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March 17, 2016

Sean Miller

Kaleb Tarczewski

Gabe York

Providence, Rhode Island

Wichita State - 65, Arizona - 55

SEAN MILLER: Really two things here. Number one, I want to congratulate an excellent Wichita State team. When we watched them play both on film and against Vanderbilt, we knew we were in for a really difficult match-up. Their guards are terrific; two of, I think, the best that are playing college basketball. Their defense speaks for itself. From the statistics that we looked at, they're the nation's No. 1 defensive team. We were that a couple years ago, and to me it felt like that. They didn't just make it difficult for Arizona to score on them. They make it difficult for every team that plays against them to score.

They deny and they pressure and they're very well-coached and gritty and tough. So from that, we lost to an excellent team. The seeding in this tournament, you can almost throw them out. I think it's almost unfair to try to worry, is it a good seed or bad seed, because there are so many good teams. And Wichita State, I think, is good enough to win several more games in this tournament.

These two guys next to me, it's going to be really, really hard to say goodbye to both. When we came to Arizona as a new coaching staff, I think we had a season and a half under our belt, and we recruited both of these guys. And I think when you think of the word legacy in college basketball, Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York have a legacy at Arizona, a legacy of winning, tremendous people, great kids. And you know what, they led us as well as they possibly could this year, both as players and people.

You know, it's always sad when these great kids' time ends, but these two guys in particular, on the heels of some guys we've lost here recently, are going to be hard to say goodbye to. We won 25 games, and you lose in the first round, it's bittersweet. But like I said, I think we leave here with our head held high. In my mind, those two guys certainly should because of how they've conducted themselves and how they've played for four years.

Q. What has it meant to you guys to be wearing Arizona across your chest for the past four years?
GABE YORK: You know, when you give so much effort and you give all your time to one program and, you know, you go through it for four years, there's not many words you can say when it's all over. You know, for myself and Kaleb, we've been here for four years, and we've gone through four programs, and we've done everything we possibly could to become better basketball players and become better people.

You know, the name on our chest was so much more than us just being a basketball team. We had friends and brothers who have come through here and have left, and you still keep in contact with all those guys. It's definitely tough to have it all end this quickly. As seniors, I know myself and Kaleb both had more planned out for this season.

I love Arizona. I'm always going to be a part of Arizona. I love the fans. It's definitely a hard time right now.

KALEB TARCZEWSKI: My four years at Arizona have really shaped me into the person that I have become. I really owe it to everyone, all the great players that I've played along with, the coaches who have been like father figures to not only myself but the team. I really want to say that I'm proud of this year's team for all the adversity that we've gone through, everything that we've overcome. And when I look back on my four years at Arizona, I'm proud to say that I've worn the Arizona jersey and I've been a part of such a great program.

Q. Gabe, could you just kind of describe Wichita State's defense and how they took you out of what you wanted to do?
GABE YORK: I mean, give them credit, like Coach said, they've done that to everybody this year. They're a great basketball team defensively. It's what they pride themselves on. I had some open looks. I couldn't get some of them to go down, and give credit to Ron Baker and those guys. They made it tough every play to try to get a bucket, not only for myself but for all the guards.

Yeah, you know, they're a great basketball team and a great program, and they've had just as much success as we've had in the last four years.

Q. Gabe, following up on that, what made Wichita State so successful in the turnover battle?
GABE YORK: I don't know. You know, they got there, they slapped at the ball a lot, and they just make it hard for you to -- they're in the passing lanes, and they're doing what they need to do defensively to be a great team. They're jumping the passing lanes and they're making the guards pick their dribbles up. They're a good team. That's all I can really say. They played well defensively.

Q. To Gabe's point, they seemed to be doing a lot of what they were doing to the guards to you guys down low. What were you doing down there? Seemed like every time you got a look, they were doubling you before you even caught the ball. Is that accurate to say?
KALEB TARCZEWSKI: You know, we have to really give credit where credit is due. Wichita State is a great basketball team. Their defense is unbelievable. They really play together. Like I said, they're a great basketball team, and a team in every sense of the word. Ron and Fred do a great job of leading them, getting everyone ready to go and ready to play. They did a great job, and I wouldn't be surprised if they go on to do some more special things in this tournament.

Q. Sean, has this been the most difficult season for you as a head coach?
SEAN MILLER: In what sense, just --

Q. Overall.
SEAN MILLER: No, I mean, we won 25 games. We're 25-9. We had an incredible conference this year in the PAC-12, and obviously we're used to winning the regular season, but we didn't. We finished 12-6. We love to go to Las Vegas in the conference tournament, make it to the championship game, and we didn't, we lost to Oregon who's a 1 seed. We came here, and we had a tough draw. Played against a good team. They were better than us.

