James Madison press conference transcript

The post-game press conference by James Madison after Indiana’s 83-62 win over the Dukes in the NCAA Tournament second round on Friday.

THE MODERATOR:  We’re now being joined by the head coach of James Madison, Matt Brady, as well as student‑athletes Andre Nation, Devon Moore, and Charles Cooke.

We’ll start with an opening statement by Coach Brady, and then after that we will open the floor for questions for our student‑athletes only, dismiss them, and we’ll open the floor for questions for Coach Brady.

COACH BRADY:  While I’m disappointed that we won’t be advancing in this tournament, I feel like we clearly lost to a better team today.  Watching them on tape and trying to prepare your team for Indiana is one thing, and then being on the court with them and having our team play against those guys with the speed and power with which they run play and the quickness with which they pass the ball was really impressive.

It will be a learning experience, especially for my younger guys.  Hats off to Indiana.  I thought they played a dynamite first half, and it really took us a first half to catch up to the speed with which they play the game.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

 

Q.  Devon, just talk about your emotions coming out of the game, checking out.  How did everything feel knowing that was the last time you check out of an NCAA game?

DEVON MOORE:  I mean, it’s definitely hard.  I definitely wanted to keep playing because I enjoyed every moment, just being around the coaching staff, these young guys.

This whole season, words can’t describe.  It’s been amazing.  I know I had it rough as far as what was going on with my mom, but I’ve got a great staff behind me that helped me through everything and great young players that helped me.

It definitely was hard, and I’m definitely going to miss everything about JMU and this program and everything because they’re family to me now.

 

Q.  Charles, Andre, just talk about tonight.  You guys took over basically on the ‑‑ in the statistic categories.  Do you feel like the torch was passed down to you guys?  Do you think that this is your team from now on moving forward?

CHARLES COOKE:  We just wanted to stay aggressive.  We just took the best shots available that we had.  We just wanted to play basketball and stay aggressive.

As far as that goes, next year we just want to come in, and we just want to play our game.  Of course we want to take a leadership role on the team, but we just want to stay aggressive, want to be smart, and make leadership decisions.

ANDRE NATION:  I feel just the same thing he said.  He basically just said everything.

 

Q.  For both of you again, how much do you think Devon, Ray, A.J., all the senior guys, how do you think they kind of taught you guys and helped you slip into this system?  Do you think they did a good job teaching you guys this year?

ANDRE NATION:  They took us underneath their wing from day one,  so I love them boys.  Those are my brothers, man.  It just hurts.  It just hurts, man.

CHARLES COOKE:  Same thing.  From day one they just taught us so much.  Even throughout the season, both of us, they just told us a lot of details about the game of basketball that we didn’t know coming into college basketball.

So for the most part, it was a tremendous help.  Just like Dre said, we’re going to miss them.  We’re sad we only have one year with them.  We wish we had another one.  It’s just unfortunate.

 

Q.  You guys have had so much success defensively this year.  What kind of challenges did they pose out on the perimeter for you guys?

DEVON MOORE:  That’s Indiana.  They’re a great school.  They’ve got great guards.  The speed that they play is unbelievable.  Like Coach always told us all year, run the spots and I finally realized what he was talking about, just seeing how their bigs run the floor, their guards run to the corner, deep corner.

So it was definitely hard at the beginning of the game, facing that type of speed because we’ve actually never seen nothing like that.  So hats off to Indiana.  They showed why they’re the number one team in the country.  I hope for the best for them.

ANDRE NATION:  He said it.  They ran.  They ran faster than any team we ever played.  They threw the first punch, and they threw another punch, and they kept throwing them, and we weren’t throwing any back.  So it was physical.

That’s not anything ‑‑ we haven’t seen that this year.  Like I said, they were more ready than we was.  They came prepared to play.

THE MODERATOR:  Andre, Devon, and Charles, thank you for your time.  Congratulations on your season.

We’ll open the floor now for questions for Coach Brady.

 

Q.  Coach, you ended the year last year in Richmond on crutches inside the Coliseum.  You ended this year inside the NCAA Tournament.  Just talk about how a new leaf was turned in JMU basketball this year.

COACH BRADY:  To be honest with you, I felt great about my team going into last season.  There were four of us on crutches during one point last season, me and three other players.  That’s one of the things about sports in general.  If you’re without your best players, you’re going to go through trials and tribulations.

We actually went through a lot of that this year.  Both Charles (Cooke) and Andre Nation are playing with injuries right now.  We have our backup center, who was going to play tonight, Gene Swindle, tore a ligament the other day.  Devon is dealing with what he’s dealing with.

So it’s been a time in my tenure to fight through an awful lot of injuries that I’ve never had to accomplish before I’ve come here.  It’s been a lot, but we’re proud of what we accomplished.

 

Q.  Matt, could you ‑‑ the start that Yogi Ferrell had for them, just kind of the way he kind of set the tone of the game, talk a little bit about it.

COACH BRADY:  He was awesome.  Again, we knew how fast he was.  We knew he’s really talented.  We know he’s the guy that kind of makes them go.

We thought we were trying to give him enough space, but, again, like the rest of their team, until you’re on the court with them, my guys couldn’t really catch up to the speed of the game, and I thought we did a better job in the second half.  They understood just how fast it was.

We made some bad decisions there trying to guard them.  We trapped the low post.  We came back out, and we closed on him too fast.  He’s obviously a talented young guy, and he means a lot to their team.  We had a hard time guarding him in the first half.  I thought we did a better job in the second half.

 

Q.  Coach, what was the message to the players throughout the time‑outs, throughout halftime, especially the seniors.  Was there ever a point during the game when you just kind of told them to enjoy their last few minutes as student‑athletes?

COACH BRADY:  Not really.  I said keep fighting.  I don’t think we did a good job of that the first 12 or 14 minutes of the first half.  I thought that our guys were really kind of caught off guard, and we told our guys to fight.

This isn’t why we’re here.  We got here playing a lot harder than this.  But, again, give all the credit to Indiana.

I thought in the second half we fought a lot harder.  We caught up to the pace of the game.  We were a little more comfortable with the pace of the game.  We made some more plays.  We were able to reverse the ball a little bit easier.  But their defense was high level, and they did a good job of taking Devon out of the game for the most part.  They tried to face guard him and take him out of the game, and he means a lot to our team.

 

Q.  Indiana’s next game is against Temple.  Any advice for Fran Dunphy?

COACH BRADY:  Fran doesn’t need my advice.  He’s one of the great coaches in the game.  I’ll enjoy watching the game.  Fran’s teams have always had an ability to manage the tempo.  That’s what we felt we had to do here in the NCAA Tournament.

I thought we did a better job in the first game, but there’s an obvious talent discrepancy between the first team and the second team, especially when you’re playing the No. 1 team in the country.

I think Fran’s teams compete, and they played more teams like this than my group has.

 

Q.  Charles and Andre looked pretty dejected up there.  How do you talk to these guys that are freshmen that there’s a very bright future for this program, and how do you get it across to them?

COACH BRADY:  What I say to our guys all the time, you have to work really hard to make sure you have a bright future because injuries have been a fact, a part of my tenure at JMU and before.  So we’ve got to work really hard in the off‑season.

But they saw up close and personal, firsthand, what it means to be part of a great team, watching it, playing against Indiana.  We’ll take some things from this and try to use it to make our program better.  In defeat, that’s what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to learn.

Certainly, we have young guys that are talented.  Two other guys, Taylor Bessick and Ron Curry, I thought didn’t play as well, but they’re good players.  We hope they learn from their experience, from this experience as well.

THE MODERATOR:  Matt, thank you for your time.  Congratulations on your season.