#AztecMBB Pre-NCAA Third Round News Conference Quotes
March 23, 2013
San Diego State QuotesQ. Maybe if each of you could start by talking about what do you know about Florida Gulf Coast? Do you even know where it is? How much have you had to learn in the last 24 hours?
Jamaal Franklin: It's in Florida.
Deshawn Stephens: We know enough. I mean, we watched film. We've gone over the things that we need to do, and we're going to practice and get everything executed and stuff like that. We pretty much just know what we've seen.
Jamaal Franklin: We know that they're real fast in transition. They're a team that likes to get up and down. They score fairly good in half court, but obviously in full court they're one of the best fast break teams that we've probably seen in the country. They push the ball, have full speed and they're always looking to score, and tip dunk it or rebound the ball offensively.
Chase Tapley: Just to go off what these two said, with the fast breaking, like the BYU used to be in our league, how they get up the floor. They just know they're playing with high confidence right now, like they can beat anybody in the country. We've just got to match their intensity and make plays. Q. Pretty sure the whole country outside of maybe a small pocket in San Diego is rooting against you guys tomorrow just because of the Cinderella story. You guys are the villains now. How does it feel to be in that villain role?
Chase Tapley: I mean, I like it. Underdogs is always good to be the underdog. I mean, we've been it seems like we've been playing the villain this whole year, so it's nothing new. Just got to come out, and they're an underdog, too. They beat a good team in Georgetown. They're probably feeling the same way. But it's just two good teams just going at it, and we're going to see what the outcome is.
Jamaal Franklin: I would say what Chase said, we've always been the villain, especially me, myself, I always go to every arena and everybody hates me, so I'm used to it. I just can't wait to play come tomorrow. It's going to be two good teams battling it out. I know these people right here next to me and my teammates in the locker room can't wait for it, either.
Deshawn Stephens: My two teammates pretty much covered it all. Like you said, the little part of San Diego is all we need to support us, so we're just going to go out and play hard for them.
Q. DeShawn, what did you see last night? What was enabling you to be so effective on the boards, particularly the offensive boards?
Deshawn Stephens: This man right now (indicating Jamaal) came up to me and we had a little talk at halftime, and he got my mind right pretty much and came back in the game, and I just tried to play as hard as I could, leave it all out on the floor. It was either do that or go home, so I knew it had to be done.
Chase Tapley: Like I said in the press conference and interviews yesterday, DeShawn, when I came out in that second half and was getting those offensive rebounds he really sparked us and we fed off that and just kept on rolling, and that's what we're going to need from him from now on out.
Q. What did you tell him, Jamaal?
Jamaal Franklin: Confidential.
Q. You guys basically are the dominant program in Southern California right now. Jamaal, you actually will be up there as the best player. Is that something that's crossed your mind during the course of this season? Is it something that's crossed your mind since the tournament began? And is it something that's crossed your mind since UCLA lost yesterday?
Deshawn Stephens: I don't know, I don't really think too much about it. I just try to think about next game and keep moving on to what we've got to do. I don't try to think about who's the best and where we are. I just try to think about us getting better as a team.
Jamaal Franklin: I don't want to think about it, either. If you just take it one game at a time and worry about winning, everything falls into place. Just us winning, it makes us the best team, so if we just continue to win, everything works out the way like it's playing.
Chase Tapley: For being one of the best programs in Southern Cal, I fell like we were, my freshman year, we just kept building and building and building each year. And for Jamaal being one of the best players coming out of Southern Cal, just me watching him with his work ethic and everything we work hard to be in the position that we're at, and that's why we're successful. All this hard work and all the work ethic and the gym and stuff is just paying off.
We've just got to just keep on doing that in the future and everybody else who goes to San Diego State.
Q. Obviously last night you were preparing for Oklahoma, but at the same time there was a huge upset happening on the court, and not just any upset, it was going to be the team that you would play if you won. There had to be some kind of reaction in the locker room, you guys watching, paying attention. Can you describe what was going on with you guys while that was happening?
Chase Tapley: I mean, you're sitting there we went out there and were sitting there and watching the game, it's exciting. You're seeing an upset happen before your eyes. You try not to jump up, try not to celebrate, but man, just part of the madness. We watched it in the locker room, we were just tuned to the TV until the very last second, and when we saw the upset, we were like, we've got to focus. Jamaal said let's worry about us right now, we've will focus on Oklahoma and tomorrow we've got Florida Gulf Coast. So that was everything.
Jamaal Franklin: What we had going into the locker room we was watching Florida Gulf Coast with Georgetown, I think a lot of people thought Georgetown was going to win but we always said March Madness, anybody can win. That's why we came here with our high horse and ready to play. So after we seen Florida Gulf Coast win we made sure we had to focus on Oklahoma, and now we've got to get ready for Florida Gulf Coast. It's going to be two good teams battling it outcome Sunday because we're fast, they're fast, they're a good team and we're a good team and it's March Madness and we're ready to play and I know they're ready to play.
Deshawn Stephens: Pretty much to feed off of what they said, at the same time we were watching that game, I felt like a fan at the time. It was exciting. I was just watching it and I didn't really think about that's who we would play next, I was just watching two great teams play. Like Jamaal said, I would think in March Madness seeds are kind of irrelevant because anybody can beat anybody. You've just got to go out and play hard every night.
Q. UCLA, they've been kind of, I guess, the beasts of the West Coast so to speak. But when it comes down to it, talent wise it doesn't really matter, the name of the school, just the players, whether they go to a mid major like a Florida Gulf Coast or they go to a San Diego State. You all see each other in AAU ball and stuff like that?
Chase Tapley: Yeah, I mean, we all seen each other, played against each other all through high school and AAU and everything, but people think about the big schools with the names, the UCLAs, the Arizonas and all that. But San Diego State is being in the conversation, and we take pride in that.
