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March 18, 2015

Keith Hornsby

Johnny Jones

Jarell Martin

Jordan Mickey


MODERATOR: Coming up on to the podium for LSU, Keith Hornsby, Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey, student-athletes. Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Jordan, was there some kind of deal about the iron deficiency? We heard the other night. What happened with that and how are you combatting that?
JORDAN MICKEY: I had to get some blood work done and it came back showing my iron was a little low, which was causing me to be tired and fatigued a lot. So they had me on some supplements to try to balance me back up.

Q. Did it affect your energy or stamina?
JORDAN MICKEY: It definitely affected my energy level, fatigue. I was getting tired a lot quicker than usual, so I kind of knew something was wrong. So that's when they sent me to get the blood work.

Q. Keith, do you feel like you all are better equipped to go against the three guards NC State has? The past ten games you've had the three guards in the starting five.
KEITH HORNSBY: From what we've seen on scout, I think we match up well with them. We've watched a lot of tape on them. They're good players. It's tough to prepare for them as best we can. I think we've done a good job on that so far.

Q. Keith, you're one of the few people on this team that actually knows what it's like to be in an NCAA tournament, ironically, right here in this city. Have guys been coming to you for advice and what to expect and things like that?
KEITH HORNSBY: Not as much as you might think. People have asked me questions throughout the year, but they haven't really asked me anything specific. Just kind of what was the experience like, what do you remember from the game and, say, the arena. So I've told them what I remember and just going forward from there.

Q. For both players now, obviously, you guys haven't been to the NCAA tournament, just talk about soaking this in. And obviously this is not you just want to be here and the experience, you want to get out of here with a win.
JORDAN MICKEY: It's always been a dream of mine, growing up watching the NCAA tournament, just praying and hoping I would be able to get on that stage some day. When we saw our name come across the board, that was a dream come true. A lot of teams had to end their season on Sunday. We were one of the few teams that got to continue to play.

Q. For Keith, I know you've been asked this a million times, but what was it like for you and your brother, growing up with your dad's music and everything, and has that helped? Do you think it's helped being around that sort of thing, just being around the spotlight?
KEITH HORNSBY: It's a very different spotlight. Since he didn't -- he had a lot of pressure from people just in a different sense, a lot of people watching him, obviously, on the stage. It's a different stage for me, so it's kind of been a new experience. But he's helped me out with different things as far as his dealing with a lot of people. He's had to deal with that to the extreme. So it's definitely been some learning experience that he's helped me through, but it's been kind of natural. He hasn't pushed or anything. Just he's done it when he's felt it necessary, and that's how that's been.

Q. Jarell, you're averaging 22 and 11 in your last six games. Do you feel like you're playing how Coach Jones has wanted you to play this whole season now down the stretch?
JARELL MARTIN: Yes, sir, definitely. Just going out there and being real aggressive, making plays for my teammates. It's toward the end of the season, so I've definitely got to go out there and be as aggressive as possible for my team.

Q. This is for all three guys. Coach Gottfried was talking about the similarities between your teams, that you're both young but talented. For you two especially, I think a lot of us forget how young you are because you are so talented and have been in this program. Could you talk about the challenges of the attention to detail. It seems like something that this team has lacked at time this year. Is that due to youth or just mental lapses?
MODERATOR: Jordan, do you want to take that?

JORDAN MICKEY: It could have a little bit to do with youth. We're still young, but we try not to use that as an excuse. We've won some big games and closed out games pretty well. Like you said, it's attention to detail. We probably lacked that at times, but I felt we've done a pretty good job of growing up as the season's gone on and gotten a lot better.


JARELL MARTIN: Like Jordan said, with youth, we're a young team and we've definitely got to pay attention to details and the scouting report and everything. It will be an important stretch for us.

Q. If Keith could follow that up. You had a chance to watch them last year. Maybe some of this stuff reiterates itself over time.
KEITH HORNSBY: Even though I did get to watch last year, even though I'm one of the older guys on the team and it's my first year of playing with the team, but this year is primarily kind of a new team. Not a lot of people really contributed this year, played a lot of minutes last year. So it's been a lot of learning experience throughout the year. But we've matured a lot throughout the year, and I feel like we're ready to play our best basketball now.

