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March 24, 2014

Dwayne Polee II

Skylar Spencer

Xavier Thames

Q.テつ Skylar, you pride yourself on defense as a team.テつ The way you're able to run shots down there at the rim, is that something you've worked on?テつ Is it innate skill or God gave you that ability?
SKYLAR SPENCER:テつ Yeah, it's something that I've pretty much had my whole life.テつ But ever since I came to college it's been more specific details, things that I needed to work on, and I think I've improved that ever since I got here.

Q.テつ What was it you worked on?テつ Is it like a technique?
SKYLAR SPENCER:テつ I worked on more about guarding the perimeter with pick ask roll defense, and how to guard the post more.テつ Because in high school I just kind of stood in the key and blocked shots, but there's more to it now.

Q.テつ Playing off of that, going against a team like Arizona that's as athletic as they are and like to get to the rim and slash, do you have to change the way you do things to make sure you keep yourself on the floor and not draw the fouls because they are coming at you as constantly as they are?
SKYLAR SPENCER:テつ Sort of.テつ I've been playing against aggressive teams all year, so I'm kind of used to it.テつ So I guess I just have to figure out a way to play smart so I can stay on the floor and not get any foul calls on me.

Q.テつ Knowing you have him back there, does that change the way you play on the perimeter knowing you have a last line of defense?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ A little bit, but we're going to stick to the way we've been playing defense all year.テつ Get out, deny passing lanes, press, and do different things like that.テつ But it does help to have Skylar back there.テつ If you get beat, he's got our back.

Q.テつ X, second time around with these guys, and you have so much more style.テつ You play off your defense a lot.テつ Really kind of expect this game to be a fast, up‑paced game?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ I don't know.テつ We'll see.テつ They play good defense as well, and we play good defense.テつ All I know is it's going to be a fun and exciting game.テつ They're a great team, we're a great team, so it's going to be fun.

Q.テつ What do you like especially getting this chance to see these guys again and in the Sweet Sixteen?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Well, it's nice.テつ No matter who we play, we're just happy to be in the Sweet Sixteen.テつ But playing against Arizona again, it's definitely going to be fun.テつ They're a Top 10 program each and every year.テつ So we're just ready for the challenge.

Q.テつ Their team is obviously different from when you played them before.テつ They don't have Ashley.テつ They've gone small.テつ They kind of start three guards.テつ Does that help you with the match‑ups?テつ It seemed the first game when Skylar came out or one of your bigs came out and you guys went small, it's tough to rebound.テつ Does that swing things more favorably towards you because if Sky's on the floor you can match‑up better?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Yeah, a little bit.テつ But they're still a great team.テつ They have Hollis‑Jefferson; I think he's coming off the bench now, and he's a four man.テつ So, like I said, we've got to come out and be ready to play.テつ It's going to be a different game.テつ They don't have the same team.テつ We've got different guys coming off the bench.テつ DP didn't even play that game or AQ, so it's going to be a fun game and exciting game to play in.

Q.テつ Speaking of that, Dwayne, did Coach Fisher ever explain to you why you didn't play in the first Arizona game?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ No, he never really explained to me.テつ But I didn't really take offense to it.テつ It just made me work harder as an individual and working with my team harder and dealing with the coaches.テつ So this time around I'm going to be ready.

Q.テつ Do you think it was something you were doing in practice or something that he wanted you to work harder at?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ No, I can't really call it.テつ Coach Fisher knows what he's doing.テつ He's a very smart, knowledgeable coach, so I can't really hold it against him or hold any grudges.テつ But this time around I'm going to be ready to help my team do whatever they need to do.

Q.テつ Dwayne everybody's talking about the emergence of your play and how you made a big difference between last game and this game.テつ What is your mindset going in?テつ Do you feel the pressure that you have to be the difference maker?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ No, I don't feel any pressure.テつ I'm just going to go out and bring energy.テつ That's what I do.テつ Whatever I have to do to bring energy whether it's not scoring a single point, but playing hard defense and getting every rebound or whatever the task may be, I'm ready for it.

Q.テつ Xavier, Coach Fisher was talking about what a positive influence he was in the locker room even when he wasn't playing.テつ How satisfying is it for you to see him get this opportunity?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ It's really satisfying.テつ Dwayne has been working since summertime on his game each and every day.テつ Now he's showing everybody what he grinded for.テつ So it's just been great to see him play like that.テつ I know he worked really hard for it.テつ So it's just been fun.

Q.テつ You guys really wanted a shot at Arizona, didn't you?テつ You really wanted to play them?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Well, it didn't matter who we played.テつ It's the best time of the year for college basketball, so everybody's going to bring their A‑game, whether it's Arizona or anybody.テつ So we're just excited to be in the position that we're in.

Q.テつ But you guys weren't watching that going (Indiscernible)?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Not really.テつ Whoever we play, we're going to be ready regardless.テつ But I had a feeling we're going to play Arizona because they've been playing really well of lately.テつ I'm glad we get to play a great team in Arizona.

Q.テつ You're playing pretty well too?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Yeah, I'm playing okay.

Q.テつ Do you guys feel like you're underdogs going into this game?
SKYLAR SPENCER:テつ Yeah, but lately it feels like all year we've been underdogs for every game we've played.テつ So it's nothing new to us.

Q.テつ X, are there times you feel you have to take this team on your shoulders?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ No, not at all.テつ Whatever coach needs me to do or my teammates need me to do, I do it.テつ For me putting the weight on my shoulders, I don't think so.テつ Basketball is a team game and without my teammates, I wouldn't be playing how I've been playing lately.

Q.テつ You guy has couple of nice wins at the Honda Center the last couple of years.テつ Is there any special coverage you get being in that building?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Being right down the freeway helps.テつ Our fans and family get to travel not a far distance to come see us play, so that gives us a lot of help, because our fans do a great job of traveling.

Q.テつ Dwayne, in reference to your jumping ability, there are a few nicknames swirling around out there.テつ Are you aware of those?テつ Can you share them with us?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ I heard Doug Gottlieb called me the tram‑Polee and human pogo stick.

Q.テつ What do you think of that?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ I think it's exciting.テつ You can't really create your own nickname.テつ So when someone calls you a nickname, everybody just runs with it, and it's really exciting.

Q.テつ It's one of those unwritten rules in sports that you can't create your own nickname.
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Yeah, it's just an unwritten law.テつ It's just one of those things that you just know.テつ So just like X, and Sky the eraser.テつ So everybody has their own little nicknames that they've been dubbed through the media.

Q.テつ Everybody on the team have a nickname?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Just about.テつ I can't name them all off the top of my head.テつ But there are a couple of nicknames swirling around.

Q.テつ Do you have any other ones that you've had in high school, close friends?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Actually, no.テつ This is my first time I actually got a nickname.

Q.テつ How do you like it?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Oh, I like it.テつ It's exciting to see the media calling me something and then the fans and other people just run away with it.テつ So it's an exciting feeling.

Q.テつ Which one do you like better, the tram‑Polee or human pogo stick?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Tram‑Polee because it includes my name in it.

Q.テつ Did you play against Dwayne in high school?
SKYLAR SPENCER:テつ No, I wanted to.

Q.テつ Did you know about him?
SKYLAR SPENCER:テつ Yeah, I knew about him when I was signed to come here.テつ He was the man in L.A., so I've always heard about him.テつ I know my high school team would have beaten his.

Q.テつ You guys may have answered this kind of already, but a lot like Arizona, you had that big huge winning streak at the end of the year and a couple tough road losses.テつ Anything you've kind of adjusted to after those two games that makes you where you are now?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ I think we just learned from the losses that we took.テつ I'm sure Arizona did the same thing as well.テつ So those losses just make us better and we can learn from it.

Q.テつ Coach Fisher says he's got a secret weapon that he's going to unveil on Thursday.テつ He said he couldn't talk about it.テつ I'm assuming you guys can't talk about it here?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ No, we can't talk about that.

Q.テつ The last couple years you played Arizona and lost to them both in close games, which one stings?テつ You played in both of them.テつ Is it the Hawaii one with the block?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Well, they both sting, but the one in Hawaii kind of hurt the most because we thought we for sure had that game won, and then Nick just came out of nowhere and block the shot.テつ But they both hurt, but the one in Hawaii hurt the most, just to know we were that close to win.テつ But it's always a good game when we play against Arizona the last few years.テつ So I'm sure it's going to be another great one.

Q.テつ Do you still talk about that game with Chase?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ No, I don't bring it up to Chase.テつ I don't want to bring it up.

Q.テつ You won't tease him about that?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ No, I won't tease him about that.

Q.テつ Too painful for him?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Yeah, yeah.

Q.テつ When you know you are that close to beating them and you're down to four and you had the momentum here earlier in the year, do you think they look at that and go, oh, I don't want to play these guys, they've been too close to us?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ I don't think so.テつ I know a few of their players and I know they don't think like that.テつ They're competitors just like we are.テつ They wouldn't be where they are right now if they felt like that.テつ Like I said, it's going to be a fun game against two great teams going at it, so we're just ready to play.

Q.テつ Do you guys like at it as maybe a statement deal where you've got two of the top programs in the West to win this game that at least for now you can pretty much say you're the best team out in the West?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ I wouldn't say we're the best, but being competitors and having respect for the game we think we're one of the best teams.テつ You know, now that we've proven that we can hang with the big dogs and not only the west coast but in the nation, I think that we can be mentioned among the Arizonas and UCLAs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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