Q. Jamaal, I'd love to know if you think you've been short changed but not getting a lot of publicity for the dunk off the back of the rim yesterday. But also I was wondering what all three of you guys, what did it really mean for the program and for each of you individually for you guys to have made the leap that you did a couple years ago to get into the Sweet 16 and getting to close to getting into the final eight?
Deshawn Stephens: I think that season opened up everything for San Diego State and made it just that much bigger as a program. The program actually grew every year, so I just think it just gave it more publicity worldwide and we're continuing to build.
Chase Tapley: That season like DeShawn said really put San Diego State on the map where people started talking about it, and from then on, every year it's just been building. Just want to make it a powerhouse. You've got to thank Coach Fish for that and the coaching staff for bringing the right players in, the right players with the right attitudes, and really putting everything together. So it just had to happen with chemistry and work ethic and just made the program what it is today.
Jamaal Franklin: I'd say that we keep rebuilding. The best thing about San Diego State is we rebuild. We never had a rebuilding year. We always go out to win and do whatever it takes to win. That's one thing we do. We lost plenty of games but you can't say that we never gave 110 percent, and that's one thing we do every day, and that's going to make us a great team every day.
Q. Jamaal and Chase, from two years ago when you guys were in the Sweet 16 and had a really good shot at beating UConn, a lot of people looked at that as a great opportunity, UConn went out and won the national championship and I'm sure in the back of your mind you kind of wondered what would have happened if you had held on against UConn. Do you look upon this tournament right now the way things are shaking out in your bracket as just this other incredible opportunity? Did you learn anything from two years ago about grasping opportunity and taking advantage of it?
Chase Tapley: Just two years ago, just made it seem like, man, we were that close. You've got to master every opportunity because you don't know when you're going to be back, when you're going to get another chance to crack at it. Now last year we lost in the first round, but this year we learned from that experience, and we've just got to keep learning and learning, get to the Sweet 16, and when we get to the Sweet 16 just go back to that UConn experience, how we felt in the locker room and how close we were and just go back and just think like, man, we can do this and get to the lead out in the Final Four.
Jamaal Franklin: Relating to what Chase said, you've just got to take it one game at a time. We can't get ahead to the Elite 8 or the Sweet 16. Tomorrow is Sunday and that brings Florida Gulf Coast in our path and we've got to worry about playing a good team and we've got to worry about getting that win.
COACH FISHER: I'll piggyback a little bit what I said before we played Oklahoma. I've been around long enough to know that having the opportunity to be here in the tournament is special, and it should be viewed that way, as a privilege that you've earned, and often times in the blink of an eye, it's gone.
We have only won two NCAA Tournament games in the history of our school until we beat Oklahoma last night. So the excitement is there for us and our fans as well as it is for any program that has not had major league success in the tournament.
That being said, if you get too caught up in the euphoria of winning a game, I don't think you prepare yourself for the next game.
So we've tried to make sure that we knew that you must have genuine excitement, but then also the reality of you'd better get ready in a short turnaround for another game against a very, very good basketball team. So that's what we've tried to do. I like how we played last night. We made some shots, which is always helpful, and our staple, which has been our ability to guard, I do believe showed through, especially in the second half.
Q. What did you know about Florida Gulf Coast before yesterday, and what do you know about them now?
COACH FISHER: I probably knew more than any coach in America because I've got a condo that I've had from my days in the Midwest in Fort Myers Beach, a stone's throw from Florida Gulf Coast.
I read all about the starting sports. I went over to the campus. I've been on the campus. I've toured it. I don't know if they still play in germane arena on interstate 75 ... no, they don't play there any longer? But I do know that it's a program now that everybody knows. And there's a great deal of excitement.
They're good. I think it's legitimate.
If we were playing a shirts and skins game with all 64 teams and you brought all the teams out there and watched them warm up, you'd be hard pressed to say, well, this is a team that's not supposed to win. They're good. They're talented. They're well coached. And they played terrific last night.
Q. There's a rumor going around kind of down there that you were once offered a coaching position there. Any truth to that?
COACH FISHER: Rumor from who?
Q. Well, we're not exactly sure, one of our old writers is in contact with their old AD, who I guess is an old friend of yours from Michigan, Marilyn Dean Baker. We were just curious if you were offered the position there.
COACH FISHER: When I was between jobs we had a conversation, and she talked about she was involved in the search committee, but we just talked about it. So no, I was never offered a job. I was there, though, as I said when they were starting the program and wanting to transition into a Division II program, and she was very excited about the potential, and now I know all of those that are affiliated with Florida Gulf Coast are beaming with pride about the reality of what they've done. It's been terrific.
Q. What's it like, and maybe more importantly, what's it going to be like when you take the court tomorrow, knowing that pretty much the whole country is rooting against you?
COACH FISHER: Well, I beg to differ on that. We were met with a rousing group of Aztec fans when we got back to the hotel last night, and I don't know how many we'll have, but San Diego is a pretty big city, and our county and our state, and I would bet that most folks in southern California will be cheering like crazy for the Aztecs.
I was a high school teacher in Chicago. I'm going to have half of the south side of Chicago cheering for San Diego State, and I was born and raised in Illinois and I've got the State of Illinois that's voting for us. So we're not going to have everybody. It may seem like it tomorrow, but we'll have a few people cheering for us.
Q. The coach before Andy Enfield, Dave Balza, one of your former assistants, the only coach they had before him, is that one of the reasons you kept up on FGCU?
A. That was one of the reasons, yes, Dave Balza, who transitioned from Division II to Division I, was a former student manager, then helped grad assistant at Michigan, then that was a reason I did continue to follow the program from a distance. True.
Q. Kind of a little off the beaten track, but obviously you've been at this for a long time. When you had your teams at Michigan 20 years ago, great on defense, high scoring on offense, two part question: How much do you think the game has changed in the last 20 years? And do you think offense maybe has suffered a little bit from then until now on a national level?
