March 29, 2009


An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: At this time, we'll get started with the Oklahoma news conference. We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Jeff Capel, and we'll take questions from the two student athletes Blake Griffin, Taylor Griffin. Coach Capel?

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: First of all, I want to congratulate North Carolina. They're a terrific basketball team, terrific program. They made plays today, and they beat us. I'm really, really proud of my team and for all that we've accomplished this year.

 I hate that we didn't shoot the ball well tonight or this afternoon.
I thought the game would have been a lot more interesting if we could have made some shots, and I thought we had some really good looks. But that's the way basketball goes sometimes. Unfortunately, it happened today.

 Again, I can't say enough about the effort that our guys gave today and throughout the season. How hard they played. And just how together we were. And I think it especially showed in this tournament.

 We have a locker room full of guys that are hurt. And we fully believed that we were going to win this basketball game today. But this is how life is sometimes. It doesn't happen the way you want it, and every opportunity is a chance to learn.

 So that's the way it goes. I hate that our season had to end this way, especially for our seniors, especially for Taylor and Austin. I mean, those two kids, you know, they've endured so much during their time here at the University of Oklahoma.

 And for them to stick with us, stick with the program, and to stick with me, and for them to have the kind of success they had in their last year really means a lot to me. I know it means a lot to them. And hopefully it means a lot to the people at the university of Oklahoma, fans, everyone involved.

 I do ask one favor of all of you. I know it's probably a topic that you want to ask, but please do not ask Blake anything about the NBA.
We'll get to that when we at the appropriate time. You know, he's hurting right now. I'm sure that's the furthest thing from his mind.
So thanks.

 THE MODERATOR: At this time, we'll open the floor for questions.

 Q. Blake, did you ever feel that your team was in any kind of rhythm today? From the outside looking in, it appeared that there were times where it just was not clicking. Was that the case?

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: I think North Carolina came out, I mean, they executed the whole game. I felt like we were in rhythm at times, it was just hard to stay in rhythm.

 I mean, you could see at the end when we didn't give up, and we came back from 19 down or however many down. We didn't give up. We were in a rhythm. We were playing defense. So yes.

 Q. Taylor, talk about, as the game went along, what you were trying to do to get an offense going and how frustrating was it that you just couldn't get that one shot early in the game enough or a couple of shots to get you going?

 TAYLOR GRIFFIN: You know, I think that it just came down to just missing good shot opportunities. The shot opportunities were there.
You know, we were just doing what we've been doing all season.

 We've been pounding it inside. I let Blake do his thing. You know, get kick outs from him when they're available. And we were getting good looks. It just wasn't falling.

 Q. Guys, what did coach tell you at halftime? You got within nine right at halftime, but you never were able to get any closer the rest of the game at nine. What did the coach tell you at halftime?

 TAYLOR GRIFFIN: Just basically keep doing what we're doing. It wasn't that we needed to change anything.

 We did a pretty good job on defense. You know, North Carolina's probably the best offensive team in the nation. You know, so I don't think that that was a problem.

 You know, he just kind of reiterated just keep doing what we're doing and keep shooting open shots. Hopefully, they'll fall.

 Q. Blake, how hard was it to get some room to operate? As soon as you touched it anywhere, they doubled you. How hard was it just to get some room to make a quick move toward the basket?

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: I mean, they did a good job defensively. You know, Coach Capel talked to me at halftime about getting a piece of the paint when I posted up. I tried to do that in the second half, and it was a little bit easier.

 I mean, they did a good job, but it was something we've seen as a team all year.

 Q. Guys, did this game feel different? It seemed like both teams kind of came out a little bit tense, little bit tight in the first three, four, five minutes.

 TAYLOR GRIFFIN: I mean, I think the only thing different about it is that it was a game to go to the Final Four. I mean, you know, that's a pretty big game right there. I mean, that in and of itself.

 But, you know, if you want to call us not hitting shots is us coming out tight, maybe that's what it was.

 I feel good. I think I can speak for the rest of the team. We felt good. We felt like going into that game we were going to win that game. We had a chance to win that game.

 Just like coach said, shots weren't falling.

 Q. Blake, for you, your sophomore season, talk about how you think you've grown as a player. You've already won four player of the year awards. How have you improved as a player? Talk about this season for yourself.

