Second Round Notes and Quotes: Winthrop
Second Round Notes and Quotes: Winthrop vs. OregonMarch 17, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We have starting at your left Torrell Martin, Michael Jenkins, Chris Gaynor, Craig Bradshaw. Let's go ahead and open it up to questions for student athletes.
Q. The three guards up here, this game is going to be predicated a lot on guard play, and what I would like to ask you guys about is dribble penetration. How much do you expect that facet of the game to kind of influence tomorrow's outcome. And when and when you guys penetrate are you more offensive minded thinking score first or thinking penetrate, draw the defense and kick? TORRELL MARTIN: We think that's what they're going to do. They run a lot of ball screens. A lot of pick and rolls. A lot of things like that. So we have to stick to our principles and get under the ball screens and focus on really not coming out to shoot it. They like to draw the defense and kick the ball. So part of us preparing for are what we have to do we have to really stick to our principles and if we do that we should be all right. MICHAEL JENKINS: Yeah, the big part of the game is going to be stopping dribble penetration on our part. Because if we don't contain their guards we're going to have a tough time winning. Because that's basically what they do the whole game is try to penetrate, kick for threes or penetrate. Get fouled or penetrate and get all the way to the basket. And for our team, with us, we, if we penetrate, we look to kick the ball more than get all the way to the basket. But if we're open, yeah, we'll go all the way. But most of the time we penetrate to find the open man. CHRIS GAYNOR: To add on to what they're saying, yeah, I think that dribble penetration is going to be a big key to tomorrow. They got primary four guards starting. They got Brooks, Porter, Bryce Taylor, and Malik Hairston, and that's typically four guards right there. So we'll have to be on our A game, especially on the defensive end and like they said, we got to do the same thing. We got to dribble penetration and get it to Craig and the rest of the big men and just take advantage of that.
Q. Guys, how do you feel, what do you think you've learned from last year to this year that is going to help you go further in this tournament? CRAIG BRADSHAW: I look at that every position counts. Going to keep on being aggressive. No matter if we're up 20 or whatever. Just contain people and believe that we are, we belong here and that we can beat some of these teams. CHRIS GAYNOR: I think you see that people really want it more this year. After making history time and time again this year, to be in here for the second round and have the chance to advance to the Sweet 16, you know, that's what we all dream about. We really weren't picked high major like everybody else was in the country and for a little old Winthrop to be here, you know it's something special. So you think that you could see in every's eyes that we really want this.
Q. Question for Chris. Did you go on the tour of New Zealand? CHRIS GAYNOR: Yeah, I went to New Zealand.
Q. What was your impression of first of all the BBQ's at Craig's. And largely, the whole tour of the nation of New Zealand? CHRIS GAYNOR: It was a great place. To see Craig's hometown, it was something wonderful. We might not ever get a chance to go overseas again. And the cookout all the hospitalities that the Bradshaws showed us was wonderful. It felt like we were really back in the states.
Q. Was the food like American food? CHRIS GAYNOR: I mean, you know CRAIG BRADSHAW: Better. CHRIS GAYNOR: Yeah, Craig said it's better. So I'm going to have to go with Craig. It was better. (Laughter.).
CHRIS GAYNOR: Don't want to upset my big man.
Q. Chris, you guys played Oregon at Mac Court back in 2004. You guys all played in that game. Talk about what you remember about that game and particularly Aaron Brooks who you may have had to guard. At that time he had 25. CHRIS GAYNOR: Yeah, yeah. Well, one of my worst games ever, you know. Really I remember it being sold out in there. Being a freshman. It was something that to take in. He had a heck of a game. He was on fire. It was like I said it was one of my worst games ever. And he's a great player, give him all that, but I was talking to Rayshown Terry the other day and I told him we had a chance to play Oregon and he said I can't give him too much credit, he's not as good as everybody says he is, you know, I just got to go out there and play my game.
Q. If you could all answer this. I heard coach's style can be somewhat hard driving. If you each could just address what his coaching style is in practice and in the games and maybe give some examples of how tough he is. TORRELL MARTIN: Hard driving? That's an under statement. Coach Marshall, he has a unique style. But the thing about coach that you learn early is he's going to get his point across and we're going to do things his way and that's pretty much all there is to it. And the thing that makes it so significant is when you do it his way it tends to work out. So. MICHAEL JENKINS: Yeah, well Coach Marshall, his method of coaching, as a freshman I didn't really buy into it, but I have now. It's just like you have to he's going to get his point across. And Coach Peele told me you can't listen to the tone of the message, you are have to listen to what the message is saying. Just try to block out the yelling and the vulgar language or whatever language he's saying and just listen to what he's saying. Torrell helped me with that too. And that's it was just the way he coaches. CHRIS GAYNOR: I think that he's a great disciplinarian. He's real tough. And that's what we need. We have been very successful for me and Mike three years in a row and the year before that with Craig and Torrell, they were pretty successful too. But you think that's what we need and that's where we get all or energy and passion from him. And that it carries on into the game. CRAIG BRADSHAW: I think it's more of a motivator. He's a great coach. But you think he gets the most out of players. He knows how to push the buttons, of some players, and he gets he got the best out of me and we go to practice every day with the mindset that we're going to get better every day. He makes you work. He's a great coach. MICHAEL JENKINS: Coach Marshall, he's gritty guy, a gritty coach. So he gets gritty players and he gets us to play gritty. So his coaching methods goes with the players.
