Transcribed my MU Tribune reporter Chris Chavez
Buzz Williams, Marquette Head Coach
Can you describe that feeling with 30 seconds left when you subbed both (Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom) out?
“I’m probably not smart enough to articulate it in a way that’s fair to them. I’m really thankful and happy that I’ve had an opportunity to coach them. Like I said at the ceremony, I think their stats speak for themselves. Those kids really want to win and have been accountable on a daily basis. For it to happen on this stage with this type of magnitude for what was at stake in the game, speaks to the heart of both those guys.”
Was this more than you expected from Davante (Gardner) or did you have any idea what to expect from him?
“Like I told everyone on Friday, (Gardner) had 25 minutes before he had to go to school on Thursday afternoon. Yesterday, we practiced for 50 minutes and he has been a part of that. He’s been doing individual workouts in addition to practice the last two days. His rehab schedule eats up all of his time. He was at the point where he’s tired of hearing from the doctors and trainers. He’s at the point emotionally where he needs me to holler and scream at him, so he can progress forward.”
Two weeks ago, you said that Kevin Jones was the Big East Player of the Year hands down. Has Jae (Crowder’s) play changed your mind?
“I can’t vote for him.”
If you could would you?
Williams: I think what he has done speaks for itself. That’s the main problem I have with all of that coaches vote for Coach of the Year and All Conference. I don’t do any of that. I’m not a politician. You get what you earn. I think Jae’s resume, our team’s resume, whoever’s healthy and who’s not speaks for itself. The regular season is over and from this point forward we’re going to play elimination games the rest of the way. We’re thankful for where we’re at. Whoever wins the awards on Tuesday humbly and with the right attitude, we congratulate them. Let’s see if we can a few more games.
14 Rebounds and five steals. Is that your definition of a switchable?
“(Crowder) is the ultimate switchable. Have a team filled with guys like Jae, DJ, Jimmy Butler, and Jamil Wilson and they can win a bunch of games.”
What’s the one thing that you’re going to miss about the combination of Jae and DJO?
“When I was in a bad space mentally, they would over come it. When I was in a bad space emotionally, they understood it and overcame it relative to the rest of the organization. Jimmy (Butler) and Joe (Fulce), in my relationship with them prior to my arrival here, knew who I was on and off the floor. Jae and DJ, because of how they were recruited here – think about it, they never took a visit – and if you remember what was popular last year was to talk about those JUCO guys. You don’t hear any of that anymore. Those guys have represented our brand, their specific brand, and never had an edge that was vocalized, but had an edge in how they played. There’s very few lion chasers in our world. Those dudes chase lions and don’t talk about it. But it’s evident.”
You spoke a little about the conference honors. Does that speak about the team’s success?
“Probably, but I think that’s how it normally plays itself out.”
You always talk about one opponent at a time. Does that make it harder in the regular season when you don’t know your opponent?
“I don’t think so. I think it’s easier, to be honest with you. Anytime you get to March, it’s plus one. Everything is plus one. One more stop. One more basket. One more offensive rebound. One more free-throw. Everything is just plus one.
Does it become scouting report specific, because there are so many variables like you’re saying? It falls back to your foundation and itinerary of your practice on a daily basis. Have you worked on the appropriate things regardless of who you’re playing, that your foundation gives you support? When you get to March, it’s plus one. Everything is one more. When your mentality is that you function better because you did this last time, all of that is out. It’s an elimination game.”
Jae Crowder, Marquette senior forward
Can you talk about the atmosphere on Senior Day? The emotion and the crowd?
“It was unbelievable. I think the last time I felt it like that was against Louisville on National Marquette Day. It was great and I appreciate that. It’s the biggest atmosphere in the sport today and we felt that.”
Is there a moment that you’re going to take with you for the rest of the season and the rest of your years?
“I’ll never forget this day as a whole, from the moment I woke up in the morning and said my prayers, knowing this is the last time I will be playing for Marquette at the Bradley Center coming here to win. It will always be with me for however many years I’ll be playing basketball. It’s been two of the best years of my life.”
Can you talk a little bit about playing for Buzz?
“Without the basketball team, he’s a great mentor to me and just a great guy to just go up and talk to. He helped me through a lot of things. You can just let it all out to him. He’ll talk and you know he’ll talk. I would sit there and just listen to what he has to say. He grew me up as a basketball player and a man for sure.”
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette senior guard
How was Senior Day for you?
“It was great, because the past few Senior Days we have lost. It always feels better when you get a win. It more memorable, because we got a win.”
Is it not super emotional, because you guys think you have a lot basketball that’s left to be played?
“We’re not even really thinking about that. We’re trying to focus on winning the Big East Championship. The regular season is done with and we’re moving on to the next.”
How much does it help to head to New York with a commanding win under your belt?
“It give us some momentum going into New York. That’s always a positive thing to have. I’m glad we got that Cincinnati loss out of the way rather than lose in New York. We learned a lot from that loss and today we just played with great poise and energy. Vander (Blue) was being very energetic on both ends of the floor. I think we learn from stuff like that as a team.”