.  Any questions?

Q.  As far as defending against Arizona State, it seems like they were generating a lot of points in their previous games on the perimeter where you were trying to focus things?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yes.  So put a lot of pressure on the ball screen.  Like they were exclusively ball screen, just until they ran a couple of specials late after a time-out.  But most of the time it was ball screen.  And what they're trying to do is have you leave the perimeter guy.  So it puts a lot of pressure on your two guys defending the ball screen.

And early on, we tried three different ways of defending their ball screen.  And finally we just showed -- contact showed on it, and the guy got over.  At first we trapped it once; that didn't work.  We hard-stepped in and that got us strung out.  And the contact show turned out to be the way to do it.

Q.  Just your thoughts on playing Connecticut and did you get a chance to watch them?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I did not watch them at all.  Wojo (Steve Wojciechowski) and Chris (Collins) did.  For us it's a -- these two games are big-time games for us. So to play Connecticut -- I do know their personnel.  I have not watched them at all yet.  And I know how good their guards are.  And Robinson is probably as good an athlete as we'll play against.  And they've got a lot of big guys who can really rebound.  So if Jim -- I'm sure he hasn't changed that much.  He has won a lot of games doing it the way he's doing it.  I would be shocked if we didn't see a three-quarter press, a 2-2-1, and letting their guards with some ball screens and then hammering the boards.  I think rebounding will be a big thing on Friday afternoon.

Q.  How big were the shots that Dawkins made, especially the timing of them?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, they were -- we were in kind of like a funk as far as scoring.  It was big for a freshman to come in and do that.  We were not playing well from our big guy's position in the first half until about the last four minutes when Zoubek gave us a lift.  And then in the second half, I thought all of our bigs did very, very well, especially on that ball screen.

Q.  What was it like to match up with Coach Sendek again?  Did you have flashbacks?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  You know, I know we're coaching against Coach Calhoun.  I never look at the other bench or whatever.  They are very well coached.  And so really the five games we've played, we've played against outstanding coaches who have different systems.  And we overpowered the first four.  And this one you weren't going to overpower Arizona State.  Herb just really -- he's very good.  And he has his system, which is unlike most other people.  So when you play against him, even though we had a lot of preparation, it's a lot different playing against your blue team than playing against -- all the stuff we tried against our blue team worked.  At the start of the game it didn't work against them.

Q.  As you said, that first game was fairly easy.  What does this tell you about this team?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah.  I don't think so much survive; I thought we won.  Survive would be if this was like some huge underdog.  I think Arizona State is going to contend for their conference championship with the kids they have.  Glasser is just a veteran college guard, college point guard who doesn't turn it over.  And if you don't guard Kuksiks, he's capable of getting 20 to 30 points in a ballgame.  I thought Nate's (McMillan) son, Jamelle, really played well.  We couldn't keep him in front of us.  I know him obviously really well.  He played a hell of a game for them.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.  Thank you very much.


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Storm Warren, please?

STORM WARREN:  This is Storm Warren.

Q.  Were they tougher than you thought, Storm, or were they more aggressive on the boards because they hadn't rebounded so well going into the game?

STORM WARREN:  We just got to come out ready to play from the jump.  We just we have to come out ready.

Q.  Was size a big issue, Storm?  It seemed like they started a pretty big front line, 6'9", 6'9".  Was that difficult?

STORM WARREN:  It was a challenge.  We have to step up and accept the challenge and be ready to play, regardless what they have or who they have.

Q.  When you were effective, what did you do well to score inside against the big guys? 

STORM WARREN:  I started off kind of anxious, just coming up and playing.  But had to calm myself down and just slow down and just play my game.

THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for the player?

Q.  You have Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Will you try to just kind of regroup and enjoy Thanksgiving before you come back out Friday?

STORM WARREN:  Well, basically, the game is over.  So only thing we can do is just take this as an experience and just learn from it and build off of it, come back ready to play.

THE MODERATOR:  Anything else?  The coach is going to make an opening statement and then take questions.

