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March 19, 2015

Josh Cameron

Cliff Ellis

Warren Gillis

Elijah Wilson


THE MODERATOR: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, our last group, No. 16 seed in the West, they are the Big South Tournament Conference champions. They will play No. 1 Wisconsin in Friday night's finale. We feature Warren Gillis, Josh Cameron and Elijah Wilson in that order. We will start with questions.

Q. For Josh and Warren, how much this week have you talked about being the first 16 seed to beat a 1? Is that even a topic of discussion and how much do you think last year's results gives you confidence?
WARREN GILLIS: Yeah, last year's game against Virginia was a game that we came in with confidence, just like this year, and the way the game went, it sorta disappointed us the way we didn't finish the game, but we know that this year we can compete with them teams, and if we do the things we need to in the second half, we will be fine throughout game.

JOSH CAMERON: We are definitely an experienced team; this is our second year together, and we know how each other play and we know that we can win this game. We're just coming out here, trying to focus on the game plan, and being the 16 seed nobody really gives you a chance to beat a 1 seed, but we're very confident in our team and we definitely feel like we can win this game.

Q. How has the process felt different being here and going through all this build-up compared to last year now that you've done it twice?
ELIJAH WILSON: Coming into this year we're more experienced and less nerves to worry about, so we're more experienced at what to expect in the game, so nothing will catch us by surprise and we will come out ready.

JOSH CAMERON: I think last year, just with the program being there for the first time in 20-some-odd years, a lot of people was just happy for us to get there, and this year we actually want to make some noise in this tournament. We actually want to get a couple wins. This year we're on a mission this year.

Q. Josh, you're a Wisconsin native. Did Wisconsin try to recruit you, and do you have a little extra fuel for the fire playing the Badgers?
JOSH CAMERON: In high school they never tried to recruit me. My style of play is a little different than what they teach and what they expect, so I never really expected them to recruit me out of high school, but it definitely adds fuel to the fire, knowing that that's my home state, and I know a lot of people at home are going to be watching, and it's a very exciting time for me and my teammates.

Q. Frank Kaminsky is a 7-footer. Seems like you guys don't really match up well, at least in terms of height. What kind of problems does he pose for you, and have you guys faced a player like him this season that could maybe help you prepare for him on Friday night?
WARREN GILLIS: No, we haven't played a player quite like Kaminsky, but we stick to what we do, and that's rebound, box out and fundamentals of the game. We can't control the height difference, anything like that, but we can control the effort we give and the focus and all of that. We're not really worried about the name of the players. It's five guys in white jerseys they'll be wearing and five guys in teal that we will be wearing, so same game we have been playing all year.

ELIJAH WILSON: Yeah, we haven't played a player like him, like Warren said, but we like challenges and we love to overcome challenges, and our coaching staff do a very good job of teaching us how to play each and every game that we go into, so I don't think we will have any problem with it.

Q. Josh, I believe you said after the Selection show you did not grow up a Badgers fan. Does that mean you were a Marquette fan, and did you watch much Wisconsin basketball when you were growing up and playing ball out there?
JOSH CAMERON: Oh, yeah, I definitely watched a lot of Wisconsin basketball. My cousin was the point guard a couple years ago, Jordan Taylor. I wouldn't say I was a Marquette fan, but I grew up watching both teams, so I really know the system well. I know the Wisconsin swing offense pretty well, so it's definitely helped me growing up in Wisconsin and being familiar with their offense and what they like to do.

Q. In terms of the match-up, what specifically gives you guys confidence that you can maybe pull this upset off?
ELIJAH WILSON: I would say we have really good guards, and we've been able to compete with just about any other guards in the country that we've played against during the season, so we don't see them as being different than any of the rest of the teams, we got to stick to what we've been doing and play our hardest and hope good things will come.

WARREN GILLIS: Coach Ellis has a great game plan, Coach Ellis and our assistants they have a great game plan and we believe in it and if we execute it, we will do just fine.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the student-athletes of Coastal Carolina? Good luck tomorrow. Cliff Ellis, head coach of Coastal Carolina is now with us. He's going to make an opening statement about being in Omaha and a little bit about his team and then we'll go to questions. Cliff?

COACH ELLIS: It's always good to be in this event, and Omaha has certainly been a great place, a great host. We're excited about playing. We've got the last game tomorrow night, but our players are excited about it. We're looking forward to it. We've got a great team in Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badger team. We all know how good they are. They're a great team. It's a tremendous test for our team, and we've got to bring our "A" game, there is no question about that, because they really don't have any weaknesses.

Q. Cliff, is there any discussion about trying to become the first 16 seed to beat a 1 and how much do you think last year's experience will help these guys, knowing how close they were?
COACH ELLIS: I haven't talked about it with our team. We don't even go there, with regards to it. I'm sure they're aware of it, but we don't ever talk about it. I think last year's experience was a great experience for our guys, and we didn't talk about it last year, because that's -- to us that's not even the point. You gotta go play the game. We just try to avoid distractions of any type. We just want to go play our game. That's all we want to do; see what happens.

Q. Cliff, Wisconsin's frontcourt gets a lot of attention. When you look at Bronson Koenig, their point guard, what stands out about him?
COACH ELLIS: Great shooter, can go to the basket. Great passer. Assist/turnover ratio amazing. He's had a heck of a year. I really think a lot of success that they have had this year they can attribute to him, because he's come through when there has been adversity. He's a player. He's a player.

Q. Have you come across many frontcourts like the one Wisconsin has, with a 7-foot National Player of the Year and 6'9, 6'8, and how do you try and handle that?
COACH ELLIS: UCLA was similar. Auburn was not. UCLA would be the closest that we played this year with regards to that kind of size along the frontline. They're going to be the biggest team that we've played, without question, but UCLA very, very similar and very close.

