Post Game Quotes

March 15, 2012

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Southern Miss Head Coach Larry Eustachy
Opening Statement...
"You know, that's a very good team that beat us. That was a very good coach, very good players. I've had a game that doesn't haunt me, but bothering me, when we lost to Hampton when I was at Iowa State, a 2 seed to a 15 seed. When your effort is not there, it really bothers you. Angelo played this same team, Kansas State, when he was at USC, and he didn't think their effort was it wasn't lack of effort today. You know, it really wasn't. So I'm not disappointed. Obviously we wanted to win. We just didn't make the plays. You know, we didn't execute the things we needed to do, particularly in critical situations. But you cannot fault this team's heart and this effort, and you cannot fault these two guys with the same thing. I mean, we just try and try and try. It's a record setting team for Southern Miss. These two guys I invited with me (to the press conference) because they're the cornerstones of what we've accomplished here. They've got great futures ahead of them. There's nothing for them to hang their head at. They tried very hard. Mo (Maurice Bolden) didn't try to miss free throws, Angelo (Johnson) didn't try to throw it away. In some areas we broke down. A lot has to do with the opponent and who you're playing and where you're playing them. And they're very, very, very good. Look who they've beaten. We're right into the thing till the end. I'm not sure the score indicates what it was, and I think Frank would say the same thing. Really proud of our team and proud of Kansas State. I think it was a great college game. I don't think anybody left the TV till the very end. So good luck to Kansas State. Very proud of our guys."

On if he enjoyed his return to the NCAA Tournament more...
"Yeah, it was really cool. I'm repeating myself from yesterday. But they say when you start drinking, you stop maturing. So I was basically about an 18 year old for a long time. And it's been a long, long time since I've had a drink. So very much more appreciative of the situation. Very much more humbled. This is as special as it gets. You're talking about the Super Bowl. You talk about the World Series. I didn't appreciate it as much, you know. I really didn't. I didn't realize how fortunate I was. God has given me a second chance. It's a great question. I really have enjoyed the moment. You know, I really did. We fought hard to try to win. I knew once I got out on the court all that stuff would go away and I'd be myself. But leading into it, it was just neat to be in the process. More importantly, it was neat for our players to experience it because, as you all know, this is different. It's special. There's a lot of rules. I got my pin on. I can't drink my favorite drink on TV because of the sponsorship. But it was humbling and very exciting."

Southern Miss Player Quotes
Guard Angelo Johnson
On the feeling going into halftime...
"We were feeling good. We didn't get our game on the court defensively. Kansas State is a great team. They did well today."

On playing his final game for Southern Miss...
"I couldn't ask for a better season. Undefeated at home as a senior. Broke the school record. Made the NCAA Tournament. I just wanted to win tonight. Kansas State just beat us. They were the better ballclub today. I couldn't ask for a better senior year this year with Jonathan Mills, and Neil (Watson), LaShay (Page). I'm going to miss these guys. I just wish the best for Southern Miss and coach. I'll always be a Southern Miss die hard fan."

On Rodney McGruder...
"He's a very special player. Reminds of Will Barton in our conference. If he was in our conference, he'd be the MVP. Smart player, knocks his shots down, makes his free throws. Nice frame on him. I think he's going to make it to the next level. He's a pretty good player."

Senior Guard Maurice Bolden
On playing his final game for Southern Miss...
"I'd like to thank coach and my teammates, the people he surrounded me with, making me a better person on and off the court. Besides basketball, I'm doing great in class. Like Angelo said, we did great in basketball this year. It wasn't a letdown season. We had high expectations. I think we worked hard and deserved it, but Kansas State was the better team today."

Kansas State Head Coach Frank Martin
Opening Statement...
"Hats off to Southern Miss. They're one of those teams that the more I watched them on film, the more concerned I got because of their experience, their athleticism and their toughness. You know, I told our guys today, I could be wrong, I'm not a huge statistician, but I think that's the fewest offensive rebounds we've grabbed in our five years at K State. Yet big stat going into the game was who was going to win that battle, and they kicked our tails in rebounding. Like I told the guys, there's nothing we can do to change that right now and there's nothing that we can do to worry about that. That caused us a problem, but we were able and fortunate to score a couple more points than them. Now we get another opportunity to correct that next time out. Southern Miss, the more I watch them, they're good. They're tough. They're a hard matchup."

