Princeton assistant coach Brian Earl '99 filled in for head coach Mitch Henderson '98 today on the Ivy League's midseason media teleconference call. Below is a transcript from Earl's time on the call.
"We've had a relatively successful start to the season at 11-3 and with a question mark of losing the (Ivy League) Player of the Year in Ian Hummer. We've sort of filled that gap by committee. It was a tough loss this previous game at The Palestra that we're going to try to build off of. We have some time to head into exams and regain our footing, and we'll be back in a couple weeks to try and get back to the winning ways. At this point, we've got a couple things we need to address, I think a little bit on the defensive side, and once we figure that out, hopefully we'll get back on track."
On lessons learned from the loss at Penn:
"I don't think there's a giant lesson learned. I don't think we were looking past them at all. They, as Coach (James) Jones (of Yale) said, played a really tough schedule sort of disguised in their win-loss side as to the games they've had to play this year. We can take, I think, a lesson in how we defend, and I think we're going to address that over the next couple weeks. We need to get a little more physical as it pertains to in the lane and really start to battle back down there. We'll take some strategic lessons and put our heads together and try to figure out how, as a team, we respond to that."
On facing Harvard as the first Ivy League opponent after the finals break:
"We actually play Kean before them, sort of to get our feet under us, a Division III school from up the road, so we're not even really looking past that game. We know at this point, starting 0-1, that every game matters. It's nice to have Harvard as the next game up. We haven't really even looked at that yet because we need to address some things that we need to get better at. Any time you go into the Ivy League season, all the games matter. We took a loss that we need to learn from, but we'll take Harvard as it comes and address Dartmouth for the following night. We haven't put any more onus on that game, especially with one game in between right now."
On the team's tight rotation and the potential for foul trouble or injuries:
"A little bit. I think you have to worry about that at all times. We have a lot of options, I think, as you move down the bench. Guys who haven't played recently have played well for us. It is a part of the game, injuries and foul trouble, and we've rolled with the punches the best we can this year when those things have cropped up. You don't dwell on it. You know that something unexpected will most likely happen and you sort of roll with the punches. We work with all of our guys every day to get them better. We hope that they're prepared and we try to make the guys who are out of that first seven or so prepared to get in there into your clutch situations. You never can tell what the future is going to hold, but you prepare everyone to have to step up. It has happened in the past and I assume it's going to happen to us at some point and it happens to everyone. That's part of coaching, part of preparing the whole team."