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Billy Gillispie
Billy Kennedy
Harris & Hibbert
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Texas A&M Basketball

Video: Emotional BCG, plus Kennedy & players after A&M win

January 14, 2012
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COLLEGE STATION — Billy Clyde Gillispie's return to Reed Arena was a successful one … for his former team. Before the game, there was an aura in the building as all eyes were on the "savior of Aggie basketball." But once the game started, it was just another game.

But at the same time, a totally different game for Texas A&M.

After massive struggles over the past month had the Aggies limping in to Saturday's action with a 0-3 start to conference play, the Maroon and White desperately needed a W. Add to that the fact that Gillispie was coming back to Aggieland and it was an obvious "must-win" situation for this squad.

And the Aggies responded with their best game of the season, outscoring Texas Tech by 17 points in the first half en route to a 67-54 victory. Five players scored in double figures. Khris Middleton, Elston Turner and Naji Hibbert each scored 12 points. Dash Harris added 11 and Ray Turner scored 10.

Included below are quotes from both Billys — Kennedy and Gillispie — plus Harris and Hibbert, and post-game notes. Also included are quotes from my one-on-one Locker Room Chat with Dash Harris. That audio interview and video of the post-game press conference is included in the player above.



Post-game quotes

Winning and when you do things right you have fun, that’s why you play this game. I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball, Dash probably had his best first half of the year in the first half, sharing the ball. It’s good to break 60. - Billy Kennedy {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"right","Quote":"Winning and when you do things right you have fun, that’s why you play this game. I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball, Dash probably had his best first half of the year in the first half, sharing the ball. It’s good to break 60.","Author":"Billy Kennedy"}
Head Coach Billy Kennedy
"It’s really good to get a win and do it in a fashion where you thought your team did well offensively and defensively. I’m proud of Khris for fighting through what he’s been through."
 
How big was this win, was it good to win with Billy coming back?
"It has nothing to do with Billy. He helped build this program, I’m thankful for him. He’s building their program now, and it’s going to take some time. I’m just glad we won."
 
On the team having fun out there…
"Winning and when you do things right you have fun, that’s why you play this game. I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball, Dash probably had his best first half of the year in the first half, sharing the ball. It’s good to break 60."
 
On getting good minutes from the bench…
"It was both ways, I thought Daniel Alexander and Naji Hibbert came in and gave us some good minutes. It was probably difficult for both teams in the post with the fouls."
 
On Naji Hibbert’s play…
"He made his first shot and gave him confidence. Him and Zach Kinsley- one day Zach is good, one day Naji is good. He did well in practice, I’m glad he kept his confidence and gave us a big lift."
 
Were you concerned when Dash went down?
"It’s a major concern. Getting the ball up the floor, he does such a great job defensively. In this game, it didn’t hurt us as much as it would with Missouri."
 
On Billy Gillispie’s program and what he’s building…
"He’s got seven freshmen, and a young team, and when your freshman is the best player you have, you’re going to have him for a long time. He’s building his program and putting his system in. And he’s been successful getting his system in."


Guard Dash Harris
On what the team did well…
"I think we just came out aggressive, some shots fell for us early in the game. Khris got out to a great start, and everyone followed him. We got some good looks early, some easy buckets."
 
What was your role today?
"My goal today was to get everyone involved. The fact that we were making shots helped out a lot. Defensively, we let out defense translate into our offense."
 
It’s preparation. The coaches get together and make a great game plan as always. Enjoy this one today, and then get back to work tomorrow for Missouri. It’s just locking in, game by game, our goal is to go on the road and get a win. I’m sure everyone will be ready on Monday. - Dash Harris {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"right","Quote":"It’s preparation. The coaches get together and make a great game plan as always. Enjoy this one today, and then get back to work tomorrow for Missouri. It’s just locking in, game by game, our goal is to go on the road and get a win. I’m sure everyone will be ready on Monday.","Author":"Dash Harris"}
How important was this win?
"It was very important. Couldn’t go 0-4. It’s tough being 1-3, but just knowing that we needed this win, pretty much back against the wall. That’s what we needed."
 
It looks like you guys are smiling and having fun out there now.
"It’s easy to smile when you’re winning. We’ve been having fun in practice, and it’s our practice habits that we need to work on."
 
How do you turn around and play Missouri on Monday?
"It’s preparation. The coaches get together and make a great game plan as always. Enjoy this one today, and then get back to work tomorrow for Missouri. It’s just locking in, game by game, our goal is to go on the road and get a win. I’m sure everyone will be ready on Monday."
 

Guard Naji Hibbert
What were you thinking going into the game?
"I just wanted to be aggressive and if I got my opportunity, I tried to take advantage of it and try to build on that."
 
On this season being a tough one and shooting well…
"It’s been a rough year for me so far, ups and downs and still trying to get used to the situation. I try not to look on stats stuff, you can’t judge a person on stats. I’ve been making shots in practice and it did translate over into the game today."
 
How important was it to make your first shot?
"It was very important, just to see it go down. I’ve been shooting some shots and not making them in the games, but to see it go down is a confidence booster."
 
 
Texas Tech Head Coach Billy Gillispie
"We got our tail kicked and I don’t like it. The people who are here know that about me. It’s a business venture for us, and we came down and didn’t take care of business."
 
On A&M’s defensive pressure and Tech’s struggles…
"They played good defense, we knew that going into the game. We haven’t finished plays, we haven’t been finishing plays."
 
On the lack of production from starters…
"We didn’t get hardly anything from those guys. If you’re going to try to win on the road, you have to do better than that."
 
What caused some of the problems today?
"We had too many turnovers, number one. But a lot of the times we just didn’t get in the right spot to make the right play."
 
Brice Jones, TexAgs.com Gillispie's return to Reed Arena brought emotions all around, with fans applauding him and the coach himself choking up afterward. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"left","Size":"large","Caption":"Gillispie\u0027s return to Reed Arena brought emotions all around, with fans applauding him and the coach himself choking up afterward.","MediaItemID":14163}
On being in the visiting locker room…
"It wasn't weird. As a coach you get used to going to a lot of places. So, no. They have a different locker room now than what we had (when he was at A&M). I haven't seen the whole new complex, but I've heard it was really nice."

On being back at Reed Arena…
"It was great to be back. That wasn't our number one objective though, to make it a pleasure trip ... and it definitely wasn't pleasurable other than seeing a lot of friends. It's a special deal today and (long pause while emotional) ... there's a lot of great people here, there's a lot of great relationships with the players, and you think about that for a second when the tip goes up, but I'm just real disappointed that all those people who know what we can do saw us not compete better than we did."

On what he thinks of Billy Kennedy and the A&M squad…
"You don't see the program, you see the team. And that's what we saw today. Like I said before, I think (Billy Kennedy) is a great coach and a great person and they've had a little bad luck, but that team is going to be exactly where everyone expected them to be before the season's over. It's an 18-game schedule. After today they've got to have a great bit of offensive confidence. That tells you how good a coach you have, when you see a team that's not scoring well continue to defend as they have. That's the way I like to measure a lot of coaches, how hard their team continues to fight when things aren't going as well as you want them to. That team's been fighting. They could've won Wednesday (at Texas) and they could've won at Baylor."

On not playing A&M in future seasons as conference opponents…
"I would think there's been such familiarity with the teams over the years, I think it's kind of sad (that A&M and Tech won't be playing each other) and that's my opinion. They get in trouble for saying it, but as y'all know I've never concerned myself with that (laughter), unfortunately. But there's constant change in college athletics. Times are changing, it's constant change, and every school needs to do what they think is best for them. In my opinion it's unfortunate that all the Texas schools aren't going to be together because there's great competition and there's been great rivalries built up over the years, but who knows what the future holds. Two years ago you'd say this would never change, but there's been drastic change and who knows what will happen two years from now. I wish everybody was still staying together, but they didn't ask me to vote on that one."