Q. I'm just curious, what did you guys get out of that UK game? Did that loss in a way -- you guys obviously came as close as anybody did all year. Did that sort of give you the confidence that -- obviously, you weren't thrilled with the way that it ended, but that you could be an elite team? For any of you guys.
JORDAN MICKEY: That game was definitely a heart breaker for us. Two-point game, No. 1 team in the country. I feel we've been a pretty confident team all year, just believing we could play with anybody in the country and that game kind of put it out there that we are a good team and we can play with anybody in the country and compete with anyone.

MODERATOR: Keith, anything to add?

KEITH HORNSBY: It was a tough loss. It was. But at the same time, we had to take a lot of positive things from it which we did. It showed that we could play with anybody. It definitely was a confidence booster for us.

Q. Keith, I remember I was here three years ago when you guys played. I talked to your dad, actually, after the game. What do you remember specifically about the end of that game? I'm trying to remember in my brain, didn't Triche, was there like an out-of-bounds thing at the end? How often have you thought about that in the last three years?
KEITH HORNSBY: I've had a lot of distractions from that the past three years. But when the NCAA tournament rolls around each year, I do think about it. Yeah, it was a very controversial call right in front of our bench, actually. We were pressing, there was 36 seconds left. It was kind of an errant pass that Triche definitely tipped going out of bounds and they called it Syracuse ball. Of course, we along with the whole arena went crazy, because it was a bad call. Just from then on, kind of didn't go our way and we ended up losing by seven.

Q. For all three guys, one thing you guys have done very well this season is bounce back after a loss. I think you've only had one back-to-back loss this season. So after the disappointment of that Auburn game last week, do you use that past experience of being able to bounce back after losses as you go forward into tomorrow?
JARELL MARTIN: Yes, sir. We definitely use that as motivation. When we lose a game, we definitely bounce back as a team. We come together and realize how important it is for us to come out and make sure we pick it back up. We definitely do that as a team.

JORDAN MICKEY: Definitely. Like you said, we do a pretty good job of bouncing back after a loss. It's just a few times where, like you said, we dropped back-to-back. But as a team, we've done a pretty good job staying focused and just continuing on path.

MODERATOR: Keith, anything to add?

KEITH HORNSBY: We have no choice now. We better bounce back well. This is where it matters most. So I think given our past with it, certainly we can.

Q. For Jordan, even before you hurt your shoulder, down the stretch it seemed like you got a little bit tired, a little bit fatigued. Did the season catch up with you as far as playing the amount of minutes you had to play? Almost 34, 35 minutes.
JORDAN MICKEY: That does have a lot to do with it. Playing that many minutes, it does take a wear on your body. And like I said, I also had the iron deficiency, so that kind of didn't help out a lot. The season did take a toll on my body.

Q. Keith, Coach Gottfried talked about Jarell and Jordan and said in the ACC there's probably not a combo, two guys on one team like that. How much of an advantage is that for your team and how can you exploit it in coming games?
KEITH HORNSBY: These guys right here are great. They draw a lot of attention from anybody who's going to play them, obviously, because of what they've done throughout this year. When the opponent focuses on them, it provides new opportunities for everybody else because we can capitalize on things opening up from the defense, say, collapsing on them. They've been seeing a lot of double teams recently, so it's opening up opportunities for the guards to get shots. But we have to be active on that. So, yeah, it's -- having them down there is huge for us. Great presence offensively and defensively.

MODERATOR: Other questions? Thank you. We will close the day with LSU head coach Johnny Jones. We will start with an opening statement from Coach.

COACH JONES: Our team started the season off this year with the goal in mind, hopefully, to be playing in this special field of 68, March Madness. I think our guys have done a tremendous job along the way on this journey and especially with the youthfulness our basketball team and the unknown that we had out there. The new players that we brought in to our team, we've done a great job in terms of bonding, gelling. And we understand that there are a lot of challenges out here in this tournament for us to be part of it for an extended amount of time. We understand the challenges in terms of surviving and advancing and we certainly look forward to that against a tough team tomorrow against North Carolina State.

Q. Coach, just when the bracket came out, you get to compete against your friend again, you guys played against each other in college, a little bit; is that correct?
COACH JONES: I'm not sure if we played. I was coaching at LSU. I missed him. He redshirted his first year. I think I missed him. His first year of playing may have been between '84 and '85.

