North Carolina-Gonzaga Quotes
March 26, 2009
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with North Carolina news conference. As you see, we've been joined by UNC student-athletes Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough. If you do have a question for the student-athletes, please raise your hand.
Q. Tyler, I was going to ask you a little bit -- I know a lot has been said about the game two years ago with you and the match up. Can you talk a little bit about that night and what you remember, especially Josh's play.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: They came out. They just played better than us that night. And, of course, Josh had a good game. He was hitting some shots. Got in the groove of things. I didn't really have my best game.
They just beat us.
Q. I asked their players this question. I'm going to ask you. Aside from experience, how different are you as a team now than you were that night? And what do you notice something about them that's different from that night? Again, other than experience.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I feel like we're a lot different. A little bit changed personnel, but I think our mindset going into this game is a lot different.
We had a lot of underclassmen back then, and right now we have a lot of motivation going into this game. They got us pretty good last time we played them. We're definitely looking forward to the challenge.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Last time we played them, I think, you know, we were pretty young. I know you said besides experience, but I think Ty Lawson is playing a lot better right now than he did back whenever it was we played them.
I think Wayne stepped up and played well. And also we have Ed Davis, who's given us a lot defensively, and he's coming along offensively for us too.
You know, we're pretty much a different team. Everybody talks about, oh, we have the same players, but we've all changed.
Q. Can you guys talk about the biggest difference in Ty Lawson from last year to this year?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I feel like he's become more of a leader for us. You know, he's always been our quarterback out on the court, but I feel like he's doing a great job by leading by example and just showing a lot of toughness.
I think that kind of gets us going. You know, when Ty gets going out there and he's making plays defensively and beating guys offensively, I feel like it gets the rest of us going.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, I think Ty, I think he's one thing that's different about him now than in the past, I think he's playing a lot more aggressive.
There's been some times when Ty, you know, he played, but he didn't always play as hard as he is right now. I think he's playing a lot harder than he ever has. He's really stepping up. He feels like, when he has the ball, he can lead the team and do pretty much whatever he wants to do at times.
Q. Wayne, has your mentality changed a little bit of late? You've been on such a hot streak on your shooting. But it seems like you've sort of changed your outlook on things a little bit too.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Yeah. I feel like it's that time of year where I think everybody should be elevating their game. I just -- I've just been stepping up to the challenge.
I've been picking up defensively. You know, being a lot more aggressive offensively. And I feel like that kind of got me going. I'm in the groove of things now.
Q. With how well Daye and Heytvelt shoot the ball for big guys, how much emphasis have you put on perimeter defense for your guys' post players this past week?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: A lot. We looked at them. We understand they can shoot. So we're going to have to be able to guard outside. It's something we talked about.
But also I think they're good inside players. We're going to have to be able to do a little bit of both.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I mean, I feel like, you know, our big guys have been doing a pretty good job all year long guarding guys that can shoot the ball and can step out to the perimeter.
They're just going to have to continue to do that job on those guys and step up to the challenge basically.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys. We'll have Coach Williams with us shortly.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. Coach, if you'd like to start us off with just a few thoughts on coming to Memphis.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: We're excited to be here, excited to be part of the Sweet 16.
I've always loved Memphis, love the Rendezvous restaurant. It's a good thing for me. But really happy for our kids who have played well and basically played pretty well all year long and handled quite a bit of adversity. We're happy to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Coach, in what way is Ty better right now than Raymond was at the season?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Right now he's not because he's not 100%. Ty's done a great job with the assist ratio. He's shot a great percentage. He's been really good at times defensively, probably not as consistent as I've wanted him to be or maybe be as consistent as he's wanted himself to be.
I think it's hard to compare the players because we've asked each one of them to do different things.
Everybody from the outside would look and say, well, they both had a big guy. They both had a bench. They've both had this. I think it has been a little different. I wouldn't say I'd compare it to Raymond, who's better, who's not as good.
He's had a sensational year for us. He's gotten much better. Let me back up. He's gotten better in every phase of the game.
When you add all those together, he's gotten a lot better.
Q. Can you give us an update on how Ty and the toe is doing today. Any improvement over the last couple?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: No. No is the answer to your last part of the question. It's not any better. It's not, no, that I won't answer the question.
I asked him this morning. I'm just being honest. I'm pretty straightforward. My high school coach told me once, if you always be truthful, you don't have to remember what you said.
