Nov. 3, 2012
PENN STATE MEN'S BASKETBALL
Nov. 3, 2012
HEAD COACH QUOTES part 1
Q: What was it like going up against your former coach?
A: Leading up there are emotions there. It's human nature. You played for the guy, he awards you a scholarship, you had some great memories with him, and you spent time with him in the summers, for 20 years. I graduated from there, so I would be lying if I didn't say there were emotions there. Plus that's my alma mater and you love the school, for everything that the school has done for me and for everything that he has done for me, there is something there. I cannot disguise that, but when the ball goes up, we step in between lines and it's over. And he is the same way. I could hear a lot of his lines that reminded me of when I played, which was great. It was an emotional day, no questions.
Q: What do you think sparked that 15-0 run?
A: I just think we played harder. I don't know what it was. Our guys came out and they looked lethargic. We had a late practice yesterday, a short walk through today. I just tried to have fresh legs. Maybe it was thepeople in the stands, or first game jitters. That probably had a lot to do with it and they played well. They made shots. I'm sure they thought we were going to come out there with D-II Philadelphia University, but I tried to warn them that we did not need a situation where we were one of those teams that wereupset. We missed shots. That is something I have been harping on for the last few months: not being a feel good team, being able to handle adversity regardless of making or missing shots.
Q: What are your thoughts on missing those threes in the beginning?
Q: Can you talk a little bit about being able to dump it down to Jon Graham and for him to produce points for you?
A: I think they were just thinking about being 0-for-2 or 0-for-3, and they are not thinking about defending and rebounding and doing the little things that we teach. Once the game got going, and they got hit and there were fouls, and little things like that, I think we settled right in.
A: Jon and Sasa (Borovnjak) are going to be huge. It is really going to depend on those guys to determine how good we are going to be. There's going to be nights when we're going to miss shots. We need positive possessions and they did a pretty good job tonight. Jon did a very good jobtonight. He is gaining confidence, which is good.
Q: What is your assessment on D.J.'s (Newbill) first time out there?
A: He was a little rusty. The speed changes a lot, and that's why I kept him out there. He played a ton of minutes. He played 36 minutes. I want him to feel playing through 36 minutes. I want him to play through being tired and I put him at the point because Tim (Frazier) cannotplay 40 every night so he is going to have to play the point. He was a little rusty, but he did some good things.
Q: With Jon (Graham) coming in there and producing like he did off the bench, do you think you will put him in the starting lineup later, or do you like the spark he brings from the bench?
A: It's all about the consistency of coming out and playing hard every day. That lineup was based on who came out and played the hardest since practice started. That lineup has been the line up that has been the most consistent. But things can change. We will see how things go this week, but I would like to settle in with a starting team, and then a good off the benchrotation. I was excited about Brandon Taylor. He didn't do much, but for me he did a lot. To be able to put him out there and you didn't really see him making too many freshman mistakes. He does need to learn how to play harder, but that was definitely a positive for me going into next week.
Q: Can you talk about what you want to see from the three freshmen guys?
A: Between Brandon (Taylor) and Donovon (Jack), it will be hit or miss. Those guys need to step up and take their shots when they are there. They have to defend. They have to rebound. Rebounding is going to becritical at that position when they come in for Ross Travis. Ross Travis does a great job rebounding the ball. He had six today, but he is usually our bestrebounder. We are going to count on Brandon and Donovan and they have to understand that. Their approach is going to change and everything is going to be a little different, but we need them to come in and give us 15-18 minutes a game, sometimes 20, if there are injuries. But they need to be positive possessions and play above their freshman status.
Q: Is it your intention to play all three of them?
A: That is your hope. As a coach, you hope by January that you get them there. That is how patient you need to be with freshmen. You need to get on them. They are going to have good days. They are going to have bad days. They are going to be happy, but if we can get them there by the time the Big Ten comes around, then our bench is going to be a little bit deeper, and that is what we need.
Q: Ross Travis and Jermaine Marshall had three steals today, how do you think they have helped the fast break?
A: Ross Travis plays very hard, which is great. We need that from him. He's all over the floor and he does some great things and now he is knocking down some jump shots. It was a very positive day for him. If he can continue to do that, then you get more opportunities, then you score in the 70s and that is our goal. We want to score 70 points or above and keep our opponents down. We did that today, but there were too many open shots for my liking. Coach Magee runs great stuff. I ran some of that stuff when I played for him, so I was excited to play a team like Philadelphia University because we knew they were going to challenge our habits and challenge our foundation. Some possessions were very good and some possessions were very poor, especially when they got open shots. The score doesn't indicate that, but we have to get better. Ross Travis did a good job. Jermaine tweaked his leg a little and Ididn't want to chance it so I kept him out. But he has great long arms, he has great instincts, and a lot of deflections and that's a positive.
