The outrage machine in Michigan is frothing at the mouth that Jahmar Young has not heard of Kalin Lucas.
How dare those New Mexico peasants not know their place. Don't they realize that Lucas is famous?
Who does Jahmar Young think he is by not being properly obsequious to his betters in the power conferences?
Never heard of Kalin Lucas? It's an outrage!
If Lucas is such a good point guard why does Michigan State turn the ball over so much?
Anyway, here's a fairly complete transcript of the press conference at which Jahmar dared to admit he lives is a world not centered on Michigan State basketball.
If you read the whole thing you are a certified basketball addict. Seek treatment immediately!
OK, you can wait till early April, but no longer!
On those who have doubted the NMSU program:
JY: As far as doubters, we just have our own fan base and as a team we know what we have to do. The doubters really don’t concern us because we don’t know who they are. If they come to light we still don’t care. Wee we got to play we come to win the game
JY: I don’t even know anything about Michigan State not at all.
Wen: As soon as this is over we’re going to start looking at some film and get ready, get prepared.
About the Michigan State program:
Wen: There a perennial power. They’re a powerhouse – they got a big name. When I think of those types of schools they had to start from somewhere. As soon as they built the school it wasn’t like “Oh this is going to be a powerhouse,” they had to start from somewhere and we feel like we got something going and we’re looking to make a name for ourselves here. It’s going to be a good game and we have as much talent as anybody in the country and it’s time for us to go out and show and prove it.
Does beating teams like Nevada and Utah State give you confidence going into the tournament?
JY: We always had the confidence, we just put it together late. We had little bumps and bruises. We’ll be okay. We’ll put it together now we know what we want. Now we know what we got to do to win.
How has the team stayed focused?
JY: Wendell and Troy came back. That was a big boost believe it or not. People say we were OK but it really showed when they came back how vital they were for the team. For the most part we got our full team back. We haven’t been able to go full force with any team. Now we got our team we are ready for whatever. I can say for the whole team we came to play and it’s a battle. We’re not laying down for anyone. We don’t care who you are or where you’re from you better watch out.
Big 10 is known for playing physical basketball …
Wen: What am I known for?
JY: We’re inner-city kids we’re physical all our life.
Is that a good thing?
Wendell I know your not going to shy away from them.
Wen: Push me, I’m pushing you back, that’s all I got to say. We’re not, we’re supposed to be intimidated? That’s not a characteristic of anybody on this team. That’s not a characteristic of our coaching staff. We’re not here to say it’s going to be easy, we know it’s going to be a task. We’re not laying down. We’re going to come out fighting.
You guys can play multiple styles, is that an advantage for you guys?
Wen: We are just going to do whatever it takes to win because we’re all great players and we just want to go out and claw to win. We got to do whatever it takes to win.
I that part of your strategy, just do whatever it takes to win?
JY: By any means necessary.
Wen: By any means, and we all got that mentality. It took us this long to find out that it’s easier for us to win when we’re playing together because we all got the same mentality.
No matter who we play against we like our five against anybody.
Coming together late, is that going to make it harder for Michigan State?
JY: Any other team, whoever. Michigan State is just the first team we’re going to play. We don’t have any cut cards, We didn’t pick the draft, we didn’t pick the brackets. We didn’t say we wanted to play Michigan State, they lined ’em up and we’re going to play ’em.
Jahmar at the selection show you said your wanted Michigan State.
JY: I had a feeling you know, when I was younger I’ve got family from Flint, Michigan and Grand Rapids, so when I seen the Green I just stood up. Oh, how ironic would this be. I knew, I had a gut instinct and this is how I was when I was younger, and hey, I’m ready for it.
They have a pretty big name in Kalin Lucas …
Kalin Lucas is their point guard, you’ve never heard of him before?
They have some good guards is that something that your looking forward to going up against?
JY: Of course. We don’t shy away from battles we like tough games. It’s also a plus to play a name, what’s his name?
JY: Kalin Lucas? It’s always good to play a name like that, I’ve really never heard of him but is he’s good it’ll show We got Hernst Laroche, Jahmar Young, Wendell McKines, Troy Gillenwater, Jonathan Gibson let’s go on we’ll be OK (Paul Weir walks in the room) we got Paul Weir as our coach. So that’s our main focus, we don’t care about names we’re going to bring our game not our name. This is really from the bottom of my heart.