Q. Craig seems like kind of looking at the last 10, 12 games, you're kind of production has been going up more and more. Have you kind of looked to be more aggressive or looked for your shot more of this time and maybe Chris could talk about Craig and how he's come on as the season has gone along? CRAIG BRADSHAW: Yeah, I had a shaky first half of the season. I was injured. I had other things on my mind. I just relaxed and this is my senior year, I'm going to have fun. And just go out there and play like I know how to play. And it's worked. Hopefully it continues tomorrow. CHRIS GAYNOR: Playing with Craig these three years has been, he's made my job so easy. I like it when he's aggressive, I think we play better when he's aggressive. And the outcome is always great when he's aggressive. These last couple games like you said he's really been playing aggressive and he's unstoppable, really, in my eyes, when he comes ready to play, I think he takes our team to a new level.
Q. Kind of a follow up to what I asked before, why do you guys think he's Coach Marshall has been as successful as he's been in his time at Winthrop? TORRELL MARTIN: I think the difference between us and a lot of programs is a lot of programs let their players play and they just rely on their talent. And that gets teams real far. But the difference is in our system that we run a system. And we run that. And then once that breaks down, then we let our players play. And Coach Marshall I know stills that in us early so, that we don't just have to rely on our natural God given talents and that is what prevails often in games.
Q. Chris I think you mentioned earlier about little old Winthrop being here, do you really refer to think of yourselves as still an underdog team with the winning streak and the fact that the only teams that have beaten you are still in the tournament or do you maybe use that to your advantage a little bit and also for the other players maybe to respond to that. CHRIS GAYNOR: Last couple days everybody's been comparing to us George Mason. And we're really we haven't did everything George Mason has done. They made it to the Final Four. We won one game in the NCAA tournament. We can't come here and be satisfied just from one win. We need to keep going, keep playing the way that we have been playing and then once we make it the to Final Four, then teams people can compare us to George Mason then. MICHAEL JENKINS: Yeah, I still feel in our eyes that we are an underdog because people didn't respect us playing Notre Dame we got all the media attention, and everything else. They still didn't respect us. And we came out here and showed them that they need to respect us. And like Chris said, we still people comparing us to George Mason, but we haven't done what they have done. So in my eyes I hope in all my teammates eyes we do feel like an underdog and the more we feel like an underdog the more confident we're going to be to go out there and show everybody that we belong.
Q. The rest of you could comment on that game a couple years ago about against Oregon. Just your memories from the atmosphere and the guys you faced? MICHAEL JENKINS: Oh, well, that game, you know, it was a track meet. Oregon just ran the ball up and down the court. All I could remember is running down the offense next thing you know I'm running back down on defense and the ball hasn't even went back, got back in bounds yet and I'm running back down on defense. So it was a real fast paced game. It wasn't as high scoring as you would think it would be, being that fast paced. But Oregon really pushes the ball up the court. And we just didn't play, we played well, we played well, until the last couple minutes and then we had, I think we was only down like five with three or four minutes to go and then we had to foul and they took the lead about 15, I think. TORRELL MARTIN: I remember coach talking about the players individually and what type of players they were and the pro prospects and I remember looking at film and just thinking in my head I don't think these guys are going to be no better than us. And then getting out there and realizing they were a step above us and I just remember that how fast paced the game was. And realize that had we had to step our game up a little bit after that and I believe we did that. I feel now we're on the level now that we can compete and we're just as athletic, just as fast and fundamentally sound as Oregon is.
Q. Question for Torrell, but you others can respond too. Tell us a little bit about the need that philosophy and also the junkyard dog? CHRIS GAYNOR: I started it. I started it. (Laughter.)
TORRELL MARTIN: Need that is a saying that I just kind of came up with. I actually got it from one of my friend who played at UNC Charlotte. Its basically when you're in dire need of something whether it be a steal, big block or shot. Perfect scenario, Chris Gaynor yesterday we're up one and we in desperate need of a shot and he shoot it and I'm just looking like you know, need that. And that's basically what it means. It could be in anything. Out of shoes, you need a new pair of shoes, you get them, you know, need that. (Laughter.)
CHRIS GAYNOR: He always comes up with everything he's real creative. Torrell is and the team just embraces it and we just use it all the time. Especially the song that we have to sing after the game that he came up. Craig really enjoys it too. (Laughter.).
MICHAEL JENKINS: Our phrase and saying coordinator, Torrell Martin. You know. (Laughter.)
