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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

Big East Teleconference #1 - St. John's Mike Anderson


St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson…

On the team’s play of late and their matchup with Arizona this Saturday:

 “I think we’re still answering some of the questions more in terms of personnel. Guys understanding their roles on our basketball team and the development of guys coming off our bench. Marcellus Earlington, Greg Williams Jr., David Caraher, Rasheem Dunn — we’re starting to see what they bring to the table. I think all of the little things that they bring to the table is kind of adding up to where our team can compete. We’re just trying to get better each and every time out. We’re playing against a very-talented-like Arizona team. Size, quickness, they’re one of the top scoring teams in the country, rebounding teams, shooting teams, so it’s a big challenge, but it’s a great opportunity to play in an NBA arena. I’m sure our guys are looking forward to the opportunity to go out and just trying to contend to find out where we are at this time of the year.”

On Mustapha Heron’s health status:

“Mustapha made it out and it’s still a day-to-day situation. … It will still probably be a game time decision. Right now, he hasn’t had a chance to practice yet but he is here. It just depends on how he moves. He’s got a pretty good sprain there, so we just have to play it by ear.”

On what a win over Arizona would mean for the team’s NCAA Tournament aspirations:

“Every game is a big game and having an opportunity to play at a neutral site against a ranked opponent in Arizona, obviously it could go well. In the BIG EAST, between teams that are being ranked and receiving votes, everyone is doing that in our league, with the exception of St. John’s and Providence. It just continues this talk about how competitive our league is and I think when we get into conference play that will continue. As we beat up on each other we’ll see the end results and hopefully we can get many, many teams playing in postseason play.”

On his approach entering BIG EAST play as a first-year coach at St. John’s…

“The league is really, really good. You’ve got so many talented players and of course you’ve got a cast of great coaches and we’re seeing that play out in non-conference. As competitive as some of these teams are playing right now, I think we’ll walk into conference play and the margin of error is slim. It’s a rebound here, a free throw here. I just think that from top to bottom, it’s going to be a great league. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity. It’s here, it’s right here. Obviously, we have the game [against Arizona] but then open up with Butler. I think for the fans it should be an exciting time. Each and every team has a chance to win a championship and that’s what you’re playing for in BIG EAST play.”

On how St. John’s can overcome Butler’s slower tempo…

“I guess it’s just going to be the wheel of tempos. With that being said, basketball is basketball. It’s all about making decisions out on the floor and we prefer to speed it up. Trust me, [Butler] doesn’t just walk it up and down the floor. They’ve got some talented players, some veteran guys coming back and they’re playing well. Expect just an all-out war between two teams going after it trying to hopefully impose their wills on the other opponent. It’s going to come down to loose balls, rebounds, free throws, especially in conference play.”

On his expectations for Ian Steere in his first game for St. John’s tomorrow…

I’m really just looking forward to seeing him go out there and seeing the things he can do. He obviously brings some size and brings some athletic ability. You’ll see it when I see it, especially in games. I’ve seen it in practice, but the big key for a coach is seeing it in a game setting. Hopefully, he can give us another guy with size. We got some guys that can cause trouble and we play small ball at times, but maybe he can give us a skilled big guy that can go out and hopefully give us some good minutes.”  

On how he views the team’s non-conference play this season…

I think it has provided us an opportunity to see these guys in a game setting.  There are games that they played well and there’s some games they haven’t played well. You take a couple of steps forward, you take one backwards. For the most part, we started off with a bunch of pieces and we didn’t know how we’d try to fit those pieces together, but I think we’re starting to see those pieces come to fruition. Obviously, Julian [Champagnie], the way he’s playing. Josh Roberts, how he’s playing for us. Obviously, LJ [Figueroa] and Mustapha [Heron], and with Mustapha going down, it provided some other guys with an opportunity to go out and play to see what they bring to the table. Nick Rutherford has played really well and there’s another level that we’ve got to take it to. That’s what I’m looking forward to as we jump into conference play. Some of these games we’ve played, we’ve played some opponents that are very similar to some of the team’s that we’re going to see in BIG EAST play. Overall, I think hopefully it’s prepared us as we get closer to conference play.”

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