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: How have I improved as a player? I mean, last year I made it a point to get in the gym and really work and just try to outwork everybody and work on my overall game.

 I think the area where I improved the most is just I hope it was trying to be a leader. You know, kind of setting an example for the rest of our guys. You know, I didn't do that as well at times as I would have liked to.

 But just the mental part of it. You know, I think that's the part that I got better at.

 Q. Taylor, can you talk about your experience about being able to play college basketball with your brother, just reflect on that if you would for us.

 TAYLOR GRIFFIN: No, not right now.

 THE MODERATOR: Why don't we come back to that.

 Q. Blake, when you look at this game, are you guys fairly pleased with your defensive performance? Carolina, 72 points, generally score more than that. Was it an offensive letdown today?

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: I mean, I'm not really sure. The thing that killed us was we couldn't get stops. I mean, we did play pretty good defense at times, but we just the thing that couldn't get us out of the hole was we couldn't get stops.

 I wouldn't say we're pleased defensively. I wouldn't say we did a bad job though.

 Q. Taylor, that was a team that starting the year was seen as a cut above everybody else. When you finally get a chance to see them up close, did you realize a little more just how talented they are?

 TAYLOR GRIFFIN: You know, it's not hard to see how talented they are throughout the year. You know, I've always been impressed with them.

 You know, they're as good as advertised, I think. You know, I just wish that we would have had you know, I think the effort was there on our part. It was just a matter of shots falling.

 Besides that, you know, I think we were there. We were ready to compete with anyone at this point in the season.

 Q. Blake, they got out to a 13 2 start. Can you just talk about what it's like when you have to claw your way back the entire game.

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: It's hard. I mean, obviously, it puts you in a hole.
I guess, it knocks you back on your heels a little bit so you kind of have to scramble to keep up.

 You know, I thought we did a good job of not just breaking down at that point and kind of keep fighting, so to speak. And get it within nine at half and then get it down to 12 when they were up big in the second half.

 Q. Blake, did you make a conscious effort to maybe go quicker when they were doubling, to try to beat the double?

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: After I caught it a few times in the block and saw how they were doubling, how they were rotating, I tried to make my moves a little faster and pick my spots a little bit better.

 Q. Blake, did North Carolina wear you down just a bit? I mean, they kept bringing different guys at you. There was Hansbrough, Zeller, and Davis over and over. Did they seem to keep bringing fresher bodies in to try to wear you out at least?

 BLAKE GRIFFIN: No, I don't think so. That's something we faced as a team all year. Teams might not have as many guys like that, but it was I wouldn't say I felt worn down. They did do a good job defensively.
I'm not saying they didn't.

 THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. We'll continue with questions for head coach Jeff Capel.

 Q. Have you ever been around a team as a player or coach, Jeff, where your guard play has been so inconsistent during the year?

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: Well, you know, it has been at times. We've been really good at times. And we didn't make shots today.

 You know, we did we had the tempo where we wanted it. To hold that team that's averaging 90 72. We had all of that where we wanted. The only thing we couldn't do was we could not make shots early in the game.

 I do think we were a little bit tight. Sometimes you can want something so much that it you know, you're trying so hard, and I think that's what happened to us early in the game.

 You know, Blake had a layup, and he missed it on a great drive. We had a couple of wide open shots that we just missed, and I think that and then Carolina executing and jumping out to a lead maybe knocked us back a little bit.

 But I was proud of our guys for continuing to fight. To start the second half, you know, we ended the half well. To start the second half, we just couldn't get stops. We got our offense going. We were scoring. We just could not get stops.

 And one of the things that Carolina's known for is being even more efficient in the second half, and they certainly were today.

 So, again, I liked the tempo that we had. I thought we did a good enough job defensively although in the second half they did shoot 62%.
But it came down to our inability to make shots. Carolina had something to do that, but we got some good looks and just missed them.

 Q. Coach, I'd like to know before the game, considering the matchups that you obviously faced against with North Carolina. I'd like to know what did you designate specifically as the top priority? What was needed in order to win this game? What did you tell your team before the game?

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: Transition defense. Carolina is so good. They're the most explosive offensive team in the country.