Q. Just to follow up to that game a couple years ago you mentioned that game was real fast paced up tempo, do you expect tomorrow to be more the same and very similar to that? TORRELL MARTIN: Yes, definitely. But thing about us is we like to get out and run too. But we plan on slowing them down a little bit and controlling the tempo and if we do that the game will work in our favor. MICHAEL JENKINS: I think it's a mutual court game, that back then it was on at their place. And we're more we're a smarter team now more veteran team now, more seasoned team. So we're not going to just let them get out and just run up and down like they did when we were all just like freshmen and sophomores back then so it will be a more, more slow placed game probably tomorrow. CHRIS GAYNOR: And we played against the nation's leading scoring team. And they run more than anybody. And in the nation. They get the ball out and maybe shooting it from half court. And that's how fast paced the game is. So I think we'll be ready. Hopefully everybody will come out with fresh legs and it won't be the same outcome as it was at Oregon.
Q. Craig, Miami gave them trouble kind of slowing it down they were obviously kind of frustrated with that. Does that almost make you guys think that would be something that would work or do you stick with your own style? CRAIG BRADSHAW: We're going to try to do the same thing, like Torrell said. Slow it down. They like to play a fast paced game. So we're just going to run our sets, try to exploit them there. And yeah, basically that's our plan.
Q. I can't let you off without telling us what the song is or saying it. MICHAEL JENKINS: Craig? (Laughter.) CRAIG BRADSHAW: No.
Q. You look ready to sing it. CRAIG BRADSHAW: Oh, no. No. My voice is a little sore. TORRELL MARTIN: Can't even breathe, I guess. (Laughter.)
TORRELL MARTIN: No, it's, we can't tell you that, that's a personal song, so we can't share it with you. Hey, if we win we might sing it after the game.
CHRIS GAYNOR: You have to come to the locker room for that.
Q. You just remember thinking when you guys were playing Notre Dame you guys looked so confident you guys just seem to have a ton of fun together and seem like a very confident group. How much do you think that factors into your success? TORRELL MARTIN: That's definitely important. The thing we don't overlook any team. We have much respect for everybody we play. And the thing about us is we play a dire preseason or conference schedule, we play some of the top teams. Once you play some of them and then you start playing everybody else and you get into a winning streak, then you your team naturally gets confident and the thing you must do as a program and a mature program is not let that go to your head but at the same time have fun with this game and we have so much camaraderie as a team and we just have fun with it on and off the court. I think that's the big difference this year. MICHAEL JENKINS: We have been around each other for a long time now. This group here. It's all just come together. We laugh all the time. Joke around with each other. We get mad at each other. But still love them. And that helps out there on the court too. We play so many road games during the season and that builds us too. Ready to take anything on. We're road warriors and a very close group and it makes us very what's the word I'm looking for? Makes us a very dangerous thanks, Chris makes us very dangerous in a tournament. CHRIS GAYNOR: I think that confidence comes from trust. We were up 20 against Notre Dame and they made their run and they took the lead and then just we had a to trust that and Craig and because he was having a monster game him and Torrell, and Mike was doing other things, with all the assists, that we just weren't going to get rattled. And we didn't. And it came down to the next play down, got a bucket from Craig from Mike. And so it's just a trust that we have in each other. To me.
Q. You guys mentioned you still feel a little bit like an underdog and disrespected a little bit. But the last couple days have you felt a little different about yourselves having had that first win? Do you feel there had to be a little bit of doubt as far as whether you really belonged and whatnot. TORRELL MARTIN: We know we belong in this tournament. We still just adding on to the winning streak. That's what it felt like yesterday. I was excited extremely, but we are always going to be the underdogs, winning one game is not going to change it. Maybe not winning two. Two might give us a little bit to talk about. We have to go all the way to Atlanta before we even get the respect that we need. So we just got to keep pushing and do what we need to do to get there. MICHAEL JENKINS: There was never any doubt in our mind yesterday that we couldn't play with Notre Dame or we couldn't play with anybody in this tournament. We're like we said, we're a very confident team. We don't boast around and brag and stuff and do crazy stuff out there on the court, but if you look at our demeanor on the court, you can tell we're very confident and there's nothing that anybody could do to take that away from us. CHRIS GAYNOR: Well, yeah, I think that being the underdog is something that we need. We really didn't win any big high major games this year. We were always in the vicinity of winning them, never could get over that hump. So until yesterday when we finally did get over that hump, we got a little respect that we needed, but I mean it was still going, we'll still be Winthrop, you know, the team who was 0 6 from Coach Marshall's era and the NCAA. So but I mean it was just something that we need. We need that. (Laughter.) Need that.
THE MODERATOR: Craig, do you have any thoughts? (Laughter.)
CRAIG BRADSHAW: Yeah, I think we thrive on being the underdog. I think teams really don't know too much about us. Even though they say they do. But I think they come into the game not as prepared as us. We really do a thorough scouting report on everybody and we know so much about the team whereas I get the kind of, I don't know, sense, that maybe they just take us lightly. And we just exploit that and take that and run with it sort of thing.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll excuse the Winthrop student athletes for their vocal practice and we'll welcome Coach Marshall in just a moment. All right. Take questions for coach.
