Thursday, January 8, 2009

Big East Conference Call, Jan. 8

I got on the conference call a few minutes late, but was able to hear the end of DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright's segment, as well as the appearances by Connecticut's Jim Calhoun, Stan Heath of South Florida, Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, Rutgers' Fred Hill and Rick Pitino of Louisville. Here are a few interesting quotes from the aforementioned quintent of coaches:

- Calhoun on Providence: "They're a veteran team, and certainly one of those teams that can get into the NCAA Tournament."

- Calhoun on Cincinnati: "They have the biggest frontcourt in the league, and they play that way."

- Calhoun on Syracuse: "Syracuse has been the best team in the league."

- Calhoun on Kemba Walker: "He's really been a good bolt of energy for us. He accelerates the pace of the game. . . We would not have won the game [against West Virginia] . . . his play was critical. . . [Before the season began], he said he didn't want to be good, he wanted to be great. . . He's a Chris Paul-type player . . . he has great dedication and work ethic."

- Calhoun on the Big East: "I don't see a team that's not a good basketball team."

- Heath on his team's upcoming game against DePaul: "Both teams I expect to be very hungry to get [their first conference win]. Both teams will compete very hard, bounce back from games last night."

- Heath on moving up in the conference: "The conference is so unique and so strong this year . . . Every year, there's going to be a team or two that falls short . . . and someone will take their place."

- Dixon on St. John's: "They're very athletic, maybe a little bit undersized. [Sean] Evans has improved tremendously for them."

- Dixon on Jermaine Dixon: "He was the right player at the right time . . . he's made some big shots for us."

- Hill on Mike Rosario: "He's been everything we could have hoped for so far."

- Hill on Wesley Matthews and Marquette: "There's not just one guy you can take away."

- Pitino said that he shows Samardo Samuels clips of Patrick Patterson in an attempt to help Samuels realize what he has to do in order to improve.

- Pitino on Terrence Jennings: The lightbulb might be going on for him. "He's been our best big man [lately]."

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