We hope to hear something very soon. We’ve very, very optimistic about it. He’s a little bit of a project and he has to lose some weight. He can be a special player for us.
I look at the glass as half full instead of half empty. When we got here we had eight, nine bodies that first year. I don’t want to knock the program, we inherited some nice kids but I don’t know we had eight Big East players. Last year we had more talent than the year before, this year we have more talent than last year…. We’re trying to build a championship team, we’re trying to be a top six team in the conference.
We don’t have the depth that I’d like because we decided to take some chances on guys who could be difference-makers next year, Pope and Lawrence. Sometimes you’ve got to take a half step backward in order to take a full step forward. To me, Herb Pope and Keon Lawrence are worth taking a chance. In the short team, we’ve got to suck it up a little but, we’ve got to be creative.
Herb Pope is pretty easy to comment on, so is Keon Lawrence, so is Melvyn Oliver. Mike Glover’s situation is pending, i can say that. The problem is that it’s pending litigation. As a coaching staff we’re still hopeful. Contrary to what people read…we know that there’s still stuff going on to allow for a chance of an injunction to allow him to play basketball. He’s committed to playing at Seton Hall. He wants to play in the Big East. I think the kid is just very committed to being here and being in the Big East. ON THE EXTENSIONS GIVEN TO FRED HILL AND NORM ROBERTS. I could sit here and say there’s a couple of guys in the metropolitan area who don’t have winning records who got extensions — I’m not knocking them. I’m just comparing. I could say there are guys who haven’t proved themselves by having no postseason wins. ON JAMEL JACKSON We didn’t expect Jamel Jackson to get a C- and not be eligible. ON EUGENE HARVEY I think Eugene Harvey is probably the most improved player in the program right now…He gave up his No. 15 to Herb Pope…He’s gotten stronger, he’s worked on his shooting. Even though he’s still a little quiet and I’d like him to be more verbal…I think that he is a much better all-around player than he was last year or the year before. He needs to have a big bounce-back year. He needs to have a great year. ON JORDAN THEODORE He needs to play 10, 12 minutes per game, whatever we can get from him….I think that Jordan Theodore will bea shot in the arm for Eugene Harvey. If we can get Eugene Harvey to go from 38, 36 minutes to 28, 30 minutes, that will be a shot in the arm for him. I’m going to throw Jordan Theodore in the fire. I think he’ll be ready to play. ON PAUL GAUSE WE went 2-9 without him…If Paul Gause makes the difference in one of those games (he missed), we have 18 wins. He’s just a great leader. He’s the epitome of the kind of guy you want. As far as his knee goes, he is just about 100 percent. I can’t really tell that he’s hurt. ON OUR PERIMETER PLAYERS
With Keon or without, we have Eugene, Paul Gause, Jeremy Hazell, Jordan and Robert Mitchell, our perimeter can hang with just about any perimeter in this league. Our problem is inside. Can we get away with playing Robert Mitchell at the four spot and what can Mike Davis give us? ON MIKE DAVIS He’s going to have to the dirty work. Block a shot, rebound the ball, set a screen. Now that he understands this, I think he can help us more than he did last year. ON HOW HE PRACTICES KNOWING POPE AND LAWRENCE AREN’T ELIGIBLE TO PLAY GAMES They’re not here. WE have to just act like we got what we got. We can’t make excuses. ON THE TEAM GOALS I’m trying to build them in my image. My image has always been toughness, cut-throat, unapologetic and a team that’s going to win at this level…And if not this year, then next year. We feel like we’re close to getting there. ON HIS OFFENSE If you’re horrible on defense, you don’t have a winning record. Our offense is very good. We are fourth in the league in scoring, but we have to get better in rebounding and half court defense. If you’re going up and down more, there’s going to be more shot attempts. DEFENSIVING REBOUNDING It’s defensive rebounding that’s killing us ON RELATIONSHIP WITH JOE QUINLAN There’s a league rule that basically says you can’t comment on the officials. Jim Calhoun did it early in the year. I guess it was the same official. HE was reprimanded and had to write a letter of apology. Mike Tranghese warned all of us about bench decorum. That was going to be a major, major theme going into the season. I went to the (Big East) press conference and I made comments that I shouldn’t have made. IT was more of league thing than a Seton Hall thing. …I think I got a harsher penalty . I think it happened because I did it later in the year. it’s unfortunate (I will miss the Syracuse game) because it’s up in Syracuse and I’m from upstate New York and I had like 200 people coming tot he game. It’s taken me a few years to learn the lay of the land, how things are done here, what the administration wants…That aside, there’s nothing personal with me and anybody in the administration. Coaches are judged by how they do with academics, how you are as a person, and bottom line, how you do as a coach. ON LANDING THE BIG FISH RECRUIT
It’s so hard to get that one Top 10 guy to take that leap of faith and believe in you because they all think an expert is somebody that’s out of town because they’re being told that maybe by their high school coaches, their AAU coaches, the fans, the media, the local people. They’re being told, ‘If you want to be great and you want to win a national championship….then go to a Kansas. Look at the teams that are in the Top 10. It’s Pittsburgh, it’s Kansas, it’s UCLA, it’s Kentucky, it’s Duke, so why would you want to stay around and go to Seton Hall? They’re not in the Top 20.’
There’s so much pressure on a local kid, if he wants to win, everyone’s telling him. Even the local people, even the people around here are telling him, ‘Hey, I like Seton Hall, it’s close to home, they’re trying to get it done.’ Or ‘I like St. John’s or I like Rutgers, but they’re fighting to get in the NIT, or the NCAA. They’re not good right now. You want to be good, you want to be on a national stage, you want to be in the tournament, you want to go to the Elite Eight, you gotta go to Kansas.’ There’s so much pressure for these kids to go away that we’re swimming against the stream.NOT GOTTEN IT DONE YET i have not gotten it done yet in terms of going to the postseason, win 20 games. But I feel a lot better about our chances. I know that I can coach. ON THE LEAGUE AS A WHOLE The other day I heard Rick Pitino say it was probably the best conference he’s ever been a part of in his college career. I’m sitting here saying I certainly have never seen a league like this. Seven teams in the top 25. They’re talking about getting nine or 10 teams in the touranment. The balance in the league is ridiculous. As far as who is the favorite, I’m going to say UConn. (Hasheem) Thabeet and (Jeff) Adrien, that is an NBA front line. To me they have the best chance in our league to win the national championship. ON GAMES SHU MUST WIN Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, West Virginia and Connecticut. We play those five at home. I’m not saying you beat them because you’re at home. I’m saying they’re great teams and we’re at home. We need to try and win some of those games. I just don’t like the idea of losing to somebody every year.