American seniors Yilret Yiljep and Charlie Jones and head coach Mike Brennan spoke after American's 69-54 loss to Holy Cross on senior day. Full video above and select quotes below.
YY ON TAKING THE OPENING TIP
"It was very emotional. It was very emotional for me. It's been a long time. I haven't stepped on the court since freshman year. It was just very inspirational and very emotional."
CHARLIE ON WHAT THE DAY WAS LIKE
"It was great to see YY finally get what he deserved for sticking through, persevering through the situation so that was definitely really emotional. And it was also nice just walking out with my parents who've been supporting me these past four years. Everything at the beginning was great. The game didn't go the way we planned, but still got two more to go and the season's far from over."
YY ON THE EXPERIENCE FROM THE BENCH
"It's been fun. It's obviously very sad that I can't be out there playing. I was able to see the game from a different perspective being on the bench and my role on the team is just to try and help out anywhere possible — so at practice I'm always in Charlie's ear, telling him what to do. Because, you know, it's different when you're in the game. For me being on the bench and having all the experience the last four years, I know what players tendencies are."
CHARLIE ON IF HE IMAGINED THIS JOURNEY FROM WALK-ON TO PLAYING 40 MINUTES MOST NIGHTS IN THE LEAGUE
"Yeah, I did. That's why I came here — because I saw an opportunity that I knew wasn't going to be easy, wasn't going to be given to me, and I was definitely very fortunate to have a coach like Coach Brennan who he just rewards guys who listen, play hard and do what he asks. And yeah, I felt like this was a situation I could be successful in and work toward and I'm just glad I've been able to do it and have the support of people like my parents and teammates like Y.Y. to help me to where I am today."
ON YY DOING THE OPENING TIP
"It's a nice thing that we were able to do for Y.Y. I know it meant a lot for him to just be introduced, be in uniform, be out on the court one more time. I wish I could've got 39 more minutes out of him. He was a terrific player. He was terrific for us as a freshman so it's unfortunate what happened, but he's been absolutely great for us. It's hard to be a player and be sort of relegated to the role he's relegated to but he took it on and was terrific in practice every single day so despite him not being able to play, he was an awesome leader throughout his career. We're going to miss him."
ON CHARLIE JONES AND HIS FOUR-YEAR JOURNEY
"Just like the 'Be Like Mike,' commercial, the old Michael Jordan commercial (be like Charlie), he's been terrific, he just wouldn't let me not play him. Coming in as a walk-on he doesn't get any attention so you have to actually do stuff to stand out and that's all he does — he just does stuff on the court. So we're definitely going to miss him more than even I know. I know I'm gonna be missing him next year just because he does so much on the court. ... I had him sort of working with different groups each day just so they could get a little does of Charlie so they at least have it in their minds next year and we can refer back to it."
ON MATT HUSEK (20 POINTS ON 8-9 FGs)
"Yeah, he banged shots, he got some open looks. There's a lot to prepare for Holy Cross. They're obviously a very good team. The 1-3-1, the matchup, those are the things that you prepare for. We knew he could shoot, we knew he was a good player, he just had a good day. I don't think that was the only reason, but that was a big reason that they won today."
ON JALEN RHEA'S 0-7 FROM 3 SHOOTING
"Yeah, if he had seven more, I'd want him to fire them up there. That's why he's in the game."
REASONS FOR DELANTE'S SLOW STARTS AND BIG SECOND HALVES
"Well, obviously like you said, getting him into foul trouble. And then you're facing a 1-3-1, you're facing a matchup, so you can't really script plays for a guy. But I was happy to see him do some things offensively, make some shots. But again, I think it's just being young. There's no consistency from sort of everybody so it's hard for him to be consistent."
WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN FROM THE 2-BIGS LINEUP
"Hopefully we can continue to do it, we're going to continue to try. Cimino gives you some extra passing on the perimeter, which we need, so if we can play those two together we're going to try to do that as much as possible."