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March 16, 2016

Scott Drew

Lester Medford

Taurean Prince

Rico Gathers

Providence, Rhode Island

Q. Rico, last year you guys lost in the first round. You had control of that game. Talking to you guys throughout the year, that moment has kind of fueled this season. Now that you're back in the NCAA Tournament in the first round, what is your feeling from last year, fueling to this year? Is it different? Do you still think about it, or is it now passed because you're back here in this moment?
RICO GATHERS: Everything that we played for this season was fueled, like you said, from that moment when we got bounced last year. Just being back in that moment once again, it just motivates us to not let that happen again.

Q. TP, Taurean, you guys, this will be your third straight tournament appearance. Yale is making its first appearance in 54 years. Do you feel like that experience maybe gives you guys a little bit of an edge?
TAUREAN PRINCE: I'm really not going to bank on what we've done in the past, but I mean, congratulations to Yale for making their first appearance. This is basically our first appearance this year, even though what we've done in the past had nothing to do with what's going to happen tomorrow.

We have a new group. Nobody is the same as what we had in the past. We have new freshmen, so we're expecting them to step up and do what we have to do to win the game tomorrow.

Q. Lester, coming through the Big 12 tournament like you did and now you're done with the Big 12 maybe for a week or so, depending on what happens, is it a relief for you to be out of the Big 12 and seeing somebody new for a couple games?
LESTER MEDFORD: Yeah, the Big 12 is a good conference. It prepared us for today with all the great teams, and we're just looking forward to playing against somebody new and cheering on those other Big 12 teams, too.

Q. Both you and Yale are two of the best rebounding teams in the country. Obviously you guys have a lot more size. How do you think that match-up is going to play out on the boards?
RICO GATHERS: I mean, I think it should be a good game rebounding-wise for both teams. We take pride in rebounding, and obviously Yale does, too. It's going to be one of those match-ups that probably comes down to the last rebound to be honest with you.

Q. For anyone, how much did you know about Yale before Selection Sunday?
TAUREAN PRINCE: Well, I've seen them a couple times. I watched their game versus Harvard, and I've seen one of their bids on ESPN for making a lot of field goals and not missing. Like I said, we watched some film on them the last two days, and they're a good team and a good rebounding team. But we feel like if we do what we're supposed to do as a team and do what we know we can do, we should be okay.

Q. Rico, you've stated that you'd like to work out for some NFL teams after this is all said and done. Have you given any thought to the next two or three weeks maybe being the last basketball games that you're going to play?
RICO GATHERS: My main focus right now is basketball, being in one of the biggest tournaments of the year. I want to definitely focus on leaving my mark, just making a deep run with my teammates. That's the main focus right now. I feel like we're in a good position as a team, and you just want to maximize all efforts.

Q. Rico, y'all made the Sweet 16 two years ago. How much motivation is that to get past these first two games and make it a deeper run?
RICO GATHERS: I mean, it's a big motivation -- not two years ago, we did what we had to do two years ago. But definitely coming off of last year's loss is the biggest motivation of all. Being back in the NCAA Tournament, you can't take any games for granted, and you look at every game like it could be your last. With that mindset, when we step out there tomorrow, we're going to come out there and we're going to give it our all, because like I said, any game could be your last.

Q. Taurean, not to look past Yale, I understand, but I wonder if you watched or remember anything about Baylor's Elite 8 game with Duke in 2010.
TAUREAN PRINCE: We've watched that game a couple times on some bus rides, last year and this year. But asking that question is kind of looking past Yale, so we can't do that right now. We've got to focus on the task at hand and take advantage of all opportunities that present themselves, which is Yale. We'd be doing our team a disfavor and our program a disfavor if we do otherwise.

Q. Taurean, did you feel like last year you guys looked past Georgia State or was that game that just got away from you in the moment?
TAUREAN PRINCE: We didn't look past them at all. We made some mistakes that we know we shouldn't have made. It was nothing on our coaching staff, nothing on anybody else but the players who were on the floor at that time.

SCOTT DREW: Well, I know at this time of year every head coach wants to have an opportunity to take his student-athletes to the NCAA Tournament for a reason, and that's because it's a special experience, something they'll remember for the rest of their lives, and I know we're really excited to be here. I know our team is really excited. We're hoping we can stay a little longer than we did last year.

Q. Coach, last year after the game I remember you saying you've been on both sides of that moment with your brother at Valpo and then last year with the shot at the end of the game. That moment fueled this team throughout the year. It's a negative in that moment, but was it a positive afterwards when you got into the off-season through the year?
SCOTT DREW: I definitely think for the returning players, the upperclassmen, they were motivated to have an opportunity to get back to the NCAA Tournament and have a different memory.

It doesn't guarantee any success this year in the NCAA Tournament, but definitely I think it played a part in their motivation this year, and they've done a great job, our upperclassmen with leadership all year long, and that's why we're here.