I mean this, this is personal you know, everybody say don’t take it personal this is business, this is both. This is personal first, just because how you say the name, I’ve never heard the name. This means a lot to me, as well as my team.
Wen: He’s right.
On giving the coach a terrible time.
Of course we have. You know we’re just kids who think we know it all at times. You know we’re just missing our shots, we should run this play. Coach is calling the play we’re just not executing it. It puts a little doubt within ourselves and at the same time we got to give the coach all the credit.
He could have lost all his hair dealing with us but he’s still managed to look the way he does and all the credit goes to coach for believing in us, not benching us and just the uncertainty we had at the beginning of the year, everybody got in trouble. I was in trouble, Wendell was in trouble, Troy was in trouble. It was minute but everybody blew it up, people took it out of proportion, but we’re here now. For everybody that was on the blog talking bad about us now we want respect, now we be here and I really don’t care. We’re here and we’re her to stay.
You got some swagger, can you explain the way you guys play? I know Michigan State is trying to figure out what team you may be similar to they’ve already played this year.
JY: You know what? Really its nobody because your got a guard from the east coast, a guard from Canada, another small forward from the west coast. Another guy that’s a starter comes off the bench comes from the East Coast. It’s so many talents mixed as one as a unit.
We’re just like scrappy little lions, we’re not going to give up. We’re going to come with everything we got. I’ve never seen Michigan State play, I’ve seen them in previous years. I don’t understand their style of play, I know they rebound good, I heard about them being No.1 one in the Big Ten but other than that, we’ve got to rebound too, so we’ve just got to put a body on them like they’re going to do us.
What are your expectations for the game?
JY: Expectations? Play hard, win big.
If you guys make their shots they wont get a chance to rebound.
JY: That’s it
Wen: ExactlyAt that point the players left the room and Coach Marvin Menzies entered.
MM: Trophy and everything, huh?
What’s your reaction to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s statement?
MM: Just very happy. He gave me a call yesterday and we talked for a little bit. Actually when he called me I didn’t realize the proclamation was going to be “lets all cheer for the Aggies on Friday.” We just visited for a while and talked about what it meant to the state and it was a nice, pleasant surprise.
Do you know if the governor is going to be in Spokane or San Jose?
MM. I don’t know, hopefully he’ll be in St. Louis next weekend.
Clicking of cameras.
MM: Is this a photo session or a press conference?
Coach Izzo said he doesn’t have any regrets about the way he’s handled things, like you guys he went through some adversity this year.
MM: I’m kind of oblivious to their whole deal. I get in a sphere of what is New Mexico State and what we need to deal with. I’ve got enough on my plate to worry about. I don’t have enough time to even know the dynamics of what different kids were suspended for.
It’s amazing sometimes, you talk to other coaches who know so much about what’s going on at other programs and it just blows my mind cause I don’t, I have no clue of what they’ve been through or what they’re going through.
That’s obviously part of what being a head coach is – putting out fires during the course of the year so you get to the tournament, that’s what I was asking.
MM: You’ve heard me say a thousand times how a season is like a lifetime.
In life you have adversity and the same thing with a season. You have adversity and I think how you deal with it is a testament to kid’s characters evolving.
Anyone could say “well you do this, you should do that.”
That’s easy, the tough part is actually doing it and repairing and learning, growing from any type of adversity. I think sometimes when you don’t have adversity and things are always easy going and you’re winning a bunch of games early and everything’s going well, then all of a sudden you hit a bit of a wall and you haven’t had to deal with it earlier in the year. Then you’re getting a lesson late in life sometimes when you would have been better suited to get it earlier.
At least for us a lot of the trials that we’ve had were timely if there is such a thing.
Have you been able to watch much Michigan State in the season?
MM: None. A couple of games just casually when they were playing a friend’s team or something like that. I saw the Minnesota game and I’m friendly with Tubby, obviously we go back and have the same lineage and Joe Esposito director of operations there is one of my best friends so I watched that game. A little bit of the Florida game. Richard Pitino and I know Billy and we’re all from that Patino family.
The two games I did see they lost, so I hope that didn’t jade my perception of who we have to face.
We’re on the grind now as far as getting our preparation together and we’ve been living in front of the TV trying to get a good feel of what’s going to be in store for us Friday.
You’re going to watch at least one more Michigan State game.
MM: Yeah, that one will be. I won’t even consider that watching, I’ll be evaluating that one while it unfolds.
JY and Wendell are pretty confident. Are they looking forward to getting NMSU out there?
