March 13, 2001
An Interview With:
Coach Mike Brey
JOHN HEISLER: Mike Brey is with us. We will have three players with us as well. We are going to try to do this one at a time during this period.
Coach Brey will make some opening remarks, then he will take some questions.
COACH BREY: Well, we are trying to come down to earth after Sunday and receiving the bid and kind of get focused and start to prepare for Xavier. The last two days of workouts were a little bit lighter, given that we don’t play ’til Friday night and trying to shorten the week as much as possible. I think today, tomorrow and Thursday we will get back more into some intense preparation and working on our stuff and starting to work on some Xavier’s tendencies.
The other interesting thing with the NCAA tournament, you have to watch the mandatory gambling video. There are more things that you have to do. There are more distractions. I talked to our guys Sunday night that we have got to handle distractions better and just understand there are just going to be more things pulling at us that could potentially distract us from our practice time this week and then our mental preparation. So I am trying address that on a daily basis.
But I think for the most part they have had fun with it. They are excited. They go home at night, they hear everybody talk about the NCAA tournament. It is a great time of year.
JOHN HEISLER: We will take some questions.
Q. I just wanted to ask you about what maybe is going to be the most talked about matchup in this game, Troy going against David West, can you talk about the matchup and what you see in West and how they are going to battle?
COACH BREY: They have certainly done similar things for successful basketball teams, there is no question about it. I don’t know how much they will actually guard each other.
But I am very impressed with David West. I think he is great story here, he is a young man who has really blossomed in the second year of college. He really gives Xavier a low post threat. It is really different style of play of Xavier teams of old where they are really throwing it into him and he has got great footwork, great hands, feel for the game, big-time player. He would be a big-time player in the Big East. He is a big-time player in the Atlantic 10 and defending him is certainly something we are very, very concerned about, how we slow him down a little bit because like Troy, everything kind of works off of David West. It’s a similar philosophy in the half court.
Q. Do you see some similarities in things they do outside of — Troy certainly is a more of a perimeter game as well, but other tendencies that are the same?
COACH BREY: I think they are very unselfish, that they have learned to recognize and play off double teams. Both of them have faced — Troy more than David obviously just because he is older – different defenses where they are jamming it in on them. I look at his assists, I think he has 57 assists. He has kicked the ball out of double teams and gotten open shots and open looks for his teammates and certainly Troy has been unbelievable about that this year because very rarely has he been played with one guy and he has had to adjust to that the whole night.
Q. Skip said last night, he is taking a team to the NCAA tournament but also doesn’t have a whole lot of NCAA experience. Is it hard sometimes to gauge how much of a factor experience plays in how successful the team is going to be, is there anything you can look at and say I can tell that they are ready for this, this is what we need to work on just in terms of the mental aspect of the game?
COACH BREY: We are similar to them in that way and I think we are in similar territory there. I don’t know, I think it is hard to kind of read the tea leaves and figure out, boy, we are really going to be ready to play. We had our worst practice the day before the Georgetown game in D.C.. And we come out and win that one and that gets us started. So there is no exact science in this thing.
I think what helps our guys is they are experienced, they are older, they have played a lot of college basketball, they have also played in a lot of big games. They played when the lights have been very bright. They have won a lot of big games. So I am banking on being in big games and being on the big stage and having some experience, so you are not going to have the stage fright that maybe you would have with another group.
Q. In watching this team I got the impression that the last couple of weeks, that fatigue was a little bit of a factor, they didn’t seem to have the same energy, particularly on defense. Do you think maybe the fact that you were eliminated early in the tournament and got some extra rest can be helpful to this team?
COACH BREY: You know what, that isn’t going to hurt us. That is not a bad thing for us to come home and get a little bit of a break mentally and physically and then we don’t play ’til Friday and start to tune it back up.
I don’t think we were completely worn out. We are in pretty good shape. We are healthy as far as injuries go. We were able to space it out a little bit the last couple of weeks.
