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Eddie Jordan Press Conference Transcript
  • Posted on April 23, 2013 5:52:57 PM
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  • JASON BAUM:  Good afternoon and welcome to The Barn today for this great day in Rutgers basketball history.  My name is Jason Baum, senior associate AD for communication here at Rutgers.  Today's speakers at the podium will be Rutgers president, Dr. Robert L. Barchi, interim director of athletics Carl Kirschner, and Eddie Jordan.

                At this time, ladies and gentlemen, let me please introduce Rutgers president Dr. Robert L. Barchi.

                DR. BARCHI:  Well, I have to tell you this is the most fun I've had in front of TV cameras in the last month (smiling).  I know you've looked down the street and you saw that puff of white smoke go up.  It's my privilege to be able to announce to you what you've all known probably longer than I have, as I read the newspapers.

                It's an exciting day and new day for Rutgers, one in which I can finally reveal what is the worst-kept secret in town.  I don't have to tell anyone, especially anyone in this building, that Mr. Eddie Jordan has really a proud and deep connection and commitment to Rutgers and to the Rutgers community.

                He was a star on our legendary Final Four team of 1976, a magical season that was played right here on these boards, and probably actually on these boards, knowing our renovation cycle.

                I know we have some of his former teammates in the audience right now.  Can any of those teammates who are here stand up for us.  The knees still work, delighted to see that.

                You know that Eddie has been a major part of the history of our program.  I know that he's made memories in this place.  We're looking forward to having him make memories for our Scarlet Knights moving forward.

                In a minute I'm going to ask our athletic director Carl Kirschner to introduce Eddie in more detail.  But let me say a few things about him that I've noticed.  We've only known each other for a period of hours formally, got a chance to meet him first last week.

                I already know he's somebody that will play a major role in moving Rutgers forward.  Goes without saying he's passionate about basketball, committed to winning and incredibly knowledgeable.  Just as important, he is committed to our university's fundamentals.

                What I picked up on right away is that Eddie knows what our commitment is to the atmosphere of respect and dignity here.

                If I had to go back over all the positive reviews that I got when I talked about Eddie and talked to folks who know him, if I had to pick out one thing, it would be the comment that I got from one of the owners of a major league team that he's coached for.  He said, Here is the thing, Eddie has respect for and is respected by everyone, from the owners to the players to the coaches to the ball boy.  That's what really impressed me.  That's what I saw in this man.  That's what I know he has.

                Anyone in this position wants to win.  Anyone in this position is passionate about basketball.  But not everyone who can run a team like this can have those sorts of things said about him.  I know he's the right leader at a pivotal moment for our men's basketball program.

                Without any further ado, I'll turn the podium over to Carl Kirschner and say, Eddie, welcome back to Rutgers.  Can't wait till you get back here On the Banks.

                Carl.

                CARL KIRSCHNER:  Thank you, Dr. Barchi.  This is my second stint.  I got to hire a coach.  I hope I don't have a third stint as acting athletic director.

                A quick story.  Some of you know this, some don't.  I arrived to Rutgers in the fall of 1976 as a young assistant professor, about six inches taller, a lot more hair.  As a basketball fan, I went to watch the basketball team play right here.  There was this very, very good guard playing in his senior year named Eddie Jordan.  I actually watched Eddie Jordan play in his senior year the last year that The Barn was used for basketball.  For those of you who do not remember or are too young, let me show you this.

              

    (Video Shown.)

     

     

    CARL KIRSCHNER:  So in the 10, 15, 20 hours that I've now known Eddie Jordan, I've come to recognize him, many of you know it already, as a classy guy, open, honest, willing to learn, utmost integrity.  Just a classy guy.

                So I think we are very, very fortunate to be able to have Eddie back On the Banks.  Rutgers University is fortunate to have not only a classy, decent man, but someone with a tremendous coaching pedigree.

                I'm going to turn the podium over to Coach Edward M. Jordan, otherwise known as Fast Eddie.

                COACH JORDAN:  Thank you.  Thanks for coming.

                Obviously back then I was known as Fast Eddie.  As my guys know now, I'm just Hot Air Jordan.  I realized that when my teammates stood up.  Most of them stood up like this, Phil stood up like this (laughter).

                Again, thank you for coming.  I am really honored and blessed to be named the caretaker of our team, of our program, of our university's basketball program.  I say 'our' because we've all come to a point that we have to regain our pride and our dignity and our integrity to our university.  That's why I'm honored and proud to be part of that.  There's a responsibility for all of us to represent our university in the highest class and the utmost respect.

