Buzz Williams at NCAA Tournament Presser
Buzz Williams
By DOS

Posted Mar 27, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We have joining us, Marquette Coach, Buzz Williams. Q. Coach, welcome to Washington D.C. and the East Regional hosted by Georgetown University. If you would give us an opening statement. COACH WILLIAMS: We're thankful to be here. The utmost respect for Coach L and his staff.

I think they do an incredible job. They have been the story of the year, rightfully so, 13 consecutive ACC wins, the ACC Player of the Year, first time ever unanimous Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC. All the notoriety, they're offensively active, but I think they're just as sound defensively.

Q. What impact do you think the loss of their center will have? COACH WILLIAMS: Just one less wide body. I don't think maybe it will. I don't think that it will necessarily change how they play. 23 will probably get more playing time would be the first thing. They will probably play small with 35 at the 5 like they did the last 5 minutes against Illinois, but I don't think anything schematically will changed.

Q. Do you remember Trey McKinney Jones coming out of Milwaukee?

COACH WILLIAMS: No, I don't think I was living in Milwaukee see, I know who Tray is, he's been to the gym, he's played during open gym with our kids, great kid. I wasn't in Milwaukee at the time.

Q. Buzz, interesting combination of coaching personality, you and Coach L, throwing out Muhammad Ali and you're the high energy guy out on the court. I'm wondering is there something about you that people don't know that plays against the Buzz stereo type that we have about you?

COACH WILLIAMS: I think a lot of it did does. I'm not concerned about my reputation as much as I am my character. If you only see me on game day, probably what you think of me is I wouldn't say diametrically opposed, but it's distinctly different. But to try to be somebody I'm not, I can't do that. I have great respect for Coach Jim Larranaga, I think he's pure in how he goes about things. I think he's a guy that someone at this point in my career can look up to, because I think he does it for the right reasons.

I don't think he is in our industry for selfish motivation or for ego. Who I am is who I am, and how you perceive me is, I would say, is inaccurate, but I don't have time to argue about it.

Q. Can you give one example?

COACH WILLIAMS: Just that I'm I don't know. I don't know how you perceive me, so maybe you perceive me in the right way.

Q. Those of us who have seen you play all year long have seen your rotation, ten deep, and it was very pronounced at the Rutgers game and you went offense for defense with Derick and Junior so much, against Butler it seemed to be driven by the game. How much of that will we see going forward and is it determined by game?

COACH WILLIAMS: It's all game specific, scouting report specific. I think in a lot of ways we play like a football team as far as how we coach and operate. You know in practice we do offensive breakdown things, defensive breakdown drills. We have a special team segment.

All of the hullabaloo about the subs, we're trying to win that possession. I think our job is to or my job is to put ourselves as best we can, in the best possible position to win. I'm also aware that we're probably going to be in a one or two possession game, so an out of bounds play at 19:40 on the clock in the first half is just as important as the out of bounds play with 2.7 seconds left, sideline out of bounds. Maybe that's radical in how I think, but it's the truth.

Q. Can you take me back to earlier in the season when you decided on Davante and Chris's role and did that go better than you expected?

COACH WILLIAMS: It's gone better than ever expected throughout their careers because Chris has been able to stay healthy. This is the longest time in Chris's career that he's been able to be in every practice and be in every game.

His maturation through that process has skewed the development of our team in a positive way, because he's been a guy that we can count on.

I think because of his injury, you know, when you say ACL, when is RG 3 going to be back? Whenever he comes back he's not going to be the same guy that day. But by Thanksgiving he's better than he was at Labor Day and that's what has happened with Chris. He's much more confident, his body is in a better position than it was. Immediately once he was released from the doctor, he's better than that day. Because he has improved and because our team has improved he's become a stable foundation in addition to Davante. Those two guys working against one other every day has been healthy. Very few teams because everything becomes ball screen coverage, very few teams have true 5s and sometimes that's against you. If the game is going fast and there are multiple ball screens per possession, sometimes you aren't going to be able to play or have the impact with the 5s that you want unless on the other end you can make them pay for being small.

I completely understand that because most of our career here we have played small. Not necessarily by choice but that's how we've played. I think having both those guys healthy from start to finish has been something we have never had. Chris got hurt December 8th of last year, Davante gets knocked down in the last possession at Villanova last year. We coached multiple teams last year because of injuries.

This year we have been fortunate, Van had a runny nose one game and didn't play, but other than that everybody has played.

Q. Buzz, you were telling us on Saturday night when a frantic week last week was. Your wife wound up in the hospital in Lexington. How is she and how did you kind of get things back to normal since Saturday?

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, she's progressing, thanks for asking. As best she can. We had Sunday off, which was good. I guess we got home around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. We were off on Sunday, kids went to school yesterday or Monday, and went to school most of Tuesday, and then we practiced and left. So our itinerary this week and last week has been pretty much the same. I was able to spend the night in the hotel last night which is different than what I did last Tuesday night.

