Quote Center: Big East Media Day (Seton Hall)

On Skills Cale, Nzei, Powell have added:

Cale- Coming off of ball screens, and getting my team more involved. Everyone knows i can shoot. I know a lot of teams are going to be keyed on me and focused on me. So i’m going to have to do other things to get be on the court and to help my team win games and to be a leader.

Nzei- Ive always been the guy, I try to be there and to play off them. this year i’m looking forward to leading them on defense and trying to be the guy that dives for every ball and goes for every offensive rebound, and try to get the extra points as well.

Powell- Being an all around player, I’ve really concentrated on my jump shot this summer, got a lot stronger, and being a defensive stopper, a guy that shooting, going to get a foul, going to the free throw line, all of the things like that.

On Myles Powell becoming a leader in preparation for this year when Desi Rodriguez went down in Providence:

Powell-Boosted my confidence, knowing that the team needed me. I had to play that role to do my job, don’t get in the way. They were looking out for me. The team kept telling me i was doing good and all.

On losing guys, and Willard saying “never back down”, what do you think about toughness?

Nzei- I agree with him to some points, having being around i have a lot of faith in the young guys. Sometimes you see the freshman battling with me in the post. They never back down. Being the senior and seeing these guys going hard against me. I would tell him, I like when you’re struggling with me. I need you that from you. Every once in a while i tell Jared [Rhoden], I say, “bro all the stuff you’re doing against me, I need you doing that in the game. I need to see that toughness from the freshman, But the game is always different, you just have to be careful you don’t foul, I think thats something they have to learn, and I think the toughness is there.

On Being picked 8th in Coaches Poll:

Nzei- Like Myles said we lost a good class of seniors, but we have a couple of guys left. At this point, we just have to take every game as they come, and just try to make the best out of the opportunities. Every game is an opportunity.

On Myles Powell becoming a leader. Do you notice it?

Nzei- I look to Myles a lot during practice for motivation because i believe his energy transfers to the rest of the team even when he’s not on my team during practice. I love it when he starts going hard, because he’s like okay we have to stop the other team. You see it in a lot of games, he brings it and it goes to the other players.

On who to look out for this season:

Powell- Sandro and Myles, but Myles is here already. Sandro, i feel has taken a big stride, not only on the court but his confidence. I feel he knows he can do more. He’s not looking over his shoulder to see if Angel is coming to get him so when you’re not worried about that, and playing with confidence its easier, so Sandro, and the two freshman Jared and Ant Nelson, they’re going to surprise they may not start early. the freshman its always a struggle but throughout the season, they will open a lot of eyes.

On Quincy McKnight taking over the PG spot:

Powell- Quincys going to be good. He’s got two years under his belt already, he knows what to do. Our offense runs through him, he gets everything started. Quincy is going to be good for us too

Describing what the reality of not having the Delgado, Carrington, Rodriguez, Sanogo anymore feels like:

Powell- it feels good because we’re good off the court we all bond together. I feel when the team is connected, it’s easier because the bond just gets to the court. We look good in practice, we battle against each other, we’re very competitive. I feel as though it will feel very good for us.

On first practice without the seniors:

Powell- Everybody was going hard, we probably didn’t look the best, but like Mike said, the competitiveness was all there. Everybody was going hard, and everybody may have not been in the right spots, the freshman, but we all saw that they wanted to learn and they went hard. When you see kids who want to learn, and they come with open arms, it’s better for us.

On Powell’s Selection as All-Big East Second Teamer:

Powell- Its good, last year i wasn’t on a team and then i won most improved. i don’t really get into the awards like that, but I just look forward to being a leader for my team and getting us some wins.

On leadership role for Mike Nzei with no Ismael Sanogo:

Mike- I believe I’ve seen a lot, and have played a lot of games. A lot of times would just be me telling them what to do on defense. Sometimes to slow down, and to keep your head in the game. Just be the guy, the voice out there. I have to be that person, but can’t be the only person. Sometimes you get Quincy, who talks a lot. Myles Cale talks on defense. But i feel like I have to be that guy, along with the others too.