I think sometimes you get mentally worn down and I think we probably had a little bit of that. I certainly don’t sense that now after the selection show in what they are into now. It is a very refreshing time of year even though every team is fighting a little bit of fatigue because of going at it for a couple of months.
Q. I have sort of a different take on this. I am wondering what the mood is around campus and around your team, not only because of what your team has done, but because of what the women’s team has done, is it possible that you feed off each other or is the team just very kind of narrowly focused on their own fate here?
COACH BREY: I think that is a great question.
Of course our students aren’t here right now so it is a little quiet. The student body is on spring break, but there is no question that I think we are linked with the women’s program. It was an exciting day to see Muffet’s team at her house – I had my group at my house – and the last couple of days, it has been, the women and their bracket and playing on Saint Patrick’s Day and, of course, that is kind of old hat for the women. I asked Muffet a couple times, okay, how do we handle it out here in South Bend? I have been to the tournament but never in this region, so I think it’s really been exciting for our Athletic Department and for both basketball programs.
I think the community, since the student body isn’t here, has really embraced it this week and it’s getting more excited each day.
Q. Two-part question. First one with Troy Murphy what he has meant to your program and the second part is Ryan Humphrey coming back to play at Kemper Arena, he has the NCAA experience, how important is that going to be that he has been there and the fact that he gets to come back, I guess, —
COACH BREY: With Troy, I think he is the guy who got us back to where we are at. That was his goal when he got here as a freshman, to be a key guy and the guy to get this program back in the NCAA tournament. A by-product of that, which is a pretty nice by-product, is we won a regular season championship too and he gets to hang the first league championship banner in this arena too.
So I know that he feels very good about that and I have reminded him on a daily basis how much he has meant to this basketball program. It has been huge. We are very thankful for that.
As far as Ryan, I am excited for Ryan. As soon as we got the bid and saw where we were going he turned and started telling the guys about Kemper Arena and Kansas City and Big 12 country, so he is really breaking the guys in.
He has also been a little bit of a sounding board about this NCAA tournament. He again is the only player on our team that knows about this tournament and I know the guys have been picking his brain a little bit. He will be real excited to play.
I told him the other day he may have six inches more on his vertical jump playing in Kemper back in Big 12 country, His family will be able to get down. It is about a 4-hour drive from his home, and I am excited for him. He deserves it.
Q. Congratulations, Coach. Just since you are kind of introducing you to a new audience here, can you go back to the day last summer when I guess it kind of all started when Roy Williams announced his decision and the snowball effect from there, can you talk about your reaction to that and how it all came together?
COACH BREY: My memory is good because it wasn’t that long ago, when you get right down to it (laughter), but I remember telling my wife, we were in Delaware, I picked up the paper on Friday the 7th and saw that Roy was not going to leave and I turned to her and I said: The way this thing could unfold, we may have to start thinking about South Bend and she was kind of, you got to be kidding me. A week later we were flying to South Bend. So it was quick. It was a whirlwind. I think you had a group of kids that were in some shock, there is no question about it. We had a crisis situation, I think, with the players because it was hard for them to understand.
I think they have really grown certainly to understand what happened and how decisions were made. But I was very fortunate. I know on July 14 I said if you think Notre Dame is a great coaching situation and there are 15 reasons that come to mind real quick, one of the top two or three would be to get to coach this team and take Notre Dame off their jersey just to get to coach this nucleus of guys. I always thought there was potential and they could become special. I think they have become special. They won a championship. So I am proud of them.
They made it easy on me. They were very receptive students and being the third guy in three years, they could have been less receptive. I will always appreciate that.
But yeah, it is hard to figure. It has been about 8 months, but it has been an exciting 8 months to say the least.
Q. I am wondering I don’t know what protocol is like among coaches, but I am wondering if you have heard at all from Matt or if any of the kids did?
COACH BREY: We have gotten some faxes, Matt congratulating us, I believe — congratulating the whole team, the whole program when we clinched the regular season. I think he is pretty busy coaching his guys and I think that was a good team congratulations as far as talking to our guys individually.
And I have not spoken to him personally but certainly will in the spring when things slow down for both of us.