I went up to him this morning, and said on a scale of 1 to 10, how was it yesterday? He said about a 6. How is it today? About a 6. I said how was it Saturday before the LSU game? He said about an 8. That's not encouraging to me. It's just something that's taking a long, long time to heal.
When it happened, they told me about this, it was going to be this way. But I was just, I guess, being more positive or hoping or whatever you want. I was hoping it would be better by this time.
Each time that he's played, the first time in the Duke game, he played, and it got very swollen. This time it hasn't swollen, but it's been painful.
Q. Going back to the game two years ago, how rare is it to have so many key players involved in the game again as we look at it two years from now? How different are you guys?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: It is strange because so many of those kids are very gifted on both teams and are still in school. That's part of it. Brandin Wright was our best player in the game, and he's the only one gone for us that didn't graduate. Rayshawn Terry, Wes Miller -- I might be leaving somebody out there. Their team, Ravio and Mallin. I might be leaving somebody out there too.
I think it is unusual to have that carry-over for two years in college basketball. I think our guys have gotten better. I think their guys have gotten better.
They really totally outplayed us in that game after the first three minutes of the game. We were ahead 14-2 three minutes into the game. And at one point in the second half, we're down 16. That's a 28-point swing in their favor.
I mean, it was ugly for a long time for us.
Q. Can you talk about just the difference of having Ty on the floor and not having him on the floor. What he means for your team.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Having Ty on the floor, you generally get easier opportunities. Because he breaks down the defense. Either in half-court with his penetration, in the half-court with the fact that they have to come out and play his outside shot.
You know, I'm going to guess here, with two games to go in the regular season, he's shooting 50% from the three-point line. Even in a half-court situation, they've got to come get him. That makes the entry passes inside a little bit better and a little easier.
We average for the year 90, 91, 92 points a game. In the two games in the ACC tournament without him, we average 74.
The first game against Radford without him, we had numbers up there. We're more gifted than Radford, and I'm not trying to pick on Radford.
I think it's just we have easier baskets offensively. Defensively, it takes away because he can pressure the basketball, but it also takes away from that guy that comes in for him when it's Bobby Frasor because Bobby is so good defensively and gives us a lift defensively with his intensity, with his talking, with everything.
So it really affects our team in a lot of ways.
Q. Coach, in Greensboro, you said that you were against the pain injection shots going into the LSU game. Assuming that Ty did not have one of those and still pulled off a 23-point performance, at this point is he just running on adrenaline, or what's getting him through?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: He did not have another shot. He had the shot before the Duke game and has not had anything else since then.
But it was feeling better. It took us a long time to get the swelling down, but it was feeling better at that point. Part of it is adrenaline. There's no question about that; the competition, the excitement.
You know, if you'd have told me that he could do the same thing again this weekend without practicing at all, I don't know what I would have done because I think kids still have to practice.
But, you know, it was amazing what he did. There's no question about that. And he really did have to lose himself in the game against LSU. Needless to say, I thought he did a pretty good job of that.
Q. I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about your friendship with Mark Few, how it developed, and what you guys have done, say, non- basketball activities together.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, I think Mark is a guy that I really do admire and respect a great deal.
I was sitting at Kansas one time and Gonzaga called us and wanted to play. We didn't have that happen very often. That's when Dan was the coach there, and Mark was his assistant. They were really good and came in and played a great game against us.
So that really got me to more or less be more aware of Gonzaga. And then when Dan left and then Mark takes over, I like that idea of a guy who's been a longtime loyal assistant being able to get his opportunity. Mark was an assistant at Oregon with Jerry Green, and both those guys had been my assistants, and they knew Mark very well and thought a lot of him. So I heard them say some things about him.
A couple of coaches trips, we spent some time together. Played some poker at night with the coaches. His wife Marcy, in fact, was in the golf tournament, and was on my team, and I tried to help her. She said I was awfully nice, which I was just trying to win. That's what I was trying to do. She's just a lot of fun to be with.
So over the years in the summer travels, seeing him, it was always somebody I enjoyed seeing. In the summertime in Vegas, I've got my posse. It's the oldest posse that anybody's ever had, my high school coach, a former baseball teammate of mine, another former classmate of mine, and my next door neighbor. They go and watch games for 10 or 12 hours a day, and then we go shoot craps for two hours at night. And then I go to bed and do it again the next day.