                Today is about the future of Rutgers basketball, and we're moving forward.  There's some healing process that has to be done.  I'm glad my team is here.  We have enough talent to exceed expectations.  We want our guys to feel good about themselves, about their future, about their basketball team.  That is part of my responsibility, but as always it's also part of yours because we're all one and we all need help to regain our integrity back.

                The program has to be built on two words.  When I was a young coach, I talked to K.C. Jones, had a conversation with him.  He won 11 championships with the Boston Celtics.  I said K.C., what's the most part of your championship runs?  He would say, Effort and harmony, effort and harmony, meaning hard work, a great work ethic, and knowing how to get along, knowing how to work together.

                So that's what this program is going to be built on:  hard work and teamwork.

                I want to thank Dr. Barchi for his belief and trust in me.  I'd like to thank our Board of Governors and our Board of Trustees who understood the meaning of 'due diligence.'  People have taken some criticism on the length of time, but the due diligence was very important in their minds and in their actions to get this thing right.  I'm glad that they chose me (smiling).

                I want to thank Carl Kirschner for being there for me, who runs an academic support program second to none in the country.  I want to thank Kate Sweeney for being there.  She's from our era.  Not calling out your age, Kate, but she's younger at heart.  She was there for me.

                Last but not least Brian Perkins, who acted as a surrogate brother, agent, for free.  He was certainly a big part of motivating me.  Not like he had to motivate me.

                I have one story to share with you because this is where I want to sort of end up going.

                There's Jimmy Lynam, who is a lifer coach, a coach at Saint Joe's.  Coached with me, was an assistant with me with the Nets, with the 76ers.  He shared a story with me.  He and Saint Joe's were in a tournament.  They had five or six teams in the tournament.  He had to play Temple the first game.

                As he was having breakfast, he was talking to a reporter.  He was in a hotel restaurant full of people, some players from different teams, hotel guests.

                The reporter was saying, Jimmy, you can beat Temple this team.  John Chaney, he's way beyond his time, you can press him and they'll turn it over.

                Jimmy says, You don't know, man, you don't know what I'm going against here.

                If you put up a press, they'll turn it over.  Put up a zone, they'll miss shots.  They're not good shooters.

                Jimmy said, You don't know what I'm going against here.

                As they're talking, other coaches are coming in.

                Jimmy, you can really beat Temple this time.

                Another coach comes in.  Hi, Bob.

                Hey, you don't know what I'm going against.

                Here comes John Chaney.  He comes to the hostess' table.  As the hostess starts to seat him, he walks into the restaurant and 13 guys stood up.  As he walked to his table, they stood up.  When he sat down, they sat down.

                The reporter turned to Jimmy and said, Shucks, you're in hard luck tonight.  You got some bad luck tonight.

                Just that story tells you if you can mold your players, they have respect for you, that's what you get as a coach.  Mold them, show them what respect is, build a great relationship with them.  I've spent maybe three days with them, and I know we've got some talent down there to exceed people's expectations.

                Winning is always in the equation.  Not just healing, not just relationships, not just getting the program back, but winning is always in the equation.  That's what I want our guys to understand.

                We're going to play, build a relationship, trust, belief, and as always a phrase I like to say, faith before duty.  Believe in the program, believe in what we're doing, go out and do it right.

                Again, thanks for coming and I'm glad to be here.

                JASON BAUM:  We'll take questions at this point.

     

                Q.  Can you elaborate a little bit on what stylistic differences Rutgers fans can expect between you and your predecessor?

                COACH JORDAN:  I really don't know what my predecessor did as far as X's and O's.  I know we want to be up-tempo.  We want to play just like we played in the year I played.  Force turnovers.  Your defense will create the offense.  Open the floor up.

                I think you always play to your best player.  I know a couple of guys already who are our best players.  That's what we'll do.  Your team shows you how to play.  I just know it's going to be exciting.  They're going to work hard and share the basketball.

     

                Q.  Are you concerned about the five players who have said they don't want to come back next year?

                COACH JORDAN:  No, I'm not concerned.  The most important thing for me was to recruit our players.  Every day I've got at least one or two in my office, on the floor, talking to them, texting them, calling them.  It's about building relationships.  It's not going to happen overnight.

                I've talked to parents.  They're as hurt as the players.  Maybe out of the 10 parents that I called, eight parents that I talked to, two were really, really enthusiastic about their child coming back, their young man coming back, and the other were hurt.

                It's a process.  It's hard to just gain trust in one phone call.  But it's a due diligence for me to do it every day.  I'm not giving up till that player is out of the door and into another school.

     

                Q.  The one question I want to ask, given everything you've seen transpire here over the past month or so, what makes you the right guy, at the right place, at the right time?

