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March 18, 2015

Kenny Chery

Scott Drew

Royce O'Neale


Q. Kenny, what are you seeing from Georgia State? Looks like they're pretty good on the perimeter?
KENNY CHERY: We've seen they're a great team. They're well coached. They've got great players, great guards, and they play well defensively.

Q. Royce, with Rico averaging double-double, how relentless is he on the boards?
ROYCE O'NEALE: He's very relentless. He just goes off after every ball. Every rebound he thinks is up there, he's going for it. He thinks it's his every time.

Q. This is also for Kenny. What have you seen from R.J., their guard, the coach's son? What have you seen from him?
KENNY CHERY: He's a great player. He can shoot, he can put it down on the floor. He's good defensively. He's got length. He's going to be a hard match-up to contain, and we're going to do our best to make every shot difficult, but he's a great player.

Q. Royce, how do you guard against being that team? Nobody wants to be that 3 or 4 seed team that all of a sudden goes out to the underdog in the tournament. What's the mindset going in to prevent that?
ROYCE O'NEALE: We can't take any team lightly or any team in the NCAA Tournament. Every team is good now so we've just got to prepare every game, and any game could be your last, so we've got to play like it.

Q. Royce, do you like being the favorite? Is that better than being the underdog?
ROYCE O'NEALE: We don't pretty much look at it like that. We always think we're the underdog, so we always play with a chip on our shoulder.

Q. You guys haven't allowed an opponent to score more than 75 points all season. How much of a pride is your defense and that streak?
KENNY CHERY: That just shows how hungry you are. We take a lot of pride in playing defense. I think that's key for us, and we have great coaches pushing us every single day on playing defense. Coming into games, it makes it easy.

ROYCE O'NEALE: Yeah, along with what he said, we've got guys who are very active and long on defense, getting deflections, steals. That leads to easy transition offense.

Q. Kenny, just wondering from your standpoint the job that Coach Drew has done bringing this team along. How has he brought this team along, kind of brought you together, and has he changed much as a coach since you came to Baylor?
KENNY CHERY: His attitude never changed. He's always been positive, and positive with every single player, the last player on the bench from the first player starting. And Coach Drew, his mindset is always about trying to put us in the best position as we can to be successful in life and on the basketball court, and he's done a great job for the past two years I've been here, and I've learned a lot from him.

Q. Royce, you made the Sweet 16 last year, of course. Do you have a certain comfort level having been here before?
ROYCE O'NEALE: I mean, just the guys who played in this last year know what to expect, but we're just going to take it one game at a time, try to get back to where we were last year and even further.

COACH SCOTT DREW: Well, to be a part of March Madness is a blessing for any team, and I know, just like everyone else in the field, our guys are excited. To be able to be in Jacksonville, sunshine, beach, nice weather, I mean, it's hard not to be excited. Just ready for the games to get going.

Q. I guess you've had a little time to look at Georgia State now. What do you see from them?
COACH SCOTT DREW: Just like every team in the field, very well coached, talented players. I think they're a little different than a lot of teams, though, from the standpoint they have two players that have won national championships. Harrow was with Kentucky and Ware was with Louisville, and any time you have that experience on your team, that says a lot. The other thing is R.J. Hunter, Coach Hunter's son, is a projected top 16 NBA draft pick if he chooses to come out. I'm a little sensitive and favor those coaches' sons. Bryce worked out pretty well for us, and Coach Hunter, I know he talked to me dad, and R.J. talked to my brother before he decided to go to Georgia State and play for his dad. I know that's a great experience for them. But he's an outstanding player, and I know, with our team, it's real easy to prepare for a time when you put in a couple of highlights and all of sudden, they're like, wow, I didn't know they were that good.

Q. You mentioned beach and the sunshine for your guys, but obviously it's a business trip.
COACH SCOTT DREW: Yeah, they're not going to get any of that, don't worry.

Q. They seem like they've done a good job of focusing on the task at hand all season.
COACH SCOTT DREW: Well, and I think that's a tribute and testament to the leadership of Kenny Chery and Royce O'Neale. Those guys have been outstanding since day one. The team looks up to them. They listen to them, and they set the standards of what needs to be done and what's expected. They'll keep doing that.

Q. Scott, because you had lost so much from last year, did you handle this team differently or bring it along any differently than teams in the past?
COACH SCOTT DREW: I think this team has been a very competitive team, and if anything, we've backed off maybe some of our practice time and practice habits from the standpoint -- since day one, whenever we begin practice or do anything, they go 100 percent and full speed, and I think that starts with Kenny and Royce's leadership and just how hard those two compete. And then your next two upperclassmen with T.P. and Rico, those guys all have motors, they have energy, so the one thing is we've probably backed off some of the practice time and length because of their energy level. As far as the team coming together, developing, I think it's been -- we've stayed injury free for most of the year, and that's really been helpful, and our strength coach, Charlie Melton, and our trainer, David Chandler have done a great job keeping guys healthy.

