Q&A w/ ETSU's Tommy Hubbard & Micah Williams
ETSU SF Tommy Hubbard - 14 ppg, 8 rpg
JT: Your top-returning scorer Mike Smith has only played 4 games all year after injuring his knee. Any chance he will be back for the NCAA tourney?
TH: Mike is out for the year, but we just put in a lot of time and effort and hard work in his absence.
JT: How has your team dealt with the loss of forward Seth Coy after he died in a car accident over the summer?
TH: He was an important part of our team. It was very sad when he passed away, but when we are down or not playing well, we realize how fortunate we are to be here and use his memory as motivation.
JT: After losing twice to Mercer during the regular season, you scored 14 points and played all 40 minutes in a win over Mercer in the conference tourney title game. How did that win feel?
TH: We had a lot of momentum entering the conference tourney, and just took every game 1 by 1. We came into the tourney final pretty confident, and were just determined not to lose to Mercer 3 times in a row. The feeling in the locker room was great.
JT: You are making your 2nd straight tourney appearance. What did you learn from last year's game against Pitt?
TH: Experience: just being a part of that last year and being able to carry it over to this year, and knowing what our abilities are.
JT: How do you like your chances against Kentucky?
TH: I know that a #16 seed has never won a tourney game, but we will try to exploit some of their weaknesses. It is fortunate that we do not have to play them in a 7-game series: we just have to play them once, and we will try to get a win.
ETSU SG Micah Williams - 13 ppg, 3 rpg
JT: How has your team picked up the slack without Mike Smith?
MW: It took a total team effort to replace a guy like Mike. We had a lot of guys step up, and a lot of good play off the bench. It shows you how much of a team game it is when you lose a guy like Mike.
JT: How did you guys deal with the passing of forward Seth Coy?
MW: Anytime something like that happens it is difficult to deal with. I think it really brought us together as a team off the court, and we became close, which showed in our play on the court.
JT: You were named conference tourney MVP by scoring 22 PPG. How were you able to play your best when it mattered the most?
MW: I just happened to be playing well during the tourney. Coach Bartow has been on me about being aggressive with my open looks. I was just making my shots, and my team was playing well, so we came out on top. A lot of people doubted us once Mike went out with his injury, so we had a lot to prove. We are excited about our chance to go back to the tourney, even though we are a pretty young team.
JT: Do you think last year's tournament appearance will help you this year?
MW: I think it comes down to just taking it possession by possession. We need to keep our composure: it is a game of runs, and KY is a great team, but we just have to limit their runs. I think the experience our returning guys got last year will help us this year.
JT: What's your main goal for the tournament?
MW: We are going in trying to win the game: we are not satisfied just going to the tourney. We want to make history as the 1st #16-seed to win a game. Our coaching staff has us very prepared, and our players have all bought into the system.
Other 2010 NCAA Tournament Interviews: