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March 16, 2016
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Fresno State student-athletes.
We'll now take questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Marvelle, what are you going to see about Utah's defense, what they do to make it difficult to shoot inside the arc?
MARVELLE HARRIS: Well, they have a big post presence. They have big guards, physical guards, athletic. They use their length. I know they play zone.
It's a big challenge for us getting in gaps, trying to make a play for the next guy because we know they have a big post presence.
CEZAR GUERRERO: Well, they got a big post presence inside and they're very athletic as well. You know they get into you. They're a very pesky team. They're really good on the defensive side as well.
We're going to have to rebound, get in the paint, make an extra pass. Just do what we've been doing these past couple games.
JULIEN LEWIS: I think we should just run, just run, get out in transition to make them keep pace with the fast pace of play we play in. On the defensive end, we got to stay under them and protect the gaps.
Q. Marvelle, had you heard about Reggie Miller calling you Marvelle Harrison in the championship game? What's going through your head when someone can't get your name right?
MARVELLE HARRIS: During the game I couldn't hear him or anything like that. After I heard and I seen the tweets and everything, it didn't really affect me. It doesn't affect me now. We won a championship. That was our goal. Now we're here. We're ready to win more games.
It didn't really affect me or get to me.
Q. Cezar and Julien, you transferred in. What has made Fresno State become your home? How have they kind of received you as transfers?
CEZAR GUERRERO: Well, Coach Terry has done a good job, you know, getting us acclimated, just making us feel at home when we first got there.
He's a great coach, great coaching staff. You know they're like uncles, dads, stuff like that. They make us feel at home. They take care of us. They love us. They're just really good people that are mentors for us.
Q. Marvelle, this is a Utah squad that's run some people off the court pretty early. How important are those first 10 minutes in tomorrow's game for you guys to try to build some momentum against this squad?
MARVELLE HARRIS: Every possession for us is important. We have to value the basketball. We have to make decisive decisions. We have to take care of the basketball. Every possession counts because they can come back and haunt you in later times in the game.
Every possession, it's critical for us.
Q. You had quite a celebration on Saturday in Vegas, then Sunday on campus during the announcement. What have you done the last couple days to clear aside those things, focus on the task at hand tomorrow?
MARVELLE HARRIS: After all the celebrating was over, after, we just got back to doing what we do. We watched film. We got back in the gym. We shot the ball. Walked through some of their sets, actions. We've just been focused.
After all that was over, it's time to play now. We have to lock in and stay focused.
CEZAR GUERRERO: The dust has settled. We are where we're playing. We just kept at it, our regular routine. We're not switching anything up. We're comfortable with the routine we're in.
Once the routine starts going, it's another game for us, but it's a big game. It's a very important game.
Q. Marvelle, what have you and the two guys sitting to your right done to establish a foundation for this program for the future? Are you confident it's not going to take another 15 years for the Bulldogs to get back to the NCAA tournament based on the precedent you set and what's happened this year?
JULIEN LEWIS: Not to be rude or anything to you, but I think we're just more focusing on tomorrow's game. Right now we just thinking about that, what we got ahead of us.
Q. I was wondering if you guys had played a big man similar to Jakob Poeltl this year, maybe somebody that reminds you of what he can do?
JULIEN LEWIS: We played a post presence like UNLV, Zimmerman. He remind me kind of the dude Jakob that we got to play this week. We just got to do a good job on him and keep him out of the paint.
Q. I've been asking all the players this question. What is your preferred pregame hype song?
JULIEN LEWIS: I don't have a hype song. I just listen to something that get me vibed out, have my mind focused on one thing. These two guys, I don't know what they listen to.
MARVELLE HARRIS: I listen to YG, Future, just guys who, like, got a lot of energy when they're out there, things like that.
CEZAR GUERRERO: With me, I'm listening to some oldies right now. I'm listening to some Roger and Zap, 'Computer Love', 'I Want to Be Your Man', you know. It's getting me into a little rhythm.
But I listened to it last week in the Mountain West Conference tournament. I'm not going to go away from it because we won. Just going to keep listening to those songs.
JULIEN LEWIS: I got a song. Do a little Rap, his name is Uzi. He got a song called 'Enemies'.
Q. Utah compared you guys to Oregon, the style of play you have. Being compared to a No. 1 seed, how nice is that?
JULIEN LEWIS: That's pretty good someone compared us to the No. 1 seed.
We like to run. We like to play fast. We like to keep the pace of flow going. I feel we should do that tomorrow to keep these guys on their legs.
Q. A lot of times in the tournament they talk about teams with experience. Even though Fresno State hasn't been at this point in 15 years, you have played together for a few years now. What do you think about the whole experience factor?