I think (Billy Kennedy) is a great coach and a great person and they've had a little bad luck, but that team is going to be exactly where everyone expected them to be before the season's over. That's the way I like to measure a lot of coaches, how hard their team continues to fight. That team's been fighting. - Billy Gillispie {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"right","Quote":"I think (Billy Kennedy) is a great coach and a great person and they\u0027ve had a little bad luck, but that team is going to be exactly where everyone expected them to be before the season\u0027s over. That\u0027s the way I like to measure a lot of coaches, how hard their team continues to fight. That team\u0027s been fighting.","Author":"Billy Gillispie"}
On seeing Dominique Kirk on the A&M bench…
"I love Dominique (Kirk). He's a great story that I talk about a lot. He's an underrecruited guy, not because he wasn't a great player but because we probably all missed him in recruiting. We got lucky enough to get him and he's a great young person. Worked extremely hard to get his degree, worked extremely hard on the court, I coached him for three years and he said four words — He said, "Yes sir" and "No sir." That's about it. He's an inspiration, should be to everyone. Definitely an inspiration to me in terms of trying to get players like him, because he typifies everything you would ever want in a student-athlete. He's a very good basketball player, he's a great young person and he's got a great family. It's great to see him."

On what he remembers about A&M…
"When you go to a place you've been, that's what I remember the most, relationships with young people like that. There are so many players that were like that that gave everything they could for Texas A&M. They continue to do well. God forbid Logan for getting into the media, I don't know what in the hell... (laughter) Goodness gracious, he's the only guy that's made a crazy, dumb mistake. Those players are special, and the relationship they had with the fans is special."
 

Texas Tech Forward Jaye Crockett
What things were going wrong for you at the start?
"We didn’t execute on plays, people weren’t going to the right spots, cutting hard, running screens; real simple things."
 
Did you guys get stuck in a hole early?
"We dug ourselves in the hole and tried to fight back at the end, and we just can’t do that."
 
Was this game different with Coach Gillispie being back in College Station?
"Coach is the same every game, he’s going to go the same every game, 100 percent, and try to get us to do the same."
 
What has helped you start to be a bigger impact on the team?
"My health has a big part of any athlete, but a lot of people like Jordan Tolbert have been doing well and they doubled him and opened up shots for me. Other people have been playing well and opening things up for me as well."
 
Is it difficult to take a few steps back after getting on a positive streak?
"Yeah, it’s frustrating to lose when you take steps back. Like I said, digging yourself in a hole and then having to fight back is rough."
 

Texas Tech Forward Clark Lammert
What made you fight so hard even until the last minute?
"I think it came down to pride. When you wear this jersey, you have to give it all you have. We came to the end and tried to give our best."



One-on-One Locker Room Chat with Dash Harris

Gabe Bock: Dash, we had a great conversation a week ago, but it was a tough one. What a difference a week makes, just to get a W has to feel good.
Dash Harris: "Yeah, it feels great. Texas Tech is a tough team, physical, aggressive, and it feels great to come out with our first conference win at home. We owed it to ourselves and the fans. It was great to get one."

GB: As players, did y'all talk at all about Billy (Gillispie) being on the other bench?
Harris: "We didn't at all, actually. But myself, being here for four years and being recruited by Coach Gillispie when he was at Kentucky and knowing the history of him here and with Dominique (Kirk) on the bench, and some coaches like Coach (Barry) Davis, it made me want to really get the win. Not only did we need it, but it was kind of personal for myself. It was great to get a win and I'd like to congratulate Coach Gillispie because he does have a tough team that I'm sure will do some things this year."

being here for four years and being recruited by Coach Gillispie when he was at Kentucky, it made me want to really get the win. Not only did we need it, but it was kind of personal for myself. - Dash Harris {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"left","Quote":"being here for four years and being recruited by Coach Gillispie when he was at Kentucky, it made me want to really get the win. Not only did we need it, but it was kind of personal for myself.","Author":"Dash Harris"}
GB: What was your mindset Dash, because coming off that game in Austin you shot two-of-eight from three-point range but today you only shot one 'shot clock' three. Did you change your mindset today and just try to get everybody going?
Harris: "I did. My initial thing was to get everybody going early and try to step away from the three-point line this game. I passed up some open ones to see if I could get closer to the basket or get someone else a shot ... I know I can get threes whenever I want, I know they'll fall, but today I just wanted to change it up and just make sure we get our guys going early, Khris and Elston and David, and Ray. So sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself. But anything I have to do to win, I'll do."

