Iona Pre-Tournament Teleconference Notes
On Sunday the Iona Gaels were a surprise addition to the field of 68, earning a 14-seed in the West Region and a date with BYU on Tuesday in Dayton. The winner plays three-seed Marquette on Thursday afternoon in Dayton, and with the school holding a teleconference on Sunday night CHN writer Jon Teitel took notes of their comments.
Shooting guard Lamont Jones
On the advice he gave his teammates: "The advice I gave to our team is to just play together and come together as one. I was 100% sure when I decided to come here that we would make the tournament."
On BYU: "BYU is a different team now that Jimmer Fredette has moved on, and have a new point guard. It will be a grind-it-out game."
On watching the selections: "I was not nervous when the bracket was being announced, but some of my teammates were."
On his experience at Arizona: "The loss to Connecticut in last year's Elite 8 still sticks out like a sore thumb. I learned that you can never underestimate a team and think you have it won."
On his former teammates: "I spoke to some of my former Arizona teammates today after their tough loss to Colorado [Saturday]. I called Kyle Fogg this morning just to tell him how much I loved him, and Kevin Parrom called me tonight to congratulate me. I feel for them because I was there when Arizona did not make the tournament during my freshman year."
On his decision to transfer: "A lot of people had a lot of things to say about me when I decided to transfer, such as how stupid a decision it was, but this shows that it was a great decision and I have been rewarded with a great coaching staff and team."
On why they got in: "We played 12 straight road games to start the season and we had to fight through a lot of things that most people do not understand. It was hard for our bodies to adjust to different climates."
On the tournament experience: "The NCAA tournament is a chance to get on a national stage and show people what we can do. We will play to win."
On adjusting to a new role: "I was a little uncomfortable playing the two spot at the start of the season, but I just worked and worked to become more comfortable, and after the 43-point game it just took off from there."
On this time of the year: "It is March so everyone has to be at their peak. We live for March Madness."
Point guard Scott Machado
On finding out they were in: "Once they called our name on TV we were so ecstatic and emotional."
On dealing with his lack of tournament experience: "I have not [been able to] to speak to my old high school teammate Danny Green yet about his own experience in the tournament, but I hope to speak to him soon, as well as some of my other friends who have been there before. It also helps to have a teammate like Momo who has been there."
On the attitude of the team: "We are very thankful that we got in and are hyped to play. We want to go practice right now!"
On the disappointment of losing in the MAAC tournament: "I was happy to make the tournament, but really wanted to win a conference title."
What they need to do to be successful: "It is all about taking one game at a time and believing in each other."
On teams lack of familiarity with Iona: "Whenever a team does not know that much about us, it gives us an advantage."
Head coach Tim Cluess
Thoughts on being selected: "We are thrilled to make it, and think we are deserving. I knew it would be a tough decision for the selection committee."
On the Sunday itinerary: "We practiced until one hour before the announcement, then our players went out to eat and the coaches went elsewhere so that we did not jinx it!"
On what he told his players: "I honestly did not know all the criteria involved. I told our guys that all our hard work paid off, and we will have this memory for the rest of our lives."
On the MAAC having four teams in the postseason: "It is great for our conference to have four teams playing in the postseason. We had the second most away-from-home wins in the country, including eight straight weeks at the start of the season (which was quite a long stretch) against some tough teams."
On what this means to Momo Jones: "I think it means so much to Momo for him to go back to the tournament after coming home to be near his family."
On preparing for BYU: "We have to get our guys back down to earth. They play a different type of game on the West coast."
On their CIT experience: "Before last year we had never won a postseason game, so last year we learned how to win and that you can easily lose if you do not bring your "A" game."
On being at Iona: "When I came here the administration thought that we could make something special, so I cannot thank them enough. I am lucky to be in a great place with great alums and great fans."
On learning more about BYU: "I know some other coaches out West and am rounding up some of them as we speak so that we can reach out to them."
On his team: "We are a blue-collar team that works hard, loves to share the ball on offense, and are a gritty group on defense. We completely respect BYU and its history."