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March 15, 2015

Pat Connaughton

Q.  Pat, let me know your reaction to being a No. 3 seed and, you know, readjusting your mind after such a whirlwind, exciting tournament that you just completed.
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  We're very happy to be a 3 seed.  I think this program has done a lot this season and done a lot of things that this program has never done.
To be honest, I don't think us as a team really cared what seed we were.  It was more about just knowing what we were going to play in the first game.  We have done a great job of taking it one game at a time during the regular season and transferring that over to the ACC Tournament and taking it one game at a time there.
If we can continue to do that coming out of this tournament going into the next one we will be sitting good.

Q.  Pat, you guys have been able to put together a few streaks of wins.  Do you think that bodes well for a tournament situation?
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  Absolutely.  The last tournament we played in, we won it, so going into this one, we're just trying to take‑‑ Coach Brey mentioned to us that it's many tournaments.  Right now we're focused on the Pittsburgh tournament and focused on Northeastern, more specifically, and if we can win that one, we will move on.  You need to take it one game at a time and play the way we have been playing over the last week.

Q.  At what point did you (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  Yeah, I think we enjoyed it.  After the game, we enjoyed it today, but it's kinda like, we talked about it at the beginning of the year as much as we needed to use last year as motivation, we didn't want to compare things to last year.  Similar to that, we need to use the ACC Tournament as a confidence booster.  We played well, beat two of the most historical programs in the ACC, and one of them who was sitting pretty at a 1 seed in this tournament, so it will help us, but at the same time this is a new tournament and it is one and done.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  To be honest, you literally just do that.  These guys, Jerian, Zach, Steve, you just take a step back and say, "Hey guess what?  We are the ACC Champions."  You think about it for a second, and you see what's going on.  It's great for this program and this team to have accomplished such a thing.
But what makes the team special is that we're never satisfied.  We had a great regular season, one of the best in Notre Dame basketball history, but we weren't satisfied with just having a great regular season.  We wanted to gain experience and win the tournament.
From that we wanted to do bigger and better things.  So while our goals are lofty, we will continue to do the same thing that we have done and focus on that first weekend and that first game.

Q.  In your mind, what's the biggest thing about winning a tournament championship like that, whether it's this year or a big picture thing of establishing the program?
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  One of the biggest things right here and now is the fact that we won.  Arguably, I might be biased, but I think it's the best conference tournament in America.  That right there gives this team a lot of confidence that, no matter who we face we have beat some of the best teams in the country.
To be able to do that and to have that under our belt gives us the confidence and makes us even hungrier moving forward.  When you think about it, big picturewise, it's great for this team.  The 13 guys in that locker room, the coaching staff, everyone in this program to be able to hang a banner and do something this program has never done that will be evidence in stone and forever lasting, no matter how long we're alive for, to be quite honest.

Q.  Can you give us a timeline of what it's been like since you walked off the floor?
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  I wasn't ready for confetti to come showering down, but when it did, I wasn't mad about it, by any means.  It was cool to be in the center of the court with everyone on the team.  After that, honestly, it's a whirlwind.  You stand on the podium, you talk to media, TV, your families, people in the stands, all the other Notre Dame alumni and people that are on the court and, you know, to share with them it was amazing.
We were able to come back here last night and to be back here after having been in Greensboro all week, Jerian mentioned at one up point, "I want to make sure I'm not dreaming."  It's great.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  To be honest, people from throughout the country.  Coach Brey said, "We're new to this, which we all got a kick out of."  After the game, I carried the trophy around for most of the time, but Colson was in charge of carrying the trophy, and he wants to name the trophy and do some things with the trophy that we will let him do on his own time.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  It was amazing.  You're on a flight.  I've never been so happy on an airplane my entire life.  You're sitting there, one of the things that, you know, I cherish more than anything, obviously I wanted to win it for your school and all that sort of stuff, but when you look at the people around the program, wearing the hats, sitting on the plane, they have waited so long to be part of something like this, and they weren't even playing, but they gave us support behind the scenes that no one really notices, beside the guys that are involved, and they got to share that with us on the floor and get a tee shirt, a hat, and be part of something this big that's historic in Notre Dame basketball history.  That's the thing that made me the most happy.
It makes you want to win not just for each other but for them, and to share a moment like that was huge.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  No, I mean, we probably wouldn't have had as good of a team this year, coming out of last year.  This is a different team.  We wanted to establish ourselves as a completely different team, almost like a reinvented program so to speak.  We wanted it to be different and do things that this program has never done and so far in the regular season and the ACC Tournament we have accomplished that.  But moving forward we want to do the same things.  We want to do things that this program has never done and hasn't done in a while and to do that we have to have the same plan, take it game by game, play by play and leave it on the floor, do the same gritty things that we have done all year that have established this team to be the 2015 team, as a different team compared to others.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  Just shock.  I remember looking around and seeing who was around me, and I grabbed Steve and we walked to the center of the floor with our arms around each other to where everyone else was, grabbed Jerian and gave him a hug and gave everyone else a hug.  It's funny when you're a kid and you see confetti raining down, you want to be involved in that, you want to be a kid that grew up and is experiencing that moment with friends that you don't know and that you hope to know and hope to experience it with.
To have it actually happen, it almost goes in slow motion, you see that coming down and you're trying to do everything you can to win the game and you really can't fast forward to having a planned expression for it.  It's natural when it comes.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  You know, the sky is the limit.  One thing that this team does is set lofty goals and expectations for each other.  There are things that we keep within our locker room because that's within the 13 guys and the coaching staff, and we are the ones that need to accomplish things.  We just want to come out here and take it game by game.  I think one of the things that motivates us more is when you look at the regular season we had, and the third best team in the ACC going out of the ACC Tournament, no one picked us to win that thing.  No one gave us a shot to win that thing.  Maybe they thought we were going to beat Miami, other than that, they thought Duke was going to win it all, and we would be done there.  We had the belief in ourselves, and at the end of the day, there wasn't a lot of respect for that team, so we wanted to grab that for ourselves and move forward.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  It was great.  Coach talked about how it's a great setting for guys on the team from the east coast, guys on the team from the midwest, it's not a tough location to get to.  It's a great Notre Dame city.  There are all those factors, but at the same time to be honest, you could have put us across the country or in a different country and we would have been just as hungry to play and just as ready to take on whatever team steps on the court in front of us.

Q.  (No microphone.)
PAT CONNAUGHTON:  Yeah, I know a few things.  When I was sophomore or junior in high school I went over to the games.  I'm not sure if it's the same coach, to be honest, but I have a lot of close friends that have played‑‑ Harvard guys that have played in programs around that Boston area, so I'm sure I will talk to them, but I think the most important thing for us is playing our game and not being too over‑ overamplifying what they do.  It's more about what we do, do what we do, something that has made this team a special team in and of itself.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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