Mark has always been so nice and so gracious to my high school coach. That's really special to me because that man was and is extremely special to me.
So from the coaches trips, recruiting, sitting watching games, shooting craps, just how he's treated my friends is something that's important to me.
Q. Roy, is there -- a while ago you were talking about the difference of what you were asking Lawson to do and what you ask Felton. Are there just a couple of things that the laymen may understand that you are differentiating there?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, with Raymond, his first year, Raymond wasn't nearly as good, first year with me, okay, in '04. Wasn't nearly as good defensively as stopping the basketball. And I asked Raymond really that you've got to do that for us.
And Raymond accepted that challenge, and our defensive -- the front line of our defense was so good because of what Raymond did. Raymond also, his first year with me, had his elbow out flying. You guys can go back and look.
His freshman year he shoots 30%. For us, he shoots 32 or whatever. Raymond really worked so hard to revamp his shot. And I think his junior year, second year with me, he shot like 44%, 45% from three.
Those are the two things that we did with Raymond.
With Ty, it's always been you got to push it. You got to push it. You got to push it. Don't forget and ignore your outside shot because I think Ty has always been a really good outside shooter. This is the first year that I've got him to do that.
But Raymond was so tough mentally that he embarrassed people by not working hard. Because I'd say, "Raymond, how's your groin?" It's okay, coach. "How's your wrist?" He played almost half a year with a broken wrist. It's okay, coach.
Why don't we give you a little time off at practice today? Coach, I need to work. It was that kind of attitude, and Raymond led that team with that.
Ty leads the team with his play, his toughness under pressure to make big plays. And so to me, there is a difference in those two.
The other thing is that we were a little more of a set offense with Raymond. Rashad McCants could get his shot at about any time. Sean May was maybe as good a passing big man as I've ever had. Tyler Hansbrough not only invites the double-team, tries to beat the double-team, tries to beat the triple-team. So their supporting cast was different.
I guess just the responsibilities we gave him were a little different. I don't know if I answered your question very well at all, but it's the truth. So we'll go with that.
Q. Who do you, after looking at tape, see as the leader of this Gonzaga team? And then what worries you about them?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: The funny thing is, when I answer this, I'll tell you what worries me. I think they've got a whole team full of leaders.
The point guard is a leader because of his position, and Jeremy is very experienced and very successful.
I happen to think that Matt Bouldin maybe has much natural innate savvy as any player I've seen in a long, long time. Any time you're watching a tape and you say, wow, because of the great pass, it's usually his.
And say, wow, he doesn't jump over the moon. He doesn't 360 dunk on your head. But he makes the layups. Nobody blocks it.
Heytvelt was great against us a couple years ago. Josh gives them a shot blocker, a scorer down inside. Micah Downs gives them another three-point shooter.
You go through that whole team, and it's guys that really, really do good things for them. To me, that in itself tells you what you worry about is you worry about their whole team.
Austin Daye may be as gifted as anybody on the court tomorrow. I think that their leadership, I think it does come from Bouldin's savvy, from Pargo's leadership as a senior and a point guard. Those other guys with their ability and ability to make plays.
The thing that impresses me is that offensively they share the basketball, and it's an instinctive, boom, playing.
If a guy slips the screen, they throw him the ball. If a guy breaks open, they throw him the ball. It's not any of these, well, maybe I can take another dribble. You never see Gonzaga -- I hope I'm not trying to give you too much information. You never see Gonzaga fake a pass to the open man. It's one of the plays in basketball that drives me crazy because you fake a pass to the open man hoping your guy will leave you so you can shoot. You never see that.
The open man, it's just instinctively they make that play.
And then on the defensive end, every time the ball moves, you see five of their guys move. Mark Few, I think, is one of the great coaches in our game.
Q. How is the duck walk, and how did you get into that?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, it was neat. I've probably been coming here since I recruited Elliott Perry when I was an assistant at North Carolina, and somebody told me to stay at the Peabody.
That was at least 27, 28 years ago. I really enjoyed the hotel. I've always heard about the duck walk, and I've been here probably ten times recruiting. Tony Harris, Thaddeus Young, Leslie McDonald this year. So I always try to stay there, if I can.
