Monday, March 2, 2009

Cooley and Herbie's post-game thoughts

Despite the inherent disappointment in their voices, head coach Ed Cooley and senior guard Herbie Allen managed to maintain their optimism heading into next week's showdown against Manhattan in the MAAC Tournament. Cooley even sounded a bit excited toward the end.

Here's their unedited press conference. I'll have a column, a profile, and another random blog post later on today. Here's some things to note:
  • The 'we won a lot of battles today' line
  • Some lovin' for Sean Crawford
  • Cooley's hilarious 'Night Before you get married analogy' to Herbie, which was then directed at me.
  • A Nero update - sounds like he's going to give it a go in Albany. But Cooley referenced "a couple of active bodies". I guess that just means a well-rested group, because I can't see them forcing Peanut Johnson to play, and Warren's injury is most certainly season-ending.

Head Coach Ed Cooley

Opening remarks

Cooley: Obviously, I’m very, very proud of our effort; of our resiliency, especially down the stretch. We just couldn’t catch that last break. Whether they had a second shot. I definitely thought we had them on the ropes. We went with our full-court pressure. We just couldn’t get that one last rebound or that one last lay-up. But we have to try to put this one behind us quick and look forward to the MAAC Tournament. It’s the old cliché, but everyone is even going up there. We may be playing on someone’s home-court, but that’s a debate for another day. So, I’m really proud of our effort, and we’re looking forward to going up to Albany and giving it our best.

On the maturation of the team’s new lineup

Cooley: Well, it’s the only lineup I’ve got. I think our guys have done a really good job, I’ve been saying it now for a month. When you look at all the adversity, it’s helped us all grow in a lot of ways, not just from a basketball perspective but from a life perspective. Taking advantage of opportunity when it is given, and today was another good example to grow from. We may be on the losing end, but there were a lot of winning battles in this game.

On whether the team’s new lineup has changed the team’s identity

Cooley: Yeah, I think we have. Normally my teams are physical and long and girth-y and athletic. Again, but if you lose what we’ve lost… I told you guys the last time. If there is a coach in the country that can go through what we just went through, and win the game that we’ve won and compete the way that we’ve competed… send me that CD and take me to his clinic, because I want to buy stock now. It’s frustrating in some sense and rewarding in others, because we’ve seen so many other young man step up, in particular Herbie, whose here with us fighting through everything.

On the spark Sean Crawford provided off the bench

Cooley: Yeah, we talked about that in the locker room prior to us walking up. You know, again, someone stepping in… it was the right time and the right call for him. He gave us a big, big push. Hopefully it is something that he can continue to grow on. It was the right time to put him in.

On the quick turnaround to play Manhattan next weekend

Cooley: I think it is luck of the draw a little bit. Both teams are familiar with each other. I’m just glad we’re not playing Loyola. Two years in a row playing those guys up there and coming up short both times in the last possession, both games. I’m pretty sure Manhattan is happy to play us and we’re happy to play them, and that’s reality. If we do some little things, hopefully we’ll be fortune. We’ve got to get healthy, though. Got to get healthy. I’d love a couple of active bodies back that can help this young man go out in style.

On the status of forward Greg Nero

Cooley: Hopefully Greg watched. He’s actually home. He’s actually home resting. We’ll probably have a word on him Monday or Tuesday on his health.

Senior guard Herbie Allen

On his mindset heading into the MAAC Tournament

HA: I’m ready. We’re ready. We just have to come out this week. Come out and work on the little things that we did not do in this game, like box-out. We didn’t really box-out and get the rebounds; second shots really hurt us today. But our team always comes out and plays hard every game. I have no doubt that we came out (today) and played 110 percent. We’ve been in almost every game, except for one (at Niagara). I believe we kept ourselves in a hole. We were down nine in two different situations today, and we wasted a lot of energy trying to get back into the game. We just have to work on staying in the game and not getting ourselves into a deep hold. (Cooley: “That’s a great point”)

On whether he feels this ‘new’ Stags team can beat any team in the MAAC

HA: Absolutely, we’re going to play hard.

Cooley: Absolutely

On whether he approaches the MAAC Tournament differently because he is a senior

HA: I’m going to approach it like these last five or six games our team has played. We are going to come out and play hard and play forty minutes a game.

Cooley: I told Herbie, it is a lot like the night before you get married… these games like that. Do you really want to step to that altar? Oh. You’re saying to yourself, “This is it.” You guys will go through that, you wait and see. Absolutely. You can tell my wife that, I still think about that now.

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