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March 17, 2016

Trevor Cooney

Michael Gbinije

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije. Questions?

Q. You guys are both, you both weren't playing, but you're both on the team in 2013 when you made a Final Four run. Going into this is there anything that you can take from that, that you see the team reach that that you could tell these guys and also yourself?
MICHAEL GBINIJE: That year I was a redshirt, so I basically just watched the whole thing and I was able to practice with that team. And our practices were at a high intensity. I think that was part of the reason why the team was so successful.

TREVOR COONEY: I think it was just hard to stick together. We went through a rough patch towards the end of that year going into the Big East Tournament. But I think it was just figuring out how to stick together and keep pushing forward really.

Q. You guys have very similar dimensions to Mike and Brandon, top of the zone. So anything that you saw them do, they were particularly good there, that you tried to do when you played those?
TREVOR COONEY: I think activity level. They were really active up there. They're really good at angles and taking away passing lanes and I think that's one thing I think Mike and I try to do.

MICHAEL GBINIJE: Similar to Triche and Brandon, like Trevor said, they were very active. I think from a one-on-one standpoint, just keeping people in front. I think they can do a good enough job as they did in the past.

Q. Going back to 2014, what do you remember about that game in terms of the way they limited 3-point shooting. And it's a lot of the same guys a lot of the same players you'll be facing what do you remember about that game and how hard it was to get good shots around the arc?
MICHAEL GBINIJE: We have to take what the defense gives us. They were trying to run us off the line, you've got to attack the basket strong and eventually that will open up the 3-point shot.

TREVOR COONEY: They're a really good defensive team and that's what they're known for. I think we're able to get the movement that we want to get and getting in the lane and make plays, we'll get the shots we want.

Q. I was wondering the last year the postseason self-imposed ban came down. I was wondering now that you're back from the tournament how you feel about that? In retrospect with the benefit of hindsight whether it worked out and whether you've been in touch with your team at all?
MICHAEL GBINIJE: Yeah, I text Rakeem as a matter of fact. It wasn't basketball, he wished us good luck. Especially after the season we had last year, this is just a gift for us. Really, we're happy to be in and we just want to take full advantage of it.

TREVOR COONEY: The same thing. Definitely feels good to be here, and I mean, last year was last year, and we gotta take full advantage of this year.

Q. I wonder what it was like for you guys watching the Selection Show put us there. What level of concern did you have that you might not get in and what was it like when you heard your team's name announced?
TREVOR COONEY: It was definitely interesting. All my years I've been here, I've never had that feeling, which I think is a good thing going into Selection Sunday. And this year was a lot different. And I kind of thought we would get the play-in game. We didn't get that game, and you saw Pittsburgh got a 10 seed. I'm thinking what's going on now, but then we finally heard our name called. It was definitely a big relief because this is a special thing to be a part of. And definitely for our senior year, it makes it a lot better.

MICHAEL GBINIJE: Just what he said. Senior year you always want to end going into the tournament, and it's a good thing that we achieved that. It was nervous, just to watch that whole process, especially just on TV, getting the last name put on the screen. Finally when I saw it it was a great relief.

Q. What did you learn about yourselves and about coach Boeheim during the months he was absent?
MICHAEL GBINIJE: I learned how important he was as a coach to our team. He's a competitor on the sidelines for us, he puts us in the right positions to make plays, for ourselves we grew from that, the learning experience from that and we were able to see what worked and what didn't.

TREVOR COONEY: It was tough. In all my years of playing I've never had that happen before. And you get to the highest level and all of a sudden you lose a guy that's very, very important to the team. And it was tough, but I think as a team we learned a lot about ourselves and with him coming back it was definitely a big thing for us.

Q. Defense in these NCAA tournaments is important especially when you guys have kind of a unique defense and unique the way you play it. What do you think needs to get a little bit better about the way you play defense as the tournament approaches?
TREVOR COONEY: I think movement on defense is a big thing. And when we're moving on defense and we're getting out to shooters taking away passing lanes, I think our defense is just tougher to play against.

MICHAEL GBINIJE: Yeah, I agree with that and just better activity, like he said, and just finishing out plays, getting those rebounds and limiting their second chance opportunities.

Q. What do you remember about the emotion, the atmosphere after Tyler missed that shot a couple of years ago, do you still kind of remember it and does it feed going into tomorrow, I guess?
TREVOR COONEY: It was tough. I mean, that was really a tough game to play in. I remember it. I remember a lot of it. I watched film on it. And they're a good team. And they've got a lot of similar guys back. We prepared for them just like we did last time. So I think we'll be ready.

Q. Guys, a lot of folks have asked you how it impacted you last year to miss out on the tournament. But you've both been around awhile, you both know Coach Boeheim really well. How do you think missing out on the tournament last year affected him?
MICHAEL GBINIJE: I said earlier he was a competitor. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him to watch teams, especially teams we beat that were in the tournament. And it's tough. I just feel like he got better as well. He probably watched some things that he liked or didn't like from other teams and incorporated it with us.

TREVOR COONEY: I'm sure it was really tough for him. I mean, he's been coaching for a long time. And he's been in the tournament almost all those years. And I think for him not to be a part of it was really tough for him.


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