2013 Big East Media Day Roundup

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

First, a recap of what has been covered so far today:

Now, a compilation of various quotes from Big East commisioner Val Ackerman, Kevin Willard, and the two seniors he brought to New York today, Fuquan Edwin and Eugene Teague.

Kevin Willard:

On what Sterling Gibbs adds to this team: "Sterling gives us a mature [presence at point guard], even though he didn't play that much at Texas, he's a junior college-wise. He's hungry, he's ready to prove to everybody how good he can be."

On point guard depth after talking about Jaren Sina and Sterling Gibbs: "We also have Tommy Maayan back ... so we have three guys at that position where last year, we maybe had a half with Tommy off a bad knee [ACL injury while at CBA]."

On senior leader Fuquan Edwin improving on last year: "Hes also had a great summer. Hes lowered his release on his shot a little bit, which is tough to do as a senior: to try to be a little bit more consistent with his shot. Although he shot in the high 40s, he really wanted to work on his range and consistency.

"Fuquan is a tough guy to defend because he scores in so many different ways. Hes going to get 2-to-3 steals per game for lay-ups, hes going to get an offensive rebound for a lay-up. Fuquan is our hardest working guy on the court. He's by far a guy that's worked his way up from a guy that said [was told?] ‘Can he be at this level?', to now a guy that has a chance to hopefully get drafted at the end of the year. We're excited about where he is and we're excited about what kind of year he is going to have for us."

When asked about what Brandon Mobley and Eugene Teague bring as post players when healthy: "We also have Patrik Auda back, Patrik is a more physical power forward than Brandon. Brandon is more of a pick-and-pop, more of a skilled 4-man. Those three guys alone give us much more depth than we had last year. Obviously Brandon was out with a shoulder [injury] and Patrik was out with a foot injury. So having both our power forwards back has given us great depth."

Kevin Willard's thoughts on Xavier, Creighton, and Butler being added to the Big East: "Three great programs with tremendous tradition. I think we're adding great cities, we're not going in the middle of nowhere, we're going in great cities with great fan bases. Pro sports teams in all of them. I think the style of basketball that each one plays is unique and I think that's more exciting than anything. Creighton plays a little up and down - fast. Butler: half court, methodical, they're going to pick you a part. Xavier: toughness, they really defend.

"Three great coaches, three great programs, couldn't be happier with the additions."

On the tradition associated with Madison Square Garden and the Big East Tournament staying intact: "Obviously being in this area is great. There's no better place than the New York/New Jersey area. I've grown up here, I've coached here now for seven years. The fans are passionate, the media is passionate. Everyone wants us to do well, which is great.

"I think staying in Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament, its hard to explain... I've played in it and I've also coached in it. As a player, there's nothing better than playing in the Big East Tournament. It's an experience you will remember for a lifetime. I still remember every game I played in the Garden during the tournament.

"So I think keeping the mecca of sports, the Garden, obviously having some great local schools coming back... I think Steve [Lavin] is doing an unbelievable job with St. John's. The talent they have , the job hes done in the last couple of years. They're on the cusp, I think we're on the cusp of having a breakout year.

"It really reminds me of what 1979, even though I was 5 years old [laughs] - I've heard about it - it reminds me of what the birth of the Big East was about. Georgetown, and Louie Carnesecca, and all the great coaches. I think the league is very similar now, I think we're on that same path."

Eugene Teague (courtesy of Jerry Carino):

On his huge weight loss: "This is the best shape I've been in. Basically I changed my eating habits."

On who has surprised him most in practice: "Patrik Auda has played very well. He looks good."

On being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason coaches poll: "It's motivation. I know we're better than eighth. That's based on the season we had last year. I think we're going to surprise a lot of people."

On Fuquan Edwin: "Fu is a first-team All-Big East player."

Fuquan Edwin (courtesy of Jerry Carino):

On being 2nd team all-conference: "I take that as an accomplishment. There are a lot of good players in this league. I think that if I keep pushing I can show that I'm first team."

What he's worked on most for this year: "Being a leader on and off the court. Knowing how to talk to the guys, body language . . . I've taken a lot of ownership, not only off the court but in practice. Coach is putting a lot of pressure on us seniors. He expects us to come in every day and get the job done."

On being picked to finish eighth in the league: "We're going to prove people wrong. We have a lot to prove, that we aren't eighth. That's something that comes from last year."

On who's surprised him in practice: "Jaren Sina and Hakeem Harris. Hakeem can get on you defensively and he can shoot. Jaren can shoot the ball."

On Sterling Gibbs: "He's doing pretty well. He's handling the point guard position. Coach puts a lot of pressure on him in practice but he's toughened up."

On having depth in practice: "Last year we didn't have many guys. Now at every position we have three guys. I might (get to) sit out two plays in practice now and I'm not used to that."

Val Ackerman:

On keeping MSG for the BET: "The success of the league spoke for itself when it came time to decide whether or not to keep the Big East and Madison Square Garden associated. We have a long term deal there to continue the tournament which I think is a great win/win. We have a great partner in the Garden."

On adding Creighton, Butler, and Xavier: "Certainly having the new schools in is a positive, they bring their own traditions. They bring a pretty high quality brand of basketball with them. They have rivalries among themselves which will now be showcased nationally in a different kind of way, which is kind of exciting for their fans. And the fact that at least one of them, Butler, made it to the Final Four in recent years is a pretty serious statement about the quality of play we can expect in the conference, to use them as an example."

On the Big East/FOX Sports TV deal mirroring the 'old' Big East's partnership with ESPN: "Well, it's interesting, we're kind of at each other's ground floor. Just like the old league was at the ground floor of ESPN in the late 1970s, it's very interesting, a little bit of history repeating itself for sure.

"We're very excited about the FOX relationship. A big vote of confidence that they did cast when they entered in an agreement with these group of schools some months ago. I can't take credit, this agreement was signed before I got here, but we are very much working on bringing it to life - FOX has been extraordinarily committed, they see the Big East as anchor programming for them in the winter time. They want to be in the basketball business, this is a way to do that. They have been very energized and have pledged to help us in every way. So, we're probably helping them, they're going to help us, and it really has the makings of an extraordinary partnership.

"We'll have 150 mens basketball games on FOX Sports this year. FOX Sports 1 is off to a great start, [it's in] 90-million homes already, not far behind ESPN. So they're very excited and optimistic about their future, we're happy to be part of it . And I think there's opportunity for some innovation too in terms of non-game programming, how we're televising other sports, because they have rights to all of our sports and championships. So it has the capacity to really blossom into an exciting partnership."

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