March 18, 2006
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NCAA Men's Basketball Division I First and Second Round
March 18, 2006
George Washington Coach and Player Quotes
GEORGE WASHINGTON HEAD COAH Karl Hobbs
HOBBS: I thought our team played with a great deal of effort. We had a tough mountain to try and climb today. We lost to a very good program and I thought we played as hard as we could.
On coaching his first recruiting class for the last time
HOBBS: It was a very difficult game, especially for my seniors. It was my last opportunity to coach those guys and it was difficult, particularly with Pops' (Mensah-Bonsu) situation (recent injury). The most difficult part was trying to evaluate how hard and how long he could go.
Those guys (seniors) have meant so much to me and I don't know how you can replace core guys like that. They're the absolute best.
On the future of George Washington basketball
HOBBS: I think we're going to look pretty good (next season). We have a pretty good core returning and I see no reason why we can't be good. Sometime in September, I'll evaluate my team, I'll do an assessment, and I'll place the expectations on this team.
On the team's offensive struggles against Duke
HOBBS: It was more them (Duke's defense) in the first half. But, we just didn't execute, particularly in the second half.
I really felt that when we got the game manageable and had the opportunity to score in some situations, we just didn't execute. You have to be able to execute against a team like this.
On the season
HOBBS: It was a fantastic year. The kids grew and accomplished some incredible things.
To go undefeated in the Atlantic 10 with this group, to sell out the last four games at GW, and the support they've captured around the district...It's just been incredible. It really has been. The loss today doesn't diminish what these kids have accomplished. Like I said earlier, the story isn't complete. The story will be completed in May.
GEORGE WASHINGTON SENIOR Pops Mensah-Bonsu
On the loss to Duke
MENSAH-BONSU: It doesn't really feel too good to lose. If we're going to lose, I'd rather lose to a team that was better than us on that day and Duke was the better team today. It showed that they are one of the better teams in the country. You can see how poised and experienced those players are. The point guard Paulus doesn't play like a freshman anymore. McRoberts is definitely outstanding. Then there's the two All-Americans that they have in J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams. They stepped up when Duke needed them.
On the last few years at GW
MENSAH-BONSU: It's been great. Some of the things we've been able to accomplish. When you look at people's expectations... it is tough not to be sad about a loss, but we were able to accomplish a lot this year. 27-3, that's a pretty good record. The stuff we were able to do in the regular season was pretty amazing also. So, it's a bittersweet moment.
On Shelden Williams
MENSAH-BONSU: He's a great player. He's a very talented big man. He can take over a game on both ends of the floor as you saw today. He can affect the game on the defensive end and have an impact on the offensive end. He's a great rebounder and a strong player. I think people do tend to forget about him sometimes, but he is an All-American.
On the knee
MENSAH-BONSU: I felt like it felt ok. I don't want to use it as an excuse, but I haven't played in a while and I think I may not have had the capabilities as of right now to have an impact on this game like I wanted to. Coach did a good job of trying to keep me in there and get the ball to me and try to let me have an effect on the game. At the end of the day, you have to look at it and say that Duke is a very good team. It was just kind of tough to play like I know I can.
GEORGE WASHINGTON SENIOR Omar Williams
On the officiating
WILLIAMS: I thought the game was officiated tough. Obviously in any game there are a certain number of (calls) that you think you should have. I thought they let them play a little more on defense than they let us play, but that isn't the first time we've been in that situation. For the most part, it was a well-officiated game. Today, they just won.
On the GW future
WILLIAMS: I feel next season that they will be just as good, if not better. Carl, Montrell and Regis and Rob are all coming back. Nothing is going to change. There will be more good freshmen coming in just like we've had every year. Next year, the sky is the limit also. This is definitely not a one year run. GW is going to be around for a long time.
GEORGE WASHINGTON JUNIOR DANILO (J.R.) PINNOCK
PINNOCK: They put a great amount of pressure on us. They did what we like to do (defensively) to people. We really wasn't comfortable out there and they took advantage of it.
On inside play
PINNOCK: I saw them (Duke) playing their style of ball. They are physical and that's the way they played and we didn`t adjust well enough.
On disappointment of losing in NCAA Tournament
PINNOCK: Look at our (season) resume. We've got nothing to be disappointed about. We've changed the way basketball is looked at (at George Washington). We're happy about that and we've got nothing to be disappointed about.
On Duke's intensity to start the game
PINNOCK: Duke is Duke. They play their game no matter who they play against. They intensity they showed (today) is the same intensity that I've seen them play with in every game. Hat's off to those guys (Duke) as they really came out and took what they wanted.
On slow start
PINNOCK: It took us awhile to get into a decent flow and by the time we did that, it (the Duke lead) was double-digits and it was really hard to come back. They jumped out in the passing lanes and they did it well.
On not being able to overcome a big deficit
PINNOCK: It's Duke. When you start playing the top-notch teams you can't afford to dig a hole and we did with the great players that they have. J.J (Redick) and Sheldon (Williams) played well and their young guys stepped up today. Josh (McRoberts) played one of the better game's he has played in his career, and I've seen him play a lot.