COACH FISHER: The scores probably are not what they were before, and I don't have the answer for that. I'm right in the mix of it. I was asked that same question before, and I thought it was probably two fold. One, I do think the game has become more physical, and that's impacted it. What used to be a for sure foul now is not always a foul. So I think when you go to the rim, those baskets are no longer a guarantee.
And two, I think that the way people now scout, with all the latest technology, you can punch a button and know everybody's favorite move, where he takes his shots from, how many dribbles he takes and all that. So you prepare a little bit better than you did 20 years ago.
Q. With that in mind, is it a better game, worse game or the same as far as just the overall esthetic level for the fans and players?
COACH FISHER: I'm speaking more from wearing the coach hat. Even when I watch a game that I'm not directly involved in or I'm not going to play them, I watch it with great interest to see strategy and how people do different things and learn stuff and pick up ideas, set plays that we tweak a little bit and bring to our team.
It continues to be a phenomenal, phenomenal sport to watch, and I think it's grown in terms of the worldwide appeal to that effect. With now what you can do, you can watch every game. You don't have to watch a game and then have a cut to see a little bit of this and that. You can flip channels and you can see almost every game that's being played, which adds to the excitement.
So I don't think it's been diminished in terms of fan appeal. Low scoring games can be tremendously exciting, even for the fans. So I think it's growing, continuing to grow in terms of excitement, attendance and appeal.
Q. Earlier I asked Andy Enfield if he was in fact the most interesting man in the world, and he denied it, but I thought I'd get a second opinion.
COACH FISHER: Next question. He probably answered it. He can answer it better than I can answer it.
Q. He's a fascinating guy, though, isn't he?
COACH FISHER: Without question he is. Without question he is. A bit atypical from a coaching standpoint, but very typical of every successful coach in terms of how he prepares a team, builds a team, grows a program. I am immensely impressed with the job that he's done. I am an admirer, and if we weren't playing them, I'd probably be a fan.
Q. They have a very up tempo style of play. Will you do anything different to prepare for that? Will you make an effort to try to slow them down to a different pace? What are your thoughts on their style of play?
COACH FISHER: I caught myself several times last night in the Oklahoma game yelling, get back, get back, get back. So we've got to get back. We can't give them an inordinate number of run outs where I'm looking up and they're 3 on 2 or 4 on 2 or 4 on 3 and they have those trail guys running in from mid court to tip dunk one in or get a lob for a basket. They run. They run very effective.
You can tell that they work at that. This doesn't just happen. This is not just pickup game on the street.
[This] is a well coached, well defined style of play that they're good at. They like to play that way, and they are successful at it. I'm impressed. We have to do a good job of getting back. They probably one better than any team we will have played all year.
Q. I was curious about the condo in Fort Myers Beach. Why did you buy it, have you been there recently, and when was the first time you visited FGCU's campus?
COACH FISHER: I bought it as soon as I had enough money to get one, which is right after I became a head coach. So I've had one since 1990. And in a complex where it's filled with Midwesterners. The person Les Witky (phonetic), who hired me for my first high school job, he hired me for my first college job, he had a condo in the same complex which was the reason that we bought it.
Many of us jokingly refer to it as a poor man's Naples, but it's got a gorgeous view of the Gulf, and we love going there. We will be going down sometime after the Final Four.
Q. For all the people who might not be all that familiar with Jamaal, is there a reason that comes to mind for you at all why maybe he's not as familiar all across the country as he is within obviously basketball circles?
COACH FISHER: Jamaal Franklin was not a McDonald's All American coming out of high school and a top 100 player coming out of high school. He was the traditional from way back, three sport star. He was a great football player who could have played major college football. He went from that to basketball. As soon as basketball ended, he went out on the track and was a seven foot high jumper in track, and he played for fun in the summer with AAU ball.
So until he said, hey, I think I could be pretty good, and that was probably between his junior and senior year of high school did he start to say, if I want to be good I have to work at this game. So he's worked at his game, and I think to his credit, every year he's gotten better. He went from a guy that I tried to talk into red shirting as a freshman who willed his way into the rotation of that 34-3 team by the end of the year to the Player of the Year in the conference last year to a better player this year, an all around better player.
I think the people that follow basketball know, and maybe because we're West Coast, and even those that like to watch it's hard to stay up to watch a game starting at midnight here when we're playing. So I think that might have a little bit to do with it.
But if you watch him, you remember probably a handful of things that he did, even as a casual fan. They say, fan, remember what Franklin did there or there or there? He's a talented player who should receive credit for how hard he's worked at becoming a really good basketball player.
Florida Gulf Coast Quotes
Q. Between the end of last night and right now, what has it been like? What is the strangest thing you've heard, a person, and how do you keep your focus with all that?
SHERWOOD BROWN: Well, I mean, it's been very exciting for what we've done for the program, and we appreciate the support that we've been getting from everyone, even people from all the way up here have told us that they're on our side and they're rooting for us.
But the way we keep our focus on is just that we know that we got a big win last night, but we're not satisfying with just winning last night. We want to do bigger things here, so we're just going to keep being motivated.
EDDIE MURRAY: Yeah, kind of piggy backing off what Sherwood said, everyone back home, friends and family have been texting me and I've been getting things on Facebook. Fort Myers is kind of rocking and rolling right now. They're really excited. This is a big thing for the city and I'm glad we could deliver this. As far as going forward, this morning it was a different feeling. We're starting to get focused again and getting ready for San Diego State.
BRETT COMER: You know, we saw a lot of it on social media, a lot of Twitter from celebrities, people back home, everywhere. It's been exciting. But we woke up this morning and we have to prepare for San Diego State, come out and try to get another win.
Q. I was wondering if each of you guys could just talk briefly about your recruitment coming out of high school, did you have any high major offers, what kind of offers did you have, and Sherwood, I know you walked on. Can you talk a little bit about that, and did you ever think you'd be here now after walking on?
SHERWOOD BROWN: I wasn't highly recruited out of high school, but I knew that I could play amongst some of the best people in the nation. I just had that type of confidence.
