March 11, 2009
The University of Alabama men's basketball team continued its preparations for the Southeastern Conference Tournament Wednesday afternoon with a practice and press conference session at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
After a spirited hour-long practice on the hardwood, the team met with assembled members of the media to talk about tomorrow's first round game against Vanderbilt. Below are interim the comments from interim head coach Philip Pearson and Alonzo Gee and Mikhail Torrance courtesy of the SEC media relations office.
MODERATOR: General comments from Coach Pearson.
COACH PEARSON: Well, we're looking forward to having a chance to play Vanderbilt in the tournament tomorrow evening. We feel like for us we're playing some of our best basketball this season. Comfortable and confident with the way we finished our year.
Also realize that Vanderbilt's playing excellent basketball. We've had a chance to watch them on tape and played them three or four weeks ago in Nashville. Had a tough basketball game with them. I think they've won three in a row and 7 out of 10.
Obviously, Ogilvy for them is a real force on the inside. And I like bill as a point guard. And Tinsley has done some nice things as a young player, too. So it's going to be a real challenge for us tomorrow, and we're looking forward to having a chance to play.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. What can you guys take from, I know it's obviously a different situation. But what can you guys take from what Georgia did last year and what do you recall from watching them kind of make a run at it?
Alonzo Gee: Well, we can use it as motivation. Just try to do it, and just go out and play hard.
Mikhail Torrance: Well, for me it's a great motivation like he said. We feel like the season's not over. A lot of people are counting us out, but we're ready to go starting tomorrow night. It's going to be something to see.
Q. Obviously depending on how these things go, there could be a postseason berth for you in the NIT. I mean, I think that would be one of the things that could be out there. What would you think of extending the season and would you welcome that if that game?
Alonzo Gee: I think we'll welcome that. Playing in the NIT, that's a great tournament to play in. But we're going to take it one game at a time and stay focused on playing against Vanderbilt tomorrow night.
Mikhail Torrance: What he said. We're going to welcome it. Like I said, he's a senior, so I don't want to see his last game go out like this. So I'm going to play hard for him. So we're going to go at it. Coach Pearson did a great job preparing us, so we're just going to play hard and try to get the job done.
Q. In the Vanderbilt Game two players scored I guess 40 points. How do you contend with those two fellows this time?
COACH PEARSON: As I mentioned, we've got our hands full. For us, I think the first and foremost concern for us is around the gold. And I think Ogilvie for them has been such a force throughout the season. He had a nice game against us. Very big guy, very strong, very effective around the goal. Also makes him very difficult to guard away from the basket. He's very skilled player away from the goal. So we've got our hands full with him.
You know, I think bill has had an outstanding year, really coming on for them as a guard. And somebody that we'll really have to defend off the drive. He's a good perimeter shooter as well. Then I think Tinsley for them has been a real key for them. When he scores, they're usually very effective, I think.
We're going to focus our efforts on those guys. Then look at other players along their lineup. A guy like Taylor and George Drake. And there's a number of players for them that we're concerned about and that do a good job.
Q. Can you talk about just what this year's been like for you and have you given any thought about it's kind of near the end of this interim season for you? Is?
COACH PEARSON: Well, it's been a very interesting season, obviously, for us. With the change happening there in late January. You know, one thing I give a lot of credit to our players. I think our players have responded very well in a trying time. I'm very appreciative of their efforts and the way they've conducted themselves on and off the floor.
Obviously, personally, I'm very happy that towards the end of the season here I feel like we're playing some of our better basketball. Some of our best basketball. We've played better, we've had success. We've had some success away from our building which is something we hadn't had in a little while. Then we had a great finish at Tennessee on Sunday with a great shot there at the end.
So I think we realize that the end is drawing near. We're going to treat Vanderbilt as our championship game, and see what will happen in that game. Hopefully we'll have a chance to continue moving forward after that.