Men's Basketball Holds Media Day
Nov. 1, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's men's basketball held its annual Media Day on Thursday prior to practice and the Hawks talked about their outlook for the upcoming season.
Here's a look at what Phil Martelli said:
Q: What needs to be done this year to improve on last season: A: I've beaten this number into the ground. In 11 of our 14 losses last year, we led in the second half. There was a moment in time where, it could've been the last play of the game or not the last play of the game, but it got away from us. To me, it plain and simply came down to execution of an offensive game plan and a defensive game plan. Is that on the players? Yes, it's on the players. But it's on the coach, first and foremost, to do a much better job in the practice sessions to demand execution, recognize execution, praise execution, and correct it when it's not done right.
Q: You talk about this being a new Atlantic 10. How much more challenging will this league be? A: I think that the challenge goes beyond the basketball court. Obviously it's a challenge when you have teams that have recently had the NCAA success that VCU and Butler have had. But VCU and Butler did not join the Atlantic 10 to come in second in fan support. They don't want to come in third in how they schedule. Nothing that they're doing is geared toward anything other than winning the league. So guess what? Promotions: pick it up. Fan support: Pick it up. Coaching, how we travel, who we play in the future . . . Butler and VCU will make us, as a league, better, and I think that they know that they'll be made better by competing in this league. Everything that you're doing with recruiting, promotions, travel, scheduling; that's an exciting time. It doesn't make it easier to sleep as a coach but it makes it exciting.
Q: Are there any guys that you're looking more from in particular? A: I'm looking for more from everybody. I think that this is an unbelievable time to be a part of college basketball. We were able to practice with our players over the summer. That was unheard of. We were able to get on the floor September 15, so everybody went "When's Midnight Madness? When's practice start?" Well, practice for us started September 15th. We had summer workouts when they were in school so we were combining academics and athletics so I expect that each of our players, and I challenge each of our players, to have benefitted from all of the opportunities that they were a part of . . . the coaching, to build a different relationship with a coach . . . In June, they're a little less criticized than they may be in November or December and January. To me, there is no one guy. This is a collective effort. We have collective talent, and I'm not hiding that from anybody. We have collective character that is a positive character on this team. So the execution and the improvement, that's every players' responsibility, and it's the coaches' [responsibility] to get that improvement out of them.
Q: Do you tell your players to embrace being the A-10 favorite or do you ignore it with them? A: I've never talked about it. I don't talk about anything that's written. I am acutely aware of what they're writing and how they're reacting on social media because in this day and age, if you're not, then you're making some big mistakes. So, I am aware, but I do that two ways. I tell them to be careful about what's written about them, because they can read that and they can overreact and they can think, "You know what - Coach said this." Unless I said it to you, I didn't say any of that stuff about "This is this guy's potential" or "This is that guy's ceiling" or "We're disappointed in that guy." Nobody's bar that they're going to set for this team will impact them. The only thing I told them was "This is what happened, this is how you are thought of, now that's the challenge because you have to exceed the expectations of others."
Q: Who has utilized that off-time in offseason? A: Every one of them. There isn't a guy where I would say, "Man, he's really the same guy." It's just a more mature approach. And I've used this term . . . I wanted them to be positively disappointed. We were one of nine teams in America last year that went from 20 losses to 20 wins. It wasn't real pleasant getting those 20 losses, but we had 20 wins. And we played in the postseason. But we spent a lot of that postseason walking around with our heads down, mumbling. And when we got to a point in late April/May . . . Pick your heads up, stick your chests out, and let's go forward. Let's understand what happened in those 14 losses. What were the common denominators in your individual games, in your individual characters? Were there common denominators in our team character, in our team game? Let's attack this thing with the joy of playing college basketball. Think of what we've just gone through in this area in these last couple of days and for them to walk in here today and drop a head and say "Man, I can't believe I gotta practice for two and a half hours," guess what, you could be shoveling sand somewhere or having your head in your hands because you don't have a home now. So, we wanted them to be disappointed, I wanted them to be disappointed that we didn't get more, that we were unfulfilled, but I want them to stick their chests out and hold their heads high in the air and look at history and tell me how many times we've won 20 games.
Q: What would you like to see improve from you as a staff? A; As a staff, I put the same thing on us that I put on the players. Let's be about the joy of this journey. Let's be about the joy of being with this particular group. Let's deal with things that we always have done . . . To me, it's the same as the players. The players didn't lose 14 games - the team did. We are all part of that team. So we're responsible for improved execution. We're responsible for individual players' improvement and they're embracing the opportunities that they've been given, and that message comes from the coaches. It doesn't come from anybody else.
Q: What do you need to do a better job with personally?
A: I didn't take any shots last year. (Laughter). Look, to me, and I mean this, it's the same as the team. We go into today, and we're going to practice for two hours and 45 minutes. At the end of that 2:45, I'm either better at doing what I do or I'm worse. I'm not the same. Our team will be better or worse. We won't stay the same because somebody in the Atlantic 10 got better today. We need to be in that group that gets better.