Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
All four Final Four coaches held a conference call today with reporters. Here are the Top 10 quotes, in no particular order:
1. “My advice for my three sons would be this, my two sons plus my problem child [John Calipari], I’m the oldest of the group that’s what I feel like….
—Jim Calhoun, UConn
2. “John Calipari, who always has been an aggressive, incredible personality has developed into a terrific basketball coach.”
3. “I think he’s a battler and I think he holds the bar high and doesn’t accept anything except their best. He gets them to a point where they look at it and say, ‘Hey, we can do this.'”
— Calipari on Calhoun
4. “I see me as one of those guys, that I see the end. I don’t see him [Calhoun] seeing the end.”
— Calipari on retirement
5. “No, I don’t think you ever feel validated in this profession because this is kind of like golf. You think you’ve got it figured out. You get humbled real quick. I followed up that Final Four [at UMass], within a year and a half I was fired in New Jersey. So I don’t know if it validated anything.”
6. “I took the page, the month of the calendar, it was one of those big desk calendars, the ones people have on their desks. I had kind of a trash can underneath me at the practice gym. The guys were sitting in front of me. I had a lighter and I set it on fire.”
— Shaka Smart on setting the month of February on fire
7. “I think we have in common certainly humble beginnings, work ethic and an understanding, particularly at our young age, there’s a whole lot left to learn.”
— Smart on Brad Stevens
8. “We’re Butler, we’re gonna be Butler and we’re gonna be as good as we can be, but we’re not trying to be somebody else. We want people to look at Butler and say, ‘I’don’t know what’s going on but it’s special.'”
9. “I know that question kind of comes with the territory of being in the NCAA Tournament, particularly at this stage. But if you can put yourself in any coach’s shoes just for a second and think about the two options there. Do I dwell on what might happen down the road or do I put 1,000 % of my energy into what is an unbelievably special opportunity in front of me and our team right now, then it’s an easy choice. I’m definitely focused on Saturday.”
— Smart on being a “hot coaching prospect”
10. “Bottom line is that, yeah, we felt we were just an afterthought in the Big East. We wen to Madison Square Garden, to prove something different. Nine games later we proved something different.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.