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    Men's Basketball Media Day Player Quotes

    Oct. 11, 2012

    Notre Dame Men's Basketball
    2012-13 Media Day
    October 11, 2012
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

    Scott Martin • Sr. • Guard

    On huge expectations this year...
    "I don't think we worried too much about outside expectations last year or the years before, and I don't think we're worried too much about outside expectations again. I think we know what we are capable of and what kind of talent we have in this gym. I don't think we are too worried about what people are saying, but try to hold on what we think we can do."

    On the team's expectations...
    "I think everyone has high expectations of themselves and for this team. We want to come out and play our best basketball right away, but then keep improving. I think improving is going to be key to us, and trying to get better everyday. I think it starts with practice tomorrow, and that will be a big deal for us."

    On your role...
    "Similar to last year, obviously, maybe not as vocal because everyone is a year older. They have all been through a BIG EAST season, except for the freshmen. They will know more of what to expect, and I can maybe play a little bit more."

    On being a coach on the floor...
    "That's nice of Coach [Brey] to say. I hope it stays that way. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help the team. I think wins are the most important thing. I'm like 10 years older than everybody, so I should know where everyone should be on the court. I do my best to help the guys as much as possible. I enjoy that role, and one-day want to get into to coaching. So this is just a head start to that."

    Jack Cooley • Sr. • Forward

    On being a leader...
    "It's gotten more fluid and more instinctive for me to do it"

     

     

    On speaking up to the team...
    "You don't always know if you're going to say the right thing, but the team here listens so well and is always open for insight. Whatever you say, the young guys will listen to and are going to follow your role."

    On the size of Notre Dame's team...
    "Our team is gigantic. I look around and we could have four people above 6'8 on the court right now. It's a big team. We're going to control the boards. It's going to be a lot of help and it's going to be a lot easier for me to have more help out there this year."

    On last season for him personally...
    "Right before we went on that big run in the BIG EAST, right before Syracuse was probably the main time when I just thought I need to step up and that something needed to change. That's when the change happened for me and that's when the change happened for the team. I just realized I needed to do something because it wasn't working the way it was going."

    On the changes he made last season...
    "I just became more vocal really, and put all caution to the wind. Whatever we were doing at the time I needed to fix or someone needed to fix and I figured there's no one better than me to do it. I just stepped up."

    On playing with Garrick Sherman...
    "It will be phenomenal. It will make things a lot easier for both of us because the other teams won't have two big guys that can guard us so they're going to have to put one (big guy) on one of us and the other one of us can go to work. It's going to make life a lot easier for everyone."

    Garrick Sherman • Sr. • Center

    On contributing to Jack Cooley's success last season ...
    "I think that all of Jack's merits and all of the things that he accomplished were a result of his own hard work. I would like to think that I played some part in it, but Jack was the one who played the games and accomplished all the things that he did. I wouldn't say that there was one day where he just upped his game. I think he did a good job of getting better every day."

    On what he has learned from Jack Cooley ...
    "He has great hands. He catches everything. He finishes everything. I didn't realize how skilled he was when I transferred in. He has helped me learn how important it is to stay focused and try to improve my game every day. We have had some good battles, and it has been a treat to be able to play against him so much. "

    On playing with two big men on the floor...
    "I think it is something new for Notre Dame, but not necessarily something new for college basketball teams that are successful. I think that it gives us a great chance to utilize our depth, and I believe that will work to our advantage. Coach Brey is a master at managing his players. I feel comfortable with whoever I am on the floor with. The players on this team are not hard people to play with. Everybody is pretty versatile and everyone knows each other's strength."

    On sitting out last season...
    "It is one of those things where you don't realize how much you miss it until you can't play anymore. I am used to playing, so it was definitely a different mentality for me last year. I think that it definitely has made me more appreciative of this year."

    On managing expectations...
    "I don't think that expectations will be a problem. We put those expectations on ourselves. I don't think that other people expect more out of us than we expect out of ourselves. We have a lot of experienced players on this team, and I think we will be able to play to our potential. Everyone is working towards the same goal."

    On becoming more of a leader...
    "It is definitely a lot easier to take a leadership role when you're playing. I am definitely looking forward to delving into that, and helping out in everyway I can."

    Eric Atkins • Jr. • Guard

    On the difference between this year and last...
    "It was a little of maturing. Not acting up all the time off the court. I haven't changed who I am but just calming down a bit and bringing it down a notch. I'm always joking somehow but now I'm just a little bit more serious with my team on a more regular basis."

    On last year's postseason play being a motivation...
    "That's been a motivator for us since the summer, really ever since that (Xavier) game ended that's been on our mind. The last 10 minutes replay in my mind over and over. We both (he and Jerian Grant) didn't play as well as we should have. That's just been a motivating factor since it was over and it's really helped us get better."

    On the last season's NCAA tournament game against Xavier...
    "That pass is like a nightmare I play over and over, a lot. I watch the game all the time. I always go over that play and see what I could have done better. I could have called a timeout, I could have done a lot of things. That was a huge play but I've learned from that and used it as a motivating thing for me. I watch that game once a week so I kind of know everything that happens. It's painful but it keeps an edge. Never get satisfied with anything. That play really hurt and I know that I'm only going to get better if I can motivate from it."

    On his role this year...
    "I don't know if I can really control that, it's really Coach Brey and my minutes. I think we have depth this year that I can play less minutes. It's however Coach Brey wants to play it. I mean, if he wants me to play 40 minutes, I'm okay with that as well."

    On Jerian Grant ...
    "I'm 100% Jerian can handle the point if I'm out or even if he [Coach Brey] moves me to the two. Bringing up the ball is the easiest thing with someone in front of you. It is tiring doing it every single play. I know Jerian can do that for me and we've already talked about it."

    On benefiting from sitting out and watching the game...
    "It definitely helps. I think it helped my freshman year a lot when I did come off the bench. I'm not saying I'm going to come off the bench. But when I did come out of the game and got to see how it developed, when I went back in the game, it slowed it down for me a bit. I saw what was open and what wasn't. When you play the whole game you don't really get to step back and watch it. It's something you can capitalize on."

    Jerian Grant • Jr. • Guard

    On the NCAA tournament last year...
    "You can never be satisfied. Yeah okay, we had a pretty good season but just to know that's not good enough. We always keep working."

    On the depth of the team...
    "It definitely helps. Just being able to get guys dressed and get guys always fighting to play as hard as they can because they know someone's behind them trying to take those minutes."

    On his comfort in his role on the team...
    "I like having the ball in my hands and being able to make plays for myself and for others so I feel like for me the more I have the ball in my hands, the more I can get done."


    On the end of last season... "I definitely think about it. I just feel like we were one game away from starting a run and one play away and to have it end like that it really sucked. But, I can't really think about the NCAA tournament right now. I've got to focus on winning the next game. I just try to focus on the season but in the back of my mind I just think about getting back to the tournament."

    On his personal expectations for the season..
    "Now I think it's the time for a big season and to really explode and play my game. I feel comfortable. Coach Brey has a lot of confidence in me so just being able to play without going out there and worrying about anything is going to help."

    Pat Connaughton • So. • Guard/Forward

    On the depth of the team and new freshmen...
    "Yeah, we have a lot of depth. It's a little different than years past. It's huge. The last few classes have brought in athletic talent. I think it is changing our game a little bit and changing our style, and I think that is for the best."

    On season expectations...
    "Our expectation is to win. It doesn't matter how it happens, but we just have to win. That's what I want to do and what the team wants to do."

    On hitting three-pointers last season...
    "I think being a freshman last year, I was less inclined to dribble to the basket as oppose to slash, because when you get the ball open and are told to shoot it, you shoot it. I think that worked for the best last year, because I had never been that comfortable shooting the ball. I think that helped me last year, and now this year it's about trying to put both pieces together."

    On Allen Iverson influence...
    "He tries to do both. He's a little bit smaller than me, but obviously, one of the best at shooting, driving, and slashing. He knows how to get his own shot off, and to get a good shot off. I think that was the key for me, because you can get shots off anytime you want, but they aren't always the best shots. To create your type of shot is what we're looking for in this offense, and that's what the guys around me do best. So I'm just trying to imitate that."

    On having Coach Brey see you practicing this summer...
    "It definitely helps. I wish we had that when I was coming in as a freshman, because it would have helped me a lot more. It's going to help the young guys this year and help us become better as a team with chemistry and molding the young guys in how we play."

    On the next step for you in year two...
    "I think it just a matter of building on last year. Just like in high school, it was building off the year before, I think it should be the same way trying to get better and do more things, and helping the team win."

    In flying under the radar last year compared to this year...
    "I think we are going to be able to handle the expectations well. When you have them you try to live up to them even more. I think as a team, we've been working towards them all summer. We know we aren't coming in under the radar, but have a target on the back that everyone is shooting for. I think, with that being said, we have to really make sure we're ready from day one, whereas last year we were still trying to learn about ourselves on day one, but this year we want to shoot off on day one."

    Eric Katenda • Fr. • Forward

    On coming in mid-season last year...
    "It was kind of tough, but I knew I wasn't going to play so I wasn't really worrying about knowing the plays or anything. I just really took my time. It was nice to get an idea of the guys. It was kind of awkward because they were in season already. I just came in, took my time, played the game and tried to fit in as well as possible."

    On coming back from your injury...
    "I think I'm real close. I just need to keep working like I've been working. I just need to get the coaches to trust me. I'm ready to get on the court right now. It took me a while [to adjust from injury]. I wouldn't say I adjusted quickly, but at this point I feel like I could play on the team and actually contribute."