And I mean, as far as being here today at this spot that I am, I never really imagined that we'd be here where we are today. But when we brought in our new coach and when Brett and Bernard and a lot of other players came in, I knew that we had a chance to do something special. I knew that we would have a really good team, and I knew that anything could happen.
EDDIE MURRAY: Yeah, for me personally I wasn't recruited by any high majors or anything. A lot of A Sun schools along the Florida Gulf Coast obviously. I was more of a baseball player growing up and picked up basketball in high school, so I was a raw talent, just athletic and slowly developing my game.
BRETT COMER: I was put on the big stage with a guy like Austin Rivers, and I signed my letter of intent to FAU, and then later in the spring, middle of my senior year, I asked for my release actually, so I got my release from FAU, and shortly after that Enfield got the job here, and there's no way I could turn him down, so that's why I'm here.
Q. I'd like to follow up on that with Brett. You talked about Enfield got the job and no way you could turn him down. What kind of vision did he sell you? And then for the other two players who were already there, did he ever try to convince you that something like this could happen?
BRETT COMER: I mean, he pretty much he called me on the phony think the day after he got the job, and then he made a house visit, and he pretty much sold me on the fact that he wanted me to be the point guard of his team for four years. And he actually genuinely I felt like he meant what he said. A lot of coaches you get the feeling he's telling 20 other guys this, but I actually felt like he meant it, and ever since then I believe everything he has to tell me.
EDDIE MURRAY: Enfield coming in, the year before he came in I scored 11 points my entire season (laughter), sat on the bench a lot, and he came in and he said we're going to try to build something here, and we really think that you can help us. I like your attitude, your effort, and he turned me into a starter actually my senior season, and everything he's done has been awesome, gave me confidence, just the locker room, we've had a better feeling ever since he came in. It's been a good feeling.
SHERWOOD BROWN: Just like Murray, I never played much my freshman and sophomore year under our old coach. I felt like I never got an opportunity to play until he kind of I want to say that he kind of gave up on our team near the end of my sophomore year and I started to get some playing time.
The end of that season, I had a career high of 27 points, and that's when we brought in Coach Enfield, and Coach Enfield and I had a conversation, and he was telling me that this program was headed in the right direction, and I really bought into that and I believed his words, and that's where I am and why we're here today.
Q. Eddie, can you talk a little bit about your dunking history? I think we've all read that you've won some contests. When were you first able to dunk, and what did you do to win those, and how did it feel like last, basically you made a name for yourself above the rim.
EDDIE MURRAY: Yeah, my athleticism is kind of the reason I've gotten to where I am. I think I started dunking the end of eighth grade, beginning of ninth grade. I was only 6 foot going into freshman year of high school, so I grew a lot through high school. I won my first dunk contest in a Florida Flame D League competition, a dunk contest thing. Put it in between my legs, won that one and from there I was playing in the high school City of Palms. Came in second behind Brandon Boykin who is now in the NFL playing for the Eagles actually, and won a couple at FGCU. Kind of a high flier. Me and Chase, we like to get a couple passes from Brett here and there.
Q. What did Boykin do to beat you?
EDDIE MURRAY: I think he actually jumped over about 40 people. He did some amazing things. It's on YouTube. You should check it out.
Q. Has Coach Enfield given you any sort of instructions to try to subdue the hype like no watching ESPN or anything like that, just to kind of keep you guys focused?
BRETT COMER: No, not really at all. I mean, he knows as a team we're here focused because we are the underdog. I know probably none of you in this room thought we'd beat Georgetown and be in the position that we're in. We're kind of here, like nothing is distracting us, we're focused and here to win games and go as far as we can.
Q. Brett, entire stories have been written about that alley oop you threw. What does that mean to you? Have you read those, and what do you think about that play and all the attention it's gotten?
BRETT COMER: I've seen some of the stories about it. About the play, we've done that so many times. Maybe not on this big of a stage because of the time going on, but me and him have connected on so many alley oops. Between me and him, me and Murray, Sherwood. It's just normal play for us. It's just the way we are. We are fast paced team and we like to get a lot of dunks and a lot of momentum off of them.
Q. If you can kind of compare and contrast Georgetown and San Diego State and talk about what you have to do I guess differently to prepare for San Diego State.
SHERWOOD BROWN: I think that Georgetown is more of a slow paced team, and they probably like to slow the game down rather than San Diego State is kind of like a team like us, they like to get out and run, and they shoot a lot of shots in transition just like we do.
EDDIE MURRAY: Yeah, Georgetown, they're methodical. They want to slow down the pace, whereas we want to get out and run. If I had to get tomorrow night there's going to be a lot of transition buckets, it'll be a fairly high scoring game, and it's going to come down to whatever team plays better defense because both teams want to get into kind of a track meet.
Q. I think the entire FGCU administrative and coaching staff is going without any sleep, but did Coach make sure you guys got some rest and were you able to be light on your legs today in practice to make sure you guys got some rest?
BRETT SHERWOOD: Yeah, you know, we got back kind of late, though, because we did watch the Oklahoma-San Diego State game, but he let us sleep in today. We were light on our feet today at practice. What just went over kind of what they do and what we're going to do. It was pretty much just like a walk through, so we're going to be fresh for tomorrow.
Q. Your coach last night spoke about halftime as a turning point in your game against Georgetown, that in his view you had played Georgetown style the first half. That wasn't getting it done, and he told you guys let's play our style the second half. Can anybody remember a specific turn of phrase he used or anything he said specifically about kind of wanting you to change the gears or even describe his attitude, whether it was upbeat or serious or any you can flesh out about that.
EDDIE MURRAY: I don't know specifically anything he said, but he was definitely upbeat. We went over a couple of things that they were beating us on defensively, got those covered, and he kind of emphasized we need to try to get out rebound the ball, get out and start running a little bit more, and we were able to do that in the second half in the beginning. We started going on that run. It was just kind of upbeat and I think we had a kind of confidence. We were up 20 at Georgetown second half, and it carried over.