Q: You had twelve steals and eighteen turnovers, is that a poor performance or a good one?
A: Statistics would say that's a good performance, but I felt like there were too many miscommunications. We weren't in the right places and everyone is going to say why is he yelling at us? You might get away with it in the conference, but you're definitely not getting away with it in the Big Ten.
Q: What has to be different to make it a better performance?
A: Better communication, better stances, better gap, jumping to the ball, little things like that. Basketball stuff I'd like to see them do. But I always say play hard plus talk equals trust, so it's not there yet. We'll get there; trust me we'll get there.
Q: Nick Colella dives on the ground and chases down a loose ball; can you talk a little bit about that game?
A: That's what Penn State basketball is all about. That's our foundation. We keep dives, we keep hustle plays, energy play whatever you guys want to call them. That was just great. There's this kid who's known as a specialist, he's a shooter and he's shown that, "I am from Pittsburgh and I am tough and I'm willing to get my knees scraped for this team." We needed that. For my liking there wasn't enough out there, there were plenty of loose balls. And for Nick (Colella) who's a senior, showing that we're up twenty and this is the way we play.
Q: The team shot six for twenty two from the three point line. Is that a concern moving forward?
A: We've been shooting a ton. I'm really surprised we didn't shoot the ball better, but we'll continue to work on it. I think we've got good shooters. (Ross) Travis has worked hard, Tim (Frazier) has worked hard, and Jermaine (Marshall) has worked hard. Those guys are getting shots up often, but it is a concern because usually the team that makes the most three's wins. So we've got to do a better job of more rhythm jump shots that are delivery.
Q: What did you see out of Peter Alexis today?
A: I was so happy for him. He's a great kid. I saw him before the game and I knew he was going to play well and he did. He played hard and he rebounded, and I think he's at a great place where they're going to know how to utilize him and give him opportunities. He's going to be there for four years and he's going to be a legend there, no question. I was happy for him. I talked to Pete half way through the second half, "Keep going, Pete! Kill `em, Pete!" because he was playing hard and he rose to the occasion, and I was very happy for him.
Q: What kind of progressions do you think he's made from today and last year's game?
A: Towards the end of last year it wasn't like he was one foot out. He came every day and was two feet in. He was lifting and working hard and we continued to skill develop him. I continue to see Coach Magee utilizing it and taking full advantage of that and putting his own touch on it, which isgreat because he's a shooting guru. There were a lot of good things from Pete. He shot good free throws, five for eight, he was one for five again JMU. He played terrific and I was happy for him.
Q: How do you feel this team compares to last year going into the season?
A: It's a different team. It's always a different team, but this team knows me a little bit better, which is huge. They know what to expect now and we have some leadership. Billy last year got hurt, so we're looking to fill in voids and pieces. I'm hoping we can stay healthy. We had a good lineup. I think you're going to see a little different team, a team that pushes it and guys that can make shots and make plays. Now with Tim (Frazier) and D.J. (Newbill) in the back court you can see they're still a little rusty, they're still getting to know each other a little bit because I don't put them together a lot. You see some guys making plays out there that have the ability to score some points, which is going to be exciting, especially on the road. If we do it on the road, shooting 31percent, I'll be happy.
Q: Can you talk about Tim (Frazier) as a facilitator, whether it's on the fast break or within the system of the offense?
A: I think we all love flash, but sometimes a simple play is the most effective play. It's better for the guys that are around you. But he started making really solid, simple decisions and we started getting better opportunities, more in rhythm shots, layups and got ourselves to the free throw line. When your three's aren't going down, , to get easy opportunities, which he's going to create, they're going to design their defenses to stop him and these guys have to be ready to make plays and shoot with confidence. Offensively I tell them to shoot with confidence and play with confidence. On defense, I'm going to be after you. If you're not defending, if you're not sprinting, if you're not converting, if you're not playing ball screens rights, if you're not boxing out well, then we've got a problem. But offensively, I mean Jon (Graham) took a fifteen footer. I was happy. I want him to take that shot. If they're going to back off of you, shoot it. (Ross) Travis took ten shots, and that's good. We need that. We need those guys to find their spots. For Tim to be a great player and to get where he wants to go to, he's got to continue doing that, making simple, solid decisions.
Q: Will we see some of D..J at the point with Tim (Frazier) at the two?
