Florida vs. GeorgetownMarch 23, 2006

PREGAME QUOTES

2006 NCAA Division I Men"s Basketball -- Minneapolis Regional
Thursday, March 23, 2006 Georgetown (23-9) vs. Florida (29-6)
Florida Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Billy Donovan:
Opening Statement:
"We are very excited to be here in Minneapolis. Tomorrow will be a great opportunity and a great challenge. Georgetown has been a very impressive team to watch on film. I think their style is very unique, they have outstanding personnel inside. They are a very balanced team. Much like us, they have four or five guys who can score in double figures any given night. They have several different people who can cause you problems. John (Thompson III) has done a wonderful job in his tenure there & bringing back that Georgetown tradition. We realize there is a lot to get ready for, not only with their style but with their personnel."

On disrupting Georgetown"s tempo:
"They are so disciplined in everything they do. It (disrupting their offense) is very important because of their spacing on the floor. Their system is based on their spacing. & Your late (in the) shot-clock defense and rebounding is very important against them, because they do have size, athleticism, and quickness."

On enjoying this time of year, since players may leave early for the NBA:
"I hope our basketball team enjoys their time in this moment. We"ve been through multiple things this year. There was a lot of uncertainty coming into this season. I think this group of kids is a lot different than the group in 2000 (who left early for the NBA). The kids in 2000 played for a national championship, this team has gotten to the Sweet 16" and the future is uncertain. But sometimes that talk gets generated from the media. I think it is unfortunate that sometimes you don"t hear the kids talk about their future or where they want to be in three, four, or five years.

"There are people speculating or writing or saying things to create an added dimension to deal with another distraction. This tournament is different because you have to focus on the things that are important for your team to win basketball games. My personal opinion, after talking with these kids and their families, is that they will be back next year. I think when this hype gets created, teams and players can get over-inflated when they do well. There is a level of keeping things balanced. There is a level of being able to cope with all of the drama" that is being created. I think these kids really are just focused on today. They are not worried about Final Fours or national championships or what is happening next year. They are just focused on doing their very best versus Georgetown."

On the key to creating Florida"s balance:
"One of the most inexact sciences we deal with in basketball is the inexact science of recruiting. The last couple of years, I think our basketball teams have been very good teams. We weren"t overly balanced teams offensively. This year"s team has a level of balance that we have five or six guys that, in a night, can have a very big night. Some of our teams the last couple of years didn"t have that kind of balance, and you try to get guys that can gel and mesh together. You have to have that mindset of a team & that level of unselfishness, a level of playing together."


Senior forward Adrian Moss:
On being in the Florida program for five seasons and finally reaching the Sweet 16:
"I"m glad we got here, but our job is to know that we are trying to make it to the Final Four."

On if he feels like an outsider, with two Big East teams and former Big East member Boston College in the regional:
"Conferences really don"t matter this time of year. It"s all about going hard and playing your next opponent and trying to get the win. But as far as feeling like an outsider, no because I"m just glad I"m playing basketball this time of year."

On Georgetown being perceived as a half-court team, but also able to play other styles of basketball:
"They get up and down the court very well and when they have the chance to fast-break, they take advantage of that. But they also can play half-court. We don"t look at them as just a half-court team."


Junior guard Lee Humphrey:
On how the Florida team has achieved such great balance:
"We have a lot of guys on the team that can score and are talented, and one of the strengths of our team is that we know we need to pass the ball well and get everybody the ball."

On if he feels like an outsider, with two Big East teams and former Big East member Boston College in the regional:
"I don"t really feel like an outsider. I hadn"t really thought about that too much."

On making adjustments to playing in different arenas, particularly now in the Metrodome:
"It is different. We have been fortunate to play in a lot of different gyms this year, and it should help us out coming in to this gym. It is similar to the Georgia Dome. We"ll try to get some shots up in warm-ups and try to get acquainted with the gym. You don"t really think about it too much during the game."

Junior forward Chris Richard:
On how the Florida team has achieved such great balance:
"We have a lot of different people that can go out and get 10 or 15 (points) a night and that"s tough for other teams to match up against because they might focus on two or three people, when we have others."


