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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

Big East Teleconference #5: St. John's


St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson

On BIG EAST All-Freshman Team selection Julian Champagnie…

“I’m real proud of Julian. A young guy that came in here and was just 17 years old. He’s 18 now but I’ve seen a development, a progression and just turning into a BIG EAST player. Kudos to him. He’s been really impactful on our basketball team as a freshman. He’s been scoring at a high clip in the last couple of games, rebounding the basketball, just being a force out there on the floor.”

On playing Georgetown on Wednesday…

“Well, I guess it’s game three. They swept us in league play and we had a tough game here at Madison Square Garden where they made some plays down the stretch and we didn’t make free throws. It’s a Patrick Ewing coached team that’s coming in. They’ve been short on guys but not short on heart. ... [Jahvon] Blair has been playing well. [Terrell] Allen’s been playing well. [Jamorko] Pickett’s very good. [Jagan] Mosely is the guy that doesn’t get a whole lot of credit, but it’s a really good basketball team. The big kid [Omer Yurtseven] is playing well. Yurtseven hit a big shot against us last time, but it’s tournament time and the most important game is the first game. We’re playing against a team that we’re familiar with. They’re familiar with us as well.”

On Butler’s Kamar Baldwin…

“You talk about guys that can make plays. He can make them defensively and he can make them offensively. He’s just a clutch player. I’ve seen it up close in person. He plays with such a confidence. I recall watching him as a freshman. I played against him with my team at Arkansas in the [NCAA] Tournament and you knew he had a chance to be a special player. What he’s doing right now is very remarkable. Some guys just have that knack and he’s one of those guys that has it. Whatever that team needs, whether it’s free throws, getting to the free throw line, making a pull up shot, you name it. The last play he just made [against Xavier] it was like 25, 26 feet out and it hit nothing but bottom. There are some guys that are built for that and I guess he’s built for it. He’s a special player.”

On his team heading into the BIG EAST Tournament…

“We’re playing pretty good basketball. We have more guys ready to play. Our season has been a lot of almost, and sometimes that takes place because guys are not ready to take that next step. Now people are not just keying in on LJ [Figueroa]. Obviously, Mustapha [Heron] is not playing now, but Rasheem [Dunn]. Now you got other guys that are contributing. Julian [Champagnie] the last couple of games is playing well. Greg Williams Jr., he’s really giving us a punch in the starting lineup. Then you got Marcellus [Earlington] coming off the bench giving us some quality minutes the other night. David Caraher gave us some big, big minutes. Now, people don’t have to just worry about LJ Figueroa, but some other players as well. When you have a team where people have to concentrate not on just one or two players now you have options. We’re playing pretty good brand of basketball. We’re making shots. Our defense has been pretty steady, but we’re making shots and it makes a big difference.”

On his first year of coaching in New York City…

“I think coaching is coaching. It’s funny you mention it, I got a great call the other day and it was from someone that I respect and admire. Someone who’s probably responsible for me being in this position, but it was George Raveling. I always listen to the old coaches, the John Thompsons, the Nolan Richardsons. I mean you can go on and on, even Roy Williams. He just said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. Basketball is basketball. Coaching is coaching, so just continue to be who you are and do the things you believe in.’ At St. John’s, I’m believing in these kids. I’m pushing these kids. We’re trying to develop these young men. That doesn’t change.”

“Obviously, the BIG EAST is a great league, great coaches, but it’s not my first rodeo. The people that matter the most, who understand this position and what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to make a difference in kid’s lives, I listen to those guys. I got a great call from [George Raveling] and it meant the world to me. I’m even more motivated than I’ve ever been. Whether I’m a country boy or a city boy, I’m loving St. John’s. I’m loving New York.”

On preparing for Georgetown for a third time this season…

“I think both teams match up with each other real well. Obviously, they have some size. They love to pound the basketball inside and they get to the free throw line quite a bit, so I think that’s going to be my biggest concern on the glass. They take care of the basketball and they’re long. They defend well. The last time we played them we were up and they went to a pressure defense and I thought we caved in a little bit. We have to take care of the basketball. They’re coming in with a lot of confidence because they beat us twice. The [BIG EAST] Tournament is a new season now. Everyone is 0-0 and the winner of this tournament is going to the NCAA Tournament. I’m sure that’s their goal and it’s our goal as well.”

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