Q. Could you talk about how dribble penetration is going to factor into this game. Obviously Oregon really relies on that. You're guys seemed a little bit it sounded like they don't really dribble penetrate as much and they were more focused on stopping Oregon in that aspect. Can you just elaborate on that a little bit. COACH GREGG MARSHALL: Well our motion offense, we cut, screen, shoot a lot of jump shots. We got some guys that can dribble penetrate, DeAndre Adams, one of our back up guards, Michael Jenkins has gotten really proficient at pulling up at the foul line after penetrating the perimeter. But Oregon's guys, they really he are tremendous at it. I think that Brooks and Porter, Bryce Taylor, even Hairston and Leunen can all dribble penetrate. They can put it on the floor and the thing that they do so well is if you help, they want to penetrate and pitch to a wide open 3 point shooter and all five of those guys mention shoot 40 percent or better from the 3 point line. So it's a very, very important aspect. We cannot play looking at the backs of Oregon's jerseys. We need to make sure we're all the time focusing and in front of them and looking at the front of the jersey.
Q. The players talked about your demeanor as a coach and what you expect out of them just talk a little bit about what you expect out of your players and how you approach coaching these guys? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: Well first of all they're great guys. They're great young men that allow myself and my staff to coach them. That's a key component for us because we do try to coach them, we try to develop them, as individuals, and as a team. And we work hard. There's no doubt about it. Winthrop is not a program for every one. It's a program for people that want to achieve and be excellent. Not just really good. And we work hard each and every day. When we hit the court, whether it's for an hour or two hours, we're going to really work hard, we're going to demand perfection and if you work for perfection, often times you achieve excellence and that's what we, I thought the play that we ran late in the game when we went down one, that was perfect. It gave us the one point lead back, when we laid it in with basically no hindrance to the basket. And it got us to the lead back and gave us some confidence and we were able to go back and win the game after Notre Dame made their great run.
Q. I've been lucky enough to be with you guys since March 6, when you, before the selection, and I really noticed that you have a great assistant coaches. Can you talk a little about those guys.
COACH GREGG MARSHALL: Yeah, they're really just a tremendous staff. I'm very, very blessed to have Paul Molinari, Earl Grant, and Randy Peele. Randy Peele's taken a team as ahead coach to this great tournament before. Coach Molinari was a manager and graduate assistant. So he's been with one of the guys that's went to the tournament. And then Earl Grant is a young man that I recruited and have known him since he was in high school and just all three of these guys have tremendous work ethic, they really develop these young men, not just on the floor, but off the floor. And they're great examples of how these young men should try to lead their lives.
Q. Can you talk about how Bradshaw ended up at Winthrop and kind of how you heard about him or if that and then kind of the way he's playing right now in particular like the last month or so really coming on. He mentioned there was an injury earlier in the year he got over a that and what was that injury? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: Well, first of all, a gentleman by the name of John Watson, who had played basketball in the United States but is living in New Zealand, thought that Craig Bradshaw could develop into a good division one player. And they sent us a videotape and then followed up with an e mail. And at that time I was just had gotten a computer and was learning how to work e mail. And I got this tape and it talked about this kid being X amount of centimeters all and X amount of kilograms heavy and I had no idea what that was. So I got someone that's a lot smarter than me to translate that over to weight and heights that I could understand. And he happened to be about six nine, 190. And I popped the tape in after we got it formatted because it came on a format that would not work in our VCR, so we had to go to Charlotte and get it reformatted. Once we got that done, I said, you know, if this same kid that's on this videotape gets off the plane then we have us something special because he was long, but you could tell that he was athletic, he could dunk with either hand, he could shoot the three at the international line. And thank goodness when we went to the airport the same kid that was on the videotape got off the plane, and as a freshman he averaged two points and two rebounds, then he goes back to New Zealand after his freshman year, has opportunities to go pro, after making their Olympic team, and opportunities to transfer to high major programs. Couple of people had seen him in the Olympics and gotten to him one way or the other. And asked him to transfer. And we almost lost him. On both accounts. But he stuck with us, then last year he played in the World Games, last summer, he's played against Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James and Yao Ming and those people so nothing phases him, he's played against the best in the world and this I think what happened of after the World Games this summer is then we did our 15 day tour of Australia and New Zealand, and then now that was first, then the World Games, and then he comes back and I couldn't get him to take time off. He kept working out, he kept playing pick up ball in the fall. And I think really he got worn down. And then he strained a muscle in his calf and in the North Carolina game our second game of the year he dislocated his thumb on his shooting hand and didn't stop playing. That's how tough he is. And just played through all that though not well. And he was actually in a little mini slump, and he came to me and he never does this, but he came to me and he was concerned. He said, coach, I don't know what's going on or how I can fix it. I said look, you just do your thing, you keep playing, and his mother came and he played so well in New Zealand and Australia because his mom and his dad were following us around. And when his mom came right before the Big South tournament, last couple of games of the regular season, and then stayed through Senior Night and the Big South tournament, he dominated. Much like he did yesterday. And that's because of his mom when she's around, he plays great.