A: Yeah, we're going to put Tim off the ball sometimes to let him know you're scoring. Sometimes when you're at the one, you're trying to run the offense, you're trying to move people, you're trying to direct. But we'll move Tim off the ball and give him some opportunities to let him know this is his shot. I like D.J. at the point, you've got a big point there, a big combo guard at 6-4. I just need him to get reps. That's why he played so many minutes.
Penn State Player Postgame Presser
Jon Graham, D.J. Newbill, Tim Frazier
#2 D.J. Newbill
Q: D.J., what's it feel like to be back out there? This is your first game in a while.
A: It was great. It was a great feeling to get back out there on the court and be playing again. I waited a whole year for this moment. I'm just thankful to be able to play the game again.
Q: Did you feel rusty at all? How do you feel in the offense right now?
A: No, I think I got the rust out during the scrimmage. I'm just playing now.
Q: D.J., how's it been working your way into the system? How has it been playing with new teammates and having to communicate with them?
A: Oh, it's been great so far. I'm playing with most of the same guys, so we already had chemistry. It's just nice that I'm playing now.
Q: D.J., you played a lot of point guard in the second half. You looked really comfortable out there as a point. Is that something you'd like to see going throughout the season?
A: Yeah because if Tim gets into foul trouble, I'm the next primary ball-handler. I'm working on running the team early in the season so when we get into the middle of Big Ten conference play, I'll be ready.
Q: Speaking of their coach, D.J. you're from Philadelphia, did you know Coach McGee or know of him and his reputation?
A: I knew of him, but today was my first time meeting him personally. He's got a good reputation in Philly, so I've heard of him a lot.
#23 Tim Frazier
Q: Tim, what's it like having D.J. in the backcourt with you?
A: It's great. Having another running mate like D.J., another competitor, someone that has the same passion and drive is great. Being able to run full speed, I look to myright and left and he's right there with me. It definitely helps and it's a great feeling.
Q: Tim, what do you think sparked the 14-0 run to end the half?
A: We just played Penn State basketball. Last year when we played Penn State basketball, we were a very successful team. We played gritty, hard, smart and together. We run our offense and it really starts on the defensive end. Our run started off when we had great deflections, steals and fast breaks. That led to our shots falling and us playing Penn State basketball.
Q: How big do you think that alley-oop to Ross Travis was in terms of momentum?
A: Any time you get a big play like that is what really brings a lot of energy. Something like a blocked shot or a charge, but that alley-oop was great.
Q: You didn't shoot well in the first half, but turned it up in the second half. Can you put your finger on any reason for that?
A: It's our first game in front of a crowd, so there are some jitters for the freshmen or guys like D.J. who hasn't played in a year. We started playing Penn State basketball toward the end of the first half that carried over into the second half andfrom then on we started to lay it on with little spurts here and there.
Q: Tim, do you feel comfortable as a two with D.J. with the ball in his hands?
A: Definitely. Being able to have somebody else bring the ball up the floor and run the plays allows me to read the floor and find shots or other movements without the ball. It's a great feeling and I'm going to trust him as much as anyone else on the team being able to find me, figure out plays and make good decisions.
Q: How do you feel this year's team going into the season compares to last year's team?
A: This time last year we had a new coach. Now that we've got a year under his belt, we know his concepts and exactly what he's looking for. It makes it that much easier to step out on the floor, come out to practice and know exactly what to expectfrom him.
Q: Tim, you and D.J. complement each other well. What does it do for your game to have guys like Sasa (Borovnjak) and Jon (Graham) down low that are reliable in the post?
A: It helps me tremendously to have a dominant post like Jon and Sasha when we need a basket or we need a down low. When our jump shots aren't falling, we can throw the ball into the post and make a solid move. Especially in the Big Ten, when guys are stepping me and D.J., having a great post like Jon and Sasha means we can dump it off. It makes it that much easier on myself.
Q: Just nine turnovers as a team and you forced 18 turnovers. Could you talk about that?
A: Like I've said it's Penn State basketball. We stick to our concepts, jump into the gaps and we were able to rush them. They have a tremendous coach that loves his sets and his plays, and their players were running them. We were able to rush them and force turnovers.
#25 Jon Graham
Q: Jon, big game for you tonight with 16 points and seven rebounds. You looked comfortable around the basket. Tell me about your game today.
A: First of all, it was great to be back on the court because I feel like it's been a long offseason. I just let the game come to me, take opportunities as I see them and finish around the basket like I'm supposed to.
Q: How do you feel this year's team going into the season compares to last year's team?
