DePaul Coach and Player Quotes

Head Coach Jerry Wainwright
Opening statement...

“First of all you have to say this because his father is a coach and in coaching circles I think at times some people have been unfair to Coach Huggins. As a coach, and knowing all the other coaches in the NCAA he is not only a popular guy, but a professional guy. Because he was raised by a coach, he is a coach’s coach. What he has done here at the end of the year is truly remarkable. I think they are the most improved team, from day one to the end of the year. Watching their tape early and watching their tape late how he has embedded his philosophy in kids that he didn’t recruit is a true testament to him. All of our players remarked about the building. We go to a lot of places now, and have been to a lot of places this year and I knew this was a tough building when Sammy (Mejia) started speaking Spanish to me. It was a remarkable environment and I think it speaks a real testimony to the NIT because it is not just another tournament anymore. It is selected teams by coaches who are really going all out to win it. I thought every kid laid it on the line out there.”

 

On handling the pressure of the game...

“We tried to duplicate it but obviously you can’t. They were very strong and athletic. Their bodies have changed since the time that they have been here, when you get strong and have athletic kids like that you can really cover a lot of ground. They turned it up a notch. There are things that you have to try and do against that and I thought we did those things, but mostly you have to make free throws. Down the stretch I thought Draelon Burns did a great job of stepping to the line and getting us through. If we don’t beat their pressure there is a field about eight miles behind here and that is where the team would have ended up because they would have pushed us out the door and got us all the way back there.”

 

Senior Guard Sammy Mejia

On playing in Bramlage...

“It was a great experience for the team. It is funny, some teams get intimidated by a big crowd but we actually get excited about it. Coming into the game we knew that this place was going to be jumping and we were excited about it, we just wanted to make the best of it. We knew that they were a great team with a great coach and were going to make a couple of runs. We always just kind of challenge ourselves to keep the crowd quiet and send them home with a loss. We never get caught up in it, and I think we do a great job of staying poised throughout the game.”