Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: St. John's
Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Marvin Clark II
St. John's Red Storm
Xavier - 88, St. John's - 60
THE MODERATOR: Questions for St. John's, please.
Q. Coach, obviously it's a tough loss today. But I'm wondering how hard is it, coming off only playing 14 hours ago against Georgetown, how hard is it to come in and play a team like Xavier?
COACH MULLIN: They're a tough team to play against under any conditions. They just are a really good team through and through. Got great guards. They're physical.
The turnaround is what it is. It's scheduled out and that's what you get for coming in ninth.
Q. You were able to win yesterday; unfortunately not today. What do you take out of the Big East Tournament going forward?
MARVIN CLARK II: Like Coach said that's what you get for being ninth. Biggest thing I take from it try to finish in the top 5, try to be a top 5 seed so you get a better break. But it's our league. It's a good league, great league. We've known that throughout the year.
JUSTIN SIMON: Basically what Marvin said. It's been one of the best leagues in the country. Hopefully next year we'll try to finish in the top 5, go from there.
Q. I understand it's just been a few minutes since the loss but can you look back at this season? There seemed to be some real lows and some real highs. How do you sort of assess the entire season?
COACH MULLIN: I really haven't assessed the whole season, but, yeah, you're right on, we got off to a good start. Had a horrendous January and I thought we played pretty well the last 10 games. So up and down, inconsistent for different reasons, different circumstances.
But these two guys here and the guys that played the bulk of the minutes, I thought they did a good job handling different things that were thrown at them, just absorbing it, being accountable and just kind of moving on.
Q. Any momentum, anything that you take from the last part of the season here? You started to play better, it seemed.
COACH MULLIN: I think it's clear when we played unselfishly, played together, we're a pretty good ball club. And when we didn't, we struggled. A lot of times we had some close games that didn't go our way, but I thought we fought through that and to finish up the way we did I thought was impressive after having that tough stretch in January.
Q. With what you guys showed in February, with what you have coming back and what you have coming in, does next year kind of have to be like your breakthrough year to finally, to get into the NCAA? You've had gradual improvement. Now next year looks like you could have some depth, you could have some more size. Do you kind of look at next year as the time to break through?
COACH MULLIN: Believe it or not I haven't really looked that far ahead yet. I'm sure you'll put that timeline on me, so I'll be looking forward to that. (Laughter.) And we'll see who does come back. But to me the most important thing is going to be another good work in the summer. We had a great offseason; I think that's what propelled us to the good start.
So that's probably, to me that's the next part of the development is the summer offseason program. These guys will lead that and we'll get a good summer we should improve.
Q. Marvin and Justin, if there's any lessons that you guys learned this season, what were they?
MARVIN CLARK II: I would say you know how you handle distractions, how you handle distractions and how you go about every day on and off the floor. I think that's one of the biggest things. Like Coach said, consistency.
We have reasons within our team, within our program that were kind of distractions to our team. But the biggest thing, it's just what Coach has instilled in us is how we bounce back. And I think having that 11-game stretch of losing, losing, losing, losing, I think most people would have cowered and tucked their tail and ran. I'm proud of our team for fighting back and making, salvaging something out of the season.
And I think that's just goes from what Coach has instilled in us and what he's talked to us about night in night out.
Q. Marvin and Justin, after the first half it was a back and forth, good pace of the game. What adjustments do you think Xavier made in the second half to kind of open up the lead?
JUSTIN SIMON: I'm not sure what adjustments they made, but they definitely stepped up their defense. I thought they guarded us well and they got out and ran. And they were scoring the ball. And it was hard to stop them when they were going.
MARVIN CLARK II: Made shots, spread us out. Trevon Bluiett is a tremendous -- great scorer. He made a lot of shots, made a lot of big plays for them and extended the lead for them.
Q. Coach, in terms of Shamorie Ponds, have you advised him or will you advise him in terms of going in and maybe testing the waters in a couple of camps this offseason? And what do you think of his chances of coming back?
COACH MULLIN: I haven't advised him as of yet. I think the setup for the kids now is perfect. They can get out, get all the information, transparently, gather all the information and make a smart decision.
I guess there's a lot of people out there that have opinions, but there's only 30 people that matter, it's the 30 GMs in the NBA. Whether it be Twitter or Facebook or all the stuff you follow, the only people that matter are the 30 men that run the NBA teams. And he'll get his input, like every player in college can, get transparent information and make a smart decision.
Q. Did you feel they ran up the score in the last minute or so, and what did you see in terms of the bit of scuffle in postgame?
COACH MULLIN: I didn't see anything.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.