Q. He seems to have a rugby mentality that he's brought to basketball. He said that that was, that's his passion and his love. Can you comment on that? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: He's a tough kid. I don't know if you have seen much rugby, we watched it life and we watched it on television when we were down there, this past May, it's a physical game. There's no pads, there's no face masks, I mean it's rough. And these guys are big and strong and thick calves and thick thighs and they just maul each other but the bottom line is you got to be tough to play that game. And he's a tough kid. His dad has his own landscaping business and his dad's tough. And they're just hard working people, and he's a combative warrior type kid. He's not afraid of any situation. I remember as a freshman two guys squared off in practice one day and one of them was him against our starting center and he's a little thin kid, but the guy had thrown an elbow and of course we quickly broke it up. But he did didn't back down. He did not back down as a 195 pound freshman.
Q. Can you talk about that 24 hour period last year when you take the Charleston job what brought you back and kind of this week with this victory have you been thinking back to that at all and the decision to come back? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: I think I made the right decision, as I sit here today and you know it was a great offer from the College of Charleston. And the hardest thing I ever had to do as a professional coach is tell that group of young men that team that I love coaching so much, that I was going to leave them. Simply because I was going to get a bigger paycheck. And I told them all that I would love to have them go with me, and it was a very intense anxious emotional 45 minute meeting that evening before I took the College of Charleston job. But I went down there and my wife and I decided on the ride back that it just wasn't the right time. To make that move. And I think that back now and hope everyone's over it. And can deal with it. Bobby Cremmins had a great year there. He's a great friend of mine. And we got a lot of friends there. But as you sit here today I feel good because I did what was in my heart and stayed with this particular group.
Q. How do you see your two styles, your style and Oregon's style matching up and maybe on that note or maybe not as far as the 2004 game, does that even enter your thought at this time or is that so far back that that doesn't matter? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: That was an interesting game. We played them pretty well. It was a single digit game late in the game. I think, I don't know what we lost by, but I know it was five or six points with a minute or two to go. And as I recall I we had chances to win. And that was when Brooks was just coming into his own and he was dynamite that night. And Malik Hairston also played well. But I just, we looked at the box score from that particular game and they did play some zone in that game as I recall. So we have got an essentially the same team that we had out in Oregon. And they have added some guys. But I just know that their style, you better get back in transition. You got to value your possessions and you got to I'm not saying we're going to play in the 50's like Miami did they did their thing and almost won yesterday. That's not our style. We like to get out and run and press a little bit. So I hope it's not in the 80's or 90's, if it is, it's a problem for us. But if we can keep it in the 60's or low 70's, I think we have a shot.
Q. Can you run down the process last night after you get back from last night's game, who handled getting the scouting reports started and what the, what the difficulties are in the short turnaround like this? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: Well the most important thing is we had already started on Miami and Oregon. First time in seven trips that we had literally already broken down film of the next round's opponent. And maybe I shouldn't have been doing that maybe I should have been doing that all along. But we made sure when those players came in, we were going over Notre Dame, that they also saw on the big screens in our hotel meeting room some Miami over here and some Oregon over here just to send the message that we're looking to get to the next round and the next round. So Earl Grant already had some all the Pac 10 tournament games, had broken those down. And then last night we watched some Miami edits. We had a nice a fair with Doctor DiGiorgio, our president, had a nice dinner and reception for the team and the fans that made the trip. Then we broke down some film. And then did it again this morning. Went over a paper scouting report. Did more film. And then had the hour and a half practice that you're allowed.
Q. I would imagine if I moved to New Zealand it would be a bit of a culture shock for me and I would think for Craig coming up here it's a culture shock for him can you talk about the other three guys about how they maybe brought him in and how Craig's personality kind of meshes with those guys and vice versa? COACH GREGG MARSHALL: Well his best friend was the only starter that was not allowed up here and I wish he had been. Because he's a key component of our team Phillips Williams, and they're buddies, best friends. Craig Bradshaw, the last three Thanksgivings prior to this past one, has come to my home for Thanksgiving dinner. This year he chose to go with Phillip to his home. So they're almost like brothers. And it's interesting Torrell Martin was on the podium with me as a Big South preseason Player of the Year. So he had to go to Charlotte for a meeting this past fall, and he was asked a question about how, he's a great player, but he also got a great teammate in Craig Bradshaw. Can you tell me what that's like. And Torrell's response was, well, when Craig first got here he didn't speak English. And I had to but what's interesting is New Zealand, their native language is English, but Torrell just couldn't understand him. I mean, he talked so fast and so soft and I had to explain well that's not exactly the case, they just, there was some language barrier, but it was more Torrell's English and Craig's English not jiving. But the bottom line is he's matured beautifully as a young man, physically emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, he's just come a long way and I know that he like all of these guys that we're were sitting right here are going to be successes, because he's a hard worker, he is a very, very respectful young man and he just, he's a, he's a tremendous person. THE MODERATOR: Thank you coach. FastScripts by www.asapsports.com...