Q. I wondered if you could talk to me about your past experience in the NCAA and if having a team that has been successful on the road has paid off in tournament time?
COACH BREY: I think it is helpful. We have been a good road team and when we have gone away from here we have known we have needed each other more and so I think we have played more as a unit. Sometimes here I think we have tried to put the team on our back and maybe get out of character a little bit and that has come back to hurt us.
So I like what we have done on the road as we get away from here. I think our mindset is pretty good, and I do think that helps in the NCAA tournament.
Q. Everyone makes a lot of attention about guard playing in tournament time and just your comment on what your guards have been able to do for you this year?
COACH BREY: I am really proud of Matt Carroll and Martin Ingelsby. You are talking about two extremely efficient guards. A lot has been said about Ingelsby and rightfully so — with everything that he has done for us. But Matt Carroll sometimes can be forgotten. You look at his assists, shooting percentage, he has been the guy we put on the best perimeter player from a the defensive standpoint. They have both been rock solid. David Graves, I would include him because we get him out on the perimeter helping us handle the ball. That perimeter has been very, very good — I am really confident in our guards. I think they are a great example when you look at Carroll and Ingelsby — they know what they can do and what they can’t do. They play to their strengths and stay away from their weaknesses and they are extremely efficient.
Q. I am wondering about normally in tournament time teams play a little closer to the vest and maybe games are a little lower scoring because it is a tense situation and these are two pretty good defenses to begin with. Do you think it is going to be more of a defensive struggle than anything else on Friday?
COACH BREY: Well, they are a very good defensive team, excellent defensive team, and people talk about their press and certainly that is going to be good and how we handle that is going to be a factor. But they are an excellent half court defensive team with their quickness and how they help each other and how they react to the ball. So I am very impressed with them defensively overall.
I think when we have been really focused we have been an excellent defensive team too with our halfcourt, man-to-man, and mixing in a little bit of matchup zone.
You look at NCAA tournaments, a lot of times it becomes more of a half-court game and a little bit lower scoring with possessions being valued. Well, I like that for us. We have been more of a half-court team, establishing Murphy in the half court, kicking it back out to our shooters, slowing the tempo a little bit, and so for us, I don’t think that will be a huge adjustment because when we played our best basketball we have played a little bit slower and made sure our big guys were always in the play.
Q. Matt Carroll told me for him this is another big game. Can you embrace that, being involved in the NCAA tournament to still treat the game as another game?
COACH BREY: You are certainly going to try. There are more distractions. I think kids, when they get into it from 6:00 to 6:50 on Thursday and they see how the arena is set up with the logos and everything, I have seen teams go in there and get a little spaced out because it really kind of hits you. So I think we will have time to adjust to that. It is going to be different when we get out there with the media and the open practice. I am talking to them on a daily basis about that to try and prepare them for all the distractions and things that can take away from the game. Again, because you play in the Big East and you have guys that have played a lot of college basketball games, I think being ready to play a big game on TV is more — they are going to be more able to adjust to that from Wednesday night on through.
I think the other thing that is interesting for our guys and — not interesting, but certainly something that they are very aware of is — I don’t think anybody thinks we are going to win the game. Nobody really thinks we are going to win. I think everybody thinks we are kind of dead in the water. The last time we were in this kind of position we were coming back from Lexington, Kentucky. We were flat out written off the map. The NIT didn’t even look like it was going to be something. So we have got nothing to lose. We have been in this position before twice, after Indiana, Miami and after Syracuse, Seton Hall, Kentucky, and we have reacted pretty well to that. So I am hoping we can kind of circle the wagons and play.
Q. Funny thing about that, though, is Xavier is in the same position —
COACH BREY: Maybe because Xavier has been in that bracket more, but they have the very same situation in that having NCAA experience, not a lot of it, but also the way they have come into the tournament — we both last won February 24 or 25 so it is similar territory. But our guys are getting a heavy dose.
Q. How did Malcolm do?
COACH BREY: Malcolm Farmer (team’s student manager who tapes games for coaching staff) is first team all-tournament. That son of a gun is unbelievable. We has got other schools calling us for tape. I told him he should charge them and make some money from the deal because the guy is unbelievable. We have got a full library. You want to see somebody playing in the tournament, my man has got the thing going there. Malcolm did an unbelievable job. This time of year you know the worst thing is, you got too many tapes. So you sit there and overanalyze Xavier and you forget to coach your team. I am going to watch two tapes, that is it, and I think the focus has got to be on Notre Dame and the things that we got to do and we will work in some tendencies and you have a week and you have 17 tapes, you can completely screw yourself up by Wednesday. But the assistants are really digging into them. I am going to watch two, but Malcolm did a great job.
Q. How much time does the team spend looking at Xavier video? —
COACH BREY: We won’t do anything with them, with scouting situations, maybe a little bit Wednesday night, when we get back from dinner, I will talk to them a little bit. We will do most of it Thursday. We are going to kind of stay with the routine that we have done during the regular season, not change it up too much. Today in practice and tomorrow on the floor I will talk about some things. But as far as showing tape or putting matchups up on the board we will wait ’til Thursday to do that.
Other thing is we do have a little bit of an advantage. These guys played last year. It is almost like we are playing a little bit of a league team because it wasn’t that long ago that they played and they know these guys. It is not like we are playing Hawaii where we would have to really maybe dig into that deeper.
Q. What do you do when Troy gets doubled —
COACH BREY: I heard Skip (Prosser) on an interview saying he can’t have an ESPN SportsCenter highlight night. They are just going to jam it in on him when he is below the foul line. So I think we got to try and move him around to different spots. We have moved him off of stuff up top to get shots, off of stacks, out of bounds situations. But the fact of the matter is if he touches it below the foul line he is probably going to get double-teamed. So he has got to be mentally tough and ready to handle that.
Then we have to be ready and I think we have to do a better job of spacing out and having better spacing moving off of him and giving him four receivers to kick it out to.
Q. Can you use the lack of respect angle?
COACH BREY: I think so. It probably will help some. I think our guys are very conscious of that, maybe more than I even want them to be. They talked about it more. I don’t think I have to drive it home. I mean, they have gotten wind of it. So that probably could help us a little bit — yeah, we got to get in and play and do what we got to do to defend and take away the lane. We got to put a body on people, on blockouts and things that we have done to win a Championship, things that we haven’t been as good at in terms of attention to detail with the last two weeks.
Q. Playing 10:30 on Friday?
COACH BREY: I am talking to them about it. I have had a few of those, too. That is a long day when you are waiting, and I figured we were going to be in that night session. I was hoping we had been the early game, but you just got to try and shorten the day, because it will be some anxiety and we will get out to UMKC and shoot a little bit. I think the thing that will help is there are a lot of games on during the day. Those guys will be watching Thursday night. They will be watching Friday and I think that can help shorten it a little bit.
Q. Talk about how much you are anticipating a dog fight considering how both programs are vying for an NCAA win . . .
COACH BREY: It is hard to say, you don’t want a team to play tight and you want to be loose. You want to play to win and not afraid to lose. From both of our situations you want to just go out and play.
And I think I am very conscious of that with our preparation and I think my demeanor is very important all week and certainly Thursday and Friday.
Our captains’ demeanor is important, Martin and Troy. So one of the things that I talked to Troy about, I said what we should do this week and — I said we should make up as the week goes an All Uptight Team with people around the program, anybody, anybody who is really up tight, let us put them on the All Uptight Team and we will name that on Thursday. Even the other day he goes, I have got two already. He gave me two names. I am going to keep them confidential. He gave me two names. I go, that is pretty good. I go, how about this one? He goes, yeah, he should be on it too. I think we need to be — to have fun with this. Understand what we are going to do and go out and play to win and not look over our shoulder.
Q. I have always sensed that NCAA tournament is played in a different level than any other game — how do you prepare teams to be ready?