 So we talked about transition defense. We've got to get back. We've got to get the ball under control, and we've got to fan out because they love to hit ahead. I thought we actually did a pretty good job with that.

 The other thing was trying to control tempo. We didn't want to get into a track meet with North Carolina. We wanted to try to control tempo, and I thought we did a good job of that. Again, we just couldn't do enough offensively.

 Defensively, we did enough to win. We just couldn't get it done offensively against them.

 Q. Jeff, we were close enough to you where we were sitting that we heard you several times say, "Guys, we need to stop. We've got to get a stop." We know your teams start defensive first. Can you talk about what was going through your head as you tried to get your team defensively to come up with a stop against such a great offensive team.

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: You know, that was all throughout the game, but we were especially trying to implore our guys to do that to start the second half.

 It felt like we finally got the ball to go into the basket towards the end of that first half. And I felt like, if we could come out and get a few stops and then execute, that would put a little bit of game pressure on North Carolina.

 I think they scored maybe their first four or five possessions. And each time out after that you know, when you're behind, it is tough to climb out of it, especially against such a great team like they are.
And they're a great team. They're not a good team. They're a great team. And they're a great offensive team.

 They have so many weapons. And, again, it wasn't lack of effort. Our guys played. They competed. I just think, if we could have made a few more threes, some of those baskets maybe would have put a little bit more pressure on them and would have made things a little bit more interesting.

 But take nothing away from them. I don't mean that as any sign of disrespect. I have the ultimate respect for that program and wish them luck the rest of the way. They were terrific.

 Q. Jeff, you've, over the course of the year, reflected on Blake's career. Can you reflect just on his two weeks in the NCAA tournament?
He put up numbers no one's put up in years and years and years.

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: Well, he's done that all year. I mean, I think that he's solidified that he's the best player in the country. This is not a knock against anyone else. But I don't personally think it's close.

 And there's some terrific players this year. But with what he's done the last two weeks and throughout the season, you know, there's a question asked of him about being double teamed as soon as he called it, and he's still 9 for 12, 23 points, and 16 rebounds against arguably the best team in the country with post depth, bringing McDonald's All Americans in off the bench.

 He's really, really good, and he's done it all year long, and he's done it against really good competition all year long.

 It's been a joy to watch him develop this year. You know, it's especially rewarding because he put the time in last summer. And he's a great example for guys in our program, and hopefully that's something that they look at. Hopefully, that's something that they see.

 There will never be another Blake Griffin, but if you want to have a chance to maximize your potential as a player, then hopefully you watched his work ethic and saw what he did.

 Q. Jeff, you come from a close knit family. Your brother is wearing red today. Close knit collegiate experience that you had. Clearly, you have the same experience coaching these guys, it seems.

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: Yeah, it's neat. This was a tight group. And we've been through a lot this year, just like every team does. Every year is a journey.

 And these guys have taken us on a wonderful ride this year. I mean, I couldn't be any prouder. You know, to my third year here at the University of Oklahoma, to get to an Elite Eight, to have an opportunity to play for a chance to go to the Final Four. To watch these young men grow, to watch Taylor and Austin from the time I got here and to see them now. To watch the development of Tony Crocker, you know, to watch the development of Blake Griffin, Willie Warren throughout the year.

 I mean, it's been I mean, that's the University of Oklahoma is a pretty special place. All of us are very fortunate to be a part of it.

 Q. Coach, all the things you said about Blake. Do you feel like it's almost an insurmountable task to keep him another year?

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: It probably is, but we'll see. You know, that will be a decision that Blake will make for him, and it will be the same thing that happened last year. We'll sit down. We'll talk. And I'll get whatever information.

 I think it's easier this year to get that information. And he'll do what's best for him and his family. And we all will support him 1,000 percent.

 Q. Jeff, talk about how Willie Warren, like a lot of your guards, struggled today, but he got some stuff there late. How much can this experience help him and others going into next season and hopefully another tournament?

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: You know, I thought our experience last year helped us, our experience last year in the tournament. We got embarrassed our last game against Louisville. I know that was a motivating factor.

 And it made our guys understand how hard we have to work. Hopefully, one of the things is that we don't take it for granted, especially Willie as a freshman. You don't take it for granted getting to this point. And hopefully it makes him want to work harder to improve his game. Hopefully, he can make some strides like Blake made from his freshman to sophomore year.