Q. Enfield is a shooting coach, I think in the NBA. What was one thing that he taught you specifically about basketball that made your game better?
SHERWOOD BROWN: Well, Coach Enfield, he is very good, and the rest of the coaching staff is very good with individual skills. When I came in here, I was strictly just a catch and shoot type of guy, and I mean, I still catch and shoot from time to time, but I also have other aspects to my game that have been developed.
EDDIE MURRAY: The biggest thing he's given me has just been confidence. But other than that, you know, just technique wise there was a couple things in my shooting form, my offhand and stuff like that. But the biggest thing has definitely been confidence.
BRETT COMER: I mean, coming out of high school I wasn't much of a point guard. I kind of just passed the ball to a guy, cleared out, or we ran in transition. So as a staff they gave me the confidence to be able to run this team. I mean, I kind of run the show and get the guys the ball when they need it, and they do a great job of finishing, like Sherwood is the Player of the Year and everybody just does such a great job around them. I kind of just orchestrate the offense. I feel like between him and Coach Norris who was a point guard at Miami, they taught me how to be a true, actual point guard.
Q. With your win yesterday and the tournament's history of smaller schools beating bigger schools and the fact that a lot of kids today play a lot of AAU, is it easy for you not to be intimidated by those bigger schools because of the whole AAU thing and everybody seems to play one another, and does that mean that there's parity in college basketball amongst the players?
BRETT COMER: I mean, personally last night against the Georgetown team, I played against their center in an AAU game, so I've played against these type of guys all the time. So it was nothing new to me. We all as a team we were going to come out there and beat them, right when we saw the bracket. So it was nothing new for us.
SHERWOOD BROWN: When I was in high school I played against very good players. I played against John Wall who was the No. 1 draft pick, so I'm not really intimidated by anyone that I've played against. I feel like I've played against some of the best players to have played the game, at least at the high school and college level.
Q. I asked the Duke players sort of if they could put themselves in your situation and what that would feel like to be the 15 over the 2. I wonder if you guys could even comprehend what it would be like to be the favorite now, even in an emotional way, tomorrow night?
BRETT COMER: Oh, man. As a Duke team, I feel like I would come out and try and make a statement, as being the high seed like that. You don't want to lose to a lower seed. I'd come out and try to step on everybody's throats every chance we could to be honest with you. As a team with that school name, a coach like that and players like that, there's no reason why you should lose.
EDDIE MURRAY: Honestly I would prefer to be in the position we are. The group of guys we have here, there's really no pressure on us. Everything we do from here on out, nothing is really expected of us, but we expect it of ourselves. All the pressure is on the teams we're going to be playing from here on out, so I really like the position we're in.
Q. A couple days ago you talked about how you were all recruited by more or less programs that are the same size as the one you're at now. Were you at all what made you decide that this was the program you wanted to go to, a program with no real history, a head coach who had not really been a collegiate head coach, over all the others that you were recruited by or the others that you were considering?
SHERWOOD BROWN: To be honest, with me I didn't really have a choice. I came here, and that was the only decision that I had. It was the only decision I could make, and so I was going to come here and make the best out of it, which I really am right now.
EDDIE MURRAY: For me, I'm a local kid. I grew up 20 minutes from the University. So I mean, it didn't make much sense to go to another A Sun school in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, when I could go to a school 20 minutes from my house that had amazing facilities, was on the rise, and that had the possibility of being where we are today.
BRETT COMER: Myself, I didn't want to leave my mother. My dad passed away recently at the time, and I didn't want to leave her, and the fact that Enfield got the job and pretty much told me that he wanted me to be his point guard right away, I wanted to go somewhere and play right away. I didn't want to go somewhere and sit.
And the fact that I knew some of the guys he was bringing into my recruiting visits, Eric McKnight and Bernard and we all talked about coming here with Eddie and Sherwood and Chase and changing this program and making it what it is today.
Q. If it is a track meet tomorrow like Eddie said, how confident are you that you can make history again?
BRETT COMER: I'm pretty confident. That's our style of play. Our style of play hasn't really done us wrong so far. So we're going to stick with what we do and hopefully we get more stops than San Diego State.
EDDIE MURRAY: Yeah, I'm pretty confident that we can run with anybody. We don't have the typical big body guys, we have the long, athletic guys who want to run, me, Eric, Chase, and then we also have the quick guards, so I think that we can run with anybody.
Q. Eddie and Sherwood, what have you seen from Brett this year in terms of his development as a point guard? What's allowed him to get so much better?
EDDIE MURRAY: You know, he's always been an amazing passer. His vision is incredible. But I think that at times he kind of forced things his freshman year sometimes. He would kind of get stuck in a lane, jump in the air and the coaches kind of worked with him on that. He's just gotten better. He's grown, matured, and he really gets the ball to the right person when it needs to be there.
SHERWOOD BROWN: I don't know if anyone has seen it, but there was a point in the game last night where he was double teamed almost in the corner of half court, and everyone else seemed to be covered, and then he seen me out of nowhere, and I was like right next to the basket, and he seen me. I don't know how anyone else could have seen that pass, but he seen me and I was wide open and I made the basket to stop a run that Georgetown had went on.
Brett is a great point guard. He sees some things that a lot of other players would never be able to see, and I think that's what makes him very special to our team and what puts us over the top.
Q. Last night Andy said one of the things he believes in is keeping it fun for his players, and I was wondering if any of you have any stories you can share about what he does to keep it fun or any favorite stories about him?
EDDIE MURRAY: I don't know if I should say this, but in our A Sun Tournament right before the championship game, you're not allowed to touch the balls before the clock goes off, so we were in there messing around getting stretched and we decided there would be no better way to get loose than to play some freeze tag. So our entire team is running around tagging each other and stuff, and the guy in there watching our practice thought we were absolutely nuts. But after we won the championship, he's like, you guys are incredible.
