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March 17, 2016

Denzel Valentine

Matt Costello

Bryn Forbes

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: Michigan State Spartans are with us, Bryn Forbes, Matt Costello and Denzel Valentine. Questions?

Q. Denzel, early in the year, maybe even before the year, talked to you about Eron Harris and the Final Four last year and the postseason moments where you thought that's the guy we really need right now, can create his own shot. Can you talk about the element he presents coming into this postseason and sort of the eagerness he has after sitting out and watching you guys do it last year?
DENZEL VALENTINE: Yeah, Eron, he provides a lot for us. I think the biggest thing this year is that he's just going to be consistent. We know what we're getting from him, that he's going to be solid defensively, and then on offense you might get four points from him or you could even go up to 30. So, I mean, he's a really good threat for us to have. He's been great this year. And, like you said, he hasn't been to an NCAA Tournament before. So he's hyped up. Him and I are roommates, so as soon as we walked in the room he was hyped up about the March Madness gear and everything like that. I think he's going to step up his game a little bit because he hasn't been to an NCAA Tournament. So he's going to provide a really good spark for us.

Q. Bryn, you didn't go straight to Michigan State. Wanted to ask you about being a kid from Lansing, not getting to go to where, what might have been your first choice, I don't know if it was, but you weren't deemed ready for it then. And then later on you were. Can you just talk about that path and where you're at now?
BRYN FORBES: I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. It was really a growing experience for me, having to go away and really grow in a lot of areas in my life. Whether it was personal life or on the court. I think it was a good path for me and the right path for me.

Q. Bryn, you'll be facing off against probably one of the top 3-point shooters as well in Giddy Potts. What could you expect this game to be like if you guys keep going back and forth with the 3?
BRYN FORBES: Giddy Potts is a great shooter. I've seen some film on him and he doesn't miss much. But, I don't know, I think if we both got hot it could be pretty exciting.

Q. Denzel, with what you saw of Bryn, let's say, senior year of high school, where he was at, and to get to where he needed to to be able to come to Michigan State, what did he have to do, and what was your role in helping him figure that out?
DENZEL VALENTINE: I really don't think he had to do anything. He's always been a great shooter, great scorer. I don't know. I guess timing was key in him coming back to Michigan State. I really don't think he had to work on anything, necessarily. Obviously his weight, he gained 15 pounds, got stronger and his defense got better and everything. But as far as offense, I don't think he needed to work on anything. He just needed little things here and there. But he was pretty much a high major coming out of high school.

Q. When you leave here, and you've had tremendously successful careers and you play for a Hall of Fame basketball coach. When you leave Michigan State, what from Coach Izzo will you take with you? What's the number one thing, what's the biggest lesson that he has taught you, basketball or not that, goes with you?
BRYN FORBES: One thing that Coach has that I haven't seen from any other people, not even just coaches, other players, is his intensity. He brings it every single day, even if we don't. And that's really kind of eye-opening, how passionate and intense he is about this. There's never a day he misses, you can tell this is 100 percent his focus and the most important thing to him. So that's the main thing I take.

MATT COSTELLO: For me, it's watching how he prepares. He's one of the best ever for film study and pushing guys to prepare, whether it's what they do or just staying focused. And it's really taught me how I can go forward in life, if I keep playing basketball or if I go into the business world just to prepare for the different situations that are coming up to me.

DENZEL VALENTINE: I think, for me, just never being satisfied and bringing it every day. No matter what we do or how bad we lose or how bad we win, he stays the same. And it's always intense. He brings it every single day. And that's one thing I notice from high school to college is every single day it's a grind. And you're trying to strive to get better every day.

Q. Gentlemen, I was just talking to Tom in the locker room about this. But how much is this tournament about understanding your playing yourself even more than the team you're going against, just understanding it's about you living up to your potential?
DENZEL VALENTINE: I mean, there's a lot of great teams in this tournament. They're all great. They wouldn't be here if they weren't. So we just gotta take it one game at a time. Middle Tennessee is a great team. They won their conference. I mean, they look pretty good on film. So we're going to have to bring it from day one. We start off with a tough opponent and then we'll go from there.

MATT COSTELLO: I wouldn't say it's necessarily playing ourselves, like Zel said, these are good teams. Just look at last year for us, we lost to Texas Southern, that hurt us earlier in the year. So we can lose to anybody, so we've just got to be ready to go.

BRYN FORBES: I personally think if we execute and follow the game plan it's up to us, our destiny, I would say, because we have some of the best staff to prepare for games. I think the best in the country. And if we can execute and do what they tell us, I think we'll be fine.

Q. Who is the best shooter you've seen this year?
DENZEL VALENTINE: Bryn. Bryn Forbes.

MATT COSTELLO: That's what I was going to say, Bryn Forbes. That's all I've got.

DENZEL VALENTINE: This is for everybody, Bryn Forbes.

MATT COSTELLO: He's not allowed to answer. He can't be too cocky.

DENZEL VALENTINE: We'll answer for him. Bryn Forbes.

BRYN FORBES: I really don't, I can't even --

DENZEL VALENTINE: You're good. We got it.


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