2006 NCAA Division I Men"s Basketball -- Minneapolis Regional
Thursday, March 23, 2006 Georgetown (23-9) vs. Florida (29-6)
Florida Locker Room Quotes

Sophomore forward/center Joakim Noah:
On the balance of the Florida team:
"Balance is very important to our success. Everybody has to be ready to play." On having more offensive weapons this year as opposed to last season:
"We have so many weapons this year, which makes us more dangerous. Last year, we only had three players that could score. This season, we have all five players on the court that can score at any time."
On the hardship of not playing very often last year:
"Last year was very hard for me, because I was in a situation where I wouldn"t play and that is hard for me as a competitor. It was also tough when the players that were playing would talk after the games about being tired and leaving everything on the court, and I couldn"t share the experience." On his success and the notoriety he has received in the past few weeks:
"Honestly, I can"t care about things like that right now. Right now it"s all about winning the game. I"ve played pretty well the past couple of games, but everyone has to be ready to step up and play. It"s always great when you win. It doesn"t matter who has a big game. All the media attention on me right now, there is nothing positive that can come out of it. Maybe after the season I will look at it as something nice, but right now, I need all my teammates." On the keys to playing Georgetown:
"The thing about playing Georgetown is that everyone has to be ready to play and do what we need to do as a unit. Defensively, it doesn"t come down to one or two guys, it"s five guys being on the same page." On the difference in his game from last season to this year:
"I think I work hard in every aspect of the game. There"s not one specific aspect that I feel I improved most. I tried to get stronger. I ran a lot. I shot a lot of jumpers, even though I don"t see a lot of improvement. It"s something I"ve worked very hard on." On his relationship with Georgetown and some of their players:
"Georgetown was always my dream school. Growing up when I was younger I would go to the Georgetown basketball camp. They used to call me Frenchy" that was the nickname that coach Thompson (former Georgetown head coach John Thompson II) gave me. They also called me French Toast," French Fry." They definitely helped polish my game. They helped me learn the basics. I went there every year for five or six years and that was the place I got better as I was growing up."

Sophomore forward Al Horford:
On matching up against Georgetown"s style of play:
"You have got to finish out possessions. That"s really important. I feel that they run their offense, they take so long to run it, they get the ball again, and then you"re on defense again for another minute. We"re trying to clean up possessions. That is going to be a big key."

On Florida"s ability to play a half-court style:
"If we have to adjust and play that half-court game, I feel like we can do that. But I"d rather play our style of play. We did it against South Carolina this year. They"re a big hold-the-ball" team. (Georgetown"s) is a totally different offense, but they play the same way, holding the ball. We just have to get down and defend."

Sophomore guard/forward Corey Brewer:
On playing defense against Georgetown:
"You have to be patient. You have to be ready to lock down when the shot clock gets under 15 seconds. You know they have to shoot it then, they can only hold it for so long."
On the frustration of playing against the Georgetown offense:
"It"s not really frustrating when they score. It"s frustrating when they get an offensive rebound and they run it down again. We have to block out and give them only one shot."
On playing offense against Georgetown:
"We just have to make it our style of play. We like to go up and down. We have to try and get them out of their comfort zone."

On the feeling of playing in the Sweet 16:
"It"s just a good feeling. You"re just happy to be alive. We could be out and we could be sitting home like last year, but we"re not. We"re playing, and we"re just happy to be playing."

On the impact of senior forward Adrian Moss:
"It means a lot to have a guy like Adrian who has been here for five years. He is our emotional leader. He just tells everybody to keep it going because we want to win it for him."

2006 NCAA Division I Men"s Basketball -- Minneapolis Regional
Thursday, March 23, 2006 Georgetown (23-9) vs. Florida (29-6)
Georgetown Press Conference Quotes

Head coach John Thompson III:
Opening statement:
"This is an anxious time for everyone that is fortunate enough to still be playing. We are glad to be one of the few teams that are still playing. We are looking forward to playing and playing well."

Different coaches that have influenced him in his coaching career:
"The people that have had the most influence are Pops," my father, and Coach Carrell. To have been able to play for Coach and [being] born into the family I was born into. People always go through and do the compare-and-contrast" and see what you took from this person and what you took from that person. It"s ridiculous in many ways. I don"t stop and digest it. I don"t stop to think about that. Hopefully when you see me, when you see our teams play, you see a little bit of both guys."

