PC: Sendek Quotables

<B>RALEIGH, NC --</b> NC State head coach Herb Sendek met the media today to discuss the upcoming game against Wisconsin and here's a sampler of what he had to say.

As big as the win was, do you think it will be tough to stay motivated and focused?
I really don't think so. I thought our guys came back today in a good frame of mind. We just finished practice, and I really thought they did a good job today.

A lot of fans are saying that was as big a win the program has seen in 15 or 16 years. Was it as gratifying a victory that you've had since you've been here?
It was a special day for us. There's no question about that. We've been fortunate and blessed to have some good moments together and obviously Sunday afternoon was a great win for our basketball program.

How much have you seen of Wisconsin and what are your thoughts?
I've been watching them on tape, and I'm sure most everyone here has seen them on television this year.

They are an excellent basketball team. They are a team in the Sweet Sixteen. They are very experienced... they start four seniors and they really know how to play. They don't turn the ball over and really play solid half court defense.

We're going to have a very small margin for error. We're going to really have to play an outstanding game on both ends of the floor. I've been really impressed watching them.

Much has been said about Princeton running this type of offense, but they never got to the Sweet Sixteen. This year three teams that run that type of offense have made the Sweet Sixteen. Is this the new wave amongst coaches?
I really can't answer that question categorically. But the three teams that you speak of really have different offenses. I assume you're talking about West Virginia, Wisconsin, and ourselves.

None of the three of us execute the same offense. We have some of the same concepts, but all three of us have very different patterns or offenses. Although our teams may share similar traits, I don't think you can group the three of us under the Princeton offense.

How do you feel as a coach about all these people on your bandwagon now?
I'm busy coaching our team right now. I really am. There's not a whole lot of time for reflection, as every minute is occupied. I've been grateful all along for the many people who have been unwavering in their support. There have been so many wonderful people who have extended caring outreach and been by our side through thick and thin. For those people, I'm exceptionally grateful for.

How does the Sweet Sixteen games differ from the first two rounds?
I don't know if they do. It's still a game of basketball. You've got to play forty minutes or more. You basically prepare the same way. You'll have about the same amount of time before your first game.

It's good that you're playing and the idea is to somehow advance to the next round.

Can you talk about Julius and if that shot he made changed his legacy around here?
Hopefully it didn't take that shot to change his legacy because he's had a great career here. The young man just scored over 2,000 points in his career. He's been a part of four NCAA Tournament teams. He was ACC Player of the Year and had the courage to come back for his senior year... lay it all on the line again.

Hopefully that one play, if nothing else, added to his great legacy but wasn't necessary to define it. He's had a great career and the play will certainly be a memorable one for those of us who love the Wolfpack. He's been there every step of the way for us. He's meant so much to our program and he's been a great ambassador for NC State.

What do you think was the turning point for your defense?
I'm not a big turning point guy. I'm really not. I have a hard time identifying a pinpoint of time where you go into a phone booth and come out underdog.

I'm more a guy that says if you just keep plugging away you'll come out better. Can I point to one special moment in time where it all came together? I don't think it works that way. I just think if you keep working hard and keep doing your best, you get better.

In do or die times, this team has now won without Tony. Do you think playing without him earlier is contributing to that?
I think that maybe partly true. Playing without him earlier in the season maybe helped us learn how to do that. I think more than that we've had guys step up and play their best basketball recently. That probably has more to do with it than anything.

Let's make no mistake about it. We're better with Tony. We want Tony back healthy. He's a really good player for our team.

Going back [to the previous] question, certainly when Tony returned to good health, I don't think it's a coincidence that our overall team defense also started to look better at that time as well.

Is it still the same situation with him?
Yes, he's making progress, but we're battling "Father Time" right now. I think he's made some real strides here the last couple of days. I don't have any idea if he'll be ready to play on Friday. I think we'll have to prepare under the assumption that we will not have him.

While we're on health, Jordan Collins did practice. I think we're clearly over the hump with him, and we should expect him to play on Friday.

What do you think about the triangle having three teams in the Sweet Sixteen?
This has always been a great area for basketball. It's tremendous for our community and the ACC. I'm just glad we're in it and a part of that group.

Does this help your program with status and recruits?
I think so. I think all the exposure that comes with being a part of the NCAA Tournament and the Sweet Sixteen can only help. I think we had good momentum, but certainly this is only going to add to that.

What do you think is the perception of your program and how do you think that's changed in the last week?
It probably depends on who you're asking. Obviously, making the Sweet Sixteen couldn't hurt our perception, I wouldn't think.

Have you had a chance to talk with Coach Pitino yet?
Yes, we've talked a couple of times. We talked the other day after both of us advanced. I talked to Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith as well.

What did you talk to them about?
Different things. I called them for advice on how to better deal with the media. Sometimes we were just shooting the breeze... talking about how to answer questions effectively.

Andrew had some mistakes and is a freshman, but what does it say when you can have no memory and make a shot like that?
Well, everybody who played had a mistake. Everybody who plays, everybody who coached, and everybody who reffed it to... that's just a part of the game. Everybody does.

What's great about Andrew is he just doesn't flinch. He has an amazing capacity to just go on to the next play. He's no different than a guy playing in the backyard or down on the playground. It's a great asset for him.

Have you caught him yet [throwing]?
A couple... I just don't let him throw it hard. You don't understand. You can almost not see it when he throws it.

What are your chances of getting a hit on him?
Only if I stepped across the plate and got hit... that's the only chance I'd have.

You going to let him take his glove to Syracuse with him?
He can do whatever he wants.

You mentioned not calling the timeout at the end. Is that what you wanted?
My strong preference is to not call a timeout. The times that I have, I have felt our team was either unsettled or didn't have some kind of balance or advantage. Things just didn't seem right. It's no more than an instinct.

The other day we had good balance, we had the ball in Julius' hands, we made eye contact, and we were able to make a call. In that situation I think it's better to play.

In some other cases I just didn't feel we had the same organization and balance.

Also, where's your team? At different points in the season your team may need to come together and see what to do. There's a lot that can go into that decision.

Obviously you'd want to win by 25 or so, but was it any special to win that way after they made the comeback?
No. We would have taken it anyway we could get it. If we'd have banked in a hook shot from three-quarter court we would have ran off the floor happy.

Players went nuts, and obviously fans went nuts... did you go nuts in practice?
I'm already nuts. I can't go where I'm already at. I felt good. I smiled a lot. I was happy... I really was. Did I go nuts? Maybe not... maybe I'm already there.

The stakes are so much higher in this round.
Are they really? The stakes weren't high for Charlotte or Connecticut? I think the stakes going back to Virginia on the road or Wake Forest in the tournament... it's impossible to play that 'how high are the stakes' game. Every game is built up to be an important game. I don't agree with that thinking. Every game is important.

When you first heard Wisconsin, what did you think?
Good team. A team that doesn't beat themselves and great coaching.

When you first heard Wisconsin, what did you think?
Good team. A team that doesn't beat themselves and great coaching.

How familiar are you with the legacy here? Julius brought up Jim Valvano's legacy here.
I've heard of him.

I'm familiar. I think they won a championship in '83. Whittenburg missed a shot on the pass to Lorenzo Charles. I've got some of the details.


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