COACH TRENT JOHNSON:  Obviously that was a pretty good basketball team and they were very well prepared and ready to go.  For me personally I was very disturbed by the transition baskets that we gave up early.  It has nothing to do with speed on the court; mental and physical toughness and their effort.  You're going into this year, we knew that there were some concerns in that regard.  And it's good it got exposed early on in the year.  So we can move forward from there.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  What was tough about their press?  What was difficult about your player's response to it?

COACH TRENT JOHNSON:  Again, I'm not taking anything away from them.  The press we made some ill-advised bad passes and it basically came from two of our veterans, Tasmin and Bo.  The key to the game was transition made us miss and our inability to put a body on them and be physical and respond and step up to their physicality.

And for me, I look at Eddie Ludwig, the redhead kid freshman from Country Day, he takes two charges.  He just got here and he got in the post and they have two good situations where the guy had an angle to the basket and he did a good job.  You look at the veterans who have been around, a guy like Garrett Green, three-year guy, so on and so forth.  It was just from my standpoint, we got exposed early and often, and those things are all correctable.

THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Coach?

Q.  Coach, Coach Calhoun has put the pressure on Kemba Walker a lot.  A lot is expected from him.  Kind of a slow start.  What was your overall impression of him?

COACH TRENT JOHNSON:  My overall impression of him and Dyson were like what I saw in videotape and what I said earlier in the press conference that Coach probably wasn't happy with the way his team has played the previous three games.  You knew they were going to be ready.

Walker is very good with the basketball.  He's quick.  It's an extension of his hand.  He does a good job of running the team.  The thing again, he's playing for a guy that holds him accountable every step of the way.  And getting beat like this is -- I don't like winning when you don't play well.  Getting beat like this against a team like that really, really exposes you and some of the things that I talked to this group about, our group, they were exposed.

So now we move forward and see how good a team we're going to be.  That's a good thing about being in New York.  You get exposed and everybody is watching.  So I like it.  I'm not necessarily talking about my players; I'm talking about me also.

Q.  Did you expect to rebound a little better?


Q.  They had some trouble in that department.

COACH TRENT JOHNSON:  I did.  I expected to have a little better transition defense too.  I did.  And that has to do with effort, constant effort.

THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for Coach?



THE MODERATOR:  Coach will make an opening statement and then take questions.

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  We've been waiting since the exhibition season for us to have a breakout a little bit.  And quite frankly it was a different kind of breakout.  The breakout for us was playing with energy, going back to rebounding which is something we really did well.  We have blocked shots all season so we kind of expected to do that against most teams.  But it was a breakout game for us.

It was the first time that I saw Connecticut play this year in a regular season game.  We were aggressive.  We did a terrific job defensively.  Most of the game we obviously let up a little bit at the end but quite frankly, I really, really praise the kids for their aggression.  All I asked them tonight, when you come in here, we have to be on the plus side, the rebounding and most importantly on the work-ethic meter.  If we're not leading in that work-ethic meter -- loose balls, hustling, blocked shots, double teeming, stripping the ball, running the fast break -- then we have a problem.  We will not be playing the championship game on Friday.  Now we have the opportunity to play in the championship game and obviously we are thrilled.  We are thrilled because quite frankly it's been a funny kind of two weeks for us where it hasn't been playing the same kind of basketball I know we're capable of.

I couldn't be happier.  I thought Jerome showed incredible patience; two, three points the first half and coming back with 16, 17 points in the second half.  I thought fortunately for Gavin he has done well coming off the bench.  You can guess the rest.  He responded exceptionally well coming off the bench.  He gave us a terrific lift.

Alex is growing into his role, now seems to want to score.  Those are great.  Once again we're facing an entirely different kind of team, spread team, both teams high 2-3 with Herb's team, with Mike's team a perimeter-dominating team.  Tonight they answered them with flying colors.

