To view photos from the 2013 MVC Tournament luncheon, click HERE.
The team also met the media. Here's a transcript from Thursday's press conference:
AN INTERVIEW WITH: Greg McDermott, Grant Gibbs, Doug McDermott, Gregory Echenique
THE MODERATOR: Creighton Bluejays are next.
Welcome to the number one seeded
Creighton Bluejays with head coach Greg McDermott, along with his players Grant
Gibbs, Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Doug McDermott, and
Gregory Echenique. We'll start with a
statement from Coach McDermott.
COACH McDERMOTT: We're just excited to find out who we
play. We feel like we're back playing
some of our better basketball, at least in the last four weeks or five weeks or
so, more similar to how we played in December and early January. We seem to have maybe gotten our legs back
and (into) a little bit more of an attack mode on the offensive end than when
we were going through that tough stretch.
We've defended well enough. For the most part, we rebounded well enough
to put ourselves in a position to win, but there's a little bit more spark on
the offensive end than we had for some time, and that was good to see. We had to go on the road to Bradley and
obviously beat Wichita in the final game to put ourselves in position to win
Couldn't be more proud of my
team. We look forward to hopefully
what's a great three days here.
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for Coach
Coach, sitting here with the end of the season, with everything that's
happened, the awards that these guys have picked up, everything in perspective,
how do you rank this season among some of the others that you've coached?
COACH McDERMOTT: I've said this before. I think one of the hardest things to do in
sports is to do what you're supposed to do.
And I'm able to achieve the expectations that are laid upon you. We were picked to win the league, and we
found a way to do it.
I don't know what the numbers are,
but my guess is somewhere around a third of the teams that were picked as preseason
conference champions are going to end up actually being conference champions.
So it's much more difficult to be
picked to win the league and win the league than it is to be picked to finish
eighth and finish fourth. So in that
regard, I'm very, very proud of what this group has accomplished because we
went through a really tough stretch, and all the pressure was on us, and we
found a way out of it. That's a credit
to these guys. In particular, like the
guys up here that are leaders on our basketball team.
It's been a very rewarding
season. We hadn't won a championship at
Creighton for a long time. To be able to
bring that back to Omaha is very gratifying.
Greg, can you talk about the tough stretch you went through, what pulled
you out, and what can you do as a coach to try to pull a team out of a tough
COACH McDERMOTT: Our message was to stay the course and make
sure that were when you have 18,000 fans in every game, you've got a lot of
assistant coaches that have ideas when things go bad. Because of the Internet and the power of the
Internet and Twitter and Facebook and everything, some of those things become
prevalent in the social media.
It's hard to put blinders on to
that. Our message to the team was, I
don't care what's going on outside of our locker room. Inside of our locker room, we're not going to
point any fingers or make any excuses.
We have to get better. We have to
do things better than we've been doing.
I think staying close enabled us to
dig our way out of it. Because I didn't
ever see in a team situation where these guys began to turn on each other or
question what we were asking them to do.
Again, that's a credit to their character and the way they were able to
fight through that.
Do you guys have a preference in terms of the style of play you'd like
to see in this first round matchup and also just a little bit about each team.
COACH McDERMOTT: I've watched a lot of film of both,
obviously. One minute I want to play
Drake, the next minute I want to play Bradley.
I think they both certainly have some strengths. Obviously, Drake really put it on us in the
first half in Des Moines, and we were able to dig out of it and make it a game
late and then not quite be able to finish it.
Drake's got so many people that can
shoot the basketball, really oftentimes have four guys that can shoot the three‑point
shot on the floor, and they spread you out.
I think they're a little bit deeper than Bradley perhaps.
On the other hand, Bradley, I think,
Walt Lemon, Jr. and Dyricus Simms‑Edwards are the best guard duo in our
league. I think there's strengths on
Really I want to know who we're
going to play so we can get time to work on it and spend some time in the ball
room and walking through it to make sure these guys are ready and can move on
COACH McDERMOTT: You have to make sure you win the first
game. It doesn't make any difference if
we don't win the first one. Our
substitution pattern won't be any different unless the game would dictate
otherwise. We'll play the first one and
see how it goes.
The reality of it is we have not
gone very hard this week in practice. My
guess is their legs are feeling as good as they have in some time because we
really tried to back off to get ourselves ready for this weekend.
Coach, Doug has a shot to become Creighton's all‑time leading scorer
this weekend. What would that mean to
see him accomplish something like that at this university?
COACH McDERMOTT: It will mean more when the season is over and
you look back on it, and it's nice to have your players accomplish some
individual goals and have individual awards.
It's much more satisfying when that's done, when your team is really
successful. I'm confident Doug feels the
It will be a great honor and
something 15 years from now you look back on and realize how special it
is. But what makes it special is it's
part of a very good team and a very good season.
Greg, with all the chatter being revved up pretty hot and heavy,
especially today about the new league, are you worried at all about that
becoming a distraction this weekend?
COACH McDERMOTT: Myself, my staff, and my team is not on the
need‑to‑know list. So there's no chatter
going on with us. We know nothing.