I've never seen the duck walk. I've had some awfully nice things happen to me over the last three or four years, but I thought when Jared Haase said they wanted me to be the honorary duck master this morning, I said, yeah, I'll do that. That's pretty neat.
I'm corny as all get out, but I thought that was neat. They gave me one of the canes that you sort of pop to the ground a little bit to huddle them over there in the right spot. It was a neat deal.
I told him I was surprised they let me keep the cane because I've got a deal with my team, every time Ed Davis makes a mistake, I'm going to hit Mike Copeland with the cane. Ed Davis told Michael he's never played a perfect game.
Q. So the ducks were pretty coachable?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Ducks were really coachable. They went where I told them to go. They didn't balk at it. They didn't fake a pass to the open duck. They got to where they were supposed to go. This press conference has really deteriorated. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We have been joined by Gonzaga student-athletes Matt Bouldin and Josh Heytvelt. As we've been doing, if you do have a question, please raise your hand.
Q. Josh, I know since a lot's been made of the last time you guys played, can you talk about, one, what that game meant to you at that time in your career.
JOSH HEYTVELT: It was definitely a big game. Tyler's had a whole bunch of hype his entire career. That was one thing that I had to go in to that game ready to face was, you know, because he's one of the best players in the entire country, and he's shown that over the last four years.
That game was definitely one I had to go in with a little chip on my shoulder knowing that he has and plays like one of the best players in the entire country. I had to try and match that.
Q. Aside from experience, how are you guys different now than you were that night when you played Carolina, and how are they different?
MATT BOULDIN: I think this year we're a lot deeper. Obviously, like you said, we're much more experienced, but I think we're a lot deeper this year.
I mean, we think we have one of the most talented teams we've had here, and I don't know if we really felt like that the night we played them in New York.
And they too, like you said, are obviously much more experienced. They've developed into much better players. I mean, every one of their guys have gotten better since the time we played them.
JOSH HEYTVELT: I agree with Matt. You know, it was one of those things coming into that game a couple years ago where we knew we were a pretty good team and we knew those guys were a pretty good team, and we just had to match them up and go with it.
We had a lot less experience back then, like you said. Coming into this year, we know they have a lot of hype, and they have a lot of good offensive players, some shot blockers. We feel like we have grown just as much as they have. I think we have a lot better chemistry than we did a couple years ago.
We love each other, and we'd do anything for each other.
Q. Having said all that, do you guys feel at all like underdogs going in and going up against the number one seed and a program like North Carolina's?
JOSH HEYTVELT: It's kind of nice to be the underdog, you know. Most of the season we've had the bull's eye on our back. Through our conference and a lot of preseason games.
You know, there's a lot of hype for Carolina. The fans don't expect anything less than a championship from those guys. And to have a little bit of pressure off the back to come in and be able to play a little bit looser, it's kind of a relief.
Q. There's some hyped up point guards here in this regional. How would you rate Jeremy? Would you take him over any of the other guys?
MATT BOULDIN: Well, obviously, he's our point guard. I'd take him over all the other ones in this region, that's for sure. Ty Lawson, Jonny Flynn, both unbelievable point guards. We've played them both. I've played with both of them.
Yeah, I wouldn't trade Jeremy for anybody.
JOSH HEYTVELT: I agree with Matt completely. I've gotten to know Jeremy the last four years, and he's a great guy. He's a really great basketball player.
You know, it's a great opportunity to play with somebody like that.
Q. Josh, if you'll let me take you back a couple of years. Wonder now with hindsight, how you feel the university and your coach and your teammates handled your legal problems. And at the time -- I mean, I guess has your attitude toward it changed in terms of the way they treated you and kind of took a wait and see approach?
JOSH HEYTVELT: You know, I think they did a great job initially with the process and then throughout the entire thing.
You know, I was just happy to get the second chance to be able to prove to the guys that nothing was going to happen from it and I wasn't going to mess up again.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. Coach, if you'd like to start us off with just a few thoughts on your preparations coming into Memphis.
COACH MARK FEW: We've had a great week. I mean, obviously, Sweet 16 week is -- it's nonstop excitement and then apprehension from a coaching standpoint.
But our guys have practiced well this week. They're excited to get to come to Memphis. Love the building. And, you know, the town just embraces college basketball so much here. I think with our series with Memphis, our guys have noticed that over the years.