COACH BREY: I think we played at that level already. I think — again I think it gets back to playing — wanting it too much and you tie yourself up in knots. Xavier has shown they can play — I look at this Cincinnati tape and I don’t know if I saw a team play harder than Xavier all year when you see how they played against the Cincinnati team. Obviously there is a lot of venom in that matchup there, cross-town. They can come out and do it and I think we have come out and done it, you think of a Saint John’s and BC, a Georgetown on the road where. I don’t know, I almost don’t want to overaddress that and just say we need to be who we are. It is a 40-minute game. You don’t want to exhaust yourself by the 12-minute timeout because — then again we haven’t been the deepest group.
Other thing is that CBS timeouts are like a minute longer, so I am practicing my timeout speeches with Tish at night, trying to fill up two and a half minutes because I have only got about a minute of dictation down.
Q. Any interesting phone calls or requests (inaudible) —
COACH BREY: I had an interesting phone call from Quin Snyder last night because the mentor (Mike Krzyzewski, Duke coach) is in the other bracket. I said relax, kick his butt (laughter), you will be fine. Talked to him a little bit last night, just congratulated him, we were talking about our teams.
No, talked to Coach (Morgan) Wootten (DeMatha High School, Brey’s alma mater) today because they won the City Championship last night. He watched us a lot. He is good. He gives you some subtle things and I think he is trying to keep me loose all the time. But, no, other than that, not anything crazy yet.
COACH BREY: Thanks guys.
JOHN HEISLER: Ryan Humphrey our senior forward from Tulsa is here.
Q. Ryan, just wanted to ask you since you are the guy with the NCAA tournament experience how much your teammates have been picking your brain and have you been able to impart anything to either relax them or tell them what it is going to be like?
RYAN HUMPHREY: Yes, I have been talking to my teammates in the locker room, but I think that they are a group of guys, we kind of know what it takes to get there. We are here now. I am just going to try to bring an intensity in the level of practice up higher because when we played in the tournament you are playing to win and that is it. I am just going to try to be an example in practice and just walk tough.
Q. Anything you have told them though as far as what the atmosphere is like or what your memories of the tournament?
COACH BREY: It is kind of hard to describe because for those couple of days you are like a movie star, a rock star, whatever, because everyone knows who you are, the atmosphere is chirping, everyone is excited, you just have a renewed love for the game.
Q. Ryan, can you talk a little bit about some personal observations as far as your playing for Oklahoma in that 1999 tournament, did you have any particular good games that you remember there?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I remember all of them because we were winning. I just remember people had written us off because we were playing Arizona in the first round and no one thought we could get that far. All the people who believed were ourselves. So as long as you are playing with confidence and you believe, then you have a chance to win. I think that this team believes that we can go far.
Q. What do you remember about the Arizona game?
RYAN HUMPHREY: (inaudible) I remember just the feeling of — accomplishment feeling that we have a chance and once you are playing with confidence you are a tough team to beat. For example, Pittsburgh played with a lot of confidence in the Big East tournament and they made it to the Championship game. So I think that once you start playing with confidence like we played earlier in the season, we have a chance to go far.
Q. Tell me about how big of a contingent do you expect out there, how many family and friends that are going to be make it up there?
RYAN HUMPHREY: It is going to be interesting. So far we are up to 20. But I don’t know if I will be able to get that many. So it is going to be nice just to play in front of a lot of family and friends and in a familiar atmosphere again.
Q. Who is more excited about this, especially since you did have to sit out the year after transferring, are they as excited to see you as you are to play?
RYAN HUMPHREY: Yes, I am because I think my family, my mom and dad came to a couple of games, but I haven’t had the whole group, the posse there all at one time like I did when I was at LU. It is going to be interesting and FUN to be playing in front of those guys again.
Q. Two-part question for you. Talking A little bit about maybe what led you from Oklahoma to Notre Dame and talk about playing hear in Kansas City. Obviously you played with some of those guys. What are some of your memories of that?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I have fond memories of Kansas City. I played there with all those guys, and just spending time in Kansas City, it was my second home from Tulsa. The reason I left OU was because I just needed a change of environment. . . I learned a lot while I was there.
