NCAA Selection Quotes
March 14, 2011
Coach Ed DeChellis
What does it mean to you to not only get in, but also get in as a 10 seed?
"You're sitting there and you see some other names pop up on the board and you're certainly hoping that you're name is going to pop up, but I wasn't really comfortable until I saw it pop up. I thought we would be in the tournament, but I just didn't know where we would be. It was nice to get to see your name pop up on the board."
Have you even thought about Temple yet?
"I got Danny Earl on it. He's thinking about Temple. I'm going to try and take at least hour or an hour and a half until we get home and try to relax on the plane. They've got some stats for me to look at and I'll do that on the plane. I just need an hour to wind down. It's been a long five days."
What does this mean for the five seniors?
"I'm very happy for them, very proud of them. They've stayed the course. We've had some tough days. We've had some disappointing losses, but those kids have always stayed the course. They've been great kids for me. They've been great for the university and wonderful student athletes. I'm really proud of them."
About the Ohio State game...
"I thought the biggest play of the game was Diebler's three at half time. We had a bad line-up in a sense that we had some guys playing out of position because of fouls, and offensively, there wasn't any flow. I thought if we could get out of there with a three-point deficit at half time, we would be in great shape. Dielber hit that big shot, and it took the wind out of our sails. In the second half, we hit the 12-minute mark and we just didn't have the juice we needed. We missed some easy shots that we normally make. They're a very, very good team. I can't stress that enough. They had to play just okay and we had to play really, really well. We needed to have everybody step up in terms of scoring the ball. When you're playing your fourth in four days, we didn't have it in the second half."
What did it mean for the team to get to the Championship game?
"It was really important for us. Our kids have done a great job. Our staff did a great job preparing the kids, but the kids are the ones that make shots. They make plays. I thought our defense and rebounding was extremely good for Thursday, Friday and Saturday's games. I thought we defended about as well as we could defend and we rebounded. Today, not so much. We were a step behind in the second half, but I thought the kids executed. They had great focus. They were attentive to detail. They really were committed to doing what we were able to do, and I'm really proud of them."
What was it like going through the tournament selection process again?
"When names start popping up and you get to the second bracket, you start to get that little feeling in your stomach. [I] hope this goes the way I think it's going to go because I'm not sure what I would say to my team. We had a pretty good indication that we were in, but until you really see it pop up there, you never know. Stranger things have happened. I've had good friends today who I thought were definitely in the tournament and as I find out today on the bus ride back, did not get in the tournament. It's a hard feeling to explain."
About the team's growth... What has changed?
"It's a long year, a long race. Things happen. We started this thing back in October, but we really we started in July with strength training and conditioning and the freshman coming in. You're going to have bumps in the road. I think that's just human nature, but I think for our team, we've always tried to express to them to stay the course, just do what we do. There were times where it was very challenging. We lost a game that maybe we shouldn't have lost. We had an injury or two in the Big Ten season. There was a tough call, and it gets you sideways some times. I think for our kids we try to emphasize to them to stay the course, just do what we do."
What are the next goals for this team?
"I've got to think about that on the way home and how I want to approach it. We want to win. I'm going to grind them. We'll refocus them. I think they need some air tonight. I've been on them since we left. This has been a two and a half/three-week deal, not just this weekend. It's been tough the last two and a half/three weeks winning the games we had to win, putting ourselves in a position to beat Northwestern at home and to beat Minnesota at home and on and on. Going on the road to beat Northwestern, beating Minnesota. We get to the tournament where we have got to win at least two, maybe three games. After we beat Wisconsin, Brian Siegrist and I huddled a little bit and look at some things, and we both thought that we were going to have to beatMichigan State to really solidify things. Again, it was a credit to our kids and our staff. We put a plan together and they executed it. We are where we are, and I'm very, very proud of them."
You scrimmaged Temple earlier this season, how can you use that going forward?
"Fran Dunphy is a great coach. He runs an unbelievable program. What I took away from that was that we needed to get better very, very quickly because I didn't think we played very well. I thought they were a stronger and a tougher team both mentally and physically back in November when we scrimmaged. That's what I do remember. I haven't really seen them play on television because I'm so consumed with our games, but I know they've had a great year. I know they've had a couple injuries, but I'll focus on them tomorrow and try to enjoy this game as best we can. Maybe we should meet in Harrisburg rather than Tucson."