Q. I put the question to him. Between you and him, who was the better shooter?
COACH JONES: I'd have to lean more to me. No, I'm just teasing. He was an excellent shooter. A go-to guy. More of a defender in college and I really enjoyed watching Mark. And a lot of their sets and plays were set up and designed for Mark. The ones that weren't for him, he shot the ball on those too. I think he's a better shooter.

Q. Coach, what was the -- Ralston was in here earlier talking about how his decision to leave. He said you guys basically pitched, re-recruited him when you took over. How close do you think you came to getting him? What have you seen from him as a player from the guy that you saw when you got to LSU to the player that he is now?
COACH JONES: I don't think we were real close. I think he kind of treated his elbow. He was on campus, finishing up the semester. I think we were almost like an unofficial visit to him when he came in the office. It wasn't official. It was like he had his mind made up. I'm not sure exactly what transpired prior to us getting there. But what we did is offer him the opportunity that we had the other guys, come back in, work, do individual skill work with us and wherever you decide to go to college, at least your skills will be sharp and you'll be ready. He was able to do that. We developed a little bit of a relationship. Wanted to make sure that he wanted to be excited and happy wherever he was going to wind up and play. I think that's important and he chose to move on somewhere that he already had a relationship, I think, with Coach Gottfried. I think that really helped his decision-making process.

Q. Coach, you've been in March Madness twice with North Texas. What are you telling your team about this experience and what to expect even going forward into tomorrow?
COACH JONES: Really looking weeks ago and especially the beginning of the season at the importance of preparation and getting ready and what a tremendous event that it is and that you spend a lot of time and energy in high school and you get to college and you have an opportunity to visualize and see the things that's happening here and to be a part of it. Not a lot of teams can. There are only a few teams that have a chance to get the automatic bids. Others are selected. To be part of that field and the things that go into it and the energy that people put into it is special. I want our guys to understand how things are different when you get on the airplane, to be able to charter a bus, the people that are on there, how all those things have an opportunity to magnify and grow during that process and how special it is and how they need to make sure that they do a great job of taking it in, because everybody doesn't get that opportunity.

Q. Johnny, so much has been made of what Kentucky's done this year with the undefeated run. You guys pushed them as much to the limit as anybody. Kind of a two-part question. What did you learn about yourselves and what did that game do for you as you go forward here? Secondly, what does a team have to do to beat them? How would you kind of -- what would your scouting report be on that at this point for someone to knock them off?
COACH JONES: I tell you, I may not be the guy to ask, because they go by our game plan, they're still going to lose by two. But we wound up playing them as close as anybody this year and we had a great opportunity at the end to make a shot. Unfortunately, did not execute down the stretch like we needed to. Kentucky is a fine basketball team. They're very talented. I think what our guys benefitted and learned from that game, there are certain levels that you have to play at and compete it to contend with a team like that. To be able to be in that battle for the 40 minutes of that night, at least, I think, gave them some sense of confidence that if you're able to play at that level night in and night out that we can be a really good basketball team and challenge any team, because Kentucky has been that giant that's been out there all year long in college basketball.

Q. What are the things that you did right in that game to be that close? Obviously, just to lose by two.
COACH JONES: I thought offensively, we executed at a certain level. We shot the ball well from the perimeter, post guys attacked the basket at times and we were able to get to the free throw line. At the same time, on the other end of the floor, we try to defend at a certain rate, but they're strong. They're big. They're physical. They were able to balance their scoring out, which made it a tough game for us, because they did get the inside scoring they needed and were able to knock down shots from the perimeter. But as close as we were, teams that have played them that way this year, they've always stepped up and were able to take it to another level to win the basketball game. And it's happened to other teams. A couple teams were able to take them into overtime this year. They had to play at a certain level to get them to overtime and then to win the overtime game. They're a different team and they certainly have shown all year long that they will rise to the occasion.

