Jan. 28, 2010
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings met with the media on Thursday to discuss Wednesday's win over Tennessee and the Commodores' upcoming game against Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The following is a transcript of his quotes with the press.
Stallings quotes from Thursday Press Conference
Did you have time to let last night's result soak in? You allow yourself to enjoy it?
We try to enjoy it. It's great for our team and obviously we're off to a great start. We're happy about that. But there's no rest for the weary. You have to keep going, and now we have even a tougher assignment now against arguably the best team in the country. So, you really don't have a lot of opportunity to enjoy it. You'd like to have a week off and celebrate it, but that's just not the way things work.
How happy are you for Jermaine (Beal) since he's never experienced that feeling in Knoxville?
I'm thrilled for Jermaine. He was a very key reason that we won the game. His play was really phenomenal. Besides the points he scored, he didn't have a single turnover in 38 minutes of play, and that's really impressive against their defense because they are very good defensively. I'm happy for him, and I'm happy for our entire team. We needed to play a game like that, to win a game like that, and I'm really proud of them.
Does it give them a kind of confidence that is different than telling them that they're good?
I think you gain confidence from your experiences, and from having the opportunity, and to win games in tough situations. We should gain some confidence from that game because that was a very good team that we played last night. We were able to do something that the then-number one team in the country couldn't do, and that was to go in there and win. Again, It's so fleeting. How much confidence is gained from it, I'm not sure. If we get into a situation in the second half against Kentucky, and where the game is close, I'm hoping they can call upon the experience from last night and maybe the result can be the same. But again, you move on to the next one so quickly that you really don't have a lot of time to think about what happened.
You learned the other night that Kentucky was beatable. How does that help you heading into that game?
Oh, I don't know. They probably got caught on the right time, the right night. How hard would it be to get a group of 18-21 year olds to focus after the President of the United States calls you that day? That was almost like a setup, I think. I'm not sure the President wasn't for South Carolina. I don't know how John could have possibly gotten them to focus in on that game. That probably makes our job that much harder, because their edge is going to be way up. They're good enough as it is, we don't need them to be any edgier than what they would have been naturally.
So you're hoping Obama doesn't call you anytime soon?
No, but he can call them again if he wants too though.
John Wall...as far as freshmen goes, is he one of the best you've ever seen?
Oh, I don't know If he's the best I've ever seen, that would be a little strong. But, he's terrific, and he's as good as advertised. He's an incredible basketball player. He's got all of the skills and intangibles for a guy his size. And he's handled the pressure of being in the spotlight very well, at least from afar. But, I'm not ready to label him the best I've ever seen. I've seen some pretty good players. But, he's certainly in a class by himself this year in college basketball, and may be the best player I've seen this year...if Cousins and the other guys on his teams aren't. In any event, he's one terrific player.
Last year, you had so many young guys that you were worried about the wow factor going into Rupp. Is that still a concern?
It's always a concern going there. They win a high majority of their games there. And they've won every game this year, and almost every game period. I would like to think that our team won't be overwhelmed by the environment, and I don't think we will be. I think that we'll settle in and play the game. The much bigger concern is their team - it's not their crowd, it's their team, because their team is awesome. It's just a matter of us going in to the game and settling into the game.
With the start in SEC play, did you see the elements coming together like this?
I think that a lot of things have to go right. Our defense has gotten better from a month ago. But it's still not where it needs to be. Our numbers aren't great. But, our offense is pretty solid. Our taking care of the ball, and our rebounding, have been pretty good. What I like the best, though, is that we have a very good competitive nature. We've got depth, and we've got bodies, willing and able bodies, and I think it's helped us get off to this start.
Nice to enjoy this great start the school hasn't seen in decades?
Anything and 0 is good. Whether is 1. Or two. Anything and 0 is splendid. 100, 2, 5, anything and 0 is great. 6-0 would be great
What about the second half success?
We play good in the second half for some reason. Don't know what the deal has been. I'd like to see us play good in both halves. We've been a good second half team and a good end of the game team. We pride ourselves on being good at the end of games and so far we have been.