On Florida"s balanced scoring:
"It is unique and is similar to us in many ways, if you look at the balance. They are the kind of team where you can"t focus on one particular person. & They are the kind of team that, through the course of the year, they can hurt you with many different weapons. That balance is something that I like. As a coach, you worry if you can tweak or adjust, and they have that flexibility and versatility."

On Villanova"s four-out, one-in," versus that of Ohio State.
"I think it is very, very different. A lot of people talk about the Villanova guards and they start saying they have four guards. A lot of time people press, coaches, players try to pigeon-hole players and say he"s a guard, he"s a forward, he"s a center. Or he"s an inside guy he"s an outside guy. Their team, they just have players. I don"t care what label you want to put on them. For the sake of writing an article or for the sake of talking to your team, we"ve been trained to guard, forward, center." You look at the guys at Villanova and they are just players. It doesn"t matter how tall they are, how short they are, what label is next to their name, they can guard bigger guys and smaller guys. Offensively, they are effective and defensively they are effective. It is unique because society wants to label them, but they are players who can be effective anywhere on the court."

On ability of Joakim Noah, Al Horford and others being able to make the transition as to- round picks.
"They keep progressing and will be in the same vein (as top picks his father coached). If you look at their skill set and their work ethic and their commitment, you can say that one day they will have that opportunity (to be a high draft pick). Whether it is sooner or later, who knows, time will tell. But, do they have the skills, as an outsider, having not coached them? It appears to be yes.

On the most important things that have happened in the last few weeks.
"Our guys are playing well and together. There isn"t any one thing that you can pinpoint. I think for the most part we"ve said all year that we want to be better next week than we have been this week. I think our guys have done a good job of sticking together and trying to improve. A lot of times, in the beginning of the year, teams make a conscious effort to try and get better and improve. That is something that we have tried to maintain to try and get better as the year has progressed."

Sophomore center Roy Hibbert:
On what he brings to the team:
"I try to bring a lot of energy. I like to distribute the ball. I like to set screens, hit the offensive boards, the defensive boards. I try to be an all-around player to help my teammates out."

On the Duke win and how it affected their season:
"It gave us a swagger, a little confidence. We knew we could beat anybody if we played hard and we ran our offense. That"s the most important part. We were getting a lot of back-door cuts and when they tried to stop our back-door cuts, we hit our three-point shots and jump shots, and that really helped us out a lot, and I think that we went on a few-game winning streak after that. We feel that we can beat anybody. As long as we play together, we will be fine."

On being compared to other Georgetown centers: "I"m caught in the middle, because since I was a little kid, I wanted to be like those players, but I also was taught to be my own player. I can"t do the things they did, so I try to excel at what I am good at. I try to have good hands, get rebounds and score around the basket. I have leadership qualities. I want to be those players. I also want to be my own player." On what he did to improve: "I always knew that if I worked hard, the results would show. I tried to work on repetitiveness, do the same move 20-30 times in a row, making sure I do it right every time, so when it shows up in a game, it will be effective and when people see it in a game, they think it comes naturally. It comes with hard work. I had to work out by myself and with my coaches. The coaching staff went through a lot of effort working with me and I appreciate it a lot. It was a lot of determination of getting up in the morning and also just being in the gym all day whenever I had a chance, when I wasn"t doing my schoolwork." On Florida"s team and what they need to do to win: "They have really good big guys that can run. They push the ball at you in transition, so we will have to make sure we pick up a man in transition and make sure we stop any transition buckets. They are really good rebounding team. They are really quick. The key to winning this game is running our offense. It"s not us versus Florida. It"s us versus ourselves, so we have to make sure we do everything that Coach wants us to do. That"s rebounding, making the hustle plays and playing together and running our offense. Our offense is key. Whatever they throw at us, man or zone, we have to make sure that go at everything hard and fast and decisive and we will be fine."