You know, from that perspective, of course we're disappointed. The bar in our program is extremely high. You don't want to bow out in the first round. You want to win championships. I think what Kaleb and Gabe alluded to a little bit with our team is you have to understand the culmination of so many different things that hit us this year. I mean, really, from Ray Smith who never was able to play, who could have been maybe our most talented freshman, lost him for the year with ACL. We lost Alonzo for about seven games in the PAC-12. You've got to remember Kaleb barely played in the non-conference season. We lost Elliott Pitts who was a big defender for us, could have helped us.

We had a lot of different things hit us, but I think the resiliency and the character of our senior group carried us to this point. And as much as I would like to say, hey, I wish we could have won 30, we might have ended up right where we should have been, and now it's up to us to grow from it, learn, and come back with a vengeance a year from now or whatever and be better.

A year ago I stood up here at this podium a couple weeks from where we are right on the brink of a Final Four. I didn't know Kaleb was coming back. I thought we were going to lose seven players. To think where we were then, and here we are, this is kind of how it feels when you lose as many as we did and bring in a few guys.

So it's up to us now to build on this and take the next step and come back and be even better a year from now.

Q. When you called time-out 50 seconds into the game, what was going on?
SEAN MILLER: The only reason I did that is we had three seconds to get the ball across half court, the new rule. So in my mind against them on the first possession, it was a turnover. We weren't going to be able to inbound the ball full court on a spot throw-in in three seconds. If we would have, it would have been almost like a baseball pass, so I decided to get off to a good start. That was it. There was no motivation or anything other than that was the new rule, and if you call a time-out, you then get 10 seconds.

Q. When Kaleb gets three shots, is that an indication they're doing a pretty good job of keeping the ball out of his hands?
SEAN MILLER: No question. And you know what, he got a lot more catches than that. It's a little deceiving. How many free throws did he shoot? Seven? Seven or eight? He got fouled, so I think that's part of it. But they did a nice job. Look, they did a nice job defensively in every area. When we started to watch them, I could not believe -- I think coming into the game, they forced the fifth most turnovers in the nation. That's hard to do when you play man-to-man and you don't press.

So you feel it when you're out there. Their pressure is everywhere. Gregg Marshall, he does a great job, man. You're envious when you see a group of guys play that well together. Fred VanVleet, I told him after the game, please don't let anybody tell you you're not going to play in the NBA. We lived that last year with TJ McConnell. That guy will play in the NBA, and he'll be there for a long, long time. He's in total control of the game, and he's better on defense than he is on offense, and they have a 2 guard who's kind of the same in Baker. And when you put those two guys out there together, considering the experience they have, it's not a good feeling playing against Wichita State. They're an excellent basketball team.

Q. In your opening statement, you mentioned the legacy that these guys leave behind. What type of impact does that legacy build going forward? And then you mentioned also it's tough to replace so many seniors as they leave and not even seniors but just replacing players --
SEAN MILLER: Yeah, I wish they were seniors.

Q. How do you try to replace this type of senior class, such a talented group of kids?
SEAN MILLER: Yeah. No question we're going to miss those guys, their leadership, their character, their resolve. And Ryan Anderson was a first-time all-PAC-12 performer in his year with us, Kaleb and Gabe both were all-PAC-12 performers, Kaleb was on the all defensive team. I think Kaleb tied or broke depending on who you talk to the all-time win record in Arizona history. Consider the great players that have played in our program. It's just incredible.

And a lot of those great players back then stayed four years. So thinking about Gabe and Kaleb, and Wichita State will be like this when and if their season ends. They may go all the way, I don't know. But you're going to look back and say they went to two Elite 8s, Sweet 16, they've won no less than 25 games in their four years, won 30 or more twice, two PAC-12 championships, a PAC-12 tournament championship. They've been a part of some great moments, so that's the legacy more than anything. And in Gabe's case, I think he leaves as one of the all-time great three-point shooters in school history. Kaleb rebounding, blocked shots, games played, wins. When you have guys that have worked as hard as they have, no doubt you'll feel their effects. But when you watch us play next year, we're going to have some of the guys who were part of this year's team improved and better.

It's an important recruiting class, and I think for us to be able to hit it out of the park in the next month is big. Hopefully we can do that.

Q. Fred being better on defense than offense, expand on that a little bit. Why do you say that?
SEAN MILLER: I mean, he just -- he dominates the ball. He forces your point guard to do things that he normally doesn't do. I thought he disrupted our point guard for most of the game. And then at the end, I think Wichita State started to get tired at the end, and understandably so. But for most of the game, things that we've done -- I mean, we averaged 81 points a game this year. Like we're a much better offensive team than a defensive team. As much as I'd like to be better on defense, we never, not one game this year I don't think -- you can look it up -- had problems scoring. And even in our losses, we've scored. But tonight we couldn't score. I mean, they held an 81 point-per-game team to 55, and we really struggled to get 55. Gabe mentioned he missed a couple shots. I don't think we had many. I feel guilty. I wish I could have done a better job helping our guys on offense, because we struggled.

Again, when you play against a defense that talented, ferocious, disciplined, tough, you have to be great at what you do, and that's what's going to be required to beat them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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