MM: I think so, I think both of them are real Aggies, they got a lot of pride.
We’ve been talking about that from day one when we came here as freshmen, continuing to work on the branding and the labeling and building the program an all those lessons that we talked about and it’s nice to see them be such a significant part of this development. It’s taken a little while and we’ve had our ups and downs but that’s like any program, any business, anything you’ve got to go through some stuff to make it worth it when you come out on the other side.
JY was definitely confident.
MM: He came in with confidence. He’s like Jason (Groves) said, he’s one of those guys that he just he works so hard on his game, he’s a true gym rat. You’ve heard me say before, and when you have that type of work ethic and passion you’re going to have confidence when the time comes.
Does he really not know Kalin like he says?
MM: He probably really doesn’t. I’m sure he’s heard his name, I don’t know. JY is a different character, man, he’s focused, man, that kid is going to be successful and he’s going to make a lot of money one day.
How is Hamidu Rahman's leg?
MM: Hamidu’s not as gimpy as he was right after the game and the next day he was very sore cause he had a cramp that just wouldn’t stop cramping. So he ended up having some soreness the next day. The professionals tell me that he’ll be fine. We’ll see how it goes today up and down the floor and we’ll get a better feel.
How would you describe Michigan State?
MM: Tough, well coached, disciplined, blue collar, very good rebounding team, very good execution team. They run very well when given the opportunity. They have a lot of positives in their résumé so we got to be prepared to play.
The two teams seem to mirror each other.
MM: We’ve got some things in common. I don’t know that we’re as tough as they are on the glass and as well trained.
I think that’s one of coach Izzo’s trademarks, his ability to get his teams to emphasize the rebounding portion of the game. We don’t do that at the same level that he does we spread our (emphasis) around a little bit more. They’re one of the best in the country at it as a result. It’s something they focus on every day.
Is this a strong of a five seed as your could play in this tournament?
MM: Of the five seeds, it’s my opinion they’re the strongest, but this is all speculation at this point. The first round is “go out, lace ’em up, play your best ball.”
Hopefully you’re playing very well at this time of year. We always talk about that. This is when you want to be playing your best ball. We’re doing that and whether that’s good enough to get another victory, you know, our mantra is to just win one more. That hasn’t changed, that was our mantra through the year. We’ll stay on target with that .
How many fans would you like to see out there?
MM: As many as possible. I think well get some people to cheer for us just because we’re the twelve seed, which is fine with me. I could care less why you’re yelling for us, just yell for us.
We look forward to having support and we’re bring a good group with us, I have some family and friends coming out who are pretty loud individuals, I don’t know how much they’ll be able to impact the crowd but it’ll be fun and it’ll be a great environment to play in.
Tickets are selling lie crazy now.
MM: I’ve heard that. I haven’t kept up on that all that much, I thought we had a great showing for what we had to bring to the table for the WAC tournament. Our crowd was phenomenal. We weren’t the biggest crowd or the largest in terms of numbers, but we were definitely into it and passionate. It seemed like every fan there was a real fan and invested and hung out after the game and went to the celebration with us and the party after and the whole deal.
It was really a nice high and a great environment and hopefully we can keep that growing and that’s part of the paradigm were trying to build here in Las Cruces as well.
Does Las Cruces see you in a different light now?
MM: I don’t know, I guess. I know that winning does a lot for a program.
Whether they look at me as an individual now who is a better coach all of a sudden or – I don’t know how much can change in a week – but if their perception has changed for the better and that gets more people out, I’m all for it.
We’ve got something in place here that’s been going and growing in the right direction and everybody keeps telling me I’m the figurehead.
But I don’t lace it up, I think it’s all about the kids. I think Aggie nation is about a nation it’s not about an individual.
When I leave here – if I ever leave – I would hope that the program would continue in the direction that we’ve started it in and I don’t think any corporation, or business, or team, or program, or athletic department should be affected by one person to the point where they are the identity of that program.
If someone looks at me in a better light now that I’m part of a winning project then that’s great and I’ll take the accolades humbly, but I’m still the same guy they hired three years ago.
Compare the style of play in the Big Ten and the WAC. Any team you’ve played so far that’s like Michigan State?
MM: Utah State, they do a lot of similar things, in reference to their style of play, of setting things up and running solid sets. They’ll run offensive sets and they’ll also run when given the opportunity on long missed shots and they’ll also take it out quick and run and so there’s some things with Utah State and now there probably – no knock on Utah State – they’re probably more athletic, probably more focused when it comes to rebounding, so they have their differences. There’s a different signature but there’s some similarities there though.