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and take questions for the student athletes from Oregon.
Q. Dribble penetration, big weapon for you guys, can you kind of put it into your own words for me just exactly how you guys use that as a weapon and also when you do penetrate, are you guys looking to finish with the ball or are you guys looking to kick and find open teammates? BRYCE TAYLOR: We just try to spread the floor out and allow our guards to use their quickness to get by their defender and if help side comes up, try to kick it to the open man. But like you said, that's a big part of our offense. We try to share the ball and that's one of the ways we do it, just using our quickness to get by our defender and then when we drive help, we try to kick it to whoever is open and keep the ball moving until somebody gets a good shot. MALIK HAIRSTON: Bryce pretty much said it. We have a lot of offensive weapons. We try to get the ball moving and basically he just get the ball to whoever is open. We use the pump fake to get in the lane and draw the defense, kick it to the open guy and just continue to do so until we get a good shot.
Q. You and Winthrop kind of have a similar style of play. Quick teams, get up and down the floor. Do you think that will work four advantage, Miami slowed that game down for you and it gave you some trouble. MALIK HAIRSTON: I think it will definitely be a more fun game. It will be more up tempo. But I still think the focus or our focus will be defense. Being able to shut somebody down that's definitely been the key to our success. And I still think that will be our focus. BRYCE TAYLOR: I would agree with everything Malik said. It does play to our favor, just because like you said Miami tried to slow it down and limit the possessions in the game. We prefer to get up and down and get more shots up. But the key is going to be able to guard somebody and that's what the game is going to come down to.
Q. Can you guys talk about Coach Kent and his style of directing you guys? Is he very vocal? Is he very demonstrative. Can you just kind of break him down for us, please. BRYCE TAYLOR: Coach is very vocal and he's a demanding coach to play for. But he gives us a framework in which he likes us to play within. And then he gives us the freedom to just to make plays and just to play our styles. So he puts us in a good position to be able to show what we can do and at the same time everybody can play to their strengths within that. So it's important. MALIK HAIRSTON: It's definitely been tough getting to this point, but I think he's done an exceptional job of leading us. And getting us to this point. And kind of giving us a blueprint of what winning is. And I think we have done a good job of picking it up. But ones again I think he did a great job of showing us.
Q. Chamberlain Oguchi has basically been playing off the bench this year and last year at this point well in the Pac 10 tournament and second half of the year he's just lighting it up. What's been the biggest reasons for him what, why he has he not been as productive this year? MALIK HAIRSTON: I think he can shoot it like that every game every year. He did a great job last year and he's still a big piece of this basketball team and he'll definitely have more opportunities coming up to showcase his abilities. He's a very good basketball player. A very good shooter. And we're just a very balanced basketball team. We have a lot of players that can score a lot of guys coming off the bench and the starters, so I'm sure he'll get another opportunity to showcase what he can do.
Q. Is it confidence with him? Is it a confidence question? MALIK HAIRSTON: Champ has confidence and he should. He works on his game, he gets in, shoots the ball, it's just a matter of the right situation.
Q. One of the Winthrop players they referred to he referred to his team as little old Winthrop and that people don't really know about them. Do you look at them any differently than you would like an UCLA or some of the Pac 10 powers that you play. Are they just as good as these other teams. Is that how you view them coming in? MALIK HAIRSTON: Definitely. They're here where we are. Where a lot of teams have been left out and where we have been left out the last couple years, they're in the tournament. They're definitely a very good basketball team. We don't necessarily buy that little old Winthrop. They have had a lot of success and they play well together. They played a great game yesterday. I think it will be a great game, a great college basketball game. BRYCE TAYLOR: They're 29 4. And they went 14 0 in their conference, so there's not a lot of teams who can say they have done that. The teams that they have lost to Wisconsin, A and M, North Carolina and one other major schools, I can't remember who the fourth one was. So that tells you a lot with about the type of team they are. So they don't come from a big conference, they don't have that name, but just the fact that they're a 11 seed is probably something that surprises me just because of 29 wins is a big deal. It's going to be a big game. We're going to have to take that approach like we're playing any other big name school because they're going to be ready for the challenge.
Q. To kind of piggyback on that last question, Winthrop comes from a conference whose RPI is 29 and you guys beat them by 15 points two years ago with the same roster intact, and you guys won the Pac 10 tournament, one of the best conferences in the country, do you think you have better players? BRYCE TAYLOR: I'll just say we both have great players. Their coach would probably want to ride with their players and the same thing for our coach. So they have Bradshaw and Martin. Who are seniors. And their lead guard leads them in scoring. So they have great players and it's not really going to come down to that. I feel like it's going to come down to who plays best as a team and who is going to play with that discipline that it takes to make it to this Sweet 16. MALIK HAIRSTON: Bryce said it perfectly. Two very talented basketball teams. Playing up tempo style of basketball. I just think that we realize the importance of defense as we continue to stay, just stay with whatever gets it done for us. That's the key to our success thus far and so we got to hold on to it.