A: I feel like this team is a lot more cohesive. We're older and returning a lot more experience. There's a great feeling in the locker room and that's where it all starts. It starts in the locker room, carries into practice and then to thegames. I feel like we're on the right track and we're going to have a much better season this year.
Q: Jon, you guys created a lot of second-chance opportunities with offensive rebounds. How important is that to your offense?
A: It's major. That's one of the keys to the game we had. Counting the offensive glass makes a big difference. The team that gets the most second-chances on offense ultimately will shoot better by getting more opportunities to score. It creates a major difference in games.
Visiting Coach Quotes
Coach Herb Magee
Q: How did it feel paying against Chambers today?
A: It was actually a great experience for our kids. They were looking forward to it maybe more than I was. I just enjoy being around the guy. I've loved him ever since he's played for me. I wouldn't be surprised that he'll have a good rate of success up here, if he turned this thing around and was really good in the next couple years. Over and above that, we have been friends since he was a freshman in college, so he's a terrific fella.
Q: Was he as energetic back when he was playing for you as he is now?
A: More so. He's a tough guy, I mean he did not have much skill as a basketball player but he was as tough as nails. He was a kid that averaged three points a game his senior year and was All-League. All the coaches voted him on the All-Leagueteam. If you ask any of the coaches that played against us at that time, they would say the guy they feared the most was Chambers, even though we had two or three All-Americans on that team. He was just a leader, a born leader.
Q: Coach, you were recognized before the game, just how special was it to have a former player, kind of come out and honor you like the way that he did?
A: It was very nice, very nice. I said to him before the game, "I'll take the ball but you got any money instead?" I knew he would do something because that's the way he is. He's a wonderful guy. Ever since he graduated, every time I saw him in anything he'd ask me, "Where's my ball for being the all-time assists leader?" So one day I surprised him at a game and gave him a ball and he almost died. That doesn't surprise me. Anything he does like that, which is first class, that doesn't surprise me.
Q: Coach, the game was tied at 28-28, with a little under three minutes left right before the big run..
A: Yeah, tell me about it. As they went out I told my assistants that the game was going to be won or lost right here. We go into the half tied, the pressure goes to them, so we had like three or four straight turnovers that led to field goals. If the half lasted another five minutes, we might've been down 30 because they had their juices going and our guys kind of folded a little bit. They're not used to seeing that overall size and pressure. I think that was the difference. We didn't make any shots either. Our best kid is out with a broken hand. That's no excuse, but it is an excuse because with him on the floor, he's going to get like 18 or 19 points for us. Jim Connolly has to score and he didn't. He had a terrible game and so did (Nick) Schlitzer. They are our two leading scorers and if they have bad games, we're not going to beat anybody. I was very impressed with Peter Alexis. He's been playing good, but I thought this would be a tough situation for him coming up to Penn State. He loved being here, and to come back and do what he did with 19 points and 11 rebounds? The one positive thing we can take out of this is his play. We now know we can throw it to him and he can do something with it.
Q: Was he anxious coming back up here?
A: Yeah, I think so. He's kind of a quiet guy, but very inquisitive about everything. He asks a million questions in practice, to the point that he's a pain in the neck sometimes. But he's tuned into everything we do. He's in the gym early and he leaves late. He's in the weight room. Patrick (Chambers) told me that he would be like that. His skill level is probably not a Big Ten player, but on our level he's going to be tough, he's going to have a great career.
Q: Have you seen himprogress since he's transferred?
A: He's more confident. When you play here and he wasn't getting in and probably not practicing a whole lot either, now he comes and he's an integral part of the offense. Ee have rerun plays to get him the ball. I think any young guy develops confidence when that happens. He's got the little jump hook. We've been trying to get him the pump fake, which he did tonight, and that pleases me more than anything. He'll get his shot blocked if he doesn't fake, so we've been doing a lot work with him and he will improve. He can average, 15-10 points, and we're going to be really good. When the other guy gets back in six weeks, and the other kid is terrific, and if (Jim) Connolly comes around and (Nick) Schlitzer comes around, we have a great a pretty good team. On our level, we should be very dangerous.
Q: How familiar were you with D.J. Newbill from back in Philadelphia?
A: Guys have seen him and they have seen him play. We watched tape on them when they scrimmaged Robert Morris, and I think he's trying to feel his way. I didn't watch our tape yet, but he seems like he's trying to feel his way into the offense. I think he was a focal point more so maybe at Southern Mississippithan he was here. But, I'm sure he'll be good. Tim Frazier, he's terrific and tough to keep out of the lane.