Q. You played at Kemper Arena before. What is your feeling about playing there?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I am excited to be playing there again. It is a friendly environment. I can look up in the stands and just get a sense of home again because that is where my college career started playing in the Big 12 and then the Kemper Arena, so it feels good to go back.
Q. Playing with Troy, what has that been like for you?
RYAN HUMPHREY: It is an experience. Troy is a unique individual. I have learned a lot just from his work ethic and see what it takes to become an All-American.
Q. NCAA games, are they just like big games in the regular season?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I think they are bigger because there is more at stake because in the season you know you always have a tomorrow. But now there is no tomorrow without today. That is why everyone plays with so much intensity and so much passion because if you don’t, you know, you will be sitting back on the plane home saying: I wish I would have or could have did this or that. So I think it is very intense and that is one of the things we are going to try to work on this week in practice.
Q. You should make T-shirts: “No tomorrow.”
RYAN HUMPHREY: Yeah, I know.
Q. Your game, last two games against Georgetown didn’t seem like it was the sale old Ryan —
RYAN HUMPHREY: I had to come get rededicated those couple of games, I wasn’t playing like Ryan Humphrey has played. Some people say it is a slump. I haven’t done the things I had done earlier in the year so last night and a lot of other nights I have been coming in — staying later, coming early, just working on my game and getting mentally prepared.
Q. How much motivation is involved if everybody is thinking Xavier will win —
RYAN HUMPHREY: Everyone has their own opinion. So the only thing that matters is the people in the locker room and coaching staff that Notre Dame can win because they have written us off before earlier in the year so we know what we have to do, we have to come out there and be intense. Most of the times the team that plays the most intense and with the most passion wins.
JOHN HEISLER: Martin Ingelsby.
Q. Could you talk a little bit with what Ryan Humphrey has meant to this team, the addition of him?
MARTIN INGELSBY: He has been a big plus for us this year. I think he brings a lot of athleticism that we hadn’t had in the past couple of years and I mean, he is really great on the defensive end, as a shot-blocker and defensive stopper. I think he has really helped us on the defensive end this year.
Q. Are you guys picking his brains about Kemper Arena?
MARTIN INGELSBY: We joked around a little bit when we saw we were going to Kansas City. He is trying to steal all the tickets from us. I mean, he has played there. He has played in the Big 12 tournament. We are just asking him if it’s a good shooters’ arena, Dave (Graves), myself, and Matty (Carroll), we just want that. He said it is a great place to play, great atmosphere.
Q. Seems like your guys looked a little tired at the end of the year, you weren’t playing with the same defensive intensity as you were maybe earlier. Do you feel like the extra rest you have got has been helpful?
MARTIN INGELSBY: Definitely. Practice only has been an hour and a half, we are getting lot of shots off and getting up and down the court, not as much banging. Coach Brey has really prepared us for this, for the NCAA tournament. We are well rested. I think we will be a lot better on the defensive end on Friday night.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about just what a way this is to close out your career after having been here three years, never making the NCAA, what does it feel like that you are going to be going out there and play whenever that happens?
MARTIN INGELSBY: It is a lot of excitement. Growing up, it is always something that you dream about, going to the NCAA tournament. Being over at Coach Brey’s house and seeing Notre Dame’s name pop up, it was a big thrill for our team and myself personally because that is what we came here to do, to bring Notre Dame back to the NCAA tournament, the tradition it has had in the past, really excited, getting ready to go down to Kansas City. We are really looking forward to playing this tournament.
Q. Everybody always talks about the importance of guard play at the college level and especially in the NCAA tournament. You are the senior point guard. Talk a little bit about the responsibility you feel you have going into this game.
MARTIN INGELSBY: I think the guards play a big part in the success in the tournament. You got to defend, take care of the basketball, and I think Matty (Carroll) and myself have done a good job this season of taking care of the basketball and getting the ball inside to Murphy and Humphrey where we are most effective. We know we are going to have to bring our A game against Xavier. They are going to come out and pressure us, press us the whole game. We take care of the ball, we feel we will be in good shape at the end of the game. I think you need to be able to take care of the ball in the NCAA tournament if you are going to be successful.
Q. Let me ask you about Troy Murphy. Can you talk a little bit about what he has meant to you? You hear a lot about him, about him being pretty silly, is he that way?
MARTIN INGELSBY: Yeah, definitely. Probably a lot worse than you hear (laughter).
No, he is just a great guy on the court. On the court he is just a great player, great hard worker and I mean, off the court he is just a jokester in the locker room, just joking around, pranking people. He is just a great guy on and off the court. I really admire him for his work ethic and what he has accomplished over the years.
Q. I wondered if you could just talk a little bit about — more about getting Notre Dame back to this level and I mean, did it seem like maybe it ended up being from when you arrived or did you guys imagine all along it was definitely going to happen that you guys would get to this level and being ranked and being in the tournament?
MARTIN INGELSBY: I think this year with the expectations that we had being ranked in the top 15 that we really expected to go to the NCAA tournament. That was our focus from the beginning of the year. We wanted to bring Notre Dame back to the NCAA tournament and for the next couple of years, lay that foundation for the kids to come to get to the NCAA tournament. I know when myself and Dave (Graves) and Matty (Carroll) and (Troy) Murph, they all came here, they wanted to get back to the NCAA tournament. That was our main goal. We haven’t been there in eleven years. It is just a big thrill to be the first team in eleven years to go to the NCAA tournament.
Q. For us outsiders, obviously around the country, Notre Dame is thought of for football first. Is there any either perception you guys had to battle to get it back to where Notre Dame is thought of in both sports or was the only way to do that was just by winning and upsetting some teams in the past year and then getting to where you are now?
MARTIN INGELSBY: Yeah, I think you do that through playing basketball games. I don’t think any team in the country could ever come close to comparing to Notre Dame football and what they have done over the years. But I mean, we just wanted to do whatever we could to get Notre Dame basketball back into the spotlight. I think you do that by winning games and we won 19 games this year. Won the West Division, the Big East, now we are heading to the NCAA tournament. I think people are pretty happy with that.
Q. I have always wondered about the origins of the nickname Moose. How does a 6 foot guard get a nickname like that?
MARTIN INGELSBY: Well, actually it is like my freshman year we had a player named Todd Palmer, they were joking around, they were watching National Lampoon one day, they go to Wally World and one of the character’s names was Marty the Moose. They joked around, it stuck. Now everybody calls me Moose, even like the coaching staff and Bernie (Cafarelli, SID), everybody (laughter) so it kind of stuck. Even my friends in the dorm they call me Moose too, so that was pretty funny.
P> MARTIN INGELSBY: We have faced it all year. That is what teams are playing. If you go out and pressure their guards, you can get into them and win — we know they are going to come out with a lot of pressure. We have seen it throughout the Big East tournament throughout the Big East, BC, St. John’s, all those teams, come out there for 40 minutes and I mean it is going to be nothing new to us. We have just got to take care of the basketball, get it over half court, get it over to our offense, controlling the tempo against them. If we can do that we will have a real good shot of winning.
P> Q. distractions? —
MARTIN INGELSBY: It is a little different than it has been. A lot of people calling and wanting to go down to Kansas City and watch the game or people seeing what time it is on. But you just treat it as any other game. We will have a lot of distractions once we get down there. There is a lot of excitement around here. It is great going to the NCAA tournament. < Q. What is the hardest request or phone call you have gotten?
MARTIN INGELSBY: First of all my dad only needs four tickets. Now I need 14. That is probably the hardest to get all those tickets for him. A lot of people want to come.
Q. What about the stakes, do you think this being the NCAAs is a bigger stage?
MARTIN INGELSBY: Last year we were in the NIT and I think we were going for our 20th win which was a pretty big deal. But there is a lot more at stake now. You are in the NCAA tournament. It’s a one-game show. If you lose you are done, you know you are coming home that night or the next day, and I mean just playing in the NCAA tournament, a team like that, it is going to be a big thrill for us. We know we have got to bring our A game.