Q. Winthrop, they obviously possess some matchup problems with Craig Bradshaw in the middle and how big and athletic he is. Is this going to be a defensively for you guys just a kind of contain him by a committee or is this going to be really resting on the shoulders of Maarty down low? MALIK HAIRSTON: If you watched us for the earlier this year, it's definitely going to be a team effort. Definitely playing against Georgetown with their guy it was a team effort. Maarty Leunen does an excellent job of fronting and fighting down low in the post and playing a very solid defense. But it's definitely going to have to be up to the rotations, our communication, just our determination kind of containing him in the middle. BRYCE TAYLOR: It's always a team effort. That's what our team defense is. We like to help each other. And especially with the strong post players we usually front and then give good weak side help so that's going to be the main focus.
Q. Maarty is basically a four, three, four type player playing in a five position. I know you're playing down low a little bit, obviously, to help this team out, is that, has that taken an adjustment for you? Has that taken you out of are game a little bit? MALIK HAIRSTON: I definitely wouldn't make an excuse and say it's taken me out of my game, but that definitely has taken an adjustment. Not necessarily being used to it. But I have a team that's fighting down there with me. And this is all about sacrifices. And if we didn't make certain sacrifices, we wouldn't be at this point and my whole thing is I want to be able to do whatever I can do for my team to succeed. And I'm sure that's the same for Bryce, the same for Maarty and the rest of the 11 guys.
Q. Can you guys talk a little bit about the Pac 10 tournament, Bryce obviously in the championship game you had I would think one of the greatest games you have ever played. You take your regular season finish in the Pac 10 and then throw in what you guys were able to accomplish in the tournament, can you just talk about maybe the level of expectations for you guys based on well just the fact that you guys showed such a great performance in the Pac 10 tournament and how that translate into the NCAA tournament? BRYCE TAYLOR: One of the things I read was people were questioning whether we peaked too early coming into the tournament and could we continue to shoot the ball as well as we did in the tournament. And there's always high expectations, we got a three seed, so that's important for us to just try to live up to our part, which is just come out and give our best effort. You can't always control how well you shoot the ball but there's other things, other things on the floor that you can control which is your effort and your defensive effort and making plays to get loose balls and things like that. So for us it's just important for us to do what we can control and try to handle that as much as we can.
Q. Is it safe to say right now you guys in the next 20, 25 minutes when you guys go out and take the floor that this is the most important practice of the season for you guys and if so, tell me why. BRYCE TAYLOR: I wouldn't say it was the most important practice because it's not like we're going to go and coach is going to kill us. But it's important for us just to realize what it's going to take to get this done because just from what I noticed watching the game yesterday Winthrop is extremely confident right now. It's not going to be an easy game at all. People look at the name Winthrop and they don't realize what a great team they are and the record that they have. So for us it's going to be about just getting as sharp as we can and making sure we don't come out flat like we did yesterday, because they will take advantage of that. And it's going to be tough if we come out and play like that.
Q. Could you guys talk about Aaron Brooks' season and what you see in him different this year than last season. MALIK HAIRSTON: Aaron Brooks, I think he's done an exceptional job of leading this basketball team and just kind of making the turn around from last year. He kind of was scrutinized a lot last year but he's a very good player. He's a very athletic, he has a great feel for the game. And he's clutch. He's made a lot of big shots for us. And he's a big reason why we are here today. BRYCE TAYLOR: For Aaron, I think the most important thing is just this year he's just playing his game. And he keeps everything loose for him. That's important. Just him being able to play freely and just show he can do all around the floor. So he's just played a huge role for us this year and he's stepped up his leadership and been more vocal in that way too and I feel like in some ways that's even more important than what he's been doing, numbers wise on the floor, because we always know we can look to him and in late game situations and we have that belief in him that he's going to come up big in late game situations and just lead us. So that's been extremely important for us thus far.
Q. You guys always have a good fan following wherever you go. You got Winthrop who seemed to take over the crowd in their game, you got a Spokane crowd that's probably going to root against you because you haven't lost to the Cougars in a hundred years in a row or something like that, you got two teams running and gunning fighting for the Sweet 16, how much fun is it going to be out there tomorrow? BRYCE TAYLOR: It's fun. Just watching the games on TV, that's something that I have done for awhile now. So it's just exciting to picture myself out there tomorrow and we just got to make sure we keep everything in perspective though. Don't get overly excited or nervous, but just enjoy the moment and just have fun with it. MALIK HAIRSTON: I think it will be a great atmosphere. Two teams with the sense of urgency. We want to be able to have another practice. We want to live to play another game. So I just think it will be very exciting out there and like Bryce said, it's not getting too excited, just being able to keep our focus. THE MODERATOR: All right. Thanks, guys. Okay. At this time we'll take questions for coach.
