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P.J. Carlesimo ... In his own words ... a lot of them!

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Bruce Bennett

The Post's Steve Serby will often do interviews with major New York sports figures. He did one of the better interviews with Mikhail Prokhorov last year. In recent days, he sat down with P.J. Carlesimo, whose turnaround of the Nets is one of the NBA's big stories.

In the interview, Carlesimo answers questions that are more about himself than the Nets, from his coaching style post-Latrell Sprewell ("I don't think it changed me a ton"), his coaching style ("'intense' is probably fair"), favorite Seton Hall memory ("I don't think any school enjoyed the Final Four more"), him impressions of coaches he's worked with (Gregg Popovich ..."his stronger suit is the way he handles people"), his experience as Dream Team assistant coach ("you say, 'It couldn’t have been that good,' but it was), the most famous player he ever coached ("Denzel Washington ... more of a 2"), the demise of the Big East ("If I thought about it, it would be depressing") and Prokhorov as owner ("the perfect NBA owner").

And as to whether he thinks he's the best man to be the Nets coach: "If you are a good basketball coach and you don’t feel that way, there’s something wrong. I think all of us should feel we’re the best person for a job, whatever that job is. I believe that I’m a very good basketball coach, so I believe I can do as good a job or a better job here than anyone else is gonna do. And I think if you don’t feel that way, you probably shouldn’t be coaching."

And it doesn't hurt to lobby minority owners. Asked who his favorite entertainers are, Carlesimo volunteered, "Jay-Z and Beyonce."