JOHN HEISLER: David Graves our Junior forward from Lexington is here.
Q. David, two-part question for you. Can you talk about the (inaudible) talk about Troy. Also West from Xavier, your thoughts on him also.
DAVID GRAVES: I think David West might be one of the most underrated big men in the country. He is a double-double guy going to go out and get you 10 points, 10 boards a game. He is that good. He has got great touch around the basket. Does a lot of good things with the ball. He is tough to defend. Obviously Troy, most everybody knows Troy’s game and have seen him play before. But I think the one thing that is kind of tough for Xavier, they are probably not as much in the spotlight as we are and therefore you kind of have guys like David West overlooked sometimes. But he is definitely a focal point of our offense, tremendous challenge for us.
Q. Following up, about Ryan Humphrey, can you talk about what he has meant to the program, finally get to play after sitting out a year, what is it like playing with him? What do you think about (inaudible) —
COACH BREY: Ryan has been a great addition to the program. Obviously he brings a lot of athleticism and a lot of maturity to the group since he has been to the NCAA tournament before. And his leadership on the floor and just being a great player. He does a lot of things well. He rebounds tremendously well. He is active, blocks shots, you know, he has got a nice little 15-foot jumper. He is tough to defend. Off the floor he is just an incredible guy, really nice. He is very willing to help you out. He is a good friend. I think that has been the key about this team all year long is that we really get along great off the floor as well.
Q. I’m wondering about the patience of waiting — sometimes you come in, the shot’s not there for five, six minutes. Do you feel you have matured in that facet of your game to wait ’til things come to you?
DAVID GRAVES: I think so. I hope so. You get a little anxious, especially when you have been out even kind of sitting there for a little bit and you see things out there, that it is a lot easier to look at things than do things. But I think you know with me coming off the bench, just brings just another scoring threat. I am bringing David Graves off the bench, who are you bringing, that type thing. A lot of teams can’t match that. But a lot of teams do. A lot of teams bring 6, 7 guys at you. That is just the team we are. I have embraced that role and I think overall it has helped the team out. Looking forward to what I can do in the tournament.
Q. What were you able to do last year against Xavier? —
DAVID GRAVES: I watched the film on it and I was active. And I just hit the open shots. I think I was watching it last night and the one shot I did miss, that was most — just kind of went in and out. But I was just very involved and definitely — the good thing about playing Xavier, the fact that you are going to get open looks. They pressure you, trap you, half court. I don’t think they do it as much as they did last year, but you know, we are going to get good looks, open looks, and we are just going to have to knock them down.
Q. Do you take anything from the head coach in terms of NCAA experience?
DAVID GRAVES: I got a lot from Coach Brey. He talked from Day 1 about it being a marathon, a sprint, a lot of people there has been a lot of expectations this year which has been terrific. It has been a great part — that is what you want in a program. You want to have expectations every year. But on the other hand there has been some people who if we lose it is like we are a Top-10 team and then we lose and we don’t deserve to be in the top 25 anymore. It is kind of fickle in that way, with people, and you just stay focused. You don’t worry about what other people are saying. You don’t worry about what the fans are saying, and of course everybody has got their opinion, but what ultimately matters is the people in the locker room, coaching staff, the players, and the people training and the staff around that. But other than that, you really you can’t control what people are going to say and what people are going to do.
Q. Do you see this game as going at each other because both teams need an NCAA win —
DAVID GRAVES: I think last year has a lot to do with it, too. I think we handled them pretty well last year and they are looking for revenge. But you are definitely right with the fact that both programs have a lot to prove in this tournament. But as I see it, hey, we haven’t been there in eleven years so we have got much more to prove. We will come out strong and play and prove that.
Q. The matchup?
DAVID GRAVES: Ultimately it is the same teams. A lot of it is the same personnel, same coaching staff. Only thing is different is we have Coach Brey and Ryan. They have matured another year and so have we. They have gotten better as a team and so have we. Coach calls it the Kansas City Open and first game we play is Xavier and the good thing about playing them is we know the personnel and they haven’t changed much.
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