Collegehoops.net's Jon Teitel is in Philadelphia all week bringing you live coverage and interviews from one of the opening weekend's most intriguing venues.
NCAA Tournament Q&A
Coach Todd Bozeman, Morgan State
Q: Has it sunk in yet, and how does it feel?
A: It has not really sunk in yet, as there are so many different media things to do, meet with folks about travel plans. It is kind of surreal, as I have wanted this opportunity for so long, so I am looking forward to it. The governor of Maryland even called me today.
Q: Why did Reggie Holmes decide to stay in Baltimore, and what impact has he had on your team?
A: Reggie wanted to stay local and have an impact, and things have turned out the way he envisioned it. He might end up next year as the top career scorer in school history. He just scored off the bench during his 1st 2 years, but this will be his team next year, so he is being trained by our 3 current seniors to be the leader next year.
Q: Why did Marquise Kately decide to transfer from Cal, and what impact has he had on your team?
A: There are some ties between me and Kately from my days in California. We were able to provide him with an opportunity, and it was a good match. He has been a joy to coach, and 1 of the best teammates I’ve seen here.
Q: What the heck can you do to try and stop Blake Griffin?
A: We are trying to find some kryptonite to slow him down, and if not then we will try to cut his hair off. He is outstanding: he looks like he is playing on a Nerf hoop sometimes.
Q: What most prepared your team for the tourney: losses to great teams like Texas and Washington, or the 1-point win over Maryland?
A: We are not into moral victories. Teams at our level are sometimes intimidated, but we are not. Not every college player gets the chance to play in the NCAA tourney: I did not when I played in college.
Q: You were a 29-year old coach when you made the run to the Sweet 16: do you think that coaching experience is overrated, and if not, what have you learned over the past 15 years that can help you try to get back there?
A: Experience is not overrated, but sometimes things just happen and you get on a roll: it reminds me of “Slumdog Millionaire”. I am just older and more mature as a person (regardless of being a coach), but I am the same passionate guy I was back then.
Q: How does your experience as an NBA assistant/scout transfer to the college level?
A: It re-tooled my methods of coaching younger kids: I want my guys to enjoy the journey. We don’t really plan for teams until you get right up on them, so scouting helped me as a coach to get information really fast and detailed. I am much better at picking up things very quick on tape and understanding coaching philosophies.
Q: Why did you decide to become a blogger, and how has it been working out so far?
A: There are some alumni who always want to ask questions about the program. I just blog about the everyday experience of being a D-1 coach who does normal things like make breakfast for kids and take his wife to a movie. It is kind of like a diary of a normal guy, as I am not a coach 24-7. I have fun with it, and get to keep our alumni up to date on why I made certain decisions in a game. In fact, the wife of our school president told me once that she reads the blog every day.
Q: What did you learn from your exit from Cal?
A: I made a bad judgment decision, and I use it as a life lesson for my family/players/other young coaches. I try to show them that you can overcome adversity: there are consequences to your actions, but you can come back from them.
Q: Do you feel like you have finally gotten redemption, or just moved on, or other?
A: I always thought that I moved on, but this is an opportunity to redeem myself. My past actions were 1 chapter in my life, but many successful people have gone through tough times at various stages of their lives. It depends on how bad you really want it: prayer definitely works, thank God.
Tournament Talk Q&A's