We keep it light. And then once we start practicing we get in the game and we get focused. But it's fun.
Q. Being not so far from home, but this is obviously in your guys' backyard, when you hear last night everyone is sort of supporting you in this area and obviously I heard stories that there were no Florida Gulf Coast tee shirts left on the concourse, is it almost an adopted feeling for you being here and being out of your element a little bit?
BRETT COMER: I mean, for sure. You know, we are very far away from home. I'm pretty sure nobody here has really heard of us before this game. We put on a show, though, last night. We had everybody happy and having fun watching us play. And I feel like we've got a lot of fans off of that. We're very exciting to watch. We push the ball down the court, there's a lot of dunks, there's a lot of excitement.
We have a lot of characters on our team like Sherwood Brown, who likes to flex and blow kisses at the crowd. We're definitely going to gain a lot of people like that, so it's definitely fun.
EDDIE MURRAY: Early on in the game I kind of thought that more people would be going for the underdog, but they weren't really too vocal in the beginning. As we started getting a couple dunks here and there, knocking down a couple threes and going on a big run against Georgetown, the crowd really started to erupt, become more vocal. The place really started rocking there for a while. Yeah, all these people in Philadelphia have really come to like our team and are rooting for us.
SHERWOOD BROWN: Yeah, we're very far away from our hometown, and after the game last night I feel like a lot of people out here in Philly make it seem like we're actually their home team, and they got behind us and they actually helped us along with our crowd, our hometown crowd, and they helped us will that victory last night.
COACH ENFIELD: San Diego State, they've had a tremendous season. They have a coach that's been around a long time. He's a great guy, great coach. We're looking forward to playing them. We know we have our hands full.
Q. You mentioned great coach. I'm wondering, do you know Steve Fisher at all well, any personal stories you can relate?
COACH ENFIELD: Nothing personal other than I've met him a few times and had conversations, just one of those down to earth, tremendous people and really enjoy talking to him and when I watch his teams play, he's a really, really good basketball coach.
Q. What are your thoughts on Jamaal Franklin, and any specific plan that you guys are going to have to stop him specifically?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, if I had a plan I wouldn't tell you right now. I think he's the only player in the country that leads their team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. For a player to lead in four categories is pretty impressive. Watching him play on film, watching him play in person last night, he's one of the better players we've played against all season.
Q. Can you give us an idea of the text messages and phone calls you've gotten since last night, and if you had to rank the top two or three, who would you put in there?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, it's 450 and counting. I have not begun to reply to most of them because I just have been too busy with film work. I have three children with me on my trip, my two year old son kept me up all night, about an hour of sleep. But that's all part of it. It's fun.
I've received congratulatory and advice from other coaches, people in the media, family, friends, people I haven't seen or heard from in 20 years. So I guess the funniest one was someone I went to high school with. They were giving me advice of what we did wrong last night and what we can do on Sunday to beat San Diego State.
Q. You obviously have a very unusual story, with your business success in addition to basketball, so you're not the typical rising coach in terms of financially and so on. But what kind of vision do you have for your career? Do you see yourself using this as a launching pad to go to a bigger school, or do you is there something about this situation that you especially like?
COACH ENFIELD: My goal when I took this job was to build a program. I was fortunate to work for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State who was a master at building programs. He's done it three times. And my goal at Florida Gulf Coast was to come in, work with their AD Ken Kavanagh who hired me and create something special. And that continues to be my goal.
I think we have a unique opportunity. If we keep getting good players, we do the right things in the classroom, in the community, on campus, and on the court, we can make FGCU one of the best basketball jobs at a mid major level in the country.
Q. There was an article last night that asked if you were the most interesting man in the world. I'm just wondering if you are.
COACH ENFIELD: I'm not that interesting. I'm a pretty simple person. It is a little chaotic around my household at times with three small children and being a basketball coach is not an easy profession from a weird hours and weekends and holidays, but as far as being interesting, I would say I'm way down the list.
Q. I'll just relay a question I got this morning. How did Enfield find all these guys who can jump out of the gym? Where did you find these guys? They're basically all diamonds in the rough and now they're excelling on a national stage.
COACH ENFIELD: Well, I coached in the NBA and in the ACC, and my style is an up tempo, athletic, long athletes. We like to push the ball. We like to defend with our long arms, need some shot blockers, quick guards, and if you play to your style, that style, you need certain type of recruits. There are players in our program already like Sherwood Brown and Chase Fieler and Eddie Murray, we saw them as talented but they needed to develop their skills. Eddie Murray scored 11 points the entire season his sophomore year. Last year he started for us a lot, this year he's key, played great last night, had nine points and five or six rebounds.
Sherwood Brown has developed in the last year and a half into the Player of the Year of in our conference; had 24 points last night. Chase Fieler was second team All Conference this year. Sherwood and Chase are two of the most improved players I've seen in the country over the last year.
And then the freshmen we brought in when we got the job in April, Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson were our first two visitors and Eric McKnight was our third and Filip Cvjeticanin was our fourth. So we signed the first four players to come visit in April after we got the job.
Well, they're all sophomores, so we have a young team. We start three sophomores and a junior, we have two transfers sitting out, 6'10" Nate Hicks out of Georgia Tech, and a 6'6" forward Jamail Jones out of Atlanta, Georgia, he played at Marquette. Jamail was the 52nd ranked player coming out of high school two years ago, so for FGCU to get a top 50 player recruit was big for us.
We expect to keep recruiting to our style. If we look for certain things in players, we also look at their attitudes, and will they fit in with our personality. If you're not a fun loving guy, if you take yourself too seriously or you're just a jerk, you're not going to play for me.