What has Talor meant to you and the program?
"You coach for a lot of different reasons. Obviously, you are a competitive person and you want to win, but the smiles and the joy on our kids' faces when our name popped up there and they jumped off the couch. I just thought to see the joy and the excitement, all their hard work and dedication to Penn State has paid off, and now we've got ourselves in the tournament. It's because of those seniors. I've got to throw this out there, the kids who have played here in the past -- the last few years -- like a Jamelle Cornley and a Stanley Pringle and a Danny Morrissey, who really took us to that NIT run, really set the stage for what we did this weekend, as well. We referenced that NIT run several times in the last few days, and those kids were very instrumental and very important in the development of Talor, Jeff Brooks, Drew, DJ and Steve."
What did it mean for you and the program to get in the tournament?
"It's not about me. It's about our players and it's about the university. I'm very, very proud of our kids and what they've been able to accomplish. It's just all about them. As a staff, we try to prepare every game the same and give them an opportunity to be successful. The players have done a great job this weekend. They've done a great job the last three weeks. They've had a great run. They've had a great year. We were so close on a couple games that we didn't get that we thought we could have. They were very resilient the whole year and I'm really proud of the efforts and what they've been able to accomplish.
Is this a validation of all the hard work?
"It has been challenging at times. There have been some things that have happened to us. Injures that we weren't expecting. I think we've had some crazy luck, as well. There are always challenges with everything you do in life, and I've always tried to tell our kids to just keep fighting and get up off the floor when you get knocked down. We've been knocked down several times but one thing about our staff and our players is that were always going to get backup."
Would it almost be criminal for Talor not to get this moment?
"There are some things in life that you hope really work out, and this is one I was just praying for to work out. I went to mass this morning, and I never pray for wins or for losses, I never have in my entire life. I pray for the Lord to watch over our kids so they can compete at the highest level and not be injured. I pray for giving them strength and courage to do what they have to do, and the little guy has courage. He's a competitor and he has courage. Those are two great qualities, and he will be successful in life whatever he decides what he wants to do."
What about the 10 seed? Did you think they were giving the Big Ten a lot of respect?
"I thought they were. We're tied with Michigan, with Illinois, as well, and Michigan State. We're all jammed in there together. I thought we played pretty well over the weekend, and that didn't really shock me. Nothing shocks me with the NCAA tournament and the seeding core. Anything could happen. The seed is what it is. I think it's very fair. I think it's a very fair seed for us. When you toss that ball up this week, all that seeding doesn't matter where you play doesn't matter. It's all about the next game and the next game is the most important game."
Are you concerned about having to travel to Tucson?
"I am concerned. In a perfect world, we'd like to play Friday, but that's not going to happen. Were going to meet tomorrow afternoon as a team, try to focus them and try to practice Tuesday and Wednesday and play Thursday. They obviously need a day off. I can't practice them tomorrow. We'll watch some video tape maybe, but they need a day off mentally as well as physically. They are a drained group right now."
Were there a lot tears when you saw your name on the board?
"The kids were very happy and there was a lot of hugging. I've got to be honest with you, I had to go use the restroom. As soon as we came up on the board and I kissed my wife and my kids and shook hands with everybody in the room and the staff, I needed to go use the restroom. That was the end of the party for me. I went down and I saw the Ohio State coaching staff and your guys as well. For me, it's not about me. It really isn't. It's about our players. I was happy for them and got a chance to visit with them after so we could just be by ourselves. That was a special moment."
Did you feel like you had to get into the tournament this year?
"I thought our best chance was going to be this year, for right now. I thought if we could be injury free, we could have a chance. We did give ourselves a chance. The league was a heck of a league this year -- great teams talent-wise, coaching-wise. There were a lot of big time games, but I thought if we just kept our nose going where it was going and try to convince them that we could defend and rebound, I thought we could score enough somewhere along the way to win some games and be successful and get these kids in the tournament."