Dec. 23, 2013
An interview with:
COACH BREY: I'm sorry I can't be there in person. I did a little recruiting after the game Saturday and spending some time with my parents. Before we take questions, obviously, some of the university policy really limits me on what I can get in depth about regarding Jerian's situation. I think Jerian's statement answers a lot of questions, but I'll do the best I can to answer your questions within university policy that I have to adhere to and talk about his situation or talking about anything else as we move forward when we get back to practice on the 26th. So why don't we take questions.
Q. You've been through this before with (Luke) Harangody, (Tim) Abromaitis and (Kyle) McAlarney, what is it about this situation that's maybe more unique and more difficult as you move forward?
I will say this about this, one, being very up front. This is going to be the hardest for two reasons. Jerian is so involved in everything we do on the offensive end of the floor, and we're trying to negotiate a new league. So from those two fronts, this one is harder. I know I'm very excited about it. There was a little bit of been here done that, and we're back in that mode again. My staff has been together, and one of the things I talked to my team about and will talk even more about is it's really like a new season. It's like the beginning of a new season for us, and that's kind of how we have to approach it. We have one non league game before we really jump into it.
Q. If you had to play tonight and if you had to play tomorrow, what would your gut tell you the way you would start?
When we get back, I think starting the 26th through the Canisius game and through three, four days of practice, I think we'd have to really have an open mind to evaluate everything as far as who starts for us. One thing that is clear, you look at our roster right now, Eric Katenda is still kind of coming back. Probably not quite ready for game action, but you have nine other you have nine active scholarship guys, and they'll all play. I mean, they'll all be part of it.
We've got to look at a little bit of everything. So for some of them that haven't played much, Steve and V.J., they're coming back very excited and should be, and we have confidence in them that they can really help us.
Q. From your standpoint, because Jerian was the first DeMatha guy, you're a DeMatha guy, how tough is this for you to handle moving forward?
I'll stay in close touch with Jerian. I told him I'd be talking to him a lot, talking to him after games. But as a teacher, trained as a teacher, you're about helping kids get back on track and learn from things. I have every reason to believe at the end of the day it will be just like the McAlarney story.
Q. Is the message you have to give to the team as far as just from from a fan standpoint of view, oh, my gosh, the season's gone. I'm sure the team has a different mentality or something they need to do to build up their confidence now?
One of the things I'll talk to them about as we're trying to figure ourselves out in this new season is who are we February 1st? Let's work on creating an identity by February 1st as we figure this thing out. Also for our fan base, our fan base should say look, they've been trained to this. And say gosh, here it goes again. Last I checked they've figured this thing out. Our track record, they've figured this thing out.
As you can tell, I'm energized like my mind is racing in the last 48 hours. Here we go again. How are we going to play? What are we going to adjust to? It has you energized that way. One thing I will say is, man, we need our fans. I hope this would rally them and say, gosh, this team really needs us. We've got to have their back as they're joining into this ACC with some unknowns.
Q. Is there one player you see that opens the door for to give them a big opportunity?
I think it's something I don't want to have any preconceived notions. It's almost like you go into a season October 15th, I kind of say let's have a really open mind and let's just watch. I think you have to do that. Obviously our time constraint is a little tighter, but we do have some gaps. We have another week of practice between Canisius and Duke to keep evaluating.
Q. Can you give a little bit of a timeline of exactly when you find out? You have a tough loss and you meet after the game yesterday morning or when did you learn about it?
The one thing about Jerian I also want to emphasize is the guy was on track to graduate this May. He's really a very solid student. He's certainly made a mistake and he knows that, but he'll be in position to graduate in December with Connaughton next year. Again, he's got to go through the process and the reapplication and all of that, and we know that's a process that you've got to go through before you're back.
Q. I was wondering if you told Jerian anything about what he needs to do or the sort of plan you want to see from him stay in game shape or anything else?
But there are a lot of people in the Washington area, I mentioned DeMatha, his AAU program, Team Takeover, I think they'd like him to coach the 8th grade team some. I think he may go visit some people. Maybe he goes out and visits Grant who is out west and those type of things.
But I think he'll have he loves to play and workout. I think in D.C. between Mike Jones' high school coach and Keith Stevens his AAU coach at Team Takeover, they'll have him on a good workout plan and we'll be in close touch with him.
