March 7, 2009
Auburn Head Coach Jeff Lebo
"I'm just so proud of my team, especially my seniors. They are four guys that have meant a lot to me personally and a lot to this basketball program. It's very gratifying as a coach to see them go out in this way.
"Senior Day is a special day and it's an emotional day. To have this happen to them in the last game of the season is so special. I'm very proud of them and I thought that all three of them were big tonight.
"Korvotney Barber was absolutely terrific today. He had 16 points and
17 rebounds in 28 minutes with two blocks and four assists. Rasheem
(Barrett) was solid for us, 12 points and 9 rebounds. Quantez
(Robertson) did one heck of a job, especially on defense.
"It's a great team win for us. We battled hard and defended them very well. We did a very nice job on (Tasmin) Mitchell today. We made a bit of change to put our bigger guy on him for this game and that certainly was a factor. Chris Johnson's foul trouble was a factor too.
I'm awfully proud of our team and what we've done coming down this
On Korvotney Barber's performance
"He was unbelievable and incredibly active off of the glass. I think he had five rebounds in the first half. He was all over the glass with his quickness. We were 2-of-16 from three and if you would have told me that we"d be 2-of-16 from the three and win the game, I'd say you were insane.
"Defensively is where we were very solid. We spent a lot of time in preparing our minds after how we played them before. They are a very physical team. I thought that Korvotney was just terrific because he spent the majority of the game on Mitchell. He did a great job defensively along with an unbelievable offensive performance. I think it was one of the best that I had seen out of him. He's been playing great. He got jarred in the first half and he lost his bearings here for a while. I could tell because I've been through this before that he got winded early, two times in the first half. I think that sometimes the emotions of this game can really take a toll on you. We had to get him out of the game a couple of times because he kept giving me the tired signal."
On why the pick and roll worked well
"We do a lot of pick and roll, but it was something that I thought that we would be able to get some stuff with it. We were very efficient with it tonight. We got to the bucket a lot tonight with the majority of our early points coming in the paint. We get a lot in there actually, more than you might think, but it's not in a conventional way. We get our points off of the pick and roll and by getting in the paint with our
On whether or not the team needs to be seen in person to be
"I just know that 10 league wins in this league has never happened before with a team with that many wins not getting in. The way we're playing right now, I don't think that after this win against LSU, with us being the only team to beat LSU and Tennessee, the two top teams in our league, I don"t think you can ignore that. I don"t know what they look at. You can look at numbers all you want, but the numbers will not dictate how well our team is playing right now. I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I've got to for these guys. We've won eight out of nine and to say that we"re not even in the mix is a slap in the face of our guys and the SEC in my opinion. This is a good league. Is it as strong as it has been in past years? Maybe not, but it's not one that's far below some of these other ones. I watch a lot of basketball and these guys have put themselves in the position to be talked about and that's a credit to them."
On lack of respect for the SEC
"They kill the SEC. They kill the SEC West, in particular. The SEC West was at .500 the last I checked - I don't know what happened today. I don't know how they could say that the West is a lot worse than the East. There have been some years where that has been the case.
I don't know anybody in any of the BCS leagues that have won eight out of nine. Maybe there are one or two. You can't take anything away from the kids.
"Another thing is that we had some losses early. You have to realize that Rasheem Barrett was not healthy and he is a key ingredient to this team and you can't help that. He blew out his groin and we had to play without him against Mercer. It was not until January when he finally started to come around. You look at his numbers now versus the SEC versus what they were before he was giving us before he was hurt. It was substantially different and you're talking about a 1,300 point scorer and a starter. Everybody knows that in basketball, one guy can make a huge difference.