On Non-Conference Schedule being important especially vs. Kentucky:

Cale- We’re going to take it one game at a time. We looking forward to every game of the season, whether its low division, high division. every team we’re going to compete as hard as we can.

On Coach Willard’s scheduling speaks confidence or…?

Powell- Coach never lacks confidence. During The three years i’ve been here i’ve never heard him talk down on anybody. Even when we were in a slump, he would go tell the media that it’s his fault that we lost. Coach has always praised us, and i feel like he never lacks confidence in us and he always believes in us, so when your head coach is like that, you just follow his lead and it helps us too because if our head guy is so confident, its hard for us to lack confidence.

On Myles Cale’s summer and what it was like to look towards season with bigger role:

Cale- It’s been really important. I gained a lot of muscle over the summer. My weight trainer definitely stayed on me. He knew this is going to be a big year coming up for me. Kept pushing and pushing me, so I thank him a lot for that. Coach was on me too. My teammates were on me. Everybody looking forward to the bigger role this year.

On Cale’s endurance leading up to Big East conference play:

Cale- I definitely have to get used to it because i remember last year, I actually caught a cramp during the Villanova game after i dunked the ball, so, I definitely have to get used those minutes, but it’ll definitely come along.

On Preseason Poll:

Myles Powell- NOT AT ALL; Coach just told us yesterday and always, it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. Theres nothing we can do about the poll. We know we lost a lot of star power. It was expected. Like they said, we’re going to take it one game at a time, We’re going to make the best of our opportunities.

#8 being a surprise to you in the polls:

Cale- Again, it was expected since we lost the four seniors, but we’re going take it on the chin, and do what we have to do.

Nzei- Every game is another opportunity

What will Seton Hall basketball be about this year?

Powell- We definitely have to be a defensive team. On the defensive end, Mike [Nzei] runs the show. With him being so passionate about defense, we know we’re going to have to get stops. We probably won’t outscore everybody. Coach tells us that in practice, we have segments in practice where one team is playing all offense, and the other team is looking to get stops. That definitely helps, and we know how important it is, and we’re going to keep working on it.

With four seniors leaving, can you maintain the production?

Powell- Yes, because thats all Coach preaches and it rubbed off on us. With Mike being a leader, thats in his blood and he’s passing it down.

Playing at Walsh Gymnasium on SHU Alumni Weekend:

Powell- It was fun, a great turnout. We were signing autographs, a lot of fans came out and showed some love. It was good to see that the fanbase is still there even without the four seniors there, and they’re looking forward to the season like us.

Best Dunker on the Team:

Powell- Myles Cale still has it. I think he has something like a 43” vertical when he tested it out earlier. He’s definitely up there, and you’ll be seeing a lot of him this year.

Playing at Walsh (environment):

Cale- A different feeling, almost like a high school gym. A lot louder. You can hear everybody. A lot more students come out to the game. I like it a lot, you can hear the fans. But its not like playing in the “Pru” (Prudential Center)

Powell- You feel the love. It’s the first game, and it’s like everybody is right there. They’ll see what we’re all about.

On Preparing for ball handling:

Powell- When we’re in practice, and I think i’m doing too much or i’m doing not enough. One of my guards and or big men come to me and just say its all good. You should’ve done this or can do this. Im open to listening. Im all ears. Just like how they listen to me, I will be listening to them. Thats the best part about being a leader, taking criticism.

Are you going through some of the similar things the Khadden Carrington was doing in terms of a combo guard and the transition to a PG

Powell- Khadeen always took me under his wing. An amazing guy on and off the court. Even when he was going through his slumps, his faith was always still high. We’re all big on faith. I think he went through a stretch were he went 0/17 from beyond the arc. He never lacked confidence, and never cared what others said about him. At the end of the day, he wanted to do what was best for the team. And now i’m trying to take on that roll. Doing whats best for us, and win games. Thats all that matters.

Joseph Jarzynka