March 11, 2007
2007 ATLANTIC 10 MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
RHODE ISLAND Head Coach Jim Baron
We knew they were going to come out press, and trap. I thought we just turned it over too many times early in the game, and kind of dug ourselves in the hole. I thought we made a good comeback, we got it to within five, we made a couple of good defensive plays, and I thought a couple of calls could have gone either way. We really needed a couple of charges that just didn't go our way. You have to give GW credit, we had great opportunities as far as moving the basketball and stepping up and shooting it, but you have to make shots. Against any type of press, any type of half court traps, you have to make the extra pass and step up and make shots.
-On being picked 11th preseason
Yea, I think it is motivation. These guys didn't have a lot of respect coming in. Nobody was picked on the preseason all-league team. Here you have Will (Daniels) and Kahiem (Seawright) on the all-tournament team. Yea I think that these guys have worked hard as far as developing their games, and staying focus, and achieving tremendous success. With getting to the championship game, and beating Xavier, and beating Fordham. Right there, in this game, I told the guys a couple of less turnovers and a couple of more shots made and a couple of more defensive stands and we're right in the ball game. So its not that far away. The nice part about it is that we only graduate one senior. Again, we have a lot to look forward to.
URI sophomore Kahiem Seawright
-On the season
I think even though we lost tonight, we had a good season. A lot of ups and downs. We came together as a family. I thought we had a lot of good chemistry to look forward to next year. I thought it was a good season even though we lost.
URI junior Will Daniels
Up to this point I feel, other than obviously losing Darrell Harris, our only senior, but I mean right from September, right before the basketball season, we've been a family. We've grouped together, we've bunched together. I still think the skies the limit for this team. It has been great. I can't put it into words how phenomenal this season has been for us. They picked us eleventh, and here we are in the championship game in the A-10 tournament. It's a great group of guys and it's been an honor to be on this team.
GEORGE WASHINGTON Coach Karl Hobbs
It was a game that was hard fought. Coach Baron, he without question, is well deserving of being coach of the year in this league when you talk about a team that was picked to finish 11th in this league.
I think the game came down to our ability to rebound, That's what we talked about coming into the game; rebounding and maintaining our poise. I think that was the difference in the game (our poise).
On comparing this year's team to last year's team and expectations...
I think it speaks to the character of the players. I think it speaks to the hard work of the assistant coaches. I said all along that I have the finest staff and they most certainly have shown it.
We wanted to make this a special year. Our goal to start the year was -I told the players- we have a rare opportunity. And the rare opportunity is we can make history for our university. G.W. has never been to three straight NCAA tournaments and we never talked about it to the media.
I think a guy like Dokun [Akingbade] represents what this program is about. We don't get the All-Americans. We don't get the best players. I can recruit a Caron Butler, I can get a Richard Hamilton, but I got to go and get these Dokun Akingbade guys and I got to go get the Mike Hall guys and develop them and have them become players.
On the Tournament and field
Success with GW is for us to put a competitive basketball team out on the floor. Getting to the tournament is an overachievement. We don't care about where we're seeded or where we're going. We're happy about being in the tournament. We're happy about going out and buying some new dancing shoes.
Response to Baron and his comments on GW's 1-3-1 defense
Teams are spending a lot of time just trying to get out the traps and not getting the ball inside. We were able to keep them off balance. We never allowed them to develop a rhythm and I think that was the difference.
GW senior Carl Elliott
I really can't [put into words what this means], I just think that we came out there tonight and had trust in each other. We played hard, we defended, we rebounded and we came out with the W.
It feels just the same [as the 2005 championship]. It feels great to cut down the net and go home with this trophy. It's a wonderful feeling to win with a young team, a team that everyone doubted, saying that we weren't going to win. So to come here and get this trophy, it's just like, yes.
GW senior Dokun Akingbade
Rob Diggs and them got fouls early so I knew I had to carry the team and try to get every single rebound to help us win.
It feels great. I came in as a walk on, and coach told me that if I work hard it will pay off in the end and this is an end and it paid off.
I don't know where the energy came from, coach stayed in my ear the whole game telling me that I was just going to have to get every single rebound. Rhode Island was never going to back down, so we were never going to back down.
GW junior Maureece Rice
It's a wonderful feeling, I just came to play, I wasn't worried about being the most valuable player in the tournament, I just wanted to do what we did today; be successful at the end of the day and win the championship.
This year there really wasn't any pressure on us, so we just came to play our game and I think that was the difference between last year and this year.
[When I come across players from my hometown of Philadelphia] I'm just going to treat it like any other game, stay focused on the game 'til the end and try and get the win at the end of the day, that's all.