Sophomore forward Jeff Green:
On Villanova"s four-guard offense:
"They have four guards who are going to shoot. They can guard big people and they are scrappy, but they are small. I think that"s the benefit they have over other teams. They have a forward who is 6-4, who is scrappy and can get under people, so I think that hurts teams a lot. Compared to Ohio State -- who has a guard who is 6-6, but can"t do some of the things that the four from Villanova can -- so that"s why I think Villanova has an advantage with their four guards." On being in the Sweet 16 and being in Minneapolis: "It"s a good feeling to be in the Sweet Sixteen with these other great teams. We worked very hard to get to this spot, and if we keep working hard we hope to get further. Being in Minneapolis is a great feeling with the other great teams. Just going out there and shooting around, you just have to embrace what you have right now and come tomorrow you got to get focused and come ready to play."


2006 NCAA Division I Men"s Basketball -- Minneapolis Regional
Thursday, March 23, 2006 Georgetown (23-9) vs. Florida (29-6)
Georgetown Locker Room Quotes

Senior guard Ashanti Cook:
Does it feel any different than last week?
"A little bit. You"re one step closer towards achieving your goal. You just have to stay focused. It"s a lot different, it"s more relaxed than anything when you get the first two games out of the way. Right now, we"re very focused."

You seemed to indicate last week that you had really turned up the intensity of "this is it, there is no well if we lose this game we"ll just start getting ready for the next one" so there is a new found intensity within you:
"Definitely, every game could be (the) last game. So I just want to let it all hang out and have no regrets. I"m just doing whatever it takes to help the team win."

What about this Florida team, they seem to be the polar opposite of what Georgetown is:
"They are athletic, their big guys push the fast break. They are very tough down low and they"ve got great guys on the perimeter who can shoot. It will be a tough task, just like any other team that we"ve played. Like I said, every team in the tournament is good, we just have to stay focused and play Georgetown basketball."

On the preparation by the coaches for this game:
"Definitely, we prepared the same way that we prepared for every game throughout the whole season. So I feel our guys are focused and we know what we got to do to get the W.""

How were those couple of days on campus?
"They were very exciting. The students were very happy for us. They just kept giving us encouragement and were praising us and telling us to keep moving along and winning. For the most part, we try not to let it go to our head and I think we"ve done a good job doing that staying humble and staying focused."

So much has been made of Coach Thompson"s dad hanging around, what"s that been like:
"He"s been hanging around the whole season, pretty much. He just tells us to stay focused and to remember what we are playing for and what Georgetown basketball is. He just gives us advice and reminds us to keep working hard."

He is in many ways the face of what Georgetown basketball is, what"s it like having a guy of that stature just being around the program?
"It"s great, actually. I like the fact that he spreads his words of wisdom to us. He has a lot of confidence in us and I think that gives us a lot of confidence, too. You know a guy that has that much power and is known for basketball, especially Georgetown basketball, to tell us that he has a lot of confidence in us, and he believes in us, and we just have to go out and perform on the court.

What"s the relationship like between him and the team?
"It"s very good, actually. He is very one-on-one with most of the guys on the team. He talks to us and brings us to the side after practice, if he sees we need to do something that will help us win. He talks to us in a very positive way. He also criticizes us, too, but it"s more constructive criticism than anything. He"s just there to help, that"s basically the whole thing he"s there for is to help.

What"s his personality like compared to Coach Thompson, they (Coach Thompson and his father) seem like they are pretty different.
"I don"t know how he (Coach Thompson"s father) was when he was coaching, but our coach -- coach Thompson, JT3 -- he"s very relaxed and very choicey" with his words. Whereas big John, he just says whatever comes to mind. But for the most part, it"s not negative; he just tells you the truth. JT3 does the same thing, but it"s in a different way."

Is the dynamic a little weird? (that coach Thompson"s father is there all the time)
"Not really, it"s not, it"s not weird at all. I kind of expected that he would be there to show his support for us, so it"s not weird at all."

Do you guys look at him as John Thompson the Hall of Fame coach, or do you look at him as the father of your coach?
"I look at him as a guy, pretty much, just like coach Patrick Ewing. But for the most part I try and not look at him as the father of John Thompson III, I just look at him as another person I can go talk to if I"m struggling on the court or in the classroom or off the court. He"s just another person I can talk to pretty much."