Duke Coach and Player Quotes
DUKE SENIOR J.J. REDICK
On the last time he was 2-7 from the free-throw line
REDICK: Probably when I was eight and I shot two-handed. It was just a weird thing.
It's something that happened a few times this year, where I've missed multiple shots. It's something where I just have to focus more. There's so much going on in the game and I just have to concentrate a little bit better.
On making it to four straight "Sweet 16's"
REDICK: It is a nice accomplishment to be part of four `Sweet 16' teams. It shows a level of consistency that we've had since we've been here and over the past nine years. For the seniors, we've already been to the `Sweet 16' three other times, so we're probably looking for a bit more than that.
DUKE SENIOR SHELDEN WILLIAMS
On the play of Josh McRoberts
WILLIAMS: The way that Josh played today was an amazing lift. For him to be a low-post presence and also getting his hands on defensive rebounds was a big boost for our basketball team. Seeing his face being very energetic and into the game, was an amazing lift for our basketball team today. He's finally putting steps together and becoming more consistent. Hopefully he'll take this game onto Atlanta.
On making it to four-straight "Sweet 16's"
WILLIAMS: For us to go to the `Sweet 16', only 15 other teams can say that, so I think that's a big goal for our basketball team - where we get out of the first two rounds and head to the next two rounds. I think that's a big accomplishment but hopefully we don't just stop there.
DUKE FRESHMAN GREG PAULUS
On maintaining a good lead throughout the game
PAULUS: We didn't let them get back into it by turning the ball over. In games past, where they've come back, teams that turn the ball over give them free runs and easy baskets. We did a good job of defending them today.
DUKE SENIOR SEAN DOCKERY
On finishing the game after a strong first half
DOCKERY: We knew if we showed this team any weakness, we know that they are capable of coming back, because of the game we saw before. So we knew coming out in the second half, we had to attack and attack not even on offense, attack on defense and that's what we did. Most of our plays came off defense today and we're proud of it.
DUKE FORWARD JOSH McROBERTS
On controlling the game throughout
McROBERTS: We know coming in that they were a great team. Even if we got them down, we knew that they were going to come back. Everybody saw what they did against Wilmington the other day. We knew that they'd been doing that all season and we knew the pressure was on us to keep pressing up the lead and stay strong.
NCAA Men's Basketball Division I First and Second Rounds
March 18, 2006
Duke Coach and Player Quotes
DUKE HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
KRZYZEWSKI: We played really well, and we had to play really well because they're a really good team. They're a Top-10 team, and to play them in the second round, we knew that if we were fortunate enough to beat Southern, that it was going to be a great match-up for us.
The biggest thing today for us was, well two things; our defense, which translates also into defensive boards, and our handling of their pressure. Josh (McRoberts) and Shelden (Williams) were incredible on the boards. What's new for Shelden? Today, with that effort, he broke the Duke record for career rebounds. Shot-block record, rebound record; he's been an amazing winner. We put the ball in the hands of our two freshmen, Greg (Paulus) and Josh to break their pressure, and they were great. I thought Greg's attitude, his enthusiasm, his verve right at the start where we were going to attack their pressure, was key to our win. Having Josh back there, he makes so many good decisions on inbounding the ball and he can handle it like a guard, gives us a great weapon against pressure. I'm really pleased. It was an honor to play against GW. Karl's (Hobbs) kids are a team with great heart, and a great system. For us to win this game is a big accomplishment for our basketball team.
On whether or not the team's performance against Southern helped them focus today
KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, I think it did. We had a very intense day yesterday (in practice). It started when we got back from the game. By the time we came to practice yesterday afternoon there was a great spirit on our team.
Southern did us a favor by playing so well against us (on Thursday). I thought we played very well today. I mean, very well.
On playing in Greensboro
KRZYZEWSKI: I love Greensboro. I've said that my whole career at Duke. I love Greensboro. I think Greensboro epitomizes what our conference is about. It has fans from every school, they follow our program and embrace our league better than any league in the country is embraced. So, it's always an honor to be here. The people who run Greensboro Coliseum, all the volunteers, it's always first-class. Whether it be officials, visiting teams, or whatever, they treat everybody like they're gold, and I appreciate that. I know when I finally finish coaching I'll look back, I think some of my most memorable games and times will be in this coliseum, because of being with such great basketball fans.
On Shelden Williams
KRZYZEWSKI: He's great, in every sense of the word. We're so lucky to have him. He's going to go down as one of the great players in this conference, and at Duke. He's broken all of these records, and I think he's scored over 1,900 points too. He's such a team guy. Someone at the next level's going to be really lucky, because he'll play for 12 years, be a starter, and bring his lunch pail every time, and be a double-double guy.
On the difference between the team's performance today and against Southern
KRZYZEWSKI: I just felt it yesterday at practice, that we're finally in the NCAA Tournament. Our kids were excited. We didn't even use the full time (at practice). I didn't want to use the energy.
On the performance of Paulus and McRoberts
When my two freshmen (Paulus and McRoberts) are playing like that, it brings everybody together. They were playing with such enthusiasm. They're very competitive kids and they have such good game personalities, that when they allow themselves to show it, which they do much of the time but not all of the time, then we're just better.