March 21, 2009

KEVIN KLINTWORTH: We'll go ahead and start with the Maryland student athletes. Coach Williams will be here in just a minute. Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes, and Dave Neal. Questions, please.

Q. Dave, can you just kind of talk about the buzz saw that hit you and what were you doing there when they're draining shot after shot after shot?
DAVE NEAL: There's nothing we could do. They were bringing guys off the bench that hit 3s. When a team catches fire like that, we knew it was going to be a tough game. Our mentality coming into this game was we wanted them to take 3s with hands in their faces. I give them all the credit in the world. They made those 3s and made some tough shots.
They're a great team. Nothing against them. They've got a great coach. They came out and caught fire early and pretty much stayed hot the whole entire game.

Q. Dave, even though it's obviously a disappointing end to the season, when you look back at the senior season, how are you going to remember it?
DAVE NEAL: Probably one of the best senior seasons I could possibly think of. Coach Williams said it the best in the locker room. "Only one team goes out at the end of the season happy, that's the national champion."
It's going to take a couple days to put this loss behind. After that, look at the stuff we did this year. We beat Wake Forest, Michigan State, North Carolina, all top 10 teams. In the end we made it back to the NCAA Tournament.
Lot of people coming into this season never thought that we had a chance to do that. The fact that we stayed tough as a team, we fought through a lot of stuff, and at the end we made it back to the NCAA Tournament, won a game, and I mean it's been a dream come true for me. One I'll never forget and probably talk about this year for the rest of my life.
We have an awesome team. We fought hard. We have a lot of heart, and it's been an awesome season, even though we took a tough loss today. As a whole, it's been an awesome season and I'm going to miss it a lot.

Q. I'll ask, I mean, the remarks yesterday by Vasquez. You heard their fans. Can you guys address -- not that Memphis needed anything, but could you kind of address what kind of effect that might have had?
DAVE NEAL: I mean, I guess it might have sparked something. Memphis is overall a great team. They've won 26 games in a row, and they play in Conference USA. There are good teams in there. Some of those teams had good quality wins this year. He said it, and I mean nothing you can do about it.
Memphis came out, they were fired up and caught fire early, and once they caught fire, they stayed hot the whole game, and I mean they got a great coach. He got them prepared really well and Memphis is a great team. They're long, athletic and got some excellent players.

Q. Eric, what did Coach Williams tell you guys in the locker room after the game?
ERIC HAYES: You know, he was disappointed, like we all were, that we lost the game, you know, but he also said it was a great season that we had. Nobody can take what we did this year away from us and, you know, lot of people doubted us this year, but we got back to the tournament, won a game, and I know overall once we look back on this season, it's going to be a great one for us.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Do we have more questions for Maryland student athletes? Okay, guys, you can head back to the locker room. Questions for Coach.

Q. Was the goal kind of to let them shoot from the outside, and when they started hitting them, did that strategy change?
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: No. It was to try to help as much as possible with Tyreke Evans, because he's such a great driver of the basketball. A lot of their offense generates from that, where you get into the paint, you help. He's good at floating it to the big guys.
With our size disadvantage, we didn't want that to happen. We were hoping we could get back out and bother their shooting, caving in on the perimeter. Beside Sallie, their other players shot 1 for 13 from the 3-point line the game before. We gambled a little bit. They made some shots. We played good defense on some shots that they did make. Others we left them open.

Q. Gary, what happened on Vasquez's technical? Did the whole events of the day get to him? Talk about the whole situation. What specifically -- what did he do to get the technical?
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: He obviously said something to the referee. I didn't get a description of what he said. He just said something. That, by the way, that is a very good officiating crew. Any coach would like to see those three referees out there when you come to play a game.

Q. His comments yesterday regarding Conference USA and everything?
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: You know, he's wrong -- he's wrong in saying those things like he said, but, at the same time, sometimes the translation gets lost a little bit what he says and whether exactly what he said, I didn't hear, but I know the reporter got the quote, called John Calipari to make sure he got that information which I think is interesting.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Do we have more questions?