Q. Judging from what you said, I assume you're not going to remove the red shirt from Cam Biedscheid; what do you expect to see now from (V.J.) Beachem and (Steve) Vasturia?
Now you can say that because, you know, certainly you feel good about Demetrius Jackson and him getting better and more confident the other day. I was so proud of him how he played in the garden. First trip to New York the other night. But Beachem and Vasturia are guys that our veteran guys are confident in. We've seen them practice over 50 practices and their opportunity really goes up. But we need to help them and coach them. But they're going to get an opportunity and we feel they can help us.
Q. Just a question on the time line of the Ohio State game. Was there ever a question or discussion to not play him based on things that were going on behind the scenes and whether I guess how that perception might go?
He's also a guy that's on track to maybe be a first round draft pick if he continued this. So there are a lot of things. Also, being a student athlete, it plays out in a public forum. There are a lot of things he has to swallow and we have to help him with that. I've tried to talk to him about that in the last day or two. But this is the official end of the semester. That is how we've handled situations like this.
Q. Can you sort of tell us what the atmosphere was like in the locker room after the game on Saturday knowing this was his final game and what he was like around the other teammates?
Q. Discussing that post game locker room, I would think this has been particularly tough on Eric Atkins as well as Jerian. How is Eric handling the situation?
Q. Looking at one other individual player, Demetrius Jackson has gotten a lot of experience and responsibility for the season is this immediately where you have to have an open mind on who is going to be that fifth guy? Right away, do you expect even more out of Demetrius?
Q. This may be too far down the line for you to really know, but is the hope, the plan, the theory that Jerian could be readmitted in time for the year?
Q. Coach, obviously this has all happened very fast. But have you had a chance to speak to Coach Kelly, or do you have a thought to speak with him just because he's obviously recently gone through a very similar situation with his team?
Q. I know you talked about Demetrius' role, but being a freshman, how much are you willing to put on him? Is there still a fine line right now? What will you tell him about trying to pick up the slack that won't be there that he'll have to pick up?
Obviously, you know him and people in Michigan know him. He's a confident guy. He's been deferring a little bit, which is good, given who we have. He has to defer less, and I think he can handle it. I really do.
Q. We talked about Eric (Atkins) as a leader and as a best friend. But what does this maybe change his role on the court at all?
Again, I don't think that's some big, crazy adjustment for us. It's something that he has done naturally, but that he was our quarterback, and we had some other guys scoring. He was running our team, and his stuff was kind of secondary. Now he has to really look to score the ball.
You know what's funny? He was in that mode in the second half. He started Saturday night he started the half, hit a three. He's driving. He took a three in transition that he never really took when he's just our quarterback. I thought to myself, I love it because you've got to do that. And you'll have to do that moving forward. So, you know, he's got to hunt it a little more. Again, I don't think that's something that's just totally foreign to him. What guy doesn't want to shoot more?
Q. You mentioned Kyle a couple of times. Could Jerian potentially benefit from reaching out to a guy like that just to see how he handled the process and that kind of thing?
But anyways, absolutely. That is the best resource. We'll connect those two at the right time.
Q. The readmission process, what's all involved in that? Do you have any inkling that anything that could go wrong with Jerian admitting that he maybe wouldn't get readmitted when the time comes?
Q. You covered most of it, but if you could go back to V.J., Steve Vasturia emerged as part of your rotation, was V.J. on the cusp at that point?
Q. You probably had to choose between the two of them.
Q. On Saturday Zach Auguste had five rebounds. Any chance you see him starting this Sunday against Canisius?
Q. You touched on the reaction in the locker room after the game. What was it like for your preparation knowing that on Saturday that was the last game you would coach Grant this season?
But I think what's keeping me upbeat is I really feel he'll come back better. I'm thrilled that because he did red shirt, because we red shirted him, he has a chance to come back. If he doesn't red shirt as a freshman, this could I don't think this is a very good story how it ends. But I think it could become a great story because he has the year of eligibility. I'm excited that I'll probably have a great chance at coaching him again after he reapplies.
Q. When, exactly, did you know for sure that he'd be done after Ohio State, with today being the official end of the semester?
We felt we should get Jerian's statement out last night and we did that. But our policies don't really let me comment on it until the official end of the semester, which is today.
Q. It won't be the first or the last player that knows they're ineligible right after the last day of the semester?