MARVELLE HARRIS: I think it helps us a lot. We have a veteran backcourt. We also have guys who are coming off the bench who are older, not freshmen. Ju-co, transfer, things like that. I think the experience helps you a lot. It helps us not get rattled, being older players, being in certain situations before.
It just helps us stay focused. It rubs off on the younger guys, so I think they have the same approach.
CEZAR GUERRERO: With experience, Julien Lewis played his freshman year at Texas in the NCAA tournament. I've asked him a couple questions of how it is, you know, the routine that we got to go through, what he did to prepare himself for the game.
He said just what he's doing right now, mellow, calm, just go through the process that you have to go through, through media and practice. It's going to be very hectic.
But for the most part he just said, Just enjoy the process, enjoy everything, because, you know, it's our senior year, so we got to enjoy every moment of it and give it all we got.
THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss the student-athletes at this time. Thank you, men.
We have head Coach Rodney Terry.
Just some thoughts on being here in Denver and thoughts on your matchup tomorrow.
COACH TERRY: We're excited being here. Obviously had a great weekend a weekend ago in Vegas. We're excited about our opponent, Utah. Very well-coached team, a team that has experience, has size. A very good opponent.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.
Q. I was bringing up the experience factor of a team that hasn't been to this point. Obviously you have as an assistant. Your staff has. We talked about Julien with some experience. Yet you have a team that has played together for a few years. What do you think about that experience, especially going up against Utah?
COACH TERRY: I think this time of year, you tend to want to lean on the experience, you know. We have a senior backcourt with Marvelle Harris, obviously, Cezar and Julien. Those guys have all played in highly competitive games over the course of their careers.
Julien got a chance to play in the NCAA tournament his freshman year. We got a chance two years ago to play against our opponent that we have right now. Those guys performed very well at their place.
I don't think the stage is too big for these guys right now. I think they're excited about the opportunity and hopefully are going to seize the moment.
Q. This is a team that has run some people off the court at different stretches of the season. How important are the first 10 minutes tomorrow, getting out to a good start?
COACH TERRY: We always talk about, no matter if we get off to a good start or bad start, we're going to be who we are and compete for 40 minutes.
Sometimes you get off to a good start, sometimes you won't. We're just going to keep working and playing the game. As a coach, we'd love to get off to a great start.
Nevertheless, we're going to play hard on both ends of the floor. Again, I don't think at this point right now, no one's just going to come out and knock anybody out without anybody recovering, no one continuing to compete at a high level.
I look for that to be no different tomorrow.
Q. Coach, entering the Mountain West tournament, you had a calm demeanor about yourselves. Are you just preaching that entering the NCAA tournament?
COACH TERRY: We're a confident team. We're a confident team because I think our guys are playing for each other. They have each other's back.
We got to be a pretty good executing team. When we call something, guys go out and do a pretty good job of executing what we want done. They're playing within our system in terms of how we want to play.
When you're doing that, have good team chemistry, a lot of times you're able to fight through some adversity throughout games and you're able to continue to compete for 40 minutes the way we want to at a very high level.
Q. Coach, with your bigs, Karachi, Cullen, Terrell, what do you expect your post players to go up against a true throwback in Poeltl, how is that going to play out tomorrow night?
COACH TERRY: He's a very good player. He was MVP of the PAC-12. Every opponent had to game plan for him. He's a terrific young talent, he really is.
We're going to defend him by committee. We've been fortunate enough to play against some really good teams throughout the course of the year, two other PAC-12 opponents that had size as well.
It will be a team guard. Again, he's the type of player that not only is successful himself, but he makes other guys around him better. You never going to stop a great player. We're going to try to contain him and hopefully do a great job on his supporting cast. He has a really good supporting cast around him that's older, as well.
Again, we're just going to battle for 40 minutes, try to by committee do a good job with him.
Q. Is your program set up for sustained success? This has been a slow build for you. Do you think you can keep this going based on the foundation that's in place?
COACH TERRY: I think we worked really hard over the five years that I've been here to establish a culture that's built for winning, sustaining success. It's a thing that we really have taken a lot of pride in.
It's been a process, it really has. I mean, you had to be competitive first, you know, get guys that can compete at this level. Secondly, you had to learn how to win, what goes into winning, what goes into losing. I think we've had a chance to experience that whole experience there.
I think we'll have some guys that will come back that have had a chance to gain some valuable experience throughout the course of this season, and they'll help some of the younger players that will be coming into our program.
They'll show them the way. They'll show them how hard you have to work, the commitment level, and really try to maintain the culture that we've tried to establish.
Q. You think some of the underclassmen, they see what's happened to the seniors now, the attention they're getting, going out like they have, they say, I want some of that, too?
COACH TERRY: Well, I think, sure. Again, not only the coaching staff holding those guys accountable, I think they've gotten to the point where they hold themselves accountable both on and off the court.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time, coach.
COACH TERRY: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports