CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University men's basketball head coach Barry Hinson held a press conference this afternoon to discuss remarks he made after last night's game at Murray State. Starting point guard Marcus Fillyaw also took questions from the media.
COACH HINSON TRANSCRIPT
"I made a mistake last night. In a postgame media conference I singled out an individual on our team. That was very immature of me and I take full responsibility for it. I should not have done it. I apologized to him personally and I apologized to the team for singling out an individual. Now, let me get to the second part. From that point on, anything I said in that press conference I stand by. I believe every word I said. If that ruffles your feathers or ruffles someone else's then you're going to have to deal with it -- and the other thing, I'm going to have to deal with it. We are 2-8, that's not a very good record. I'm the head coach of this 2-8 record team. We are 2-8 because I'm the head coach. I take full responsibility for that. We have lost six games by single digits; six by the average of six points. I'm just like everybody else -- I'm frustrated, I don't like losing and I want to win. I don't accept mediocre, I don't accept lukewarm, I don't accept average. I demand excellence out of everyone, including myself. Last night, I didn't have excellence in a pressroom when I singled out an individual. I'll try my best to not do it again but I don't have a speed bump in my mouth as my wife told me and I need one. I am who I am. Saturday night I'm going to come into this press conference and by exactly who I am. I'm not going to change who I am and I'm going to learn from my mistakes. I'm not changing. I'll change in the area of my immaturity and when I'm wrong. I make no apologies for that. I won't apologize for being passionate, I will not apologize for being energetic, I will not apologize for accepting mediocrity and I will not apologize for loving my players, coaching them and demanding excellence from them on a daily basis -- on or off the floor."
Q: Were you shocked by the reaction?
"I got a text at 6 a.m. -- this is a true story -- and it said, 'Last night's presser went viral, I'll handle it.' I apologize; I thought Mario (Moccia) was going to have to go to the hospital to get antibiotics. I didn't know what `viral' and `I'll handle it' meant. He said I'll send you the clip and it dawned on me what he meant by the clip. I got the clip, we listened to it and I asked (my wife) what do you think. She said, 'you owe an apology to Marcus. The other stuff you were just being you, and I don't have a problem with that.' She did make a comment that she could go 4-for-11 instead of 2-for-11. She no doubt said she could get to the free throw line and she does have an excellent shot fake."
Q: Were you surprised by the nation-wide reaction?
"I'm surprised. I'm really surprised. Let me tell you some things that have happened since today. I got a guy who emailed me and said he heard me on the Dan Patrick Show. He said when you talk about when your players sit at the table and they have lost their job and they have to look at their families and say everything will be ok. He said I'm 54 and I've lost my job, but I'm going to sit at my dinner table tonight and tell my family we will be ok. Now if that one small bit helped one guy -- fantastic. Somebody asked me in Chicago if this would hurt recruiting. I'll tell you how this would hurt recruiting. If you have a son that is going to come to SIU and you want that son to behave, have a coach and staff that loves him, play for a community that loves basketball, play in a program that demands excellence, play in a program that wants you to get a degree and to do the very best you can academically, socially, spiritually and athletically then this is the place. If you don't want any of those things then you don't need to send him to Southern Illinois because that's what we are going to do. Also your son is going to play for a head coach that at times acts like an idiot and admits it and I take full responsibility for it. You are going to play for a coach that is a thermometer and not a thermostat. I'm sorry, I don't regulate. I'm hot and I'm cold. My own play-by-play guy (Mike Reis) educates me all the time. He says you probably shouldn't say this or you probably shouldn't say that. I'm learning. I'm glad I'm just 52 and I'm not old yet. I'm learning every day and I'm going to make mistakes. I'm not perfect and I've never claimed to be."
Q: Why should you not criticize your own players if they don't play well?
"I don't mind criticizing them as a group. I think times have changed. I think the Internet has changed everything. I didn't berate my players last night. I just gave the facts. We didn't play hard. We played soft. If you have a problem with the term momma's boy, then you can't come to Southern Illinois. You can't live in Southern Illinois. We're tough people down here. We're agriculture. We're blue collar. We're tough-minded folks. I live in Southern Illinois now, so I'm a Southern Illinoisan. So can you criticize your players? Yeah, you can do it in a group, but you can't do it individually. And I shouldn't do it individually. I'll criticize my daughter's individually or publicly. But I'm open about everything I do. I don't hide things. I don't want to hide things. We live in a society where we hide things. We didn't have a meeting today on what to say or how to say it. We didn't do those things. We didn't go through a deal where we said this is what you need to say and this is how you need to say it. I'm not one of those politically correct guys."
Q: Can you describe your conversation with Marcus this morning?
"I did it in front of the team. I just told Marcus - I looked him right in the eye - and I said Marcus, I apologize. I should not have singled you out. I'm telling you and all of your teammates that I made a mistake. I tell you guys you mess up, but I'll be the first one to tell you when I mess up. And I messed up. I told every one of them that I don't apologize for anything else in the press conference."
Q: What was the players' reaction?
"I asked them if anybody had an issue with anything I said in the press conference, with the exception of Marcus. I said guys, speak your truth right now because obviously I'm not going to rant back at them since there's a great chance it might be tweeted. Every one of them said that I was right in what I said. I want you to understand this. Davante Drinkard tweeted something today that was deemed negative, but he has that right. That's why we live in this country. It's freedom of speech. He apologized to me for calling me "little man." Davante, I'm five-foot-eight. I am a little man. That's part of it. If I'm going to criticize them, and they want to criticize me, that's fine. Let's get this straight. I didn't ask him to take that off. He had a right to say it. He did it. He must've pulled it off on his own. I didn't tell our players anything. I didn't meet with our players. If we were trying to hide something today, I wouldn't be visiting with you, and I wouldn't want Marcus in here. We're transparent in everything we do."
Q: Have you faced any repercussions from the SIU administration?
"I was reprimanded for not being smart enough when I singled out a player, and I accepted it. I have an unbelievable boss in our Chancellor. I have a great president in Dr. Poshard, and I have an unbelievable athletic director. I respect every one of them, and they told me do not single out individuals, and I plan not to do it again. And I apologize to them as well. I don't want to bring any ill favor to our university whatsoever. Quite frankly, of all the responses I've received today, I've received two negative emails, and the others have been very positive. I even received an email from a mother who said I'd really like you to coach my son. Here's his video clip, and she also said he's not a momma's boy. I took great pride in that."
Q: Has this taken away from your preparation for Saturday's game?
"I think it will help us. I hope. I think when we walk out of that tunnel on Saturday, you're going to see one heck of a crowd. I know I haven't been here very long, but I've embraced being in Southern Illinois, and I just feel like our fans will embrace this moment. They can call me an idiot for being immature and singling out Marcus, and they have every right to do so, but if they want to get on me for being passionate, about being upset about getting beat and being 2-8, of demanding our guys to be something other than mediocre, then I have a problem, but I know that's not them."
Q: Do you feel like this could ultimately turn into a positive for the team?
"I hope so. Somebody asked me today if it was calculated. I'm not that smart. I hope what I said in the locker room last night after the game is what prepares us to get ready for this next game."
Q: After calling the team uncoachable, do you feel like you have their attention?
"I think I'll answer that question a little bit better after Saturday afternoon. I wasn't at shooting practice this morning. I was putting out a few fires, but I'll know a little bit more after practice today. I've said this 100 times. I like these guys. I like this team. I think we have a chance to be pretty good. We need a win. That will be the best band-aid that we can get. We need a shot of confidence. I think that will help us more than anything."
Q: How have players changed from when you first started until now?
"I'm struggling with two things right now with this generation. I'm struggling with the enabling, and I'm struggling with the sense of entitlement. When I used to go home, if I was upset at a teacher or coach, my mom and dad wouldn't listen to me because the other person's words were golden. I just don't see it like that anymore, and I struggle with that a little bit. I struggle that we can't criticize or be criticized. I got criticized today, and I hope I'm handling it in a respectable manner. If you criticize me for doing something wrong, that I believe against, then I'll tell you. I'm old school, and I wear that banner. I wear it proudly. Although it gets me in trouble, I'm not going to change. I'm always going to be old school. I'm always going to be that guy who thought viral meant that somebody had a virus."