Q. You guys kind of rallied around maybe a size disadvantage all season? Do you think it got to you guys today with taking Taggart, Dozier so big in the middle?
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: It's hit us a couple times. You go into a game, you talk about boxing out, but you know when a guy makes a play two feet over the rim, that's what they can do.
We don't play up there this year. We probably will next year a little, but right now, we don't play there. So that's why we try to keep Evans out of the paint so the ball wouldn't be there on some lob passes and things like that.
But as your question stated, you know, they made some shots that they didn't make the game before. You know, you're always -- unless you're one of the top four, five teams, you make adjustments on every game you play, not just here today.
You're always -- this year it was about making adjustments just about every time once we got into league play.

Q. Gary, it's obviously frustrating. How do you think you're going to look back on this year's team?
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: I'll be real proud of this year's team. They were incredible in terms of support for me, number one, and their ability to be resilient I think is the thing I'll remember about this team. We had some tough losses, and we were able to come back and make the NCAA Tournament in a year where I thought there was probably, maybe 80 teams that could have made the tournament very easily based on what they did during the year, and we were one of the 64 to make it and we were one of the teams to get to 32.
So I'll remember that about this team and how they competed all year.

Q. Gary, can you just talk about -- I know it's probably common among Elite teams and top seeds in tournaments like this, can you talk about looking over at Memphis, the top to bottom talent that that team seems to have?
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: I think you could see today why a lot of people felt they could have been a No. 1 seed the way things fell out the last couples weeks. In other words, there was a lot of talk I thought the last week about Memphis being the No. 1 seed.
When you have a point guard with that size and quickness and he's a little better shooter than he gets credit for sometimes, but Evans is just a terrific player and, you know, you see the 6-2, 6-3 point guards. You see many of the 6-6 guys with the same quickness of the 6-2, 6-3.
He was really -- if you didn't know how big he was, you would have thought he was about six feet the way he was playing out there in terms of when he had the ball.
When he gets inside, he's big enough to finish because he has that 6-6 size. He's an outstanding player, but when you get two inside players about that 6-10 size that can post-up and go out and shoot it, do things like that and react quick if you have to help.
You're talking about special players and Memphis has special players. They have two players back to a team that nobody ever came closer to winning a national championship than Memphis did last year. Those two guys with the new players they do have can really help carry the team a long way.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: More questions? Thank you, Coach.
COACH GARY WILLIAMS: Thank you.


KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Joined in the interview room by the University of Memphis. Robert Dozier , Tony Anderson, Doneal Mack, student athletes.
Opening statement from Coach Calipari followed by questions for the student athletes. Coach?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, we played well. We were prepared for their press to attack it. We were going to try to shoot layups and we did it. I thought these three up here were unbelievable, and I'm so proud of Doneal Mack because here's a young man who played very poorly and he knew it. I said something. He said, "I got to put that game behind me."
Today, he goes four for five or whatever he was, 17 points, one assist and only one turnover in 21 minutes, and that's following that other game.
So I'm just so proud of him and I'll say it again, Robert Dozier, when he plays and really competes and battles and does the things he's capable of, we're a pretty good team. But that was a good effort by us. I thought Maryland was a terrific team. They just hit us on a bad day.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Questions for student athletes at this point.

Q. Robert, Antonio, how do you think you guys will do in the ACC after today?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Well, we never even thought about those comments. We're not in the ACC, so we don't know. We're in Conference USA and love it. That's our conference, and we represent for the rest of the teams who didn't make the tournament. In the tournament we try to do a good job.

Q. This is for Antonio, what did -- without giving away any trade secrets, what did the scouting reports say about Greivis Vasquez and what do you feel like were you able to do that first half when you were guarding him in man and holding him to 6 points?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Coach told us, he's a great player. Told me that he can score on the ball. He's not very fast, but he can handle it. He's got moves and up and under. He can step through, do various things. It just wasn't me. I had Doneal and everybody helping me as much as possible. Everybody probably going to try to give me the credit for that, but it's five of us and the rest of the guys like Robert did it and Doneal did it. We all did a good job on it. Team defense.

Q. Doneal, when you guys are rolling like you guys were in the first half, can anybody beat you guys? And second of all how, did you put the last game behind you?
DONEAL MACK: Well, all my teammates they came the me like put the game behind me. Even Coach, he came to me and talked to me. I put that game behind me. If they got confidence in me, then I got confidence in me.

Q. When the shots are falling like they were the first half, how good are you guys?
DONEAL MACK: We're a tough team to beat. We're not known as a 3-point shooter team, we're known as dribble//drive. When we're shooting the ball like that and playing tough defense like that, it's hard to get beat.