                COACH JORDAN:  Coaching style.  I like to build relationships.  I like to put my arms around the players and ask them, What do you see on the basketball floor?  I always was taught, even by the great Pete Carril, that the lower you talk, and you talk to the team, they'll come in closer.  Maybe he just couldn't yell.  But the lower you talk, the closer they come.  They understand.

                The learning process I always thought was you pay attention, you listen, you pay attention, you understand.  Number two, you comprehend.  Number three, you remember it.  Number four, you apply.  Number five, you repeat it.  That's the learning curve for the way I teach.

     

                Q.  Rutgers has always been perceived as a sleeping giant because of its geographic location because of recruiting.  For you personally, this is your alma mater.  What has changed in your eyes considering the fact this program will be in the Big Ten in a year?  What elements change now that you'll be competing in the Big Ten versus the Big East?

                COACH JORDAN:  I've done recruiting seven of my eight years in college.  Recruiting is pretty much the same every school you go by.  You have rules you have to abide by, you make your contacts, you keep plugging and plugging.  That's what recruiting is whether you're at UCLA or Rutgers.

                Tom Jones and Ron Borland came and said we were a sleeping giant.  Look what happened in three years.  It's not a sleeping giant any more because of what happened, but we're moving forward.

                Again, it's about finding, identifying the top talent, which is not hard to do nowadays, and finding the people that fit what you want.  Character is in there.  When you look at how you build a good team, talent is always number one.  Toughness is number two.  Number three is character.  Number four is experience.

                Young talent doesn't win much, all right?  Talent that's not tough doesn't win much.  That's why we won with Phil.  And you have to have great character.  So all those four ingredients make up a good player that makes a good team.

     

                Q.  Eddie, looking at your teammates, being in this place, what memories come to mind?

                COACH JORDAN:  Well, that we were determined to be good.  We had a great player in Phil.  The rest of us were good players.  We were good.  We were talented.  We used what was good for us.  We used our speed.  We used our quickness.  We used our harmony that we knew who the best shooter was.  We knew how to get the ball up the floor.  We knew how to press and play off each other.

                Those are the qualities of a good team.  Again, if the Boston Celtics can win with harmony and effort as their mantra, then that's where we're going to start.

     

                Q.  40 years ago a young kid from the Washington area came to Rutgers and the rest as they say is history.  What do you say to an 18-year-old kid today?  Why should he come to Rutgers?  Why should a parent entrust a young man in your hands?

                COACH JORDAN:  Number one, you enjoy the Rutgers experience.  It's a great place to be.  It's a great degree.  That's number one.

                Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids, student-athletes, who think that playing in college for two years or one will get them to the NBA.  If that's the case, then there's some qualities that I possess that I understand what the NBA is about.  But certainly the Rutgers experience is a great experience.

                Going into the Big Ten, great expectations.  The Big Ten has the best network in the country.  Even though we'll be in Minnesota, we'll be on every TV screen in the country.  That's a heck of a recruiting pitch, that it is the best academic, athletic and exposure network in the country.

     

                Q.  What made you want to come here?  Watching what has transpired over the last month, what made you want to come here?

                COACH JORDAN:  That's a no-brainer.  I wanted to come here 10 years ago.  I wanted to come here three years ago.  It wasn't because of what happened.  I've always wanted to coach Rutgers.  I'm glad that I've gotten all the experiences that any possible coach can have.  Heck, I even coached ninth graders last summer.  I coached my son's eighth grade team.  I coached one of the elite AAU teams, 17-and-unders last summer, won a national championship with an AAU team.  I've run the gamut of coaching.

                I've been as assistant, a head coach, a player on a championship team.  I've been part of a team that went to the finals in the New Jersey Nets.  I even said a few things to Kobe Bryant without him snapping my head off (smiling).

                I've run the gamut.  It's my experiences that should help these young men right here succeed.

     

                Q.  You've been around Tom Young long enough to know that he had a guy who did his recruiting for him.  A coach can only do so much.  Who are you going to get to be your recruiter?

                COACH JORDAN:  Well, right now we have two capable recruiters that I thought was necessary to retain and evaluate.  David Cox and Van are very capable recruiters, very crucial areas:  New York, Washington, Philly and Baltimore.  I still believe you can win with the talent in your area.

                I think there will be other positions that may become available for us.  It's funny that I wanted to mention this.  I've had ex former NBA All-Stars call to be part of my staff.  I've had ex NBA coaches to be part of my staff.  I've had ex-players, NBA players, great college coaches, be part of my staff.  So how attractive is Rutgers?  That attractive, okay?  That attractive.

                There won't be a problem finding other people, and I will bring other people in to interview.