Q: You said you're making the calls for virtually every time down the court. Do you think that's going to change?
"I hope so. What I've tried to do is take the decision process and the stress off them a little bit and make a call offensively to where it helps us. That's just one of the things that we talked about as a staff, and I made a decision. When you're 2-8, you want to do everything you can to help these guys. You want to try all sorts of things, and we're just trying to help nurture them through until we find our way. We have eight guys who have never played Division I basketball, and it's a little rough on them right now. That's one of the ways we're trying to help them."
Q: Is there anything that you agreed with Coach Hinson about?
"Aside from all the analogies and jokes that he made, I think all of it was true. Right now our team is playing soft and that is a big part of our identity right now and we need to do what we can to change that."
Q: Did you have a problem with Coach Hinson calling you out personally?
"It wasn't so much with him calling me out personally, I was just upset with my performance. His statement about me was accurate, it was just embarrassing that the whole world knows."
Q: How surprised are you that this has taken on a world of its own?
"It is not really a surprise because he is an emotional guy and he always tells us he wears his emotions on his sleeve. I knew he was going to be upset after that game, I was upset, the whole team was upset, so it wasn't a huge surprise."
Q: What has been the team's reaction?
"Some people are shocked. A lot of us are first-year Division I players, so they don't know particularly how to handle it. The team is looking at it as this is something that we need to change now. He made a statement to the media, everyone is covering it now, and we are in the spotlight and need to make a difference."
Q: What are you taking away from this?
"I am taking it personally and I hope my teammates do, too. We need to make a change for this program because it is not headed in the right direction."
Q: How will the team respond?
"Hopefully the team will respond well, we need to play a lot harder and a lot smarter and that starts at practice today."
Q: What did Coach Hinson say this morning?
"In our meeting he did make an apology to me individually but said he meant everything he said in the press conference and that we need to make changes to get better."
Q: Coach Hinson said you guys are uncoachable, do you think he has lost your attention?
"I think he has our attention now more than he did before the press conference. The team has taken more interest now. Before that you could say we were uncoachable because we weren't responding well to anything that they were trying to teach us in practice."
Q: As an athlete is this the harshest you have been criticized, or is this something you should expect as a DI athlete?
"I have always been criticized, especially as a point guard, because typically you are the leader of the team and the one who should be the most vocal. I have always been criticized but have never had any media attention like this."
Q: When did you hear about the press conference?
"I heard about it this morning. I saw it on ESPN."
Q: Have you gotten more text messages today than ever before?
"Oh yeah. No one ever texts me so it has been a wild morning for me."
Q: What do you think all of this says about SIU?
"It says that we need to improve. Coach Hinson is trying to make that improvement. Two years ago before he got here we weren't any better than we are now and he is trying to make those changes and we need to start responding to him and help him make those changes. He signed here just like we did."
Q: What has to be done now to turn this season around?
"A lot of it is playing hard and smart. We have come out almost every game and have had a lead and we let it go by making dumb mistakes or the other team has more effort than us and that is usually the turning points in games."
Q: Will this change your relationship with Coach Hinson at all?
"No, not at all."
Q: Why do you think the team has not been responding to Coach Hinson?
"I have no idea. I think it will change now because there is a certain respect factor you have to have with your coach and now that he has gotten our attention I think we will start to respect him more, and we see that he is here to try and help us and we need to listen to him. We don't have any other choice."
Q: Who took the comments the hardest on the team?
"I don't think there was one person who took it the hardest, everyone was affected by it. I don't think it negatively affected us."
Q: What was the effort level at practice this morning?
"Effort was good at practice this morning, everyone was focused."
Q: Do you think this will turn into a positive for the program?
"Well, we can't get much worse so it has to be a positive."
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