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Men's Basketball
Michigan State 87, Minnesota 75 Post-Game Quotes
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 11, 2014

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement…
We’re trying to find ourselves. You know Minnesota, give them a lot of credit. They made a lot of threes, we knew they were going to shoot them; we didn’t defend it very well. But they have to make them too; they made a couple of tough ones. You know it worries you when they start banking in those shots, you start questioning some stuff. I tried to tell the team that with (Matt) Costello and (Gary) Harris coming back, we look very lethargic if you ask me. The example I give is I asked Gary about the roll with the last pick-and-roll with Costello I said, ‘Did he roll a little harder than he did the other times?’ He started laughing. You know guys just aren’t seeing it because they aren’t practicing very well, they aren’t practicing very long, they aren’t practicing very hard and it’s not all their fault. So we didn’t play very well; Minnesota did play well. Give us some credit in the second half; I feel we defended somewhat better. I thought we moved the ball a little bit better. We didn’t look very good in that. You know that is the No. 1 team on turnovers; they turn you over. We had seven turnovers; I think two in the second half. There were some incredibly good things. Costello played a lot better in the second half. But there were enough bad things to, normally I would get mad about, but not anymore. I am just going to smile. Maybe I will feel good about it.

On the lift of Kenny Kaminski…
You know Kaminski did do a good job. I thought if we went through he, and believe it or not Travis Trice, gave us just some minutes. That kid is, you see how frail he is, he sucked it up and I am really ecstatic because Keith (Appling) got in foul trouble. Kaminski made some shots and he gives up some shots. It’s good that he makes them and, like I said last year, I will still say it,iIf he continues to improve and we try to get a rebound once in a while and guard someone once in a while, he can shoot it with anybody. We do have to do more than just score on one end, but he did give us a lift at a point in time when we weren’t very good. We weren’t making very many shots. That zone, which we have had no problems with zone, but think of Trice and Payne are two of my zone-busters. So they gave us some problems and Kenny raised it up.

On Kaminski responding after the suspension…
I would say how he deals with himself; I mean there are a lot of things. I am not going to make it one dimensional, but he had to grow up and he has responded better, but then he didn’t grow up again. So if you want me to take the foot off the peddle and be a nice guy forget it, it ain’t happening. There are certain things that I just get a kick out of people on how they perceive on what I do. Man, I am going to tell you something. I wish I had ‘Day-Day’ (Draymond Green) around more, because he has a better understanding. We have some guys who got to figure out who they are and what they are. A good coach should be able to define roles. We have had so many injuries. With Valentine, I don’t know what he thinks his role is. I know what I think it is, but I haven’t done as good a job at defining it. So I am going to have to do a better job at it. You know Kaminski responded well, for now. School is just starting, everybody is coming back and we will see how he does now before I can get real excited about everything. He has made some progress, he has been handling it pretty well and we are going to keep moving forward.

On Adreian Payne not playing today…
The last game, we thought he couldn’t go this game. It was a little swollen; it just feels like it is not getting better. As I have said, there are no hidden tricks here. I am not Bill Belichick. I am sharing all the information I have. There is nothing medically wrong that we can observe. There’s no stress fracture. We did MRI’s, we did x-rays, we are going to do a few more things. He wanted to play. Adreian is not being a wimp about it, he wants to play. He just didn’t feel he could, so I didn’t want to take the chance to suit him up and put him through that. Last time I didn’t want to either, but that was his choice. So this time it was kind of my choice. I didn’t like the choice I made but I think I did what I had to do.

On the play of Branden Dawson…
There is something wrong with Branden, there is no question about it. There’s something bothering him, he hasn’t been that way in a month. He has been really for the whole year, he has been pretty good. He had that, call it a meltdown, call it whatever you want call it against North Carolina. But yeah you could see it, you don’t have to be a coach. You could see it. I don’t have a good answer for you. But I think he could see it this time. We tried to regroup at half time, but honest to god he has played very, pretty well at the beginning of the year. He was averaging a double-double going into that Carolina game. He really struggled in that game, and then he had the big stretch where he played very well, and then he has not played with that same energy and it’s nothing with his teammates, it’s nothing with his coaches, it’s nothing with school. It’s something and we just have to figure it out and get him back. You can see the look on his face, everybody can see it. My mother calls; she’s 87, she is wearing her bifocals looking at the TV and she can see it, seriously, and that’s not a joke.