Q. Antonio and John, I want you to comment when you can, file this away. Talk about Tyreke today. Wasn't the same guy we saw the first ten minutes. Talk about how he went from Game 1 to Game 2.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: You know, Coach, all of us, we know what he brings to us on a daily basis. Today he was in a whole other gear. He's beating up the court. The guy is already at half court. He's unstoppable. We're probably going to get that from him every game, and when he continues to do that, he just makes everything easier for guys like Robert and to do dunks and tip-ins and things off transition.

Q. For the players, you could tell in the warm-ups you had the intensity that wasn't there the other day. You were running even in the warm-ups. Robert, talk about was it Thursday's game that did that? It seemed like you really brought it today. You got it from the very beginning.
ROBERT DOZIER: Just us realizing what we did do last game to get prepared. We kind of lackadaisical in warm-ups last game. This game, we told each other we're going to be focused from the minute we stepped on the court. The minute we stepped on, guys were going hard, talking to each other, just hike each other up. It showed on the court. That's what we got to do every game.

Q. Robert, did Coach say anything to you in particular after last game, what.? What changed from game to game for you?
ROBERT DOZIER: He didn't say anything different. He told me just go out and be the player that you can be. Just play hard, play aggressive. We're a different team when I'm playing like that. I came out with a different mindset this game. I had lot of energy in me. I was ready to play today. So, I mean, I can't -- I show. I can't show up here or there. That's the big difference. I got to be consistent.

Q. Antonio or Robert. How many games this season do you think you guys played that were better than that one?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Honestly, I don't know. There's been quite a few we played up to this level, and it's been scary. You know, it's scary when Coach is not yelling at us as much so -- no. We just come out, and the Coach showed us last night in our meeting we're going to go down, we're going to go down fighting, and we don't want Coach to be disappointed and not be disappointed in ourselves.
We're seniors, but we want ourselves to keep going. We're going to leave it on the floor every time we step out there. When we do that, the sky is the limit for us.

Q. This is for Doneal. Just talk about getting your shooting stroke back. It seemed like you were struggling or holding your follow-through longer, seemed like you were shooting the ball today rather than fling it.
DONEAL MACK: On Thursday I wasn't shooting them to make it. I was trying to put up balls. When I came into practice Friday and Saturday, I was trying to make everything I shot, and, you know, Coach told me I had to do that in the game that day and it showed in the game.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Any more questions?

Q. Doneal, early part in the game where you had committed a turnover or something and were you running down the court, you were looking behind you as Coach Calipari was getting ready to substitute you. You got yanked right away. Were you pretty upset when you got pulled and came back, thought you had something to prove?
DONEAL MACK: No. My freshman and sophomore year, I used to be like that. Along the bench and knew I was coming out. I'm like, you know, I know he's going to take me out. I know I'm coming back in, you know, when I come back in, I got to be ready to play.

Q. Antonio, what got under Vasquez's skin? What did they do to get the technical?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: I don't even know.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It was Vasquez who got it? We didn't know.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: He said something to the referee.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Any more questions for the student athletes? Okay, guys, go back to the locker room. Questions for coach.

Q. John, did you have anything to say about Vasquez? And if not, do you think they - they're motivated at all by that today?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: No. The information age right now, these guys got their computers with them. They're looking at the Internet. They're watching TV and listening. They probably got wind of it, but the biggest thing is, it's got to come from within. I mean, this tournament if it's not coming from within, you'll have one good game and lose the next.
Whatever he said, he said. Like they said, where would we finish in the ACC? We don't know. We're not in the league. Where would we finish in the Big East? We don't know. We're not in that league.
And so, you know, he said it, but I think we were more concerned about how we played the last game than what he said.

Q. You got to admit it certainly didn't hurt.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I was kind of happy he said it (laughter). You know, we met last night and talked about their team. We practiced, met last night and we shot around today. We came to the building this morning and went through their -- my concern against Maryland was would their press make them the aggressor? So all we did was here is how we're attacking this press and we're shooting layups.
I don't care. We can't win playing this way, then we won't win. We're going to be the aggressor. Defensively we were going to press them and put it back on them. With our style of play, the dribble/drive, if you spread the court on us, it really opens up those gaps even more so. So, it doesn't bother us. That's basically we'd rather have that.