     

                Q.  Is David staying?

                COACH JORDAN:  For the time being, we're staying together.  There's a comfort level with our players with David Cox and with Van.  That's important to me that there's continuity.  If there's trust with them, that's important to me and that's important to them.

     

                Q.  The whole world saw the video that was out there about Rutgers basketball.  I'm curious if you could share, as a Rutgers person, how you felt when you saw what happened to the Rutgers name through that?  If you could describe for us in contrast to that what your coaching style is, if you're a tough coach but not crossing lines.  Give us a sense of who you are in dealing with your players.

                COACH JORDAN:  Every individual in this room has feelings.  I had the same feelings as everyone here.  I don't want to rehash those.

                Moving forward, I've coached probably difficult players, and they were great as far as competitiveness, trusting what I teach.  Kenyon Martin, Gilbert Arenas prior to what he did, and I understand different personalities.  But, again, it's about coaching and teaching.

                I always said there's a road we want to go down.  Everyone has their own personalities within the boundaries of that road.  Hardly anyone walks that straight and narrow.  We see a line down the middle of the road.  Hardly anyone walks that straight line.  Some of us have personalities that walk like this, some have personalities that walk down the road like this, all right?

                But you can't break the boundaries.  I'll allow you to have your personality, but there are rules.  We already instituted, what's the first rule I gave you guys, no hats in the building, that's right.  That's a small step (laughter).

                There are personalities that you coach.  My style is hands-on.  I always like to say, I'll say to Myles, what do you see out there, do you see a driving lane, is Kadeem open in the post, can you go back door, do you need a pick'n roll?  What do you see, tell me.  Good players make good coaches.  Bad players get you fired.

     

                Q.  Have you received any assurances at all about the renovation of the RAC?

                COACH JORDAN:  I understand the scoreboard will be in for sure in August.  We want the product on the floor to fill up whatever seats we have.  That's what I'm concerned about.  I've seen drawings.  I've seen scales, models.  But my job right now is to save my players and to get them to understand and to trust me.

                I'm low maintenance.  Sometimes my qualities, call them qualities I guess, are my weaknesses.  I'm open-minded, patient and low maintenance.  But I think what's important to me, my mindset on a daily basis is to save my players.

     

                Q.  Being in the NBA for so long, what kind of adjustment do you expect it to be to come back to the college game?

                COACH JORDAN:  Heck, I had to make adjustments going to the NBA because when I watch NBA games, there's not a whole lot of contact nowadays.  I watch a college game, there's contact everywhere.  I mean, hands and bodies flying, hands all on you.  Right, Myles?  No calls out there when people are guarding you with their hands.  I mean, I love the college game.

                Something interesting.  When I was in college for eight years, I never watched the NBA game.  I never wanted to go to the NBA.  My nose was to the grindstone.  When I was in the NBA, I didn't watch much college because I had to do NBA stuff.

                I think it's not going to be a whole lot of adjustments.  A chest pass is a chest pass, ninth grade or NBA All-Star.  I mean, if you fill this entire gym up with NBA players, 90% of them you'll see fundamentals.  Fundamentals will never fail you on any level.  You play hard, you play together.  Harmony and effort.

     

                Q.  Can you talk a little bit about why you wanted to get back to Rutgers so badly and where this ranks in your coaching career?

                COACH JORDAN:  Where this ranks?  Well, I'm 0-0, so it's okay right now (smiling).

                It's all from the heart, man.  It's from the heart.  I know I have a lot of support.  Again, this is our school.  The Rutgers community has to help all of us to bring our university back to some respect and some integrity.

                This is a centerpiece of what happened.  This is the centerpiece that's going to bring it forth.

     

                Q.  I know you want to hit the ground running.  What is your immediate schedule going to be like the next couple weeks?

                COACH JORDAN:  Obviously the NCAAs have periods where you can evaluate, where you can bring people in, when you can't do something.  I'm visiting a recruit tonight in New York.  I'm taking Phil with me because it might be a tough neighborhood (laughter).  I'm going to evaluate two major AAU tournaments this weekend in Philadelphia and in Hampton, Virginia.  I'm still talking to players who are on the fence of leaving and coming back.  I have to be available for them.

                After this weekend, there's know evaluation period for a while.  We'll be doing what most schools will be doing:  bringing kids on campus.  Some of our immediate attention will go to junior college transfers who can play right away, fifth-year seniors who have a year of eligibility, seniors who haven't committed who I'm going to see tonight.

                We want to replenish our roster if, in fact, more kids leave than I expect.  I'm hoping that our relationship - we're all in this - are going to keep a couple of guys in here.  I've said we can have one of the most dynamic backcourts in the country if we can retain a couple of guys with Myles.

                Thank you very much.

                JASON BAUM:  Thank you.

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