Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: Seton Hall

Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

Friday, March 9, 2018

Kevin Willard

Khadeen Carrington

Seton Hall Pirates

Butler - 75, Seton Hall - 74

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.

Q. Take us through what you saw in the final defensive sequence, and why wasn't Angel in the game at that time?
COACH WILLARD: They've run the same play against us at home, on the road. They were just going to bring Wideman up and crack 'em. So Mike being a better pick-and-roll defender was on Wideman to try to stop Baldwin. Baldwin was just having his way with the pick-and-roll. So I thought Mike did a good job of challenging it late, and Wideman did a great job following it, tipping it.

Q. What were your thoughts on Desi Rodriguez's ability to play? I know he did it with the injured ankle. I saw you guys using him off the ball a lot, gave you a lot of energy in terms of backdoor cuts. What were your thoughts on how he played today?
COACH WILLARD: I thought Desi and Ish for two guys really battling injuries worked hard over the last two weeks to try to get themselves in position to be able to play.

I knew Desi would probably only be able to play in the first half, because sitting at halftime, his foot was going to get cold. I thought both guys gave us a really good lift, especially Ish in the first half, the way he shot the basketball.

Q. General thoughts on how hard fought that game was and what kind of motivation can this kind of game give guys you heading into the NCAA Tournament?
COACH WILLARD: That's what I told the team. I said guys you have two teams that know each other, two teams that play extremely hard. Both teams made some great plays. All the players, I thought, played -- I thought that was a typical Big East Tournament game.

I'm going to look at the positive side for it. And that's the first time we're going to have a chance to get some rest going into the NCAA Tournament. We're going to take the rest. We're going to use it to practice and get a little sharper on some things that we've been doing well at.

But you've got to give them credit: I think both teams made some great plays and they made the last one.

Q. You mentioned that you saw they were running a lot of the similar plays that you saw them run earlier in the season, but did you see any kind of evolution in Coach LaVall's coaching style? You saw him evolve over the three times you saw him three times you saw him over the season in his first year on the job?
COACH WILLARD: I think LaVall has done a remarkable job coming into the situation he came under, getting the job late.

I think he's really doing a good job of utilizing Martin, Wideman and Kamar Baldwin. That's one thing I've noticed from the first time we played to them to now was how much more they've gotten involved in the offense and they've been the focal point.

But I think LaVall has -- the league is lucky to have him. Obviously Butler is lucky to have him. And he's done a phenomenal job.

Q. Khadeen, after you guys went up 14 in the first half, did you notice anything different? Was it more what they did than maybe you guys not doing the same thing? What do you think changed after that big lead?
KHADEEN CARRINGTON: I'm not sure what changed. It's just that they went on their run. We had our runs and they just had the last run. But I think we still continued to try to play defense. Baldwin was hot tonight. So it was hard to stop him.

I mean, last game Martin was hot. And today it was Baldwin was hot. So it was kind of tough to stop them. But at the end of the day they made the last play that counted.

Q. You mentioned this briefly, Kevin, but what did you see from Desi and Ish today as far as where they are at now, where they have to get to in the next week?
COACH WILLARD: I'm much more bullish on Ish where he is. Just because Ish is used to playing with injuries. He's had them his whole career. So he's used to playing with them. He understands what the pain is.

Desi is a different story. This is the first time Desi ever has been hurt in his career. So he's having a hard time understanding what the pain is and what he can fight through.

But I think, again, having three or four more days off, rest, I feel good about both of them about going into Thursday or Friday.

I think by the time Thursday or Friday comes, it will be three full weeks for Desi, getting those guys back healthy. And the way the young guys are playing, I like where we're at.


Joseph Jarzynka