On being physical…
I think it is very hard for these officials to do. I just think there are some plays out there that I am mind boggled by how they are called, so I think they are too. I am publically, privately, sleeping in bed, against what we did. We went too far to the left and now we are trying to bring it back. Players don’t know how to play, coaches don’t know how to coach and referees don’t know how to referee. It is my humble opinion and we haven’t been as physical. I think we got out-toughed in two games physically; we haven’t been able to work on that as much because of different guys who are not practicing. But we do have to get more physical. I think it’s difficult, it’s difficult for them too, but it’s difficult. There were some bizarre things that happen out there. As hard as it is on me and some of you and maybe the fans, think about the players. Don’t blame the officials, they have been mandated on what they are supposed to do. The consistency is going to be hard, because it’s different for every group of officials. You got veterans, you got young guys, you got different guys. It’s hard.

On Denzel Valentine…
I thought he rebounded pretty well. I don’t know what ended up with. He got some big rebounds late. I thought he defended better late. Denzel is a hell of a kid; everybody laughs I got asked a question on my radio show, ‘what is your relationship like with Denzel?’ I love Denzel Valentine. I told him I am protecting him from his dad. If I don’t get to him, his dad will. But I love the kid; he is in here working morning, noon and night. He just struggles; guys struggle and it’s because of all this freshman crap. Everybody has to be a superstar. I am a big Bill Belichick fan. He has three words - do your job. Don’t try to be somebody else. I think (Den)Zel tries to be something he is not. When he just does his job, he is damn good and he is really, really important to us. I love the kid, I love his work ethic, I don’t love his spin-dribble, but everything else about him. He competes, he cares, he works, but he has got to like everyone else. You have to figure it out sooner or later that this way isn’t working and I have to figure out a different way to get the job done.

Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino

Opening statement…
I am certainly disappointed in the loss. I thought it came down to them getting to the foul line, and we did not towards the end of the game. It is very difficult to beat a team when they make 32 free throws to your 19, and that is not to say that I am complaining about the officiating. It was more so that they just did a better job of attacking us. We did a lot of really good things, but we also did a lot of silly things. Towards the end of the game we had a couple turnovers and a couple of breakdowns, but I think it shows the potential that we have moving forward. We just need to get better.

On how Minnesota’s players responded to the MSU comeback…
I thought we had a couple of ‘empty possessions’, and by that I mean turnovers. Then they had a couple of seconds where they got some big time offensive rebounds, where we did not. It was little things. It was free-throws and rebounding that lost us the game, but I think hopefully we showed that we can compete with anybody and we will continue to show that in the league.

On if he sees this as a shortcoming of this team…
I mean, I think you have to give them credit because they are one of the best teams in the country on their home court. That being said, I don’t know if it’s just us, but you have to give the opponent credit. They made big plays, they got offensive rebounds, we just didn’t come up with it and a lot of it has to do with that team, a team that is picked to win the national title.

On the last possession in regulation…
I was running a play and trying to shoot a three to be honest with you, but I think it was a broken play and Deandre (Mathieu) drove and passed the ball. We wanted two options to be honest, because we were shooting too many jump shots so I wanted to get to the rim. If we were hitting more shots later in the game, I would have gone for a three.

On the play of Kenny Kaminski and how it changed the game plan…
He did a lot. He changed the way we guarded certain things and made some big time shots off of an offensive rebound and a couple missed rotations with us. When you get a kid like that, with that height, I don’t know if he is 6-9 or 6-8, to be able to shoot the ball, it’s really hard to guard. We had to switch a lot of pick-and-rolls, did a better job on him late but he made a lot of big-time plays and big-time shots.

On the play of Deandre Mathieu…
I actually thought he missed a lot of shots today. I think he has to understand that when he is going in amongst the trees that he has to sometimes pull it back out. I love his fearlessness; certainly that last play he showed that, but there was a couple shots too where you just have to be smart, and that chip on your shoulder that you have, you have to be intelligent as well and not just prove to everyone that you can score. He was aggressive certainly and he made a great play in the end.

On if this is a missed opportunity to steal a win…
It’s another opportunity. We played well in the first 40 minutes and didn’t play well in the overtime. We have a lot of respect for Michigan State, and an unbelievable amount of respect for coach (Tom) Izzo. So anytime you go on the road, in a great environment, and you step up for 40 minutes and you don’t win the game, it is a bit of a missed opportunity but there will be plenty more. Unfortunately if you haven’t looked at our schedule, we play top-five teams every day.

On how they would do without Adreian Payne…
I think the biggest thing is that there is so much inside-out attack with Adreian Payne. He is probably a top-five pick, so when I heard that he wasn’t playing, I didn’t want him to be hurt but that was a nice, pleasant surprise right before the game because he is a great player. He changes a lot of the game because he has just improved so much. They (Michigan State) get their players so much better here and he is just a tough, tough matchup and hopefully he will be back soon enough.


 

 

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