On Rodney McGruder...
"Go back and read some of my quotes when that was taking place back in November and maybe even early December. I said I worry about our economy, I worry about inflation. I don't worry about Rodney McGruder. He's an awesome kid. He's worked his tail off to grow every year. He embraces coaching. He wants you to push him. Then he's like a sponge because he wants to learn in what way he can get better. When you see guys like him have the success he's having individually, it makes you feel real proud, because that's what it's about. You put in the time, you commit yourself to the people that believe in you, and you go get better. As a coach and a teammate, there's a reason we're playing on Saturday, because of his personality, his work ethic, his toughness. He continues to do that for us. He's phenomenal."

On Jordan Henriquez...
"Everyone made such a big deal when he went through that moment in the middle of the year, that he's in the doghouse, I don't like him. Has nothing to do with all that stuff. It's about a young man that believed in who we are at K State. It's about a young man that came to K State. I don't like using the word 'project' because it makes it sound like he wasn't any good. He was just a guy who we believed had a chance. He's worked his tail off. He's gained over 30 pounds. He was a non qualifier coming out of high school, so had to go to prep school. The guy made the Big 12 honor roll three consecutive semesters. He did everything we asked. Then he started the year pretty good. He had a couple triple doubles early in the year. Then he's a kid. He got a little full of himself. He took a step back. You know, he refocused. That trust that I have in him, that he's got in us, is what allowed him to refocus. Ever since that, I don't even remember when it was, because I didn't pay attention, it's just something that we had to do to get him back in the right place. Ever since then he's been awesome. I couldn't be prouder. See, in today's day and age, a lot of kids will act selfishly. They don't like it when you try to get them to do the right thing. He's embraced that. That's what our kids do. That's why it's so much fun to coach this team. They appreciate that. They want you to help them. They don't got the answers. They want you to help them figure that out."

On the defense and Southern Miss shooting...
"Like I said, the more I watched them, they've got guys that make what we coaches call 'hard shots' because they don't need space, they don't need someone else. They can go get shots on their own. They've got a whole lot of them. I thought defensively, I couldn't be prouder of the way we played. Our offense got stagnant in certain stretches of the game. But defensively I thought we played well. I thought we kept them in front of us for most times. When they did beat us off the dribble, it wasn't a blow by, which allowed Jordan to protect the rim. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was our rotations for charges. I thought we had some charges to be taken that we didn't take. They're going to make some shots. That's what Angel said what he said, Stay the course, stay the course. That's part of our preparation. They got guys that make hard shots. When you play guys like that, you have to tip your hat off to them when they make some of those. You have to remain consistent with what you're doing."

On advancing to the next round...
"It's awesome. You know, we've elevated our program to one of the better programs in the country. We have been in this thing consistently. I don't know how many people can claim they've been in it four out of five years. We've been fortunate enough to play good teams and win our first round games. But you can't worry about all that stuff, because we won three games two years ago, that's not going to help us against whoever on Saturday. We have to do what I've told the team: we got to be on a bunch of one game winning streaks. That's all we got to do. You know I'm always talking about the next game, that's the only thing that matters. We can't worry about Sweet 16, we can't worry about yesterday. We got to worry about the next game. Just put our efforts and our energy to focus in for that moment, then go out and do the best we can. If it's good enough, awesome. Let's go jump up and down and love everything that comes with that. If it's not, I'm still going to be proud as heck of these guys that line up and go for it and have made us one of the better programs in the country."

Kansas State Player Quotes
Rodney McGruder
On scoring 30 points...
"My teammates and coaches, you know, they just have a lot of confidence in me. I have confidence in myself. I just got in a rhythm. I've been fortunate enough to have great games and things like that."

On Jordan Henriquez's defensive efforts...
"I would say it's great to have a guy like that back there because you know if you slip on defense or you get back cut, he has your back. There's nothing better than that."

On advancing to the next round and scouting the next opponent...
"It's very exciting. We're very fortunate to make it to this next round. We are going to look at whoever wins this game. Our coaches do a tremendous job scouting. So we just have to leave that into our coaches' hands. We go over scout tonight."

Jordan Henriquez
On his increased production of late...
"My confidence has changed a lot. I remember when coach was talking to me before the KU game. He specifically told me about Jeff Whitney, how he was a player a year ago that didn't get on the floor, how much of a game performer he is now, how much of a difference he is on the floor now offensively and defensively. Something triggered in my mind. From that point on, I've just tried to be as consistent as I can."

Angel Rodriguez
On the final 10 minutes of the game and going down by five points...
"I think all that happened because coach is always talking to us and telling us, especially in this tournament, teams are going to make run. His words are, we got to stop the bleeding. They made a great run. But we were fortunate enough to take the punch and stop the bleeding by making another run, getting stops, executing on offense."

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