home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 18, 2015

Karl Cochran

Spencer Collins

Lee Skinner

Mike Young


Q. What have you been doing during the layoff to kind of stay sharp and how beneficial has the layoff been?
KARL COCHRAN: We've just been practicing working on Wofford. We took a couple days after our tournament, got our legs under us, but after those couple of days, we returned to practice like it was nothing different. Full contact, everything. We've just been just working on us getting ready for the tournament.

Q. You guys found out your match-up on Sunday. At what point did you start working on Arkansas and what they like to do?
SPENCER COLLINS: We started the day after, going over personnel, seeing their type of players, just seeing their style of play. With Arkansas they're really good athletically. They really like to push the ball, try to turn you over. That's what we really started doing like the next few days.

Q. Karl and Spencer, you guys, I'm sure, are aware that the 12 seeds have a lot of success against 5s, wins about 40 percent of the time. What do you guys feel about that and kind of what's the approach to the game? Arkansas is from the big SEC, you guys aren't quite as well known.
KARL COCHRAN: I mean, we're happy that in the past luck has been on the side of the 12 seed, but we're not really paying that too much attention. If we get caught up too much in the past, it's been popular for the 12 seed to beat the 5 seed, we'll lose. We feel like it's already set in stone, and it's not. It's going to be a challenge. It's going to be a great challenge to overcome, especially with a good Arkansas team this year who played in the SEC final and lost to Kentucky. We know nothing is really given to us. If this year, a 12 seed happens to beat a 5 again, that's great. But we're not really paying attention to what's happened in the past.

SPENCER COLLINS: Just similar to Karl, seedings don't really matter once you get to the NCAA Tournament. You just have to come out and be really prepared to play the game. With -- our task, we play really great Arkansas team tomorrow night, but we really feel confident with ourselves and with our team, if we just come together, play great defensive rebounds and not turn the ball over, that'll give us a really great chance to win the game.

Q. Big chance to get the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament win. How much would that mean to each of you individually?
LEE SKINNER: It would definitely mean a lot. You know, seeing as a lot of people, the majority of people, have never heard of Wofford. It's another opportunity for us to take to introduce to the world who Wofford College is as a school and as a basketball program. It would mean a ton to us to come in here and compete and get a win.

SPENCER COLLINS: It would mean a lot to us. Our program has never won a game in the NCAA Tournament, but with this team, we're really capable of doing that. But it'll just show us that we take a lot of pride in our school, our program, our athletics, and just doing something that big will help us out a lot.

KARL COCHRAN: Going off what Lee and Spence said, it'll add résumé this year. We've set milestone after milestone as a team for Wofford this year. And if we solidify a win in the tournament this year, we would build upon our program and challenge the group under us to top that, maybe win two games the year after that, and just continue to push forward.

Q. Lee, you mentioned it yourself that a lot of people don't know who Wofford is. We asked the Arkansas players about it, and they said, quite frankly, they had never heard of you when you popped up on the bracket on Selection Sunday. What do the three of you make of that? You've been in the NCAA Tournament before against a big school. What do you make of those comments, having heard it before?
KARL COCHRAN: You know, similar to last year, I think reporters asked Michigan the same question, and they were like, who's Wofford? It's just because we're a really small school. We come from the Southern Conference, which isn't really a dominant conference like SEC, ACC. But it's not really alien to us that people don't know who we are, but we return this year, so we get a little more publicity than we did last year. But it's nothing new to us when a team as big as Arkansas and the rest in this tournament don't know who we are.

SPENCER COLLINS: It's nothing new. We're used to the same thing, big schools never hearing about Wofford basketball. We're on a big stage now, and we have an opportunity to do something really special. Just like Karl said, we just have to stay together. We have our chance to expose our name, but we'll just find out tomorrow night if we can get this win.

LEE SKINNER: Pretty much what they said. It's going to be another great opportunity to show everybody who Wofford College is. We're going to take full advantage of that.

Q. Lee, Bobby Portis is 6'11" Arkansas has got some other guys in that 6'10", 6'9" range. What have you thought of Bobby, studying his tape, and just how big a challenge is it when you guys don't have the kind of size Arkansas does?
LEE SKINNER: Bobby Portis is a tremendous athlete, basketball player, great feet for his size. You know, we've been pretty undersized even in our own conference all year, which we did pretty well in. And it's just another challenge that we're going to take on and accept and do what we can and go out there and compete and stick together and do what Wofford does.