Q. Piggy backing on that, some people would think of a team that's fun loving, and you said last night you have a bunch of crazy guys on a team that maybe doesn't take things as seriously on the court. Is that a mistake if they look at your team, oh, they're just out there having fun and throwing up dunks and things like that?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, as long as the dunks go in, I'm fine with it. It's a fine line. You have to be serious when it matters. Game preparation, practices, look, I'll raise my voice if I say recess is over, it's over, and you can have all the fun you want, but when it's time to prepare for a game, when we're on the court, you need to be serious and you need to play and be a good teammate and play hard.
So if they do that, it's great. I think that's what college basketball is all about. I think you need to you can't just be too uptight and serious all the time, and my players, they have unique personalities. You've probably seen that. I think that helps them tremendously in games because they don't care who we play. They don't care what stage they're on. They don't care where they play. They just have this unique confidence about them to compete.
And it helps because when you go to Cameron Indoor like we did this year and you play Miami and Iowa State and VCU and Georgetown and Mercer and the better teams on our schedule, it really helps us put everything just block everything out, and we pretend it's a pickup game in our own gym, and whether we got to throw an alley oop with two and a half minutes left and bring the house down or we have to go down to the other end and defend, they're going to do it.
So to answer your question, as long as they can separate the fun from the seriousness at the right time, it's really positive for our program.
Q. It seemed these players embraced being underdogs. Now that the attention is on them and there's a lot of excitement with this program and about these players, how do you keep that mentality going into tomorrow?
COACH ENFIELD: We'll prepare for tomorrow's game like we've done all year long. We are going to win this basketball game. I don't know if we will. If we do things offensively and defensively like we have been doing, there's a good chance we will win the game. We've held the last six opponents under 40 percent from the field. Georgetown shot 38 percent last night. Our team field goal percentage for the season is at 40 percent which I think is great.
Offensively we scored 78 last night on the fifth ranked defensive team in the country, against Mercer in the championship game in our conference. We scored 88 points on the seventh ranked defensive team in the country.
We've averaged almost 80 points a game here the last six or seven games, went 13 and 2 in our last 15 games. We are playing at a high level. We're playing our style of basketball. But at some point you need to adjust. Like in the first half we had to adjust to Georgetown's style, and I thought we played too much like their style in the beginning and throughout the first half, and at halftime we made it a point, if you want to win this game, you can't it can't be in the 40s. If it's 48 46 or 48 44 you're probably going to lose. It needs to be in the 60s, 70s, if we get it to 80 that's great but we only had 24 at halftime so we knew 75 or 80 was going to be tough. Ended up in the game with 78 points.
That was our style of play in the second half, and if we can do that on Sunday, we'll have a great chance to win the basketball game.
Q. Your kids, as you say, they seem composed. Has it all been put aside what happened last night, and they are just on to the next thing, and for you to keep that focus rather than getting caught up in the hysteria, is that an easier thing than it looks?
COACH ENFIELD: It's not easy to in my opinion, this is a time of their life. They need to enjoy this, embrace the moment. This is what college basketball should be. We're a big underdog. I want them to take a deep breath and remember this the rest of their lives. Whether we win or lose tomorrow or go any further in the tournament.
But they know, because I'll remind them, when it's time to prepare for the next game, it's all business. And that's my job as head coach, to make sure we do that as a team and a program. I tell the players, my assistant coaches were up until 4:30 in the morning watching film last night, so when they say something you'd better listen. And if not, you won't get fed tonight, and you'll go to bed early.
Q. You likened Georgetown a little bit to Mercer as far as match ups go. Is there anyone in the non conference you saw this year and in conference you might liken SDSU to possibly, and the second part is a 15 seed has never been to the Sweet 16.
COACH ENFIELD: San Diego State plays on the west coast and I'm in bed every night at about 9:30 or 10:00 every night so I haven't seen any of their games. I couldn't tell you before watching film today and watching two players on their team. I couldn't tell you two players on their team. I knew their coach. So we don't know much about them. We know they're really good. They wouldn't be here at this point if they weren't, and they have some great players.
To compare them it's really tough comparison because I just don't know enough about them.
What was your next question?
Q. 15 seed has never been
COACH ENFIELD: Yeah, it's a goal. If no 15 seed has ever made the Sweet 16, that should be a goal of ours I should think. Thanks for telling me.
Q. Did you ever have did you ever try to sell this vision when you first came to the school of doing something like this, and now that you've pulled the big upset, how do you use that to kind of rise the wave going forward?
COACH ENFIELD: Yes, we sold this vision. It wasn't play San Diego State in the second round on a Sunday in Philadelphia, it was a vision of success, it was a vision of making our players better every week and every month, and what was in it for four years and what they could expect in the classroom, off the court and on the basketball court. That's the vision we sell, and I think that's most recruiting. You have to let players know what they should expect from you during their time at your school.
I aim for the stars. I don't sell, hey, we want to be a good team. We lay out a plan, where do you want to be, and then we try to put things in place to get them there, and a lot of it relies on the players' work ethic and their desire when you're not around them as a coach, what are they doing to make themselves better.
I am very proud of our players. We have some of the most improved players in the country on our team this year. They've made huge jumps, and I think that's big in selling that recruiting. Players don't walk in college ready for the most part. If they are, they're playing at Duke and Carolina and Kentucky. For the rest of us, we have to get guys that are talented but they all have different flaws, and we have to sell that vision of how we're going to address those flaws and where we're going to go as a program. And to be at this point in two years, we didn't lay that out, but it's not unexpected to me. We didn't come in and say as a staff, we need to win our league in two years. What we said is we're going to show up every day and every week and make this program better than it was yesterday and last week, and however long it takes to be successful, we're fought going to stop until it gets there.
That's our motto. We had no time frame for this, but we're very fortunate to be in this place after two short years.
Q. I'm wondering if you could help me accurately but briefly recapitulate your sort of professional track after grad school. I'm just a little muddled. My impression is that your initial move was to create sports related businesses, the lacrosse camp, the basketball, the shooting consultant, and then you had a great success with a non sports business. At what point when I assume you could have had a Wall Street career and gone a more corporate path, did you wrestle with the question what truly is my first love and is it back to basketball?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, after a few bad losses this year I wish I was still on Wall Street, but now I'm happy I'm here. I don't really like to talk about myself, so I'll go over this, but this is not I don't really like to say this in the first person and brag about my career, so please take this with a grain of salt.
