Sunday, October 26, 2008


What better way to celebrate a big Rutgers win than to go a little crazy. And the man best known for going a little crazy is Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez. I got the chance to ask Bobby a few questions on this year's Pirates team, his talk with the commissioner and what he thinks of Fred Hill. Gonzalez gave very long and articulate answers, except for one topic. Take a guess on what.

On how is going to coach if he only has 8 players:
"Well I think we gotta be more judicial and conservative in pressing and substituting and playing zone and things like that. You saw coach Boeheim at the end of the year, now it was probably easier for him bc the 7 or 8 guys he had, five of them are pros. And the other thing is he plays 2-3 zone, so it was easy. We like to press and run and I like to have 10 guys, and so if we do have 8 guys eligible or something like that its going to be a challenge. But I think that I’ve been there before, its not like I havent coach there before, our first year at Seton hall, other years when I was at man. Its just a challenge you gotta go out and get the most out of your team, make them reach the ceiling, show up for the games. Coach them for the game, try to win every game."
On his summer meeting with Mike Tranghese:
We had a great conversation because I think that he really feels that I came in 2 years ago, with the same, I don’t wanna say chip on my shoulder, the same way Jim Calhoun was. Certain guys came into the league thinking “Hey the older guys are getting the breaks, the older guys are getting the calls.” and I sort of came in that way, like I gotta fight and scratch and claw and kick and punch. I think that he said that 'Bobby you can coach with anybody in this league. You’ve proven that you can coach, you’ve proven that you can recruit' and I think what he was looking to tell me was, and it wasn’t just about the suspension, it was about basically that I shouldn’t have to feel that I have to fight scratch and claw for everything, that I already have that respect. Basically the better team you get, the more calls you get, the better whistle you get, and the easier it is as a coach. Because now everything is not life and death. Dean Smith used to say a lot 'if you're gonna make everything life and death, you’re gonna die a lot of deaths.' And in the first two years at Seton Hall, for us, everything has been life and death. If we win the game at the buzzer against Villanova, we’re probably in the NIT. If we don’t lose Paul [Gause] maybe we go to the NCAA. We don’t have much margin for error right now so for us in our first couple of years, its been life and death. And that’s why as a coach your under internal pressure, just fighting, scratching, clawing. And we had a great talk, me and him, because he basically was saying that look you know the suspension wasn’t anything that anyone is going to hang on to. It happened. You know Coach Calhoun I guess got reprimanded earlier in the year he had to write a letter of apology. Later in the year when I got suspended for a game, it wasn’t because he was a Hall of Fame coach and I wasn’t. It was because they sent a warning to say if anybody else does this, they're gonna get banged... And I unfortunately did pretty good last year but picked the wrong time to get in trouble which was the last game of the season, out of frustration because we lost three in a row and we lost at the buzzer. And I just went to the press conference and said the wrong things at the wrong time. And that’s kind of what the conversation was about. It was a positive conversation.
On the Seton Hall-Rutgers rivalry:
I think whats happening is, if you have two guys who are getting better players and the teams are getting better then that means the rivalry is going to get better and there's gonna be more excitement and its going to make more of a difference. In other words, when I got here everybody said there wasn’t a lot of drama or interest because it was like watching the paint dry. Neither team was very good, there wasn’t much going on with recruiting and it just didn’t have a lot of zest. And I think now that Freddy Hill is at Rutgers. We’re at Seton Hall, we’re scratching and clawing, getting some better players, they're getting some better players...They're bringing in NY/NJ, we’re recruiting NY/NJ, so whats happening is I think its going back to the way it used to be back in the day when u had kids that grew up and knew each other real well and played high school ball and AAU ball against each other. Now all of sudden they're taking it to the Big East, playing against each other Rutgers-Seton Hall. And I think that was missing for a while and that’s coming back now. When they get guys like Corey Chandler, we get Keon Lawrence, two kids from Newark that grew up together. I think the rivalry is starting to pick up because of the Metropolitan area kids that are being recruited and the level of talent. The better both teams get, the more excitement the rivalry has. If we’re both picked 15 and 16, people say neither team is good, how exciting is the rivalry. If we keep moving up, the better it gets.
On his relationship with Fred Hill:
I think we respect each other. And it's professional and that’s the most important thing.

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