Feb. 28, 2012
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Saluki men's basketball players Mamadou Seck and Dantiel Daniels were honored by the Missouri Valley Conference today as the league announced its All-Conference and specialty teams.
Seck was named honorable mention All-Conference after leading Southern Illinois in scoring, rebounding and assists during the regular season. The senior forward has nine double-doubles on the year.
Daniels was named to the All-Freshman team, becoming the fourth player under head coach Chris Lowery to earn the award. The others were Bryan Mullins, Kevin Dillard and Gene Teague. Daniels led the the league in blocked shots.
SIU will play Indiana State in the first round of the State Farm MVC Tournament on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Head coach Chris Lowery met with the media prior to today's practice at SIU Arena. The Salukis will depart for St. Louis on Wednesday.
Q: "What's the mentality of the team heading into Arch Madness?"
"It's a new season, and that's kind of how we've handled it. We gave them a couple of days off to get refreshed a little bit and we've just kind of moved from there. Every year some team wins the conference tournament that shouldn't do it, so we figured why not us."
"We have four guys that played in it that are available to us. You take it with you. The good thing about it is the new guys are looking forward to playing again, so that's the best way we can put that."
Q: "Is Indiana State the best matchup for you out of any of the other teams?"
"When you split with somebody, you have a confidence level that you can beat them on a neutral court. Any of them are good, but obviously that's somebody we split with so we feel better for our kids."
Q: "How do you approach playing them after what happened last time?"
"I think the approach is the same, we'll prepare the same way. Obviously they shot the ball a little bit better after we played them, but nowhere near that -- they aren't struggling like they were before we saw them. We just have to keep the mainstays in check, obviously with (Jake) Odum at the head, and not let Carl Richard get off, and running them off the three point line."
Q: "How do you feel about your three-point defense since that game?"
"We've had two bad ones after that, but it's not about our three-point defense, it's about guarding the ball, which helps situations. That's what our biggest issue has been: when we break down, getting the ball kicked out to the three-point line. it's about our transition defense and it's about our man defense, which has led to wide-open three-pointers. That's the key to three point defense: just keeping the ball in front of them."
Q: "How is the confidence of the team right now?"
"Confidence hasn't been our issue with some of these guys all year, it's just experience. I don't think their confidence is down. I think they'll come to play. Being in the tournament is a different setting, it's a different environment, and it's all or nothing to be the last one. If they feel the pressure of that, then there may be some confidence issues."
Q: "The Sycamores won the tournament last year and they have a lot of experience coming back -- how do you try to match their experience?"
"You just can't, it's not even a factor. You would have thought their experience would have left them with a higher finish with who they had coming back with four starters. You just don't know with teams. Sometimes people who leave are more valuable than what they thought. I know they talk all the time about Aaron Carter and what they miss with him. He had a great senior season for them."
Q: "Are Mamadou (Honorable-Mention) and Dantiel (All-Freshman) being honored by the conference a surprise to you?"
"They're the most consistent and that's why they were rewarded by the league. They have consistent effort everyday. When that's who you are, it shows up in the scores and in the respect factor of other teams. I'm happy for those guys who earned those rewards."
Q: "Dantiel is going home for this game -- have you been trying to get him to focus on the game or has that not been a problem?"
"He hasn't had any issues like that. He's a blue-collar guy. He doesn't care about stuff like that, he just wants to play."
Q: "How do you feel about your chances of making a run in this tournament?"
"We felt great after last year. The thing is, it's just one day at a time. From going there and winning it and being in championship games before, it's one game at a time. With good teams it's hard. It's a tough tournament and it's one of the top attended tournaments in the country, so there'll be people there and it'll be an exciting time and our guys just can't allow the moment to catch up with them."
Q: "How much pressure do you feel to win this weekend?"
"I feel pressure every time we come out. I can't allow them to see pressure because then they'll respond to that. Me handling it the right way with them will allow them to handle it the right way, and that's kinda where we've been, especially with the new guys, because there's no way if we bring eight new guys in here and I'm tense, they wouldn't come back every game like they have, and they've really tried to focus on the things they need to focus on."
Q: "Is the effort from the last game back to where it needs to be heading into Thursday?"
"We hope so. There's been games we've lost where the effort has been there, it was just the execution. Effort hasn't always been our issue. Sometimes it's execution, and honestly, we miss Josh a lot. Now we have to play T.J. at the one a lot, and there's a reason in the past seven games he's struggled, because Josh isn't the to play the one when he goes in or play the one when he comes out. He has to stay in for longer periods and shift over and do some different things, and that's hurt us."
Q: "Will Kourtney Goff see some action Thursday?"
"It depends. When we looked back on film, the two worst defensive games we had were games he started. We had to go back and just make evaluations the right way, and then after that we came back and played better and played harder."