Howland's Friday Teleconference

Ben Howland talks about the health of Anthony Stover and Tyler Lamb, the value of playing at Madison Square Garden, and the matchup against St. John's...

Q: How's New York?

A: It's actually a very nice day today. It's sunny and a little warmer than we anticipated, so that's good news.

Q: Have you been by the Garden yet?

A: A little bit, we actually went in the locker room and it's been redone since the last time I was in it. Their locker room's really nice.

Q: Best arena to watch a hockey game in media-wise, too.

A: I'll note that.

Q: What does this sort of game, the exposure from it, do for your guys?

A: I think it's great for the program, to have it on CBS, I think, is always special, and I think CBS is the network, when you're talking about the NCAA tournament and the national championship. It's special for me. I think our players are excited for it, we got to practice in the Garden. So that was a big deal. It's special. Every great player who has played this game has played in the Garden. That's special. And then to be playing against St. John's, you're talking about the two biggest media markets in the United States of America in Los Angeles and New York. So it's real nice.

Q: Do you think you can get recruiting value out of it?

A: Yeah, I mean, we recruited one of the best kids in the country in Kyle Anderson right here out of the New York/ New Jersey area. And with our new television package that the Pac-12 is working on starting next year, I think that helps our whole league, for us as well, to recruit more nationally.

Q: Is he going to be at the game tonight?

A: Well, we play tomorrow, but he plays a couple of hours after us, I think out on Long Island somewhere.

Q: Do you talk to the kids at all about what St. John's was back in the day, back when we were kids?

A: Scott, I think you're much older than me, I'm sorry. Just kidding. But yeah, I really don't. Watching all those Lou Carnesseca teams, that whole era. It was special. St. John's, I think everybody knows, has one of the great traditions and has been playing basketball for more than 100 years. But I talked about how important this game is to us. We want to come out of here with a win.

Q: How does it feel to be playing in the arena that Jeremy Lin built? Have you talked to your kids at all about what this kid has done?

A: You don't understand, our players are way ahead of any of us. These kids are all over the Twitter stuff and they're all following. We were playing a week ago today, we were getting ready to play on a Saturday, and our players were watching, I don't remember who they were playing, it was a week ago tonight, and they were yelling and screaming and going crazy. A number of them were rooting for Jeremy Lin, and it's just a great story. I wish that we would be able to go to that game tonight. That would be nice. It's just a great story. Our team is very aware of that young man, and they're all following him, and it's huge what has brought to the Knicks.

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Steve Lavin at all over the last few weeks?

A: I haven't, but just so you guys know, our whole staff, which I thought was appropriate, we're all going to wear our basketball shoes tomorrow in honor of Steve, because he's a cancer survivor, and just to bring more awareness to cancer, so tomorrow our whole staff will be in tennis shoes. I just think it's appropriate, given what he's been through with surgery. Cancer affects all of us, every one of us on this call, everybody has someone they love, a loved one, who's been affected by cancer. I really hope that someday, Scott, in our kids lifetime, we're going to see a stop to cancer.

Q: They've been going with a six man lineup. What sort of challenges do you expect to see from them?

A: They play pretty hard. I watched their West Virginia game. It was a long flight yesterday, so I was able to watch about three games on the flight. And I watched our game last year. But they're really playing hard. The kid, Moe Harkless, is a great player. He had 30 in one game, or thereabouts, and it was really impressive. This kid, D'Angelo Harrison, both those kids are freshmen averaging over 16 per game, which is just incredible. These kids are very talented, they're young, they're very talented. They obviously play their best in the Garden, they played West Virginia in the Garden a couple of weeks ago, and just crushed West Virginia by over 20. Jumped on them early. They're a very dangerous, athletic, long team. They're pressing back to their zone, and their zone's very aggressive with a lot of ball pressure. They're really athletic. This kid, God'sgift Achiuwa is a very good athlete, and it's a hard matchup for us because they play small. They've got some great names too, this kid Sir'Dominic Pointer, who's another good player. Phil Greene, who's an outstanding point guard. They've got some good players.

Q: What are the differences between this team last year, and the St. John's team this year?

A: I think last year they had 9 seniors. They had an all senior dominated lineup a year ago, and now they have all freshmen. Of course, with Coach Lavin going through what he's had to go through, first being diagnosed and then going all through the research to find out what was the best path to take, and then finally probably trying to come back a little too soon because he wanted to be there for his team. They've gone through a lot. But Mike Dunlap is a veteran coach, and an outstanding coach, and he's done a great job for this team. I think they've really progressed.

Q: What's the status of Tyler Lamb and Anthony Stover at this point?

A: Stover was fine, he practiced today, and he practiced well. Lamb practiced and did a good job, so I was pleased with that. I was really really worried that he wasn't even going to be able to play the other night against USC. I'm going to give them two days off after the game tomorrow, so we will be off on Sunday and Monday, so hopefully that'll be time to heal up before we go on the road again next week.

Q: Will there be value in limiting Tyler's minutes tomorrow because it'll be a non conference game?

A: No, we're trying to win the game. We're playing every game like it's our last game of the season. And to answer your question further on that, even if we held him out for two weeks, that wouldn't limit his chances of hurting that worse down the road. Typically when you have a strain like he has, it takes six weeks to recover, so assuming he has no worse for the wear between now and then…it's not the kind of thing, you know, an ankle injury, if you stay off of it, it's going to be better in a week. This thing might stay the same for the next two weeks without doing anything.

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