Then obviously, just an opportunity to play Carolina, probably the greatest basketball program in history of college basketball. I think our guys have a great sense of appreciation for that too.
It's a group that, I think I said last week, at this time of year, a lot of groups just want to get done and are kind of tired of being around each other. That's just not the case. They like each other. They've been great day in and day out, night in and night out, with practice, with their effort, and their team chemistry. They just want to keep it going.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.
Q. I was going to ask you a little bit about what -- a lot has been said about the game two years ago. What did the game mean to Josh at the time in his career?
COACH MARK FEW: I think it probably reinforced to him that he could play with anybody in the country.
You know, I mean, obviously, if you're successful against North Carolina, with as good a job as they do, with the talent level and their development that they have, their staff does such a phenomenal job. And then just their preparation. For Josh to come out and play a good game like that, I think gave him the confidence he could play with anybody.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the point guard match- up in this game and what you all have to do to slow down Lawson.
COACH MARK FEW: Yeah, that's the one that keeps you up at night. They've got about 77 entities that keep you up at night, but that one's probably either 1 or 1A.
Just the speed at which he plays. I think our guards, both Jeremy and Micah, we're going to have to get some help from our bigs. Many people have tried that. But just trying to bottle him up, keep him in front of us.
But then at the other end, you know, I mean, Jeremy's had a phenomenal year, and he's playing great right now. So, you know, they're going to have to guard Jeremy too. And obviously, Micah, the minutes he's played when he's filled in, have been very, very productive and have helped us tremendously, much more so than just that last second runner which is obviously the focal point. Of what everybody's talking about with him.
But he's had a great NCAA also.
Q. A lot of people have said this is the most interesting regional, your game against Carolina, the most intriguing. With the star power of Tyler and Blake both being here. Do you agree with that? Are we in the best regional here?
COACH MARK FEW: Well, I'm biased, obviously, but, yeah, I think it's a phenomenal regional. I mean, I think with the one, two, three, and four seeds here. You've got two hall of fame coaches in coach Williams and Coach Boeheim.
And then the as far power, like you mentioned with Ty and Hansbrough and Blake and even, you know, Jeremy and the guys we have. And then Jonny Flynn and the guys from Syracuse.
The contrasting styles, I think, makes it interesting. But there's some great match ups all across here.
I think the one thing that's really neat -- and I think they alluded to it today in the paper -- is just that you can feel and sense the appreciation for college basketball here in this city. That isn't always the case. You know, I think Spokane has it. And obviously Spokane fits 500,000, 600,000. But having a major Metropolitan area like this, the players understand it.
They walk around, and people are excited to have this here. It's a great building. I would say, yeah, it probably does make it the best one.
Q. Your players were talking about how, they called the Memphis game a turning point and said you worked them a lot harder in the week after that game. What was said or done in the aftermath of that game, and how has the team grown up in the six weeks since?
COACH MARK FEW: Good question. You know, I mean, that was a disappointing loss. It was a disappointing effort for us.
At the time, I don't think anybody realized just how good Memphis was. I mean, I tried to tell everybody after we played them. And sure enough, they've turned out to be every bit as good as advertised.
But, yeah, from a coaching standpoint, you know, we didn't compete as well as we've competed all year. Sometimes you go through a 35-game, 36-game season, you're not going to play great in every game. But you should be able to compete.
And for whatever reason, we didn't have it that night. We were able to challenge them on that entity more than anything, and true to their character, they responded. You know, I don't think we've lost since then. And we've played really good basketball since then.
So unfortunately, I wish it wouldn't have to be like that, but sometimes you've got to get beaten down like that to kind of get back up on your feet and brush off and make yourself a little bit better.
Q. At this point in the season, is it safe to say that conference affiliation isn't as important as the fact that you're still playing?
COACH MARK FEW: Conference affiliation? Yeah, totally. I mean, it just -- you just -- it's about just surviving and advancing.
I think we've had a group all year that people expected us to get here. Everybody around the program, you know, the entire city, the entire region. I think all the media, even national media.
So I think there's some feeling that kind of finally I think our guys feel good that, hey, okay now we're where we're supposed to be, and now we need to go out and continue to let this thing go.
I don't think conference or anything -- I think sometimes in our conference we have to feel we have to be almost perfect or else it's a failure. I think Memphis feels the same way. I think that's a very dangerous trap to be in because there's a lot of good college basketball programs out there irregardless of what conference they're in.
For my guys to do what they did this year and for the Memphis guys to do what they did this year, I think is phenomenal even though everybody expects it. And it's not easy. It's not easy when teams are primed to storm the floor every night. You play on the road.
Q. Given the history of Gonzaga's program before Coach Monson got there and the fact that you had a few opportunities to maybe leave and coach in the more power conferences, what is it about Gonzaga that's kept you there?
COACH MARK FEW: There's a lot. I mean, Gonzaga's done an incredible job of making the program, the situation, the actual job better. I mean, they've made it into a national job. I mean, we've had the same president, same athletic director the entire time I've been there.
I've been able to keep my staff relatively intact. The entire time I've been there. Which is huge. I mean, you can't put enough of an emphasis on that.
They've grown the product, grown the program, and we just haven't stood pat.
I think the entire school and even the community deserves a lot of credit because it's a great place to have a basketball program. A lot of interest, a lot of great fans. You know, with how we schedule and how we operate and how we travel, how we recruit, it's as good as, you know, everybody with the exception of probably the top, you know, 10 or 15 in the country.
Q. When a coach receives a call like you did a couple of years ago that a player's in trouble, you have to make a lot of quick decisions about what's in the best interest of the player, of the team, of the university. How difficult is that? And given the fact that you guys kind of moved quickly and then took a wait and see approach with him to let him decide, or to let you decide whether to reinstate him, with two years of hindsight, did you guys act appropriately?
COACH MARK FEW: Yeah. I think we did. I think the old cooler heads will prevail.
You know, the immediate thoughts are just, at least with me, was anger. But then again, Father Spitzer was phenomenal throughout the whole process, my athletic director was. It was a no-brainer. I mean, with what we had to do immediately.
But the most convincing and compelling part of it for me was to watch how it played out over the next couple of months, with how Josh changed, how he grew as a person.
How the biggest thing that I was most concerned with -- and anybody that's ever been on a team, I think, can relate to this -- was when were his teammates ready to accept him back? Because I think there was some hurt there. I mean, we were rolling right along. I think we were playing for a league championship that next day.
And so, you know, once I felt that they had fully accepted him back and he had shown remorse and, you know, done so much in the community and academically, I mean, it turned out to be a great decision.
Like I said earlier, it's one of the neatest things I've seen evolve probably the whole time I've been coaching. I mean, he's graduated now. He's working on his master's. He's going to play somewhere for some money, and he's just so much more engaged in conversation when you have him in the office. Very enjoyable to talk with.
Q. Because you have so much in common with the Memphis program, do you think you're going to have Memphis fans on your side this weekend? And secondly, if the Tigers play the way they did at your place, would you consider them a favorite to win the national title this year?
COACH MARK FEW: Well, it would be a novel concept to have the Memphis fans pulling for us with what we've had here in the past. This crowd has been unbelievable. In a good way. I mean, this has been as loud an arena as we've played in, especially if you think back to when Adam dang near incited a mob riot when he got into it with Shawne Williams the one time.
That would be great. I hope they relate to us. They're tremendous fans, and it would be great to have that kind of support because I know, obviously, Carolina travels so well.
I think Memphis, I don't know if they're the favorite. I think the way they played in Spokane in a very, very difficult environment and the way they've played these last two months, I mean, they've played as good as anybody out there. So I could very easily see them, you know, advance into the final four and playing for a national championship.
Q. Coach, earlier this week, Coach Williams shared with us his comments about the respect he has for you and the job you've done at Gonzaga and also about your friendship. Would you give us your comments about that.
COACH MARK FEW: He's been a phenomenal mentor for me. I mean, he probably doesn't even realize it.
When I took over as head coach, we emulated his transition basketball, his secondary break, his approach offensively and in a lot of cases defensively.
I mean, his footprint, handprint, everything is all over our program. He's always just been so open and welcome and, you know, allowed me in when I was just first or second year, to pick his brain a little bit.
Whether we're on the road recruiting or on a Nike coaches trip, he's just been phenomenal. I think he's as class act as there is out there in college basketball. Obviously, like a Hall of Fame coach.
I guess the greatest compliment I can pay him is we've dang near copied a large percentage of our program on what he's done in both Kansas and Carolina. So I certainly enjoy his friendship.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.