Q.  Did you want Stanley to attack right off the way he did?

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  Exactly.  He's just too good a basketball player to sit out on the outside and be a jump shooter.  He's got to be more than that.  He was all over the place defensively. He blocked some shots.  He got some rebounds.  He got some points.  He's just a pretty exciting player, and I think in a more open court games, because I think that Trent made a decision in the second half that if we keep this running game up, it's not going to work out real well.  Just because we were running exceptionally well and rebounding really well, and when they went to the half court set, we didn't get a chance to really get out except for a few occasions.  I think you saw more from Stanley because obviously he's an incredible open field player.

You have to get Charles Okwandu.  They haven't been able to get quality minutes the first semester last year.  He gave us a good game.  Physical presence at 7 feet, 260 pounds.  A physical presence.  Nice rebounds for us and set some very good screens and was a physical presence we'll need over the next four or five games and for the season.

Hasheem Thabeet, another 6'11" guy who changed our team a little bit.

I like the team tonight.  I like that they played with so much energy.

Two years on the bench, comes off, and he's our most poised player sometimes.  Plays great defense and only 6'5", over 200 pounds, he's big, nice arm Span.  He was kind of an unsung hero tonight.

Q.  How far has Stanley Robinson come on and off the court from this time from last year.

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  Just because it's hard for me to due to the privacy as I should have about my players, it's a medical reason of Stanley off the court.  Don't -- please, I would hope you don't have any misconceptions with Stanley.  It was a medical situation he needed medication for.  It had nothing with him being a wild kid or not going to class.  I've read those things and it's completely so far from the truth.  He's a great kid who had incredible focus problems.  Just problems.  Bottom line is he's -- his happiness, he's always been a happy kid in certain ways.  Sometimes the guys who cover us will tell you he's a sad kid.  He's a great kid.  I think each one would attest to that.  He finds joy playing again.  That's really nice to see.  I think your point is right on.  He plays with some joy, as Kemba does sometimes.  That's nice to see.

Q.  Coach, did you see more out of Kemba; where was he at?

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  I thought he was okay.  Terrific in the second half.  I thought he really ignited our fast break well.  He still has to be a better half court player.  You play for point guards for me, I'm probably like Larry Brown.  I can wear them out in half a year because I expect every pass to be perfect. 

He's still pretty damn good.  We love him.  He has to work on making plays in the half court set.  He has to identify open people.  We're not going to trade him.  He was really good on defense.  He started putting pressure on that kid who was penetrating so much in the first half, did a great job of adjusting to him.

Q.  Just to clarify, are you saying you asked Stanley to take that time off because of --

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  I told him.  There was no asking.

Q.  Because of the medical situation?

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  Correct.  The situation where he was not being able to do a lot of things focus-wise, otherwise, and everything was going to pot to be quite honest with you.  Everything was turning up in his life.  Anything you name wasn't happening in front of him.  We told him to take the time off.  Told him he had to work.  If he came back he would have to pay for his semester with a Pell Grant and he did.  He played last year in the tournament getting 28 points and was paying for his own education.

It was something we felt he had to do for Stanley to truly understanding to follow A, the medical advice he was getting, and B, that he eventually can do something with his basketball game, and I think both things are starting to happen for him have been happening for him.

THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Coach?

Q.  What was difference in the rebounding?  Just effort?

COACH JIM CALHOUN:  I think it was effort.  I think Gavin, as much as anything else -- I'll blame myself for this -- when I went through some box-out drills early there was nothing as you know who was the toughest guy?  But we went back to a lot more technique and who was the toughest guy.  So we tried to get you to really go after it but then use some more technique.

We aren't a particularly big team at times.  I know you look at both Charles and the freshman, Alex, and say, "they're big strong kids."  They are.  But when they are out -- one is out of the game, we're not a particularly big team.  Gavin is a small 6'8".  He's a thin 6'8".  I don't care what his stats are.  I know what he is.  Technique becomes more important.  Hasheem Thabeet probably never blocks anybody out in his life.  At 7'3", 270, you don't need to block people out.  You get the ball because he's at the highest altitude.  But bottom line is I think we work very hard on technique every single day, two or three drills a day and just pure unadulterated aggressiveness.  We ran down a ton of loose balls.  I was really happy with the way we played.  If we play like that the rest of the season we're going to be just fine.  Thank you very much.

THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.