"These kids have been unbelievable. I hope they can continue the ride. It's been one heck of a ride and it's been very
On the seniors bringing Auburn basketball back on the map
"I think that they take pride in the fact that they call themselves
'grinders' and they grind it out. There's nothing fashionable about those kids. They've been through some hard times and through adversity and I think that shows a lot about them. You're going to go through some adversity and how you handle that tells me a lot about you as a person and as a player. These guys have been through that. They came when it wasn't fashionable to come to Auburn. There was a lot of stuff happening in the basketball program and the school and they still decided to come here. They have worked awfully hard and have been very consistent for us. They have meant a lot to me and it's a really emotional time for me to have to say goodbye to those guys as some point, but we're not going to say goodbye just yet, we'll worry about that later."
Auburn Player Quotes
Quantez Robertson, G
On emotions during pre-game ceremony...
"It was really emotional. I kind of wanted to cry but I couldn't do it. It was a very special moment. It was our last time playing here at Beard-Eaves against a ranked team and we went out with a bang like everyone wanted us to. We worked hard at practice the last couple of days and got prepared for those guys and came out and got a victory."
On playing in front of family...
"It was very exciting for my family to come down here and see me play my last home game here at Beard-Eaves Memorial with two good guys that I play with on the court and Drew who comes to practice whenever he can after class. It's just been fun. My family got to come down and see us play and get a win."
On people doubting Auburn as an NCAA tournament team...
"I really don't focus on what these people say about the brackets and things like that. We just have to worry about our conference tournament and whoever we have to play next. We just have to get ready and prepare for them. We can't worry about what the writers say about the NCAA tournament."
On people not seeing the full team because of injuries since pre-season...
"We can't worry about what they say. We just have to play with what we have and just continue to do what we do and what we have been doing right now and that's playing together as a team and stopping the other teams on defense and things like that."
On coming to Auburn and if it has been worth it...
"It was a great reason to come down here and play with Korvotney [Barber] and Rasheem [Barrett] and the teammates who I have played with before. I had fun my four years down here playing under Coach Lebo and the coaching staff and with my teammates and the fans. It's been a good thing for me."
Korvotney Barber, F
On being more prepared for a physical game...
"We knew what to look for because we went down there and it real physical down there so we just had to match their physicality. We went hard at practice a couple days fouling each other here and there and it paid off."
On making a point to go inside early...
"Chris Johnson likes to play behind and they just told me to go at him and attack him. My teammates gave me the ball and I made the best of it."
On coming to Auburn and if it was worth it...
"Hard work pays off. We just put in the work. We did come as freshman and didn't have good seasons, but we stayed focused and stayed together and kept working. When you're losing it's real hard to stay together at times, but you find a way to stay together as a team and it paid off at the end."
On shooting against LSU...
"Every night isn't going to be an on night for our shooters so we have to do other things like set screens and get other people open and get me open down low and just get points like that and crash the offensive boards. Every night isn't going to be a good shooting night, but I think we did a pretty good job second half knocking down big shots."
Rasheem Barrett, G
On coming to Auburn and if it was worth it...
"It just makes it all sweeter. People have been saying that ever since we got to Auburn we wouldn't be in the conversation for anything and now they are putting their foot in their mouth."
On deserving to go to the NCAA tournament...
"Like I told you before, if you practice hard and play hard you'll get good results. Where we go after that is where we're going to play."
On people remembering this senior class as putting Auburn basketball back on the map...
"I hope so. If they don't then I'm going to put pictures all around Auburn. Like Quantez said when we came in we thought it was a good situation, but as everyone knows Auburn was really down and we have been fighting since we got here with size, experience, and youth. To finish like this with four seniors and juniors who had more experience just makes it all sweeter."
Auburn vs. LSU
LSU Coach and Player Quotes
Head Coach Trent Johnson
"We've had a lot of respect for Auburn all year long. I don't think there is anybody in our league, maybe not anybody in the country that has played as good of basketball as they have in the last 45 days to two months. They are a lot like we are in terms of they've got a group of seniors that are good players that have been through their share of awards. It's real interesting from my standpoint. Everybody talks about Kentucky and Florida and some other teams in this league being bubble teams and all that, and you don't ever hear Auburn's name in the mix. I've been through my share of teams, and been in my share of postseason experiences. That's an NCAA tournament caliber team. They've given us as tough of a match-up as anybody has given us all year long. It would be nice if the ball would have gone down for us. This is the second game in a row, home and on the road, where we had some guys that had some open looks. The ball didn't go down for them so that happens and all credit goes to them. They did a good job."
