Quotes from the 2005 Men's Basketball Media Day-

Head Coach Al Walker

"We like our backcourt very much from an experience, talent and toughness standpoint. Mike Gordon came on like gangbusters in the second of (last ) season. I think Andre Heard is one of the most talented players in the league and Troy Hailey has a chance to be a very good player as he continues to grow and understand his responsibilities. But we also like Sebastian Hermenier and Jordan Fifian up front. We also have two terrific redshirt players in Ian Milne and Giovanni Olomo and we brought some good frontcourt players. Initially positions one, two and three is where we are going but as this team grows, I'm going to like our front line too."

"I think this team is a (mentally) tough group and if we get out of the gate early with some Ws, I think this team has a chance to be very good."

On the importance of the team's backcourt play

"It starts with Mike Gordon. This is the first year since Anthony Green was a senior that we have a point guard who I think really understands how to play the position. When the ball is in Mike's hands, he understands how to get the ball to Troy, Andre and to the low post. The chemistry and the leadership that he provides gives everyone else a chance to grow and flourish. It starts with Mike and then it comes down to our experience and our toughness."

On the importance of an up-tempo transition game

"We have hung around the low 60s and have been very good defensively in the league. We have been a very good rebounding team. Our shooting percentage and our points per game have to be up if we are going to make a run this year. I think we are deeper and with Mike's ability to pass the ball, I believe that we got a more intellegent and better-passing team on the floor and we look to push our points per game into the low 70s. If we can do that, I think we are going to be in great shape."

On the team's frontcourt shooting

"There is a lot of versatility in the post positions. Sebastian is a comfortable face-up post player. Ian Milne is a very comfortable face-up post player. We brought young man in named Duane James who is another very good face-up player. But we do have to have production from the back-to-the-basket guy. Fifian has been working hard down there. Giovanni Olomo has been working hard down there in the practice environment. Jaan Montgomery, a very large freshman, has a chance to be a very good player. We feel the pieces are in place. Now it's a matter of growth and a continued work ethic."

On hosting the America East Conference Tournament again this season

"Having the tournament here (last season) was unbelievable. It was a big-time basketball environment. Everyone involved got a taste of what I feel was NCAA caliber basketball. The league is wide open this year and we believe we are a better team than last season. We have a chance to be a top team coming down the stretch. To host the tournament again this year is a very significant opportunity for us and we have to take advantage of it."

Junior guard Troy Hailey

"Last year, we start off slow but picked it up late in the year. This year, we can come in first place (in the America East Conference) or last place. It's up to us, depending on how hard we work."

On the team's guards

"This year, we have tons of guards. On any given night, whoever (of the guards) is not getting it done, they will be replaced."

On the importance of the team's transition game

"The goal is to get up and down the floor as quick as possible. Last year, we didn't have a lot of layups. This year, we want to make that happen. "

Senior guard Schafer Jackson

"We're feeling real good about this season. We have been working hard this preseason. We have a lot of returning guys coming back and we got some new guys so we're feeling real good about competing in the league this year."

"We got a lot of guys who can step in and contribute in the backcourt plus Sebastian's coming back, Jordan's coming back and we got some new guys in the front court so it should be a good year."

Senior guard Andre Heard

"We got a lot of athletes back there (in the backcourt) who can run and put the ball in the hole. We got some shooters. We may be more guard-oriented this year but we are still going to need our big men. You might be a bit surprsied what they can make for with heart."

On hosting the America East Tournament for the second year in a row

"It (last season's conference tournament) was a great atmosphere. It was my first time playing in a Division I tournament. It was great to get the first win. We are excited to have it here again."

Senior forward Sebastian Hermenier

"This year the (America East) conference is wide open. Vermont lost two great players. Boston lost some great players. It's up in the air right now and we feel confident with the group of guys we have. We feel like there are good things to come."

"This year's team a little smaller than last year but what we lose in size we make up with quickness. It is going to be a more up-pace game this year but we have to run on defense and on offense."

Sophomore guard Mike Gordon

On the team's transition game

"That's one of my advantages. I like to push the ball up the court and this year, we have people who are athletic who will get the job done."

On the team's backcourt

"We are going to make it a lot easier for our big men. We have shooters on the wing who can also get the ball in the post. If those players can't in the lane one-on-one, they can just get the ball back out to the wing."

Sophomore forward Jordan Fifian

"Coach has us on that transition workout. I grew up doing that in high school and a lot of the guys did the same thing. We are going to be smaller in size, obviously, but we are okay with that because we like to get out and run. The easiest basket is a layup. If we can get enough layups, that's where we want to be."

On the team's front court

"There are a lot of questions about losing the post players we did but for me and Sebastian, that is a challenge. We are going to have to run. We are going to have to get our baskets in transition. We got to get our rebounds and make our pull-up jumpers which all of us (up front) are very capable of."


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