Q. How familiar are you with Bo? Have you guys bumped into each other over the years?
COACH ELLIS: Absolutely. We've both been around the game. I have tremendous respect for him. I remember when he was coaching before he coached Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin. He was making a name for himself in a smaller circle, and you know, what a great job he does. He's got a lot of friends in the Myrtle Beach area, so we've already talked about that, communicated; and I think one of his old coaches lives in our area. So we talk; we see each other at the Final Four and trips and clinics and things of that type. He's a great guy. Wisconsin is very, very fortunate to have a guy like him. He's just a great coach, a great teacher. He cares about his kids, and what a job he's done.

Q. One of your players said there is probably a few less nerves this time around, that the experience of last year has made this experience a little easier for them. Have you sensed that with them at all?
COACH ELLIS: You know, I hadn't sensed a big change because I thought last year we were pretty calm as we went into the game last year. We try to take -- one thing we try to do is try to take any of that any of that away from them. That's the one thing we try to do is take the distractions, take the thought and just focus on the game. Work hard; go have fun, but focus on what you gotta do. When it's one-and-done, there is no tomorrow, so don't leave anything in the locker room. I think the experience of being there last year is going to help, because they know what to -- last year they didn't know what to expect. None of them had been there; none of them had been there. So you know, they were -- I'm sure their eyes were big, but we didn't talk about it. Last year we didn't talk about it. I'm just one of those guys that doesn't -- I believe let's try to keep it as close to the way we've played it all year, and I know that -- I know it's not that way, because you can't -- I mean, this is a national event here, but I try to do that. So I do think through experience that they're going to be -- they should be calmer, if there were any nerves, because they've been there, and that certainly should help. But I think once you tip the basketball off, tip it up, I think nerves kind of go out the window anyway, because you start playing. So we will try to be calm. I mean, that's the one thing we stress, calm through chaos, no emotional baggage. Play.

Q. What did you see in Josh that made you want to recruit him and with him being a Wisconsin native --
COACH ELLIS: Wisconsin native, I tell you where I saw him. I went out to the junior college tournament in Hudson, and he was playing with one of my former coaches, so it's all about a network. The players that we have, the players that Wisconsin has, it's all about a network, but he played for one of my former coaches, and I just told him I needed some help and would like to have his player. I'd never seen him before, and what I saw in that junior college tournament is what he does. He was knocking shots down left and right. I said, oh, my gosh. I actually went to see another player on that team, and so I was watching that player and I kept -- what is that, you know? He's been a pretty good Cheesehead! (Laughter.)

Q. Coach, I know upsets are kind of the norm here in March Madness, but particularly with the upsets today, do you use that as any form of motivation?
COACH ELLIS: Not going to happen. They already know it. Won't touch it. Don't talk about it. Talk about what we've got to do to win, and it's all going to be there, but that's just not the way that I do it. I mean, just not the way.

Q. With all this underdog talk, how close is your conference to having the champion get off that 16, 15 line consistently?
COACH ELLIS: Good question, and we're disappointed we're 16 seed, to be honest with you, and I'm glad you asked that question because the seventh place team in our league -- all right. Because I want you Badgers to get this, all right, because I see some Badgers and I'm lookin' at 'em, okay? The seventh place team in our league, Gardner Webb, beat Purdue at Purdue, beat Clemson at Clemson. That's the seventh place team in our league, and I don't know what our league has got to do other than what you do on the court. We beat Auburn. I'm not saying Auburn was a great team, but I want to look at who did what they did at Auburn. We don't have people -- we are one of the fortunate teams in our league that some people will come and play us at home. Nobody in our league has anybody that will do that. But we do get that now and then, but it's called two-for-ones and things of that type. So we try to capitalize on things like that. We played Ole Miss, we led them 17 and Ole Miss played Kentucky, and I know they had a bad day today, but they also had that Tuesday night game and had to fly -- they got through at midnight, had to fly and probably didn't get in until 4:00 in the morning and played this afternoon. It's crazy. But Ole Miss is a good basketball people. I thought our body of work was good, especially the fact that our conference, not only Gardner Webb. I said that because they're the seventh place team. High Point won the Rainbow Classic. We know how big of a tournament that is. Winthrop beat Clemson. They were sixth in our league. We had ACC wins. We had SEC wins. I don't know what our league can do. I mean all you can do is play, but, you know, they have their data and they have -- we're glad to be here. I'm disappointed we were a 16 seed. I thought we deserved better. I've said that. But it's a moot point now. It's time to play. It's over. Period.

Q. Cliff, when things ended the way they did for you at Auburn, what did you do after that? Do you have a little bit of a second wind now getting this job? Do you still plan on going for a while?
COACH ELLIS: That's 10 or 11 years ago. Yeah, as long as my health is good, as long as we're appreciated, which we are, as long as my health is good. I'm about making sure our basketball program is the best that it can be. We have a great university; we have a great support system. I enjoyed this year coaching probably more than any year that I've been at Coastal. It was just free, and I really enjoyed it. As long as my health is good. I want to make a difference in kids' lives. I love building programs, and you guys know that. Past history. I love to build 'em, and I love to -- and we've built something pretty special. Everybody is -- when you get in these situations, what our people will have to understand, you know, it hasn't happened in 21 years. We want it to happen every year, but sometimes you erect and build that thing, it doesn't happen every day like you're at Kansas or Duke or places like that where you want it to happen every day. As long as we're all on the same page and as long as my health is good and all that kinda stuff. I don't have to coach for the money. I do it because I love the game and I love the kids and I love the university, and as long as all that is in place, then I'm fine. I look to coach for quite a while, because my health is good, and I thank you for asking that.

THE MODERATOR: We thank you for your time and wish you good luck tomorrow.
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