Post-Game Quotes: Concordia

The Bootleg's Daniel Novinson, campus radio station KZSU 90.1's basketball play-by-play announcer, worked Monday night's exhibition win over a scrappy Concordia University squad. Daniel was there, recorder in hand, for the postgame Q&A session with head Coach Trent Johnson and junior guard Anthony Goods. Read on for a reasonably candid assessment of the 2007/08 Cardinal's inauspicious debut.

Post-Game Quotes: Concordia 

Head Coach Trent Johnson 

Opening Statement: 

Trent Johnson: "We got a chance to take a look at lot of guys. We knew going in that Concordia was a very, very good basketball team and one of the things I talked to the guys about a couple of days ago and today is when you're a championship-caliber basketball team, regardless of what level it is, you play good basketball and shoot well. Of course we're all familiar with Kenny Ammann, who played here [1990-91]. They play hard-nosed, competitive basketball. It was good for us. There were some good things, but there were some early-season jitters which were to be expected from some guys who haven't played a lot. We were in a situation early, I thought, where the second five, guys like Drew, guys like Peter, Josh, those guys hadn't played a lot and it's important, regardless what the time or score was, get them in the game and get them the opportunity to play. 

Mercury News Reporter Jon Wilner: (Inaudible, about the second-string entering with a 11-point lead that then shrunk)… 

TJ: "Well, like I said, what we were looking for was to get guys an opportunity to play that hadn't played and I thought for the most part the first group with the addition of Taj and Peter when he came in… I thought it was 13-2 [edit: 13-3]. If we were in that position in a normal game, I would have left those guys in there because they weren't winded or tired, but you have to find out about guys who haven't played like Josh Owens, like Kenny Brown, you have to find out a year later how those guys are going to react to that situation. So again, I thought for the most part we did a decent job. Again, they're good"… 

Wilner: Only three turnovers in the first 13 minutes? 

TJ: "Yeah, we had three in the first 13 minutes and then there was a series at the start of the second where we got casual and there were a lot of unforced turnovers. Again, for me, for this team, we played like we practiced. I thought there was great energy to start and it was inconsistent with the second group. And we've got to get there. We've got to get there." 

Wilner: How about the conference? Six teams in the top 25... 

TJ: "I don't pay a lot of attention to that, at all, and I don't think this group does, but we're a much better team than last year, this team. But you look at that conference, you look at the state of college basketball, everyone is much improved. Michigan State is ranked #8 in the country - they lose to Grand Valley State. Well, Grand Valley State's a pretty good basketball team. Yeah, they're not Division I, but they're a pretty good Division II basketball team. I've always been one to dwell on us getting better, on us doing the little things to put us in a position to win games. And yes, we are better. Were bigger, we're stronger. I thought tonight was really good because we really had an opportunity to guard at all five positions at the point of attack. At times we were good, at times we weren't. But we faced some pressure. At times we were good, at times we weren't. And those are the things we're going to have to get better at - those are the things we're going to have to do against high-caliber teams. We're going to be fine on the halfcourt. We're going to be fine on the halfcourt. Teams want to sit back on a halfcourt and play man-to-man or play a zone, we're going to have a level of success, but for us, we know what our Achilles' heel is. So we'll look at the tape and evaluate from there." 

Wilner: So it was good to play Concordia? 

TJ: "That's why we scheduled them. Concordia, we played them my first year. And they almost beat us here at Santa Clara, on a neutral. Again, I knew what we were getting into and the guys did too. You know, rankings are fine. It's nice to be highly thought of. But the bottom line is, the guys and these coaches know we're going to be in a lot of close games this year, much like we were last year." 

The Bootleg: Coach, I remember my sophomore year [2005-06], preseason, we were ranked something like 13 and you said we're overrated right now, the team hasn't earned this ranking. Do you feel that way this year? Do you feel this team is worthy coming in at the bottom of the top 25? 