 You know, if Willie decides to come back, then we're going to look at him as being a leader for us, for our basketball team next year.

 So for all of our guys, this whole experience can help. You know, if we use it the right way and keep it in the proper perspective.

 Q. Jeff, you talked about there will never be another Blake Griffin.
When you look back at this, will this be opportunity lost that you didn't get to a Final Four with him, or is this a progression where your just building the program where you can get back in this position and get further in years to come.

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: I won't look at it as an opportunity lost. You know, we had a great season. You know, I'm crushed just like our guys are, that it's over, but we've won 30 games this year. We won 13 games in the conference. We've won the Preseason NIT championship. So it's not a season lost.

 This is foundation for what we're building. And obviously, Blake's been a huge piece of it. You know, hopefully we'll be able to continue to reap benefits for what he's meant to this program.

 Q. With respect to the fact that North Carolina shot 62% in the second half, how challenging is it, and can you really beat a team that shoots 62%?

 COACH JEFF CAPEL: If you shoot 63 or if you shoot 62 and you make maybe a few more free throws. I mean, it's a challenge. It's a challenge guarding those guys.

 You know, they have pros at just about every position. And they're incredibly efficient. That's kind of been the trademark of North Carolina's program if you look throughout the history. From Coach Smith to Coach Guthridge, and now Coach Williams, they've always been incredibly efficient. And that's a testament to the coaches. But also it helps when you have great players, and they have great players, and they have great depth. And they use that.

 You know, if you look at their team, again, they have a hall of fame coach, and they have eight or nine McDonald's All Americans. On their team. And, again, they bring pros off the bench.

 And they're a great offensive team, and they're a good defensive team, but they're a great, great offensive team. We did a good job defensively. Again, it's crazy to say that because they shot 62% in the second half, but to hold them to 51 field goal attempts is good.
72 points when they average 90 is good.

 We just had to score more points today. And we're a team that averages 80. And so, you know, again, their defense did a good job on us, and we missed some shots.

 THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

 FastScripts by ASAP Sports




An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We have with us head coach Roy Williams. Student athletes Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough. We'll ask Coach Williams to make an opening statement, and then we'll take questions first for the student athletes. Coach?

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: We're ecstatic to be here. There's no question about that. I congratulate the NCAA for having cookies back there today, more than yesterday. And they're good. We're making progress in every area.

 This is a dream come true. I think each and every year you put yourself in a position that you can be one of those teams that has a chance to win it all, and that's my dream and my goal every year.

 This team has dealt with a great deal of adversity. A great deal of expectation from other people. And they've got us going to Detroit, and we're excited about that. We have to say congratulations to a really, really, really big time Oklahoma team.

 They were a load for us, there's no question. I tried to say to most of the players and to Jeff particularly to think about what they accomplished the whole year, not just think about this game.

 Guys, we feel very lucky and very fortunate and very happy.

 THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student athletes.

 Q. Danny, with what coach said about the pressure at the start of the year and the injuries you've had, how satisfying is it for you to get back to a Final Four a second time?

 DANNY GREEN: Very satisfying. I know we have high expectations every year. It's nothing new to us. I mean, I think it was more this year.
They were expecting us to go undefeated and all that talk. We lost a couple of games, and everybody thought the world was ending.

 We knew that we could still achieve the things we wanted to achieve.
We had some guys go down. Marcus was hurt. He had surgery. Zeller went out. We didn't expect him to come back so soon. I think we handled it very well. And this team is mature enough, and I guess we're more experienced than we were in the past.

 We've been through enough adversity to be able to fight through games and bounce back and to get to where we are now.

 Q. Ty, for you, you never seem to be too uncomfortable out there in the last two days. Do you credit that to the experience you had against LSU in the last ten minutes? You knew what to expect.

 TY LAWSON: Definitely. Because in the LSU game they put pressure on us when we came out in the second half. This game, we were used to it.
And just experience overall in the NCAA tournament.

 You can't get uncomfortable or feel pressured or rush stuff in the NCAA tournament because that leaves turnovers and bad shots and things like that.

 When times are tough, just call a play and relax everybody and just get a good shot.

 Q. Specifically for you with your toe, you never seemed to be too uncomfortable out there testing it.

 TY LAWSON: No. Once I get the adrenaline and just the intensity of it, I really don't feel the toe or start favoring it. Just like in the middle of the game, the pain just basically goes away.

 Q. Ty, just talk about the defensive game plan on Blake. I mean, you doubled him as soon as he caught it, tried to get it out of his hands.
He was still a load to handle, but just you did a nice job with the rotation.

 TY LAWSON: Yeah. In practice we basically decided we were going to double him on the first pass, once he gets the ball. Every time they passed it to him, I just went down and doubled and tried to get the ball out of his hands and make another one of his teammates create something or score.

 When we watched tape, normally they don't really a lot of players on that team don't create or anything like that. So we got it out of his hands, and once we did that, I looked to see who was the open person because we worked on rotating.

 I got on that person, make sure they didn't close out and make sure they didn't drive to the basket.

 Q. Ty, talk about the decision on Marcus that was made and he was going to redshirt, and I asked you about the leadership of the team, and you said it was going to be you. You're the one that's going to have the ball in your hands, and you decided at that moment you're going to become a leader. How much do you think you've developed in that process since then, and how much higher can you go?

 TY LAWSON: I think I've developed real well. When I came to college, I wasn't much of a talker on the court. I just try to lead off example. But now I'm talking to players.

 Like if somebody make a bad play, I pick them up. I mean, just say a lot of stuff and get people in the right areas.

 I think that I got a little more a long way to go to be more of a leader, so I'm trying to learn it as I go.

 Q. Tyler, for you, you have a reigning player of the year. Your impressions of Blake Griffin after mixing it up with him there and watching him play.

 TYLER HANSBROUGH: One thing about Blake is I think he's tough down low to box out. I think one thing about him is that he's one of the best rebounders I've played against. And so that was very tough.

 I think he gets a lot of stuff off offensive rebounds, and his rebounding ability was something that I think I'm not really used to seeing.

 Q. Tyler, first half you didn't get to play a whole lot because of foul trouble and you still have a comfortable lead at halftime. How much of a difference did your depth make in this game, and how much of a difference has it made all season, the depth you all have?

 TYLER HANSBROUGH: One thing, I think our depth's really worked.
Tyler Zeller is getting it back where he can come in a couple of minutes and really help us out. I think Ed Davis also, he's about as good a shot blocker you can ask for.

 And so defensively Ed really helps us. And, you know, we have some guys coming off the bench, Bobby. We didn't have him last year. He's really helping us.

 We've also been plagued with some injuries from some guys, and we weren't as deep as we actually thought we were going to be this year.
But some guys are actually stepping up and playing.

 Q. Danny and Ty, in kind of keeping with the theme of depth, could you talk a little bit about the depth of your starting lineup in that they had trouble shooting from the perimeter and they had to rely basically on Griffin. You guys with your balanced lineup, if Tyler's not having a big game, you've got so many other weapons that can kind of take up the slack.

 TY LAWSON: Yeah, I think that makes our team so dangerous because, if one person's not having a good night, other people will pick it up.
Deon, me, Danny, or Tyler. Even Ellington off the bench. He'll have a good game. That's what makes us so good playing in the game.

 DANNY GREEN: Definitely, I agree with Ty. If Ty is not having a good night, Wayne will step up and make some shots. Deon came up big and made some shots. It was a little frustrating for him. We're making him do something that he didn't want to do and make it uncomfortable for him. We were doubling him as soon as he got the ball and made his supporting cast try to make plays.

 I thought we did a great job of rotating and getting to their shooters and putting a hand up. That's why they didn't make a lot of shots they normally make. We tried to make it tough for them and make them do something they're not comfortable doing and make it harder for them and make their percentages as low as possible.

 Q. For any of the players, how will last year's Final Four experience help you this year? Will it be a different approach? A little more calm of what to expect. What do you think of last year will help you this time around?

 TY LAWSON: Just experience that we've got to come out strong because last year we didn't really come out strong, and Kansas went up about 20 some points.

 This year the main thing is come out strong at the beginning of games and don't wait until the second half to start playing. That's the main thing.

 DANNY GREEN: Yeah. I agree with Ty. You know, it's a different team.
It's a new year, a new day, a new game.

 We know what our goals are. We know what our focuses are and what we have to do to win games. Last year, of course, we use every experience as a learning experience. We don't want to come out sluggish or lackadaisical and let them jump on us because we know how hard it is to dig yourself out of a hole and waste a lot of energy doing that.

 It's hard to beat teams especially at this stage of the game.

 THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ty, Danny, Tyler. Questions for Coach Williams.

 Q. Roy, expanding on what I was asking the players, could you talk about how comfortable as a coach that makes you feel to have the kind of deep and diverse lineup, if one guy's not doing it, that there's other options opinion?

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You remember in the preseason everybody was asking me how I was going to keep everybody happy, and I said at that time I'd rather have too many players than not enough. And we have such good character kids, that they could handle it.

 Now, I didn't count on all the injuries that made it a necessity to handle it, but I do believe that's the way I recruit. It's the way we try to run our program. It's what we try to have in every team I've ever coached is more than one guy as the star.

 You've got to have other guys. You've got to have good balance inside, scoring outside, scoring, and I think it's more difficult to guard people that are like that. So it goes all the way back to our philosophy as a staff and the kind of ability of a person that we recruit, but also the kind of character of the person that we recruit.

 Most of our guys know they're not going to get 30 shots, but most of our guys know they've got a great chance to win, and they've got a great chance in practice every day to perform at a high level to make themselves the best player they can possibly be.

 Q. Roy, could you just talk about was Blake Griffin as good in person as you thought he'd be? What did you say to him after the game?
You had an extended conversation there.

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: He was. He's a load. You know, please don't misunderstand don't make this to be a comparison.

 He is LeBron James like, and he's got such a package of strength, explosiveness, touch, power. You know, it's hard to match that.

 In person when you're sitting on that bench, it even looks more awesome than it does when I'm watching it on TV. I've always really liked Jeff Capel. His dad, I always considered a friend. His brother played at North Carolina. So I've watched their team play several times this year, and I've been extremely impressed with him.

 So for us, you know, we really did want to aim our defense at him. I was ecstatic in the first half, we got two 35 second shot clock violations. We've been criticized, maligned, I've pushed and begged and pleaded with our defense all year long. But I think defensively I'll give you an example.

 Tyler Hansbrough takes four shots today, and he was a beast defensively with the things that he did in the second half. Now, in the first half, I didn't like what he did. He got two cheap fouls, and he had brain lock when he tried to dump that one ball from one top of the mountain to the other top of the mountain 14 miles away, stupid play. Other than that, he was sensational defensively.

 And Blake is he's got to get extra attention. So that's what we tried to do is give him extra attention.

 Q. Sticking with defense, they said you played good defense but they missed open shots. How would you rate your defensive performance?

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I think in the first half I would agree with them. Excuse me. The second half I would agree with them. First half, I thought we were good defensively.

 Again, we got two 35 second shot clock violations. They turned it over nine times, I think it was in the first half. We got I forget what it was a certain number of points off turnovers.

 For us, in the second half, let's be honest. They missed some open shots. I always thought trying to play people and trying to play at a fast pace would hopefully take someone's legs in the second half. And also the stress of the moment sometimes bothers you as well.

 I do believe defensively in the first half we were really good.
Second half, Tyler was really good. We did a sorry job of boxing out, and they kept getting offensive rebounds for baskets.

 We blocked the shot, and they got the rebound and put it in. They shot an air ball, they got the rebound and put it in. The ball wasn't really bouncing quite as good for us. But there's no question we were very, very lucky they missed some open shots.

 Q. I believe last week you were talking about all the injuries you've had, and you said this was the most frustrating season you've had. With all the injuries, the adversity you faced, the expectations you all faced, is this a little sweeter too than maybe previous?

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: They're all sweet when you're going to play the last weekend in college basketball. There's no question about that.

 This has been a tough year for me mentally, emotionally, with the adversity. There's no question about it. It's been a hard year.

 Early season practice, we'd have one drill that we were going eight minutes, and after seven minutes, I think I'd better stop it right here because I haven't hurt Tyler yet.

 Okay, the last three weeks we've had a drill that would go eight minutes, and after six minutes, maybe I'll just stop this right now because I've already got Tyler play two plays. And if I push him a third play, he may hurt his toe.

 Those kind of little things wear on you, but it definitely is very satisfying right now.

 Q. If you had been told before the game that Tyler and Wayne would be in single digits and would have been in foul trouble, what would you have thought? Does that also speak to the fact your team did so many little things out there? People talk about your offense so much, but a lot of the little things were accomplished on the floor tonight.

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: If you had given me those stats before the game, I'd have thought it was going to be a tough afternoon, no question about that.

 Bobby makes a one handed pass off a dribble through traffic and throws the stupid thing away. The only person in the building that was madder at him than me was his dad. I'll guarantee you. Then Tyler tries to dunk one, like I say, from here to that camera over there, which is dumb.

 Deon turned it over twice in a row. Wayne dribbles it out of bounds.
You take that away, we really played well. We really did a lot of little things in the first half. The turnovers that we got trying to jam. The rotation we got trying to get to the shooters.

 We more forcibly tried to double in the post this year I mean, this game than any game all year. So for them to pick back up and do so well at it, I was very pleased.

 Q. Coach, your impressions of the Final Four now. Two number ones, a two, and a three.

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Well, you know, last year I think there were four number ones. So you got to congratulate the tournament committee again. They evidently got it pretty close to being right. There's so many really good teams in college basketball. That's the reason all the talk in the preseason about best team ever, going undefeated. It was all just nonsense is what it was.

 To have an opportunity to go to the Final Four, I've known some really, really good basketball coaches that haven't been lucky enough to go to the Final Four. I guess this is our seventh, I think. So we're ecstatic about it.

 No team ever goes to the Final Four and plays poorly and wins. If you don't play your best game, you go home. And we understand that, and it will be a big time challenge for us. You name the hottest team in the country right now and the way they played throughout the tournament, it just might be Villanova because they've just whacked everybody they've played.

 So it will be interesting. I've got some and Tom Izzo, Jimmy Calhoun, Jay Wright, I've got three guys that are really good friends.
Jimmy and I played golf together. Tommy and I enjoy each other's company. And Jay and I have gotten to know each other over the past few years.

 For me the greatest day in college coaching is the open practice in the Final Four because it's coaches convention going on as well. And all your peers are in the stands. Some of them don't come to practice, but there's a lot of them up there, and they're wishing they were where you're standing.

 Q. Coach, how much have you learned about Ty in the last couple of months? Since the 0 2 start, some of the scrutiny, and then the toe injury. He's really developed into a big time leader.

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You were there, and you saw the articles and heard the talk and the whole bit after the 0 2 start and everybody complaining about Tywon wasn't as good. You go back and look, and I say, guys, it wasn't just him, number one, and it's a long season.

 I can remember standing in that locker room at Wake Forest, and we're 0 2 in the league. And I told our guys, you play from here on out, and we'll be there at the end. It was not any panic with our coaching staff. The kids believed in us. Ty believed in us.

 He got a lot of criticism after Tyrese Rice and Jeff Teague, but he doesn't have to take a backseat to anybody. He's tougher now mentally.
He's tougher physically. He's still Dennis the Menace most times, but he's also Rambo every now and then.

 Q. Coach, two things. Can you talk you mentioned yesterday that, if Tyler had 8 and 7 and you all won, he'd be happy. The numbers were just about like that and you all won. Talk about that and how it didn't matter. Secondly, did you all manage to go spit in the river this morning?

 COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I'll tell you, I wish one time I'd do something a little more graceful and get credit for that as much attention as I get for spitting in the river. But that did start in 1982 in New Orleans. Somebody just told me I can't remember who it's good luck to go spit in the Mississippi. Most of the time, I've figured out a way to do that when we were at St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, some places.

 But I don't know how it happened, but today as we were coming to the arena, instead of going straight to the arena, the bus took a left turn, left turn, left turn. And the police, they pulled over beside the river. I said, since we're here, might as well go ahead. I don't know who planned that or anything whatsoever. So the answer is yes, that we did go this afternoon.

 That young man has been an incredible, incredible human being and an incredible player. And I said that, if we win and he scores eight, he's going to be the happiest person in the gym. That's the way he is.
He's interested in his team winning. He wants to do everything he can to help his team win.

 THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

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