On playing with Brandon Roy since the fifth grade and their long friendship:
"We"ve pretty much always been good friends. The thing about our friendship is he"s not afraid to tell me something and I"m not afraid to tell him something and then we don"t get angry with each other about it. It"s more like he"s trying to help me out and I"m trying to help him out. We both want to see each other do well, so we have a good relationship."

Are you still rooming together?
"No, we stopped rooming together after sophomore year. It wasn"t by choice, it was by the coaching staff. They were just trying to bring us out and meet new guys."

Is your friendship staying just as close?
"Yeah, it stayed just as close. We still hang out, go to movies, go out to eat every so often, go to the cafeteria together and we still do things together a lot when we go home, too. We still have a close bond."

How big of a factor was he in you wanting to come here after New Mexico didn"t work out?
"It played a little bit (of a factor). I came on my visit, I liked the Washington, D.C. area, I liked the tradition that Georgetown has and the education value that it has. Also, being able to play with your best friend that you"ve been playing with since the fifth grade is the icing on the cake. It"s somebody that I know and somebody that if I ever got down I could talk to, so that helped a lot."

How different has it been for you guys to have to build a program vs. being at Westchester, which was a state power every year?
"You go through your rough times. Sophomore year was kind of rough. But we just stayed with it and stayed focused, kept working hard. Now we are reaping the benefits of it."

How cool is it to say that you guys are two high school teammates in the same starting lineup in a major college team?
"It"s very cool. I don"t know how many people across the country can say that. It"s just been a lot of fun watching him progress as a basketball player. Us winning this year has been real fun."

Senior forward/guard Darrel Owens:
On former GU head coach John Thompson II being around the team and their relationship with him:
"He comes around from time to time and watches practice. His presence in practice makes us work a little bit harder, and knowing the things he did before we got here. It makes it a little more extra special to have him around. "

On what it is like having a guy with (John Thompson II) that a big stature around:
"He is always giving us little words of advice all the time. He tells us to come out and play hard; there are a lot of guys who played before us that put a lot of hard work into this program and to go out and do the same thing those guys did and we will have success."

On the pressure Coach Thompson feels having his dad around all the time:
"I don"t think it is a lot of pressure. At first I would think there would be pressure, but he has handled it well. Because you know Big John (John Thompson II) comes around a lot, so obviously something is working. We are here and we are playing hard and Coach Thompson has been successful since he"s been here, so I don"t think it"s that much pressure at all. "

On the style of play of Georgetown:
"It"s unique; a lot of people say it slows the game down, but it has been working to our advantage. If teams want to play us man-to-man, then it"s our job to break them apart and take care of that. It also makes you think on defense, because the moment you slip up, we get a back-door or a wide open three," so it"s been working to our advantage and hopefully it continues. "

On University of Florida"s center Joakim Noah:
"He"s a hard worker; he is a guy that does all the little things, obviously he is a great player, but he also does the little things you wouldn"t expect from your big man. He can push the ball up the floor; he can get out and defend on the wing. He is a great asset for their team, we just have to slow down their big guys and I think we will be fine. "

On Coach John Thompson III"s coaching style and how it compares to his father"s:
"I think they are similar in more ways then they are different. From what I hear, his father was a little bit more outspoken; he would let you know what he felt. Coach Thompson (III) is more of a mellow guy, but he can also get on you from time to time whenever you are doing things wrong. I don"t think he tries to be like his father, I think he tries to create his own style and own image and he has been doing a great job of that. "

Sophomore guard Jonathan Wallace:
On the different feeling from last week to this week:
"It does feel a little different. You are in a different environment and the stakes are a little bit higher now. It"s time to elevate your game even more, individually and as a team. We are taking the same approach like we did last week, but at the same time we have to take a little bit different approach because most teams have seen us and it"s down to the best of the best and it"s time to go as hard as you can."

On making it this far and the seniors possibly playing in their last game:
"All of us have to play every game like it is our last, especially the seniors. The two wins in Dayton (Ohio) gave us some momentum, especially the Ohio State win, the way we won that one as it was pretty much being an away game for us."

Someone says Florida, he says&
"Fast, talented, they can really shoot the ball. They have a lot of weapons that they can attack you with and you have to withstand those runs."