Dec. 21, 2003
– Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt
“You’ve got to credit Kevin Clark and his staff for getting this team together under some difficult circumstances. We knew they would come out and play with a lot of emotion. One of the things we were really concerned about is their ability to get on the offensive boards, and they really hurt us. They probably got more offensive rebounds on us today than anybody else has in our first 10 games. But I’m very pleased with the fact that our team continued to defend. We held them under 40 percent. It just became apparent during the second half that we were going to have to win the game on the defensive end. Offensively we got some good looks that just weren’t going down; those things happen.
“In my mind the turning point in the game was Will Bynum’s energy off the bench offensively when we were having trouble scoring. I thought he created several easy baskets with his ability to break down the defense. He played 19 minutes, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to have to get he and Isma’il more minutes. They play with so much energy that they really make our team different and more versatile. Thank goodness we had Will there when things weren’t falling from the perimeter. He just created a lot of easy baskets for us and gave us some energy. That “and-one” that he got Luke really got the crowd into it.
“We’re happy that we’re 10-0 but we realize there’s a lot of work left to be done for this team.
“Tony [McHenry] has been playing with a lot more confidence this year. He’s as complete a player as we have. It’s unfortunate that people here haven’t really seen him play his best basketball. For a guy his size, he can handle the ball and he can pass. As he’s played more this year, he’s starting to feel better about himself and he’s out there doing more things.
“Luke played 33 minutes for us today, and in my opinion, he and Will were the two most important players on the floor for us.
“B.J. is a great player. He’s one of the best two-way players, in terms of offense and defense, that I’ve ever been around. I wish at some point he’d realize that he can play at a very high level, both offensively and defensively, every time down the floor. He’s got to become more consistent.
[On St. John’s speculation] “The people there are good people. Coach Carnesecca and Ron Rutledge, in particular have been very good friends of mine. That’s a great place with good people there, and it’s still New York, so they’re going to have great players there. I’m sure some of the names that come up for that job are going to be very impressive. It’s flattering that someone would think I should be a candidate for that job, but the fact of the matter is, I’ve got a great situation here. I’ve got a terrific athletic director, Dave Braine, who has been very supportive all three years, and believe me the last two years, he didn’t have many reasons to be supportive. I appreciate the faith he’s shown in me, and we’ve got a good thing going here. My family likes it here. Maybe five year ago, eight years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity. I still respect that job because of the people there, but I’ve got a great situation here.”
NOTING GEORGIA TECH: This year’s Tech team is just the third in school history to begin a season 10-0, joining the 1989-90 squad (10-0) and the 1962-63 team (11-0) . . . Luke Schenscher recorded his second straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds . . . Isma’il Muhammad grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds . . .
St. John’s head coach Kevin Clark
“I thought today was a terrific effort by the St. John’s men’s basketball team. They showed tremendous character against an excellent Georgia Tech basketball team, which is the number 5 team in the country, coached by Paul Hewitt who is a terrific basketball coach, against a lot of adversity. They rose to the occasion and I thought you saw tremendous growth in our basketball team today and in the young men that play on it.”
[on stepping into the shoes of Mike Jarvis] “Coach Jarvis and I are great friends and as you said, he’s my mentor, and I feel like he’s prepared me for this.”
[on if Tech played like a top 5 team] “This was probably a difficult game for them. I’m sure Paul had them prepared, but maybe they weren’t looking as forward to this game as they might be looking at going to North Carolina. I’ve heard some comments about the possibility of being undefeated going to Carolina, and I’m sure that it was probably in their minds today.”
[on what was said in the timeout after falling behind 16-6 in the first half] “What I’ve tried to do is give them a lot more responsibility, and when we gathered at that timeout, we looked up at the clock and said there was a lot of game left. We just talked about staying together and being aggressive.”
[what was it like to get ready for a game as a head coach] “It’s really not that different. You get ready for games the same way, you still watch film, develop a scouting report. The difference is when you step on the floor, and the difference there is that your team is suddenly looking for leadership from you.”