When I was in graduate school, my goal was I funded my graduate school with some scholarship money but also I had a lacrosse camp with Dave Pietramala who is the head coach at Johns Hopkins who is the best defensive player probably to ever play. We were partners in basketball shooting camps, which is my specialty. So I funded my graduate school through the camps and clinics, and then when I got out I wanted to start my condition consulting business for NBA players called All Net Basketball, and I was a shooting consultant and a shooting coach, and I went out and was able to get some clients and help them improve their shooting technique and their percentages.
My goal was to get in the NBA. I wanted to be an NBA coach, was fortunate to have Mike Dunleavy hire me for the Milwaukee Bucks as a shooting coach. I spent a couple years in Milwaukee, was at that time there weren't a lot of player development shooting coaches in the league. I think it was myself and one other person. It was kind of a new thing.
When we got fired in Milwaukee I ramped up my business and then ramped up my camp business and also my NBA consulting business and had a lot of NBA clients. Then I was hired by the Boston Celtics as an assistant coach on the bench, so it was really able to get into game planning and scouting and player development and do everything for Rick Pitino, and it was a great experience because he gave us a lot of responsibility, had a third of the scouts with the other two assistants, so it was my job to prepare the team.
So working for Mike Dunleavy and then Rick Pitino was really able to know the NBA and the league, and we still use a lot of those NBA sets and quick hitters in the transition game right now in our system.
Then I left and went to New York City and I continued my on net basketball business and I was hired by two other NBA teams as a consultant and also a lot of different players. I produced my first instructional video with Glen Rice of the Charlotte Hornets and our second video I did in New York with player shooting techniques. Onnetshooting.com is the website. So through onnetshooting.com I was able to sell the video and shooting device worldwide and ramp up that business even further.
At the same time, I had a good friend in New York, New York/New Jersey, named Tom Risk, who was previously a CEO of a publicly traded company that was semi retired, and through Tom and his partnership I joined his partnership, and we created a company around a technology called Tracked Manager, which is a contract management service in the health care industry, which I didn't know much about.
Since I had my MBA in finance I wanted to try to build a startup company and see where it went. Through Tom's leadership and the other great people I worked with, we were able to make it successful and eventually profitable and had to raise quite a few million dollars to do that.
So I was really doing the NBA consulting through on net basketball and the track manager at the same time. And I didn't want to go back as a full time NBA coach. I met my wife Amanda in New York City. She was a very successful model, and at the peak of her career she was flying all over the world, and I said, hey, I have an offer, an opportunity at Florida State to go back and get into the college game, and if I go back to coaching full time instead of just doing the consulting, I'd rather have it on a college campus because I think it's much more engaging and entertaining and just a better atmosphere for a family, and I want our kids, if we have children, to be around that.
So we left New York City, she gave up a very successful in the prime of her career to become a coach's wife and a mother and had three children. So I give her a lot of credit for that. It was a lot easier on me to make the transition than it was on her.
So I spent five years in Tallahassee at Florida State with Leonard Hamilton, and then the last two years. So that's kind of a brief thing.
Q. You mentioned you had 450 text messages and counting. I was wondering if that was more or less than Amanda because I think she got about twice the face time.
COACH ENFIELD: She deserves it. She has a much prettier face than mine. Yeah, Amanda, funny story about Amanda, the way we met. It was in New York, it was on her way to an NCAA basketball game, the first round. She's an Oklahoma State fan because she grew up in Oklahoma. And a mutual friend of hers had approached me and asked me if we were going. Amanda had the tickets, and I said that well, if you're going to go up, you can just come with me. I'm going to drive. They were going to buy plane tickets from New York to Boston because the first round was in Boston. Oklahoma State was playing.
I said, just come with me. Save yourself $500. Then I pulled up to the Starbucks in Manhattan to pick them up, and as soon as I saw Amanda get in my car, I knew it would be a good trip. (Laughter).
So I had a great weekend.
And then our first date was actually at the NIT when we got back to New York the next week. We went to a St. John's NIT game and sat right behind the bench. It was at queens. We had to go to the on campus arena. I was going to take her out to a nice dinner beforehand but we got to Queens and I couldn't find a restaurant that I thought was either nice or she wanted to go to, so we ended up going I said there has to be something on campus, let's go to the student union. There's got to be a Chili's or something. Well, the only thing that was open was Taco Bell. She stuck with me. I got her a nice burrito and we sat behind the bench, and I figured if she still likes me after Taco Bell and a basketball game.
But she's such a big sports fan, and she used to go in New York to she loves college football and basketball. She used to go to sports bars by herself like at noontime on a Saturday afternoon because Oklahoma State was playing football. She would be the only female in the bar. She was belly up to the bar and watch football.
You can imagine with 300 guys in the bar and here she is watching football by herself, but she made it clear to everyone that came up to her, hey, I'm watching football so don't talk to me. But she's such a big fan, and I thought that was really why we got along so well, because of her interest in sports. And then she's just a down to earth person, and what a sacrifice she has made to give up from flying all over the world to doing fashion shoots for some of the biggest designers on the planet to moving to Tallahassee, Florida, which is a nice place, but it's not New York and it's not Milan and it's not Sidney and it's not Paris.
So I'm just very blessed to have someone like her with me, and this is a celebration for her and my family, as well, because for her to sacrifice, it just makes me feel great to see the smile on her face knowing what she gave up to be here.
Q. What year was that, that you met? Which NIT, do you recall?
COACH ENFIELD: St. John's played Virginia, whatever year that was.
THE MODERATOR: I believe it was 2003.
COACH ENFIELD: Yeah, we've been married about eight and a half, almost nine years, and I think it was the year before, so that's great.