    On how long it took to recover...
    "It took me about a month and a half to get back on the court and shoot the basketball properly. The first month my depth perception was all messed up. I was having a hard time just picking things up off the table. A month and a half after the injury, my body has pretty much adjusted to the injury. I got used to things. I'd say about a month and a half to two months."

    On the wait to get back on the court...
    "It's tough but I'm just trying to stay positive. Just work really hard. I left my family as a 15 year-old to follow a dream. I have the opportunity to be here and play and I'm not going to let it go because I have to wait. It's pretty hard but I think it's going to be all worth it in the end."

    On the most difficult part of the injury...
    "Wearing the goggles. I've never worn goggles before in my life so it was another thing I had to adjust to. Just having people asking me why I had to wear goggles. Socially it was kind of awkward. But, apart from the injury itself and the depth perception, I didn't have any other issues with the injury."

    Cameron Biedscheid • Fr. • Forward

    On adjusting to college life...
    "I'm still trying to adapt to time management, trying to get everything in school done and transitioning on the basketball court, but everything has been going pretty well."

    On transitioning to playing with better players...
    "I wouldn't say it's different, it's just a little new to me. I've done it before, playing in camps over the summer, but it's just different when you're playing in a system with other talented players. Coach Brey always tells me 'You don't have to do everything yourself, you have teammates", so even though I can take a shot, if one of my teammates can make a better shot, it's always better to make that extra pass."

    On putting on extra weight since arriving on campus...
    "It's been good, I came in at about 172 pounds and I'm at 187 pounds right now."

    On lifting weights and getting in shape for the coming season...
    "Before I came here, I had never lifted weights. I probably tried one time and it didn't work out and I didn't really like it so I shied away from it in high school, but when I got here, Tony Rolinski, our strength and conditioning coach, just makes weight lifting fun and enjoyable and you want to get better. Without him, I'd probably still be 172."

    On what he's learned so far in practice...
    "I'm learning to play with other good players, to play in a system, to make the right passes, take the most effective shots at the right time, and really learning how to play the game. I'm also learning about the defensive end and what you can do and what you can't do and how physical and focused you have to be throughout the game."

    On adjusting to the defensive aspect of college basketball...
    "I feel like the college game is a lot more physical and sped-up, so I really think defense is harder in college and it wasn't as hard in high school, so I'd definitely say defense has been a transition."

    On not having to score as much for his team to win...
    "It's nice, but I am just a really fierce competitor and I like to score the ball and I just feel like I have to go get it every time. But this year, I'm surrounded by a great support system with the team that we have and I feel like we can do that together."

    On whether he feels like he is being forced to share the ball...
    "I mean, it's not really like forcing, it's just all about making a better play. It's about being a playmaker and a scorer. I just feel like Coach Brey wants to help my game in the long run. Of course, I can make plays driving to the basket, passing it out for the three or dumping it down to the big man. Even though I am a scorer, it's better sometimes to get your team involved."

    On how his teammates have reacted to playing with him...
    "We all just play off each other and just play ball. Nobody ever gets mad if someone is scoring too much. If I score, I score, and if I pass, I pass. That's how we play, not just me, but as a team."

    On how playing with Jerian Grant has helped both of their games...
    "Jerian's a great scorer. I love his game. Him and I competed almost every day, non-stop this summer. With his non-stop intensity and competitiveness, I really love playing with Jerian. Not only am I helping him, but he is really helping me too."

    On how Jerian Grant has helped his game...
    "It's helped especially learning how to guard another scorer. Sometimes in high school, the coach wouldn't want you to pick up fouls or foul out so he'd have you guard a not-so-good scorer. Jerian's a great player, and he can pass and shoot so you have to guard him. If you don't guard him, he'll light you up so it really helps me work on my defensive game, moving my feet, keeping my hands in the right areas."

    On how he will fit into the rotation...
    "I see myself coming in, providing a spark, as far as scoring goes, rebounding, and just making good offensive and defensive plays for the team."

    On how his teammates have responded to the Xavier game...
    "I think they get a lot of motivation from it, but they try to shy away from bringing it up, they don't really like talking about it. You can always tell there's a little tension in the air from that game and I can just tell that they are just as ready as I am to get back on the court and show everybody what we're made of."

    Zach Auguste • Fr. • Forward

    On adjustments he has made...
    "At first on the court being able to keep up with these guys and the physicality of the game."

    On competing with Jack Cooley and Garrick Sherman...
    "It took some time to get used to but I definitely got used to it and I'm helping them get better and they're helping me get better. Being able to keep up and play with them is definitely going to prepare me to play in the BIG EAST."

    On things he's improved so far...
    "Definitely being able to rebound against these guys and down low is work."

    On his role if he gets in a game...
    "He'll (head coach Mike Brey) want me to run the floor, rebound, box out and block shots."

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