Tops talk New Orleans

4 03 2010

A couple of excerpts from Tuesday’s media availability with regard to WKU’s first round opponent on Saturday: New Orleans. 

WKU coach Ken McDonald:

— On the possibility of injured guard – and leading scorer – Billy Humphrey returning for Saturday’s game. New Orleans coach Joe Pasternack told our good friends over at the College Heights Herald recently that Humphrey is questionable for the game. That said, it appears WKU is preparing for him nonetheless:

“That’s an 18-point per game scorer that started his career in the SEC and they have a team that played us very tough in the first half (earlier this season at E.A. Diddle Arena). We have some things to get ready for and the biggest one is understanding that we only have 40 minutes left.”

— On New Orleans’ overall guard play in general – and how a return by Humphrey could improve more than most think

“All you have to do is look at our team when we got Sergio (Kerusch) back. You had 15 to 18 points (more) on the board. (Humphrey) has a lot of energy, he can score, he’s tough, he’s been tested, he played in the SEC for two-plus years and understands how to play. He’s very dangerous. Their other guards did a great job against us as well. They were aggressive driving the ball, had some great finishes and we never could put them away until the end.”

— On this possibly being the last time New Orleans will ever play a Division 1 basketball game – as the Privateer program is scheduled to move to D-III next season due to financial constraints:

“This is their last go-around, their last chance to make a run and they could have a storybook ending to this thing. They’ve had some rough times themselves and you know they have some toughness to them.

“It’s a little sad. If you’re a basketball fan, you know the tradition of New Orleans all the way back when (former coach) Tim Floyd was there, they had that place rocking. You look at everything the city’s gone through, and that’s a big part of it, and it’s disappointing for those players who sign up for one thing and end their career another way. Your hearts go out to them and understand that they’re having a difficult time, you hope that all their situations work out. They’re getting an education, you hope they finish that, some kids could transfer and you hope they land on their feet that way.

“As a team, we’ll talk about that this week – put yourself in those shoes, how hard would you play? We talk about this possibly being our last game, this really could be their last game. They’re desperate. We feel for them, but we’re competing. We use the reference ‘come out swinging’ a lot, but they’re really going to come out swinging and they’re not going to stop. We have to expect to get their best shot, we have to handle that and be aggressive ourselves and really understand that we control our own destiny from here on out. We put 40 minutes together, play hard and together like we have been playing – then I like our chances of advancing, I really do.”

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