TJ: "I think we're worthy of where we're picked in our conference, because where we're picked at in our conference, for us, it says, fifth, you're inconsistent. To me, being fifth means that if you play well, you could be in the top half, if you don't, you could be in the bottom half. But is this team worthy of being ranked, being the 23rd in the country? Yeah, I feel that, just from the standpoint… But I'm more interested in where we're ranked in our conference. I think that speaks volumes to our conference, as opposed to us as a group. But we need to prove it. We need to prove it." 

The Bootleg: I want to ask you about Landry Fields. I thought he had a great game… 

TJ: "At one end of the floor. At one end of the floor. He shot the ball well but he had a lot of mental breakdowns defensively. A lot of mental breakdowns defensively. But at the offensive end, Landry shoots the ball and he's going to play well, but he, like Ant (Goods), like Mitch, like all these guys who are veterans now, they know that we have a breakdown defensively, that could cause problems." 

The Bootleg: Is that, the defensive end, then what he needs to work on to have a breakout type of sophomore year? 

TJ: "Well, I wouldn't call it breakout. I think we all need to work on that. When you call it breakout, it's a big term. What do mean by breakout? Landry, he's played well in the summer. foreign tour. He's going to be a very vital part of this team. He gives us offense, but as opposed to worrying about a breakout year, I want to worry about him being a complete basketball player. I want him to be just as good a defensive player as he is an offensive player, as is everybody else." 

G Anthony Goods #4 

Reporter: So Anthony, with you coming in with the same group as last year, do you start in a different place, do you start over and build forward? 

Anthony Goods: "I think it makes things easier because we have a level of comfort. We've been together since the spring and we've been able to grow together with workouts, but everything that happened last year, we have to get that behind us. It's a new team in the sense that we're older, more mature, bigger, stronger, so we've just got to come out, we've got to focus, and we've got to work hard." 

Reporter: What would you like to do you, yourself this year, that you didn't do last year? 

AG: "Just think. Take care of the ball. Get better shots and keep the defensive intensity, setting the tone on defense for the rest of my teammates as well. Just the game. Getting out and pressuring the wings or whoever's guarding." 

Coach Johnson: "How about staying healthy?" 

AG: (Laughs). "That'll help." 

Reporter: When you look at rankings and preseason stuff, what do you see when you see five of your rivals there? 

AG: "Rankings, it doesn't mean anything until the end of the year, until March Madness, but everybody in our conference is good, even those who aren't ranked. Rankings really don't mean much right now, you'll see there's going to be plenty of upsets this year, and we just have to focus on us." 

The Bootleg: Anthony, if you had to give a grade for the way the team played tonight, what would you give? 

AG: "I'll just go with a 'C' average. We looked terrible at times. We looked decent at times. I just give it a 'C'. That was a good basketball team. It's not like we were playing 'Nowhere State' or something. That was a good basketball team, one of the top teams in their division. So, I really can't say. We didn't handle the pressure that well, but they were a good basketball team." 

The Bootleg: And then I wanted to ask, obviously as one of the veteran guys on the team now, it's been a tough off-season, Brook out fall quarter. Is there a sense, with the older guys especially, to show that we're not a one-man team, we're going to come back and whoever's out there, show that we're a strong team? 

AG: "The Brook (Lopez) situation is unfortunate, but as a team, we are family. And as soon as that came down, we handled that, we moved on. It's all in the past, Brook's on the team, practicing. Everything's good and we're taking it one day at a time." 

Ben Spielberg [KZSU and Stanford Daily Reporter]: Are we going to see the same starting five Friday? 

Coach Johnson: "Yes. We definitely will. We've got ourselves where we've established ourselves a pretty steady rotation, so yeah, no question." 

Press: (Thanks.) 

Coach Johnson: "Are you guys done? Do you need anything else?" [Yeah, be this conversational come this February.] 

Press: (No.) 

Johnson: "Okay, thanks."

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