Q. Having been through this process before, of the NCAA Tournament, just how much does that help as you get ready to go play tomorrow?
KARL COCHRAN: Experience is everything in this game. The more you play, the more your IQ grows. Last year we had a secondary insight toward what the tournament environment is like coming from Coach Johnson and Coach Gibson. And honestly, we had a good idea about what we had to do, what we needed to do, and we came up short. And then experiencing that first hand and bringing the same experience back to the table with the same team more or less is going to help us a lot.

Q. Spencer, what's it like for you when you sit on that stage knowing y'all have played in so many small gyms throughout the year, and you go out there on that court and it's got NCAA across it and the arena is a much bigger arena than what you're used to? Do you have to kind of catch your breath and pinch yourself a little?
SPENCER COLLINS: Yeah, just a little bit. But with these guys, we're kind of used to that exposure, especially coming off of last year playing Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. But the feeling of going to the tournament never gets old, seeing the lights shining down on you, just knowing that Wofford basketball is in the NCAA Tournament. But unlike last year, we have a better mindset. We're more mature, and we're really focused on making a run in this tournament. But referring back to your question, just playing on this stage is really big, and referring back to what I said earlier, we have a chance to really expose our name, our college to the world. It'll be really interesting tomorrow night.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could give us an opening statement about your team and what to expect in Jacksonville this week.

COACH MIKE YOUNG: Well, it's a real honor and a treat to be back in this great city for the second time participating in the NCAA Tournament. I'm bringing a very good team here. I look forward to seeing them compete again as they have done so very well throughout the season. We've got our hands full, needless to say, with a very fine Arkansas Razorback team. But again, we'll look forward to coming over and strapping it on and competing for our college, our league, and the great city of Spartanburg.

Q. Your game time is going to be about 10:00 p.m. tomorrow. Are the guys going to be watching the other games that start at noon, at 2:00, at 7:00, and what do you do to pace them along?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: Yeah, I think Todd -- that's something we're still talking about. I don't want too much time in that hotel. The nervous energy, we've got to be ready to go when the thing goes in the air at 10:00. But it's been a really unique year. We played our first game of the year at 10:00 p.m. Pacific, flew back across country three nights later -- or three nights later, we played our next game against Iona as part of the marathon of basketball at 7:00 a.m. We played our first round tournament game at noon. We've played at a lot of different times; we've played well at a lot of different times. Our charge is to, again, keep them comfortable, keep them engaged, but let's not wear them out or bring them over here and they're sluggish. Again, those are conversations that we continue to have, and we'll rely on the captains as much as anything, what Cochran, Skinner and John Swinton feel like we need to do, that's what we're going to do.

Q. I'm sure you're aware of the 5-12, the history of that. What do you make of that, and is that something you talk to your guys about? Does that give you some added confidence?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: It's not something I talk about. They're aware of it. I don't think that has any effect that's going to help us at all. The bottom line is if you're a 12 seed, you've got a pretty good basketball team. That's why the 12 has had success against the 5s. There's been a lot of 12s that have been really good. You know, so I don't think it has any added significance for Wofford other than we earned from mid-November to present that seed, and we come over tomorrow with a darned good basketball team ready to play a good ballgame.

Q. How do you deal with Portis's length and size?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: I'm not real sure. That's something else we're continuing to talk about. That's difficult. You don't do it with one. Now, you play the people that we've played, and we have seen other very good front lines, we've seen other very good players. Bobby Portis is terrific. We're going to have to guard him with two, we're going to have to put him in a beehive, as we oftentimes reference in our practices. When he catches it, we've got to send a couple at halfway; if he floors it, we dig on him a little bit. But I'm as concerned about him on the offensive glass as I am anything. The more you watch him, you see him lead the break, you see him step out and make a three, you see him do some things that strike you as a small forward as much as a back-to-the-basket post guy. He is ultra-talented, and we certainly have our hands full with him. He's the SEC Player of the Year. I mean, that says about all you need to know about Bobby Portis. He presents some difficulties for our defense, but if you look into our numbers at all, you know that we've got a pretty good outfit on that end of the floor. We'll have him ready to go when we begin tomorrow.