Q. I guess you go back quite a ways with Coach Hunter. What are some of the trademarks of some of the teams you've seen of his, and I guess y'all faced each other in '03?
COACH SCOTT DREW: Yeah, that wasn't a good memory for me. But Coach Hunter has got a great personality. He's very energetic. That's why his injury is going to affect him. On the sidelines he gets moving and there's no coach that traps as well as he does in the corner. I know their team is going to miss that energy and that defense he provides, but I think what Coach Hunter's biggest strengths is his teams always play really hard, and because they play hard -- this team, for instance, 13th in the nation in defensive field goal percentage, fourth in steals -- they really allow themselves to get a lot of easy baskets because of the energy level which they play with. I think because of his personality, people enjoy playing for him, and they want to play hard for him.

Q. I think T.P. had legend scoring seven -- Taurean Prince legend scoring seven straight games before the Kansas game. After that game, I'm guessing he's ready to get back out there as far as?
COACH SCOTT DREW: I'm hoping we got all our misses out for the next couples games in that game. But as a coach, the thing that we really try to spend most of our time on is are the good shots, and if they're good shots, we know that you can't control if they're going in or not. It's just we want to make sure we're taking the right ones. I think the good thing is the day we got back from the Big 12 Tournament, you got a lot of the guys in the gym, it's our day off and they're in there shooting and working out, and again, that's why this team has been successful is their work ethic.

Q. Several of the guys were on last year's Sweet 16 team. Does that help coming in, having that kind of experience?
COACH SCOTT DREW: It definitely can't hurt, and I think the big thing is year in and year out as we've had postseason success, player-led teams are always better than coach-led teams in passing on their experience, their information, their thoughts, when you come into team meetings, just them being focused and making sure everyone else is focused, that goes a long way. Hopefully those are kind of memories that we can continue to pass on to the future Bears, and definitely that's helped us in postseason.

Q. Even in preseason, Big 12 poll, you guys weren't getting a whole lot of love there. When did you realize that, hey, we've got a pretty good team going here and we've got a chance to do something this year? Did you know that the first day of practice or was it something that kind of evolved?
COACH SCOTT DREW: Well, coaches are always cautiously optimistic because we all understand chemistry, injuries, leadership. You have no idea how things are going to progress throughout the year, how your team handles success and how they handle adversity. At the same time, we did feel really good about the leadership with Kenny and Royce. We also did feel good about how competitive this group was, the fact that they didn't take days off and you didn't have to motivate them to compete hard. I think if you're playing hard each and every day, you're going to get better and you're going to give yourself a chance to win a lot of games. The rest of it, again, we couldn't forecast, but we definitely thought we had an opportunity to surprise some people.

Q. You're in the postseason NCAA Tournament. Could you speak to the culture of winning that's been developed at Baylor in athletics?
COACH SCOTT DREW: Well, I think first and foremost, everyone knows it's a win or go home tournament, so you can play well and not guarantee a win, so it's a blessing always to be a part of the tournament. I think we all realize seeding doesn't matter. You look at last year's championship game, you look at the parity, if it's 1 versus 16, 2 versus 15, every game is highly competitive. I think the experience that our guys have been able to pass down, and really the most important with that, would be the leadership of the upperclassmen each and every year. If you have good leadership, you have a chance to be successful. I think the younger players want to play for the upperclassmen, as well. Because of the leaders we've had, we've been able to be blessed in the postseason.

Q. On the culture of winning, take us back to when you first got there and you had that one year where you didn't play any non-conference games, through no fault of your own --
COACH SCOTT DREW: We got a lot of practice drills from that year if you want any (laughing).

Q. Now, you look at not only your program here, which has become a regular in the NCAA Tournament, back-to-back Big 12 championships in football, with the women's program, up and down the line, what's going on there? When you first came to Baylor and you're dealing with all that kind of stuff, was that even comprehensible to you that there could be that kind of pay-off for the athletic program?
COACH SCOTT DREW: Well, I think first and foremost that's why the coaches at Baylor were drawn to Baylor leadership is because of the leadership, starting with the president's. Ian McCaw has been there for a long time. And when people come into the program, you respect his leadership, you respect his vision. I think because of that, every one of our coaches envisioned us all having an opportunity to be successful. At the same time, as other teams start to have success, I think it feeds off of each other, as well, because you see the football team, you see the women's basketball team, whatever sport you want to pick, being successful, I think that motivates any competitor and athlete to be successful, and I think that all feeds off one another, but it starts with the leadership, and we've been blessed at Baylor.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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