Q. I read where you were the guy, one of the guys who recruited Shaq to LSU when you were an assistant coach with Dale Brown. Can you talk about that process a little bit? First of all, is that accurate? Can you talk about the process and what you remember about it?
COACH JONES: I can tell you it's inaccurate. Just like a lot of the other coaches, certainly have a part of what we're doing that we were there. Coach Brown was really the point guy because of the fact that he met Shaquille and his dad when he was speaking to the troops over in Germany. I happened to be on Coach's staff over the years, and Coach became pen pals with Shaquille and writing him back and forth. If you write Coach Brown today, you'll get a letter or a note back from him. And that's what he did with Shaquille, and they went back and forth for years. It wasn't really a recruiting process for him, because he developed such a great relationship with his dad and with Shaquille that it was just a matter of Coach Brown getting to San Antonio, visiting with the family, and letting them know he wanted him to be part of his program. I think because of the close relationship that he and Shaquille developed over the years that it was probably one of the easier recruiting jobs that Coach Brown had possibly done.

Q. Coach, you've known Mark for a while, obviously, just kind of curious what you thought of the job he's done in his four years at NC State. And also, just as a follow-up, what did you think when he actually took the job? Did you think maybe he was a little bit crazy? What was your response?
COACH JONES: I tell you, I've been very fond of Mark since his playing days. I watched him. And actually when I was at LSU as an assistant coach, tried to get Coach Brown to hire Mark away from UCLA at one time because I thought he was a tremendous assistant, a great worker. He had an unbelievable personality. So the year I worked there at University of Memphis, I was there for three years and I did the interim head coach for a year prior to Calipari taking over there at Memphis and the opportunity presented itself, and I was able to get on and work with Mark Gottfried for a year. People don't know this, and he did not rant and rave and beat himself on the chest and put it out there. He's a basketball junkie. He loves basketball in terms of recruiting, in his Xs and Os, being on the computer and just trying to grow each day. It didn't surprise me the job he's done at NC State. We were fortunate enough to be sitting there in Houston during the Final Four, and I was sitting there and he what's waiting on his boys to come in. We were talking and we visited for a little bit. I had to go leave the Final Four to go to a wedding and I got a call from him that he was possibly going to interview for the job at NC State. I was very happy for him when he got the job there. But it's amazing, just the relationship. He gets on the phone and texts me the night before, Wishing you well, hope you guys get into the NCAA tournament. The next morning, I'm heading to church and pick up the phone and call him and congratulate him because I think they're one of the locks that's going to be in the tournament. So we talked for a little bit, and we hang up, and then we have our team together and are watching and I see the name come up. Yes, man, he's in. Shoot, right below it, we come up. Wow. So it was just kind of a coincident, whatever, but great opportunity for him and I'm so happy for him that he's at a great place, that he can embrace, and he's going to do a tremendous job there. I just hope he's a little off tomorrow.

Q. Coach Gottfried talked about veteran teams and they know how to practice. They know how to play. Young teams are talented, but they maybe lack the attention to detail. Is that maybe your biggest concern moving into the game?
COACH JONES: I think he's exactly accurate. I mean, outside of -- you talk a team like Kentucky, but even Kentucky now, I guess their sophomores are like us. Those guys are veterans. Our two veterans right now, our post players, Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin, when you take an experienced team and I think that's one of the things that can get you over the hump, especially guys who have experienced getting to this level of play and the level of competition being in the NCAA tournament, it's special. I think you go through phases in your season, and when you get to this level, if guys don't understand the sense of urgency they have to play with and what's at stake and there's no tomorrow, then you could be in for a long day. I think that's what experience gives you.

Q. Keith, is he a guy like that that can bring that to the table for you?
COACH JONES: Absolutely. Keith had the opportunity to play for NCAA tournament in Nashville and we're very fortunate he's a part of our team. I think as a junior, he's been able to display that. With the team and guys not being together for a considerable amount of time, it's a little bit different for us. But we hope we grow up tomorrow quickly in this tournament.

Q. Johnny, you've only lost back-to-back games once all season long. Why have you responded so well after a loss throughout the season?
COACH JONES: I think you have to credit our kids, the ability to bounce back and respond and play with a sense of urgency. I think the youthfulness of our team. Hopeful we can continue to grow. They've done a great job of responding, understanding, coming back to practice and not wanting that feeling sitting in the locker room afterwards. They've done a tremendous job of doing that.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

COACH JONES: Thank you very much.
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