Quote Center: St. John's Postgame vs. VCU (Legends Classic)


St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin…


On Shamorie’s game-winning shot:

“He makes those shots. Shamorie has a gift of scoring. He’s got incredible touch. He practices those shots. He has an incredible feel and instinct for the game. He made a few incredibly tough shots; shots that only he could make.”


On defensive pressure and winning the turnover margin:

“We have good length. We like to play aggressive and don’t like to gamble too much. When those steals come during the flow of the game, we like them. I thought the key was only having those nine turnovers. They pressed us all game. It’s funny, we scored 87 points and I feel like we still didn’t have a good flow for the game offensively. We didn’t really turn the ball over. It was more of us not handling the ball well. We hung in there. It was a really good game. Last night too. Both teams shot the three really well. We kept fighting and then Shamorie took over.”


On the last defensive possession:

“We never anticipate anything. Transition defense is something we do every day in practice. When you get excited after making a shot like that, transition defense is the one thing you need in order to guard against a team pushing down the court like that. We did a really good job of doing that. Shamorie guarded the ball well and we had the boxes stacked up.”


On Shamorie Ponds’ performance the last two days:

“He’s put on a show. He played at one of the highest levels I’ve seen in a 24-hour span. It wasn’t only his shot making. Tonight he had seven steals, seven assists, and has been clutch, hitting two-straight game-winners. I haven’t seen a guard play like that in 24 hours.”


On the team’s adversity so far this season:

“It’s basketball adversity. Having Sedee Keita out, we’ve had to make some quick adjustments on the fly and we’re still going through that. We have a lot of new faces so it’s more of getting familiar and comfortable with each other. It’s a work in progress and I’d say we’ve been pretty fortunate in regards to adversity.”


On whether he anticipates extending his rotation in December:

“We’ll see. We had a close game against Maryville. We’ll take the games as they come.”


On the team’s performance the last two games:

“We played two really good teams that played well. They were making shots off the dribble, late in the shot clock, so we have to give our opponents a lot of credit. To our credit, we were in some tough situations the last two nights. When Shamorie picked up that technical foul, we could’ve went down six. We fought back and we didn’t hang our heads. The guys thought that they could win this game the entire way.”


On winning this tournament in his hometown:

“I grew up down the block on Flatbush Avenue. So to me, the fact that this building is here is pretty amazing. When this whole thing came together, I honestly thought it was a miracle. I remember when people who never have thought that there would be a beautiful arena and a professional team in Brooklyn. They would’ve thought you were crazy. It’s beautiful. My memories of Brooklyn are all good and winning this tournament feels amazing. ”


On his optimism heading into BIG EAST play:

“I’m really not looking that far ahead. I do know that games like this bring the team together. It builds trust. You can always get better at things but it’s always nice to improve on things after a win. We’re grateful for that.”


On LJ Figueroa’s impact since Sedee Keita’s injury:

“He’s been better than I thought he would be. He’s got a gift of having a great feel for the game. He’s scored the ball at an efficient rate and he’s rebounding. That’s what you have to do when you play small. He’s good in small spaces, he’s comfortable when the shot clock runs down, he gets out in the open floor, and can make a big three when we need it.”


On his thoughts on where his team is at after a 5-0 start to the season:

“We could play better and I think we will get better. What I like is that we play through some shaky minutes where we struggle, but I don’t see anyone giving up. We’ve had different guys take over on certain nights. As we get more familiar with ourselves, I think we’ll be more consistent in regards to flow of the game. A lot of guys aren’t used to playing like this. When you’re forced to play small and you switch guys at different positions, it takes a lot of time to get used to, so it’s a tough lineup to prepare for. I think we’ll keep getting better at it and when we get Sedee [Keita] back, we can work him right back in. I’m impressed with our guys but more importantly I’m happy for them. They’ve fought really hard to get to 5-0.”


Junior guard Shamorie Ponds…


On his game-winning shot:

“In high school, my team and I lost the state championship game on a buzzer-beater. Coming down to the last shot, I replayed that in my head, how we lost in the Barclays and I didn’t want to go out like that. I’m just happy we’re champs.”


On the team’s performance:

“We need to go back to the drawing boards and work on defending, boxing out, and getting rebounds.”


On significance of winning this tournament:

“It means a lot. It’s a step we haven’t taken before. Being 5-0 and winning the tournament, it’s great for us but we can’t stop here.”


Sophomore forward LJ Figueroa…


On Shamorie Ponds:

“It was incredible just to watch him. Shamorie is the best player I’ve ever played with. It was unreal just to be a part of it.”


On the team’s adversity this season:


“This being my first season here, we are still getting to know each other and learning what our strengths and weaknesses are on the court. It’s all about improving game after game.”


VCU Head Coach Mike Rhoades:

On tonight’s game vs. St. John’s:

“There were too many great things in that game, that’s a big time college basketball game. They made some great plays and they made one more play than we did.”


VCU forward Isaac Vann:

On Shamorie Ponds:

“Obviously, he is a talented player, preseason Player of the Year in the BIG EAST. We knew what to expect coming in the game and we tried to speed him up. He just had a great game.”

Joseph Jarzynka