Q. What condition did she have?

COACH WILLIAMS: Her appendix was about to burst. That's never happened to me, but I've been in the delivery room and my wife delivered all four children of ours naturally, and I've never seen her in that sort of pain with her appendix.

They were giving her morphine in the lobby before she had been checked in, and the ambiance of the hospital wasn't great. I think Robert Morris was up 8 when we checked in, so she took a lot of morphine to calm her down and she had surgery about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning of last week. So she is doing fine. Like I said on Saturday night, she is tougher than all of us so hopefully they will be able to come to the game tomorrow and she wasn't able to be there the last two games so I'm glad she is here now.

Q. I'm curious, your thoughts. As the coaching carousel begins in college basketball, how much time do you think a coach should get to turn things around? Is there an appropriate time? When you look at some of these hiring's and firings, your thoughts?

COACH WILLIAMS: I have a lot of thoughts on that. That's a broad question. I'm compassionate toward guys that lose their jobs. I have hired a lot of guys that have lost their job and I will continue to hire a lot of guys that have lost their job. What's changed in our business is the money. So guys get paid a lot of money and with that money, expectations are somewhat out of whack. You guys get paid a lot of money, even though you think that you don't, but in comparison to your industry 20 years ago it probably mirrors our industry.

There is a lot of anxiousness involved. I think that too much of it centers around money, but obviously I understand because I'm on the positive end of that as of today, and that's why I'm compassionate toward guys that maybe didn't have a full run for their chance. What is that number? I would say you should be able to guys normally get jobs in April and it's extremely hard to try to have a really good recruiting class in November. So the guys that are fired early, typically means their first two recruiting classes, there was too much washed out, whatever happened, bad players, bad people, and you can't miss. Because if you miss, even though it won't be identified in years one and two, by years three and four it is identifiable and sometimes it's too hard to overcome.

But I think a coach should have a full cycle of recruiting. Recruit, sign, coach, then go through that kid's career and at that moment in time I think you have a good feel for where they're at.

I think the other thing is, in that process, you would hope that you build equity with your institution, with your administration, with your alumni. Sometimes that happens, sometimes that doesn't.

Q. In all the places you've been, have you ever been around a team that's been able to maintain its health quite like this one?

COACH WILLIAMS: No, I told our team when we started Michael in mid October that every day, when we prayed before practice and every game when we prayed I was going to specifically pray for their health, because last year was just brutal in regards to I thought last year Michael was our best team, when you looked at our roster, when you looked complexion, the talent, from a recruiting perspective. We go to the Virgin Islands, we're in a good groove, we win at Wisconsin, you know how hard that is to do, we're excited to play in the Jimmy V., Chris goes for that loose ball and it shocked me as much as it did our players. Then you play six games trying to figure out how you're going to adjust and Davante goes out against Villanova so now all of the sudden Jay who had played spot minutes at the 3 is exclusively inside with Jamil. Injuries are such a part of all that we do, so for us to have maintained our health, I have not seen that in my 19 years in Division I.

Q. You've, under your run, Marquette has developed a great feel for playing their best in March and really delivering clutch, as you did last weekend. Where does that come from? Does that start right when you recruit? Do you think about it every day? What goes into being able to do that?

COACH WILLIAMS: Good question. I don't know that you can appoint it to one thing or two things but I do think that you can point to culture. What is your culture, what is your culture not in March you can't just wait till March. It has to be your work is done in the silence, and that's what's so hard, because nobody sees it and nobody hears it. That work that you do in silence will come out, and it will be revealed positively or negatively, and so I think that in our tenure we've been accountable per day, not necessarily game day. So that doesn't necessarily mean that everything we do is right. I'm not saying that it's that way, I'm not saying that it's wrong, either. I'm saying it's what we believe in. Whether you're a recruit or a trainer or a manager, everybody understands our culture, otherwise they quit really quickly.

There were people upset with me because of our transfer rate, transfers that I signed and kids that transferred from our program. And I understand that, but once you get in the culture, you find out really quick if you fit, and if you don't fit, obviously you don't want to be a part of it and that's going to happen. But I think it's not one or two things it's collectively the umbrella of everything that you do throughout the year.

Q. Can you talk about the guard match up and your impressions of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott in particular?

COACH WILLIAMS: They're as good as any backcourt in the country, bar none. Statistically, playing time, defensively. Like I said in the opening statement which is a waste of time, those guys get so much notoriety offensively that you're not able to express defensively how good they are.

Those guys are both pros. I would say probably both long time pros. They have great intangibles, you can see it by watching them play.

They play great together. Everybody within their team understands their strengths and weaknesses and when your guards understand that, I think that makes the players around them much better.

THE MODERATOR: Keep it to a sentence or two, Coach.

COACH WILLIAMS: You should say it's not your question it's your response.

Q. You were saying injuries are such a big part of what you do, could you explain the impact of Reggie Johnson not playing?

COACH WILLIAMS: That shouldn't count. Did you just show up? We've already asked and answered that question. Get it off this lady here transcribing it.


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