What about their guards, do you think you’ll have the success that you’ve had in the WAC pressing their guards?
MM: If we execute. This is a stage of year where It’s not about what you do it’s how well you do it. We can run the same offensive sets we’ve run all year, but are we going to execute them, are we going to execute the counters, are we going to execute being tough with the ball, are we going to execute 100 percent passes, are we taking care of the ball like we’ve done as of late?
Those are really the more critical questions rather than what we have to do differently or what we need to do to win, so to speak.
I think that any guard can be bothered, it think that Armon Johnson how he’s on the NBA board, you know, we turned him over six times, in that game but it was a team effort. The pressure was there but we got great help off the ball and he still made some shots, and so forth.
Brandon Fields went for 32 against us the game before, so obviously he was a major emphasis and our guys did a great job against him. So it’s just a matter of whether we execute the game plan and whether we have the focus in our strategy going into the game whether or not we’ll be effective and not just their guards.
You guys did a great job on Nevada’s and Utah State’s role players, was that something you were doing different defensively?
MM: It was personnel specific.
You got to remember those teams just kicked our butt. The week prior we had just lost to both those guys. Nevada was a closer game, but Utah State drilled us.
So, if that’s not motivation then you’re not a competitor. If you don’t come back out and want to do some things differently and not let those things happen again – especially when you’re in a win-or-go-home situation.
You can take coaching out of the equation for the most part. We gave them the same lesson we did the week before. They just had to make the adjustment. We tweaked some things, but it was really up to the kids and how they responded.
How big are nerves in a first-round game? They went to a national championship game just last year.
MM: Last year was last year. This year is this year.
They have a big name, we knew we were going to play somebody with a big name.
I got a lot of confident guys that are good players and they will have an opportunity to see how good they are.
I don’t think nerves will be a factor, I know there won’t be with me.
We’re young still, but we’ve got some guys that have played in big games. The UTEP rivalry, the UNM rivalry, we played at Duke two years ago, we played at Kansas.
A lot of these guys were here when we played in big-time arenas.
I don’t think nerves will be a factor, I think the best team will win.
Any word from your predecessor? (At first Menzies thought the question was about Rick Pitino, but then realized it was a question about Reggie Theus.)
MM: I talked to coach Pitino.
Yeah, Reggie and I talked, we spoke after the game, Reggie and I are friends. He’s happy for Las Cruces and for me and the family and the players. He’s looking forward to us going out and he said “Get one more and take it a step further than we did.” He’s a great guy and is very good at what he does and a good friend and he’s very supportive of us here. Very much so.
What have you learned from your coaching mentors of handling the added distractions and the outside influences of an NCAA tournament game?
MM: I talked to all my guys, and some guys that aren’t my guys that have gone through this similar situation and been successful. We reached out to some coaches that either my assistants knew or that I just reached out to that I have known and have been in similar situations where they were the underdogs and were successful just trying to follow success a little bit and get some advice and just picked some different people’s brains. I think the running theme is really to – you want to enjoy the ride but you don’t want to get so caught up in the distractions where it becomes more about the pomp and circumstance rather than the game itself.
When I was at San Diego State, to give you an example, which was a place where we didn’t go very often to the NCAA tournament – they do a much better job now – but they hadn’t been in 21 or 22 years.
You would have thought we won the final four. In fact they printed some – let me tell you how excited they were – the school printed some T-shirts that said “San Diego State Final Four.”
It was like they just lost their minds. And it was fun, and it was great, and then we go to play Illinois at the United Center and got drilled – to be nice. I do think we got caught up in the hoopla, it was like “OK we’ve reached the limit, we were done we had reached our goal.”
At Louisville and other places where you go to the NCAA tournament and its about your seed and there’s a more professional approach and your preparation and you expect and anticipate playing as deep as you can into the tournament things were handled a lot differently.
That’s how we’re going to handle it here in terms of our preparation. It’s great to have everybody maybe looking at me differently or the guys enjoying all these TV cameras that we have in here that we don’t normally have and so forth, but it’s not going to change our preparation and our focus or at least, if it’s in my control, we’re not going to let it. In fact we’re meeting today and talking on that very same point.
Yes I’ve got some input and advice and I will use it to the best of my ability to get the kids to understand we still got goals set in front of us and we’re trying to achieve those goals still.