On getting [SEC] teams' best shots as the season has progressed...
"No question. We went through a course of a year here where during the course of the year we've been the hunted and the huntee, but these guy's approaches have never changed. They have always come out and given maximum effort. Again, I've only been head coach for 10 seasons and I haven't been around a more enjoyable group in terms of them being receptive in a short period of time with what we ask them to do. Yeah, we've been getting everybody's best shot, but we've always looked at it and concerned ourselves with ourselves going into games. Not, we're playing Baylor today or we're playing this team today, or we've got a league game. We're concerned at competing at a high level and I think you saw that tonight. Yeah, we've got the league wrapped up, but don't tell me we didn't compete versus Vanderbilt. The ball didn't go down for us. We competed, we battled this afternoon. The ball didn't go down for us. All year long our margin of error has been slim and we've always been able to make plays. It always helps when you've got the best, or maybe second or third best player in the league in terms of Tasmin Mitchell. Then you've got guys who are willing to do what you want them to. Bo Spencer does a heck of a job at running our team. Garrett Temple, as you all know and have seen, is as good of a defensive player as there is in this league, let alone the country. Again, we're getting people's best shot, and we fully expect that the rest of the year."
On Auburn creating trouble with offensive rebounding...
"I mean, physically, they run long balls. We hedge high, and they slip them quick in our rotations and get there quick enough. Let's face it, Barber is strong. He's good. He's averaging a double-double isn't he? He's doing that against everybody. He's a good player. Their guards are underrated. Not by me, not by us, but again, they are a good team. They just beat us on the glass. It happens. I want to say maybe this is the third time in the league, second time in the league it's happened that we've been outrebounded. So again, let's give credit to them as opposed to what we didn't do or what they did do. They're good."
On losing composure before the half...
"Yeah, what happened before the half is I looked at him. I looked at him. I got three "T's." [I got] two for looking at somebody."
On if people watch games to see how good a team actually is, without worrying about rankings....
"I couldn't agree with that more. This thing has gotten to where so much is based on what happens in March. What about the full body of work? Watch Auburn and what Jeff Lebo has done from start to finish. Watch teams from start to finish and in terms of how they play. Pay attention to what goes on within the confines of a team. What if you go to Lexington and have a kid that gets a concussion, or you have a kid like Chris Johnson on our team who can't play? Or when you go to Tennessee to win a game and Quinton Thorn can't play. That stuff happens here in Auburn and it happens all around the country, opposed to the guys that sit there and don't even see the plays but get a video of the game. Like loosing to Lafayette-when we played them in November, they were really good. Utah-they were really good. I know one thing, Utah is probably going to win that league. So watch the team through the course of a year. My reaction is why I got a T [technical foul] and my body language speaks off of facts and experience. Your full body of work and winning league championships from start to finish should be what this thing is about. That is two and a half to three months of competing your tail off. Then you come into March. My goodness. But again, I don't want to take away from Auburn. I have all the respect in the world for Jeff Lebo. He has done as good of a job from my standpoint as anyone in the league. He is a class act. Talk about a team that gets after it. They have given us as many problems as anybody has. It is really obvious."
Marcus Thornton, G
On fans considering the team overrated...
"I don't think we were too much worried about that. We were focusing on the game, and we were just kind of down because we knew we had lost at that point in time. You know, they can say what they want. We won the SEC and I have to pass off to my team. Pass off to Auburn too because they did a good job. The players in our locker room fought hard for this season and they got it so I wasn't too much worried about that [being called overrated]. I am just looking forward to getting back in the gym and working on things that we need to work on."