Q. You guys have been to the tournament quite a bit recently. What would it mean to you personally, having been at Wofford as long as you have, to finally bring that school their first NCAA Tournament win?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: I may just shut it down. I may just start running back to Spartanburg. It would be unbelievable. What an accomplishment for this team. In private moments, I think of the things this team has done and this group of people have done, with Lee and John and Karl, just another feather in their hat as they wind down their career for us. Easier said than done; it's hard. The other times we've been here -- there's a lot of things that make this tournament experience great. You know you're going to play somebody really good, and tomorrow happens to be Arkansas. But to do that would obviously be a very special accomplishment for our program and our college.

Q. Arkansas's calling card is obviously their pressure defense. They want to speed people up, turn them over, make them uncomfortable. How well equipped with a veteran team do you feel you are to handle that?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: Well, you'd better have solid guard play, and we do, and we've got a lot of them. Karl Cochran is the leader of the pack, but Spencer Collins has put together yet another good year for us. And Eric Garcia from Denver, Colorado, is one of the finest kids we've had back there. They do come after you; that is their calling card, if you will. We're going to have to be basketball players and move to the proper spots and pass the ball sharply and run through balls and get to the half court and do the things that we do well and hopefully get a good shot every time down there. This team has been exceptional in taking care of the ball and taking great shots. An added challenge with Arkansas's length and the things that Coach Anderson will employ, but we feel like we have a good plan, and we've seen a lot of -- we've been in a lot of different situations through the year, and we think we'll be just fine.

Q. Having been here several times now as recently as last year, do you feel like you guys are maybe more comfortable and confident than if this is your first time being here?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: Oh, yeah, yeah, certainly. Certainly the experience a year ago is something that we can draw upon. I've said before, I can impress upon them that this is another game, one at a time, and all that coaching stuff, but at the end of the day, it's not another game. This is the NCAA Tournament. Maybe we were a bit wide-eyed and in awe of everything that goes along with this experience a year ago, but to bring most of that team back intact and to run out to a 28-6 regular season record, go to Asheville, and win three straight, beat NC State on the road, come in here for this tournament, I do think -- I certainly hope we're in a much better frame of mind, and understand the magnitude of what we're doing. But let's go play. Let's go play the game. If we do that as we've done throughout the season, you know, we'll be just fine.

Q. What's this season been like for you personally watching this team that was favored to win the conference during the regular season, and this team delivered all along the way. What's that like for you as a coach for those guys to kind of thrive under that pressure, I guess?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: Magic carpet ride. Absolutely as much fun as I've ever had in 29 years. And walking onto that practice floor every day, I've felt like a first-year head coach, a first-year coach with just great guys, high-character people that have made it a great deal of fun, not only for me, but for our community and our fan base and all the little guys that come to our games and come to the locker room after wins. They've made it a special one, and I am so appreciative of them. I've also said winning is hard at this level. Winning is hard at any level. And if you're dealing with stuff, if you're dealing with guys missing class and guys not doing the things that they're supposed to do and not being good citizens on campus, that interferes with coaching and winning, and this team has been about the right things from Day One. They have been about winning the next game and representing the college in a class fashion, and they make it just great, great fun. To be able to do this, to culminate with another trip to the NCAA Tournament, is beyond description for me as their coach, and a thrill to be here again. A thrill to be here with this team, and we're fired up.

Q. Can you talk more about Garcia, his importance tomorrow, and also his progression back to 100 percent? When did he get to that point?
COACH MIKE YOUNG: You know, I'm not sure. I can remember saying something to D.K., my very fine assistant, Dustin Kerns, that he looks to me that he's approaching 100 percent again. That was probably late January. For those of you that don't know our team as well, he had his jaw broken in a game at West Virginia, December 22nd. And through clenched teeth -- he had his mouth wired shut on Christmas Eve about 9:00. I asked his mother to call me when he came out of surgery, and I could hear him in the background, I want to play against Duke. (Tearing up.) He's a tough dude, and he played against Duke, and he played very, very well. And unfortunately for him and our team, he rolled an ankle against VMI not long after that. So that sets him back. He misses three games, and John Swinton and Derrick Brooks did a great job for us, but we got him back after three games. We went 2-1 in that stretch which was significant, and that's what good teams do. Next man up, and they did it. But Garcia came back and kept going and kept getting a little bit better, and he caps it off with another unbelievable performance in Asheville. He is, and the Skinners and all those guys are what this thing has been built on, tough guys, team guys. He probably came back a little too early to be honest, and I was worried about that. But they're about the right stuff, and I admire them for it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297