Q. Can you talk about using dribble penetration as a weapon. Obviously that seems to be a big part of your offense and also without having a dominant shot blocker in the middle, what you guys need to do defensively to kind of prevent Winthrop from exploiting that in their game. COACH ERNIE KENT: We feel like we're a very quick and explosive basketball team in the full court and even in the half court. And one of the things that we spent a lot of time on is attacking defenses once you get them spread out with the dribble. We have got five six, seven maybe eight really skilled basketball players that can pass, dribble and shoot the ball. And when you have an ability to shoot it teams have to honor your 3 point shot which gives you a lot of opportunity to get in the lanes and penetrate and draw and kick. And either get a layup or get somebody else a great look. Not having a shot blocker, all year long we been talked about being too smaller too this and kind of like that movie what was that horse Geraldo? Hidalgo. Whatever that horse is. My jockey is too big and my horse is too small. I guess that's kind of us. And really to overcome that, we have done a good job of fronting the post and having great weak side help. And with that the ball has a hard time getting in there. And the game yesterday there was an exceptional player on their team that really wore us down a little bit inside which gave us an opportunity to kind of forced us to go to the matchup zone which has been a great second defense for us since we're not really a full court pressing team, having only six guys, seven guys that we play and really not having that quickness and pressure in the full court, we really rely on our half court defense and the matchup zone. The matchup zone gives you an opportunity pressure the ball, front the post and have great weak side help and it's really aimed at taking away a low post basketball team that really wants to pound the ball inside and that's exactly what it did yesterday that gave us a chance to get back in the game against Miami.
Q. No that you've had ample time to figure out this Winthrop team, what do you know more about them today versus yesterday? COACH ERNIE KENT: Well, we have always known a lot about them. Having played them a couple years ago and watched them through the year, the thing that I know more about today than yesterday they are not a Cinderella basketball team. That is a very, very good basketball team. They have got the big guy inside, they're loaded with shooters, they're loaded with athletes, got a deep bench, great coach and they played a tough schedule. When you look at what they did with the people in their conference and non conference, playing Wisconsin, Carolina, Marylands, that close, you're not a Cinderella team having those types of teams in your schedule and playing that tough of basketball against a caliber of opponent. I know that they're very similar to us they want to run, spread you out, attack you off the dribble, shoot it everywhere. And they got a dominating center inside. So we're really, really going to have to be on our toes defensively to neutralize some of those players on that team and no one goes off and has a monster game on you. If we have a player has a big game like that it could be along afternoon for us.
Q. You just kind of hit on one of the things that I think is going to work to your advantage, you both have a quick upstart game. Do you think that that's going to go better for you guys Miami of Ohio slowed you down and gave you some trouble there. COACH ERNIE KENT: With Miami of Ohio again, they dictated the tempo of the game. Because again the only, with only playing six or seven guys it's really not super quickness sitting down on the bench that we can get out and press for 40 minutes a be maybe speed Miami of Ohio up that would have changed the tempo. So you can do it two ways: Get up the line defense and maybe get some steals, we weren't getting that. Or, maybe you could create some steals out of your matchup zone, which gave us an opportunity to speed the game up and gave us just enough transition. Other than that, very similar to Washington State, we had to beat them at their own style of game. So again I thought it showed the diversity of this team with being able to play in the half court and grind out a game and win it in the last seconds. But we have done that quite a bit here and we have been in a lot of games like that. This game tomorrow maybe the advantage of playing Miami of Ohio is that maybe we're not as worn out because we just didn't run like we usually run and we didn't get in up tempo came and this game tomorrow is going to be up tempo. I don't see either of us changing that style of play in the next 24 hours to say I'm going to walk it down the floor and milk a clock. They're not going to go away from who they are, we would like to play, we're better suited in my opinion to really go out and run and spread you and attack and lots of shots going up because we can really shoot the basketball and we're really pretty good beating you off the dribble too as well.
Q. What was kind of the demeanor of your team when it got back to the hotel last night? Was there kind of a sense of relief more than satisfaction of winning? COACH ERNIE KENT: I think there was a sense of relief. I think there's a little bit of sense of disappointment which is good too that they felt like they could have played better. I wanted to bring to their attention that we're going to play better. Having getting through this first game. None of these guys have been through this before. They needed to go through it. The good thing is we won a basketball game. Maybe it was a slow down game and everything else, but I pointed out to them to realize you shot 50 percent from the field, 50 from the three, a hundred percent from the free throw line. You only had five turnovers in the game, and you had to grind out a game and win it at the buzzer, that is good basketball game playing against a team that plays a very similar style. The key thing though is to let them understand, let's go back and realize what got us here, hard work and defense and on Sunday, we're going to have to bring hard work and defense to get through this game and really execute down the stretch in these games as well.