There are a lot of people who have
known me a long time would agree with that, that I know nothing. We haven't been let in on that. Obviously, the chatter is out there, but it's
not going to ‑‑ won't impact our preparation.
THE MODERATOR: We'll move to questions for the student‑athletes,
Grant Gibbs, Doug McDermott, and Gregory Echenique. Front right center.
This is for all three of you guys, picking up on what coach said about the
toughest thing to do is actually what you're supposed to do. Can you guys talk about the journey this year
of actually accomplishing what people said you were supposed to.
THE MODERATOR: Doug, let's start with you.
DOUG McDERMOTT: Yeah, like he said, it's so hard to do
that. Especially when there's so many
expectations going into the year. Just
the way our season went, starting off really hot, 17‑1, we were feeling really
good. We hit the grind of the Valley, we
had a couple of tough stretches where we lost three games in a row at one
To still have a chance to win the
Missouri Valley title against Wichita, it just meant everything to us. We let it all out on the floor. It felt great to get that championship.
THE MODERATOR: Gregory, please chime in.
GREGORY ECHENIQUE: Building off of that, how you said it, does
that make us a bigger target? I think
we've always got every team's best shot.
I think that definitely made it harder on us. I think it also builds some character and us
being able to recover from that stretch and being able to accomplish what we're
supposed to do. I think it says a lot
about us. I think maybe any other team
could just panic and not recover from a stretch like that.
I think, like I said, we have some ups
and downs, but I think we're all where we want to be, and hopefully we can do
something special this weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Grant, it's up to you.
GRANT GIBBS: It's taxing to, like these guys said, take
your best shot every night, but that kind of comes with the territory.
Like I said, going through that
tough stretch, looking for answers, I think we found our answers just getting
back to who we were, and being there for each other kind of gave us a shot to
win the conference at the end and we took advantage of it.
For Greg and Grant, seniors, last hurrah here, any extra added
motivation your last season? Being a
Number 1 seed, nothing, obviously, guaranteed comes with that.
GREGORY ECHENIQUE: Personally, I like to not think much about
that stuff, even the last game when it was Wichita in the last game of the
season, and people kept asking me that, and I just don't like to think about it
Preparing myself, it means a lot,
and I know it's my last one, but I'm not letting it add anything extra. I think doing that will just add pressure
that's not needed. I think we just go
out there and play and just enjoy these guys and the company, and things will
go the way they need to go.
GRANT GIBBS: I agree with him completely. Just preparing for each game the same way my
whole career. The same goes for these
guys, whether you're the 1 seed or 8 seed, whether you're a freshman or senior,
you've got to prepare the same way and be ready to go.
THE MODERATOR: That was Gregory first and Grant second.
Doug, obviously, your father is the head coach. How does that relationship off the court
transition to success on the court, not only this year but in previous seasons?
DOUG McDERMOTT: We've always had a good relationship off the
court. Me being around the coach my
whole life, I got a chance to go to all his practices and just be around his
guys and learn things from them. I feel
like that had me ready for college a little more than maybe some other guys
would have going into college.
We've certainly had our ups and
downs from freshman year to now. Now it
doesn't even feel like I'm playing for my dad.
It just feels like a normal coach, and he doesn't treat me any
different. It's been a great, great ride
Doug, a two‑parter. First, how
was it? I know the Senior Day, fans
chanting "one more year," "stay," all these things. You're on campus. You're not insulated to the buzz around
you. How do you compartmentalize the
focus you guys have had versus the NBA talk, the pro talk, with all the
Second part, what's it like having
your father being a dunking sensation on the web right now?
DOUG McDERMOTT: First off, he's got as many dunks as I do
this year. It's great to see. I mean, about those chants and stuff, it's
definitely really cool. If he would have
told me this three years ago, I would have called you crazy. Just to even be in this situation is really
I try not to think too much about
the future, just try and take care of business each day at a time. Good things will happen.
Obviously, you have a shot at the all‑time scoring mark here this
weekend. It's not your first priority,
but what would it mean ‑‑ like your dad said, 15 years down the road and
look back and see your name at the top of that list.
DOUG McDERMOTT: It would be cool, but like he said, it all
comes down to winning and how good my team's been and how successful we've
handled things. I think that would mean
a lot much more to me. Certainly, it is
cool to see my name with some of those names that ‑‑ some of the great
players that have played at Creighton, but winning would mean that much more to
Hey, guys, just thoughts on the two opponents you potentially face, what
you've seen, the strengths and weaknesses out of each of them.
GRANT GIBBS: Both really good teams. Obviously, Drake beat us at their place, and
like Coach said, they've got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball. They spread the floor. Obviously, Bradley, extreme life‑like
backcourt, they turn you over. Between
those two, two really good teams that played well all year.
DOUG McDERMOTT: Just like he said, we played Bradley most
recently. We're more familiar with
them. Either team, they're both good
teams. We're going to be ready.
GREGORY ECHENIQUE: I agree.
The fact that we already played this team twice doesn't really affect
us. I think we'll be ready for whatever
it is. I'm sure we'll try to watch part
of the game today. I think it's going to
be actually a really good game. Looking
forward to see who it will be.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much.
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