Tommy Amaker Pre-Tournament Teleconference Notes

March 12th, 2012

On Monday morning the Ivy League champion Harvard Crimson held a teleconference ahead of their NCAA tournament matchup with Vanderbilt, the five-seed in the East Region. Led by forwards Kyle Casey and Keith Wright, Tommy Amaker's Crimson are making the school's first NCAA appearance since 1946. 

Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker

On being a part of the field: "We are incredibly excited and honored to represent our great conference."

On their opponent: "Vanderbilt is very athletic and coming off one of the bigger wins of the season after beating Kentucky in the SEC title game."

On his team: "We have been an unselfish group, as sharing the ball and helping defensively are the hallmarks of our club."

On the Ivy League: "Last year's playoff game with Princeton showcased our league in a very favorable light. We knew how strong our conference would be this year."

On dealing with Festus Ezeli: "Festus Ezeli is an older kid who is very talented, so we will have our hands full. It will be challenging to not let him get deep post position and make him defend on the other end. We were relentless on the boards against Florida State, and we were able to run the floor very well."

On his team: "We play a high-octane type of offense, but have not been as efficient offensively as we would have liked, so it helps when our defense leads to our offense. We go 9-10 deep due to back-to-back games in conference play. We have played mostly man-to-man defense, but are capable of doing a lot of different things."

On guarding John Jenkins: "John Jenkins is 1 of the best three-point shooters in the country and a very confident player, so we will try to limit his touches."

On facing Kevin Stallings: "I have gotten to know Kevin Stallings over the years: what a wonderful coach and person. It is a little funny to put two good academic schools together like that, but we are just happy to be in the tournament."

On senior Oliver McNally: "Oliver McNally is the heart and soul of our team, which is what every championship team needs. He has won every step of the way, and has won a lot, so he has helped create a culture of contending/winning at a high level."

On the campus reaction: "Some of the professors have stopped class to acknowledge the team. It has been fun on campus."

On Keith Wright's importance: "Our offense runs through Keith Wright, so we always try to get the ball inside to him first."

On their early-season experience: "We had three games in three days over Thanksgiving, and played well en route to winning the Battle of Atlantis."