GB: Another guy that got going, Naji Hibbert. How huge could that be for you guys going forward, because you're in desperate need of bench points?
Harris: "It's big for us. Naji's a pretty experienced player, and he's played some minutes and some big games. So for him to step up for us, right now, is big for us offensively and defensively. We need that from him every game, the consistency, every practice, every game, and I'm sure he'll be there to help us this season."

GB: Seven assists and one turnover, a missed dunk, a couple of missed opportunities, but unbelievable productivity for you. Having to do it without a backup. But when you did go out and Elston was at the 1, there were a couple of threes in the first half. So it seems like there are people that can tread some water and try to make things happen offensively until you can get back on the court.
Harris: "Yeah, definitely. I want to get my teammates involved. That's my goal, to get 10-plus assists in a lot of these games. I think I'll do it one game once guys start to make shots like we did today and start to finish around the rim. It'll come around. Elston did do a great job just controlling the tempo and moving the ball around at the point guard spot once we got into our offense. We really shared the ball well today. To continue having that and Elston backing me up ... I have confidence in him and Coach has confidence in him. I think we'll be fine."

GB: What does it mean to you to play on Martin Luther King Day? You get to go up to Columbia and try and make it happen.
Harris: "It means a lot. As a kid, you get Martin Luther King Day off of school and you get all happy and excited, and now to play a live game on ESPN with the world watching and actually go and try to upset a team and get a big win means a lot. My teammates and I are ready and we'll be focused on Monday night, ready to get a win.

"And go Saints! Who dat!"



Post-game notes

Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs Naji Hibbert was a pleasant surprise, coming off the bench to aid A&M with a double-digit point output. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"Naji Hibbert was a pleasant surprise, coming off the bench to aid A&M with a double-digit point output.","MediaItemID":3997}
- A&M placed 5 players in double figures for the first time this season.

- Texas A&M held Texas Tech to 20 first-half points, a season low for the Red Raiders.

- Texas A&M forced the Red Raiders into a season-high 23 turnovers.

- A&M held Tech without a field goal for the first 11 minutes of the game.

- The Aggies’ 12 first-half field goals were a season high in Big 12 play (previous 10 vs Iowa State).

- A&M won its fifth straight game against Texas Tech, a school record.

- A&M improved to 9-1 when holding its opponent under 40 percent shooting, and 8-0 when holding a team under 35 percent.

- A&M is 10-0 in games where it holds foes under 60 points.

- The Aggies improved to 9-1 when out-rebounding their opponent.

- A&M improved to 10-0 when leading at the half.

- Dash Harris had 7 assists, one shy of his season and career high … he matched a season high with 4 steals.

- Harris broke into the career top 10 in both assists (344 total) and steals (128).

- Naji Hibbert’s 12 points and 3 treys were both season highs.

- Daniel Alexander blocked a season (and career) high 2 shots.

- Khris Middleton set a career high with 3 blocks.

Discussion from...

Video: Emotional BCG, plus Kennedy & players after A&M win

9,430 Views | 9 Replies | Last: 10 yr ago by Chubster
Gabe Bock
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Staff
AG
Video: Emotional BCG, plus Kennedy & players after A&M win
mallen
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AG
Couldn't quite tell if he was emotional because of being back in Aggieland or emotional because Tech got thumped.
SA-AG72
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AG
He was definitely choked up about being back at A&M. imho
agfan1030
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Thanks ... enjoyed all the interviews
fightintxaggie10
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AG
I love BCG. You could tell he loves this place.
agcrock2005
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AG
That's awesome. Think he's definitely wishing he could still be here...or he's just really pissed that he's stuck in shithole Lubbock.
LatinAggie1997
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AG
Love BCG and what he did for our program....wish him the best
mikesyracuse1
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Chubster
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Billy Clyde Gillispie
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