Q. You've had a few days to scout Yale now. What do you see from them?
SCOTT DREW: Well, Yale is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, very physical, very athletic. They defensively are outstanding, and that's why they've had the year they've had. Any time you can go with only one loss in the Ivy League, that says a lot about your program and your players. They've also played some outstanding non-conference teams and done very well against them.

Our players have a lot of respect for them and our coaching staff does and knows it'll be just like anyone you play in the NCAA Tournament. It's going to be a great game.

Q. You guys moved Lester Medford to point guard this year. How do you feel like he's done with that, and how has the season gone for him in general?
SCOTT DREW: He's done an outstanding job. Last year he was third in assists behind Kenny Chery and Royce O'Neale, and this year he's had the ball in his hands and been outstanding. At one point he was the only player in the country with a top 25 assist-turnover ratio, assists and steals. And I don't know where he's at currently, but he's done a great job with us all year long, and we feel very comfortable and confident when he has the ball.

Q. Does Yale remind you of any teams that you've previously faced this year?
SCOTT DREW: Well, the way they defend and rebound, it's very similar to a Big 12 team from the standpoint they're very physical, very athletic, and they really compete.

The good thing is in the Big 12, we have some teams, Kansas, West Virginia, obviously. Nationally, you're only going to have so many that lead the nation in rebounding, and I think they're seventh in offensive rebounding and seventh in defensive. They're the best of the best. I know we're excited about having a chance to compete against that.

Q. When you took over at Baylor, it was obviously beyond difficult times there. Could you have ever envisioned building the program to the point where you'd be making a third straight NCAA appearance for the first time in school history?
SCOTT DREW: Well, you definitely have a plan. It doesn't always mean it happens, but this is the ninth straight year we've been ranked in the top 25, and we've had a lot of postseason success and a lot of consistency as far as winning. At the same time, as a coach you know all that credit goes to your staff and your players because without them you don't have that, and our administration, our athletic director Ian McCaw and President Starr.

If you look at it in the last four years, our men's and women's basketball and football have more wins than anybody in the country, and I think from an athletic department they've done a tremendous job and allowed us as coaches to be successful, and with the facilities we've been able to recruit the type of student-athletes it takes to win in the Big 12.

Q. One of Yale's strengths is that their big men are very good passers. Do you think that could cause a problem for the back of your zone?
SCOTT DREW: Well, that is something that is a little different, from the standpoint that big guys tend to be great finishers but not facilitators. They're very fundamentally sound, and Sears especially is very dangerous off the bounce. That's something that our players -- you know, every big guy wants to be a passer, so when they watch that, probably we might have a couple turnovers with our guys trying to do the same thing. But again, that does make it tough on any defense when you have a big who can handle and facilitate.

Q. You guys have a very good bench. How big a factor do you think that could play in a tournament?
SCOTT DREW: Well, definitely depending on how the game is called foul-wise, it has an impact. As far as conditioning goes, I don't think as big because the timeouts are so long. I think you can rest during the timeouts. I think more it's if the game is called close and there's a lot of fouls, then you need a bench. If not, then I don't know if it comes into play as much with the extended media time-outs.

Q. You've been here a lot now to the NCAA Tournament as an assistant, as a head coach. I'm sure it never gets boring, but for someone like you who is so enthusiastic, is it kind of like a kid at Christmas right now this time of year for you?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I think every coach feeds also off his team's energy. And for an 18-year-old coming to the NCAA Tournament for the first time and just the excitement involved -- even if as a coach it would get old to you, which I don't think it gets old to any coach, I know when you see your players' excitement, it just radiates and permeates through the rest of the team.

It's a special time. It's a special opportunity. I've always been a proponent for expanding the field because I think more student-athletes should have a chance to experience this.

Q. Coach, Grant McCasland has been named the head coach at Arkansas State. As a head coach, I wonder your feelings on when you see your assistants put themselves in a position where they can get an opportunity of their own.
SCOTT DREW: Well, the reason you're in coaching is you want to serve and you want to help your players reach their goals and dreams, and that also comes into play with your staff. To see Coach McCasland or any of your assistants have a chance to become a head coach in a quality program, you're ecstatic and excited for them with that opportunity. I know it's a special time.

The only bad thing was his press conference was during our practice so we didn't get a chance to watch it. But we're really excited about that, and he'll be joining the team, and he'll be here tomorrow, and we're excited to have him back.

Q. You mentioned Sears. Just to follow up, what have you seen from him on film this week and preparing for him, and maybe you were familiar with his game, but what type of challenges does he present and how might he fit in in the Big 12?
SCOTT DREW: Oh, he can fit in at any level in any league. They have several players like that, obviously. That's why they've had the record they have. Coaches know you're only good if you've got good players. Yale has got some great ones. Sears, what's different about him is with that size and athleticism and bounce, it doesn't always involve someone who can pass like he can, and I think he's a stat sheet stuffer. He gets steals, he gets blocks, he gets rebounds, he gets points, he gets assists. We just hope he gets turnovers tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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