Q. Last 12 minutes of the first half when it seemed like you guys couldn't miss, is that one of the best stretches offensively you guys have had this year?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: If we make shots, we're going to beat people. In we don't make shots, we're a good enough defensive team that we can hang in there and try to beat you at the end. That's the good news about this team. We've been that way for the last four years, which is why we've won so many games.
I think CBS did something in the last four years our defensive field goal percentages it one or two, 3-point is one, rebounding blocks are five over that entire period. Rebounding blocks up there {#-D} {(Mark)} {(Mark)} {(Mark)} {(Mark)} If you don't shoot it, don't worry about it. Just defend and rebound and we can still win games. They may be ugly games. We've had some ugly games now. But we can grind it, and what we did, I told the guys at halftime with about 13 minutes to go, "We're going to grind this thing out." They were a little tired, and they didn't have timeouts, and we were just going grind them. Basically played how they played is what we did offensively.

Q. John, would you mind talking about Evans, his affect on it?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Some of the things I talked about after the game, one was Doneal Mack, how proud I was. You know who else I was proud of? Roburt Sallie. How about having to follow-up that performance, thinking that "Every shot I take, they're going to try to save. Am I a good player, or was that a fluke?" He went in and played well again.
And then I said Tyreke Evans, when he plays with speed instead of jogging the ball, when he catches it and does not hold the ball, just catch it and attack, he's as good as there is in the country. But his habits -- which are slowly, he's moving away from which are going at a comfortable pace or catch it and hold it, you can't go -- the defense is set.
So that's all we worked on. He's getting more comfortable, and again, you watched him and you had to say, he's going to be as good as anybody in the country and he is. He's blocks defensively. He's long, physically strong. He's tough. I'm proud of him, really am proud of him.

Q. Coach, you said Robert Dozier probably played his best game in the national championship.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: He did.

Q. How do you think he compared today to that game?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I don't know. I didn't wathc him that closely. When I watch the tape, I'll know. When he plays, we'll be hard to beat. Doesn't mean we're going to win. Every game we play from here on in, you're talking about a top 10 team. Anybody can win or lose, but when he plays like that and Tyreke plays fast and catches it and attacks, then we're much harder to beat.

Q. John, four straight Sweet 16s. How does this team compare to the others ones, and do you feel like you're ready to make a run?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, we've won a lot of games in a row and we play in this tournament to win the whole thing. But, again, we got now. We got done with this tournament. Now we've got another tournament in Arizona. We've got two games in Arizona, hopefully. We've got one game, and if you win it, we've got a second game. That's all we're worried about.
I fell asleep last night at 8:30. I don't care who plays, what they do. I watched some highlights. I'm telling my team the same thing. "Don't worry about the rest of the field. Just worry about your little corner of the world." And that's what we're trying to do.

Q. Coach, what does this stretch mean to the City of Memphis and how it's brought everyone together in?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I would imagine today at 2:30 in Memphis, Tennessee, there was not a car on the highways or the roads, not one. And if someone was out, the police pulled them over to find out why they were out (laughter). I think there's many watering holes that are very happy we're still playing because they were packed. Many restaurants were packed. You know what?
For our people in our city, it's a big deal. See, the University of Memphis is not about our little university. It's about our city. It's about people who are trying to do more with less, which what is we're trying to do. It's about people who have been looked at in a different way, like we have. We graduated 19 - this May, will be 19 of our last 22 seniors who have gone through the program. 19 of 22.
Our city is as proud of that as they are of us winning ball games.

Q. Coach, you said you were kind of happy that Vasquez said what he said about your team and the ACC. Would you have been happy if one of your guys had said something?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I've had that. You haven't followed us very closely. I had Joey Dorsey kind of wake up a sleeping giant in Ohio State. I've been there before. I walk out in the morning and see in the newspaper the headlines when Joey said. I go, "Why did you say it?"
He said, "I was trying to get myself going."
I said, "Joey try something different, please" (Laughter).
Obviously had a bad game and we got beat in an Elite 8 with an opportunity to go to the Final Four, and I thought that team had a chance to win the national title. We would have had to get through Florida, but I've had it, believe me. I've had it.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Last couple of questions.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Thank you.