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March 17, 2016

Ron Baker

Conner Frankamp

Gregg Marshall

Fred VanVleet

Providence, Rhode Island

Wichita State - 65, Arizona - 55.

GREGG MARSHALL: Tremendous amount of respect for Sean and the job he does at Arizona. And also Ron and Fred were able to spend some time with Tarczewski. And when you watch York on film, those guys are great players, but they're more importantly great people. I hate to see those guys lose. I really like Sean and his program because of how they play, and they play the right way. But it was our night. Our defense carried the way. And to beat a team like Arizona the way we did is just a testament to these young men to my right and their toughness, their resolve, their determination, and their ability to get in a defensive stance each and every possession, and make the right reads and make the right slides and the right rotations and hold a team like that to 55.

Q. Ron, could you talk about the play development at Wichita State and the things you guys have done and skill development over the years that have changed you and changed the guys around you?
RON BAKER: Coming in, I was always a guy that tried to push myself to get better, and that definitely helps. But then when you get with a group of guys that like to push you as a teammate, that helps. And then you get coaches that push you in different drills and different skill developments in the off-season, and it really gets your confidence as a player up to a new level. And that's when you start becoming a true player, and that's what I've gotten since I've been at Wichita State.

Q. Fred, they averaged 81 points a game. You held them to 55. Take us through the defensive effort and why you were able to be so effective.
FRED VANVLEET: It was big time. Big time effort, big time game plan. You're talking about coaches that are skipping sleep and really just locking in this time of year and putting everything that we've got into one common goal. I think disrupting their timing was big. I thought our bigs did a great job of pushing some of those guys out. They're huge, so when they catch it, you want them as far away from the basket as possible.

Obviously I was able to have some success early in terms of just being around the ball, being able to make a play and helping guys out a little bit, trying to disrupt their timing and just trying to make it tough on them.

Q. When you're doubling, Fred, how much of that is strictly part of the plan and how much is it you just with a feel?
FRED VANVLEET: I mean, most of it is in the game plan. I mean, when it's in the post, that's all the coaches and me trusting my teammates that are going to help me when they kick it out. A couple times I made some plays and got lucky. The one where Trier drove it, I made a break on the ball and was able to come up with it. Just trying to be aggressive, and like I said, if I was a big guy, I would not want to guard those guys down there by myself. So I was thinking about that and trying to make it as tough as possible and trying to make it tough on the other team.

You talk about 81 points, a lot of that is timing and feel good. I know on our end, it's always tough when a team is out-pressuring and denying and trying to disrupt your timing, so just trying to get that into the game.

Q. Conner, the bench tonight, 27-8 advantage. I think you and Markis were a plus 30 combined in the minutes that you played. How important was that contribution to this win?
CONNER FRANKAMP: It was very important. The starters got out to a good lead, and we always try to come in and try to push the lead up and play hard, and Markis had a great game. The starters came out and started the game really well for us.

Q. Fred, I know you said you've got to have guys step up in March, and a lot of guys have in these two games. Did you see that coming, that building with some of these guys, that they were going to be ready?
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah. I mean, it's just -- sometimes it's the way it happens. Obviously you would like to have it a lot earlier in the season, but we went through what we went through, all the adversity throughout the year. It's been a hard-fought year, and when our names popped up Selection Sunday, like I said, it was just a breath of fresh air, and we could put all that behind us. And these guys have been huge both games, Conner, Markis, you talk about Shaq, Rauno Nurger, Zach Brown, all young guys that have been playing a huge role. Rashard Kelly as well, I think he took two or three charges tonight.

It's going to take more than me and Ron to be able to get these wins, and the last two games we've been able to do that, so give these guys a ton of credit.

Q. Ron, what did you think when Sean Miller called time-out in the first minute with you guys diving on the floor? Did you feel like that was an omen of what was going to happen?
RON BAKER: I was kind of surprised he called a time-out early, but then I realized he was trying to avoid a 10-second count. He got the time-out and the ball on the baseline to get a new 10. But that was kind of a statement from the get-go that we were going to start the game hard and finish the same way.

Q. Ron, they went about 10 minutes without a field goal there in the first half. When you're playing possession by possession, are you guys conscious of the fact that they haven't scored in a long time and they haven't put the ball in the basket for a long time?
RON BAKER: As a player, the game goes so quick, you don't even think about that. You try your best to put your feet on the court and get stops. A lot of times, as you saw, we don't shoot the ball as well from three as we want to. So a lot of our offense comes from our defense, and today our guys at the rim were altering shots, and we were keeping them off the glass early on in that 10-minute span. And we were getting good looks on the offensive end because of our defense.

Q. Can you talk about, the same question I asked Ron, skill development, specifically with someone like Ron in the five years there and where you rank skill development along with recruiting and schemes at a place like Wichita State in order to do what you do?
GREGG MARSHALL: Well, we don't normally get the five-star or even four-star recruits. We're starting to get a few. Marcus McDuffie was very highly rated. Conner Frankamp as a transfer from Kansas as a top-rated guy. Landry Shamet who will seek a medical redshirt after only playing three games this year and breaking his foot was another top 100, so all of a sudden, our success is helping us land some more coveted players coming in. But the stars really don't matter to us. We try to get guys that want to be part of something bigger than themselves, are willing to put the time in in skill development, body development, by getting in the weight room with our Strength and Conditioning Coach, Kerry Rosenboom, who does a tremendous job, and buying into the -- falling in love with, if you will, the process of becoming great.

These guys are very coachable. They're everyday guys, and they work extremely hard. And then they also listen and execute a game plan very well because they understand that we're going to be a little undersized more than likely, give up a few pounds, a few inches. But it's hard to measure what's inside of a young man in terms of his heart. Very rarely do we get pushed around in that category.

Q. And about Ron and his development?
GREGG MARSHALL: Yeah, my wife and I were laughing on the trip up here. Someone posted a picture of him from his Scott City days, his senior year, and he actually had a perm. He had a curly -- really curly hair. His hair is naturally curly, but this was really curly, like an afro curly. And his arms were about as big around as this cup. But he's got broad shoulders and he's got big hands. He's country strong is what I say, and he's developed his body, and he puts on a defensive clinic.

Mr. Robie from the NCAA Selection Committee from Northeastern is obviously a basketball guy, and he paid Ron a beautiful compliment as I was walking off the court. He goes, Ron Baker is never in the wrong position. Ron Baker is one of the hardest-working defenders I've ever seen. And then you add Fred VanVleet to that, five steals tonight. You've got a pretty good defensive backcourt, and that's -- obviously we're not the most beautiful team offensively, but they more than hold their own defensively.

Q. The game plan against their big men, they were obviously going to pound it inside, and you were able to be pretty effective against them.
GREGG MARSHALL: Yeah, our goal was to try to deny them the ball as much as we could. Again, Tarczewski is huge. He ends up with two baskets, only three shots. We fouled him quite a number of times when he was able to get the rebound because he's so big and physical and strong and works hard to gain that positive position. Anderson has four field goals in eight baskets. He does not get his double-double tonight. He goes for 11 and 8. And then Ristic has one basket. So we gave up seven baskets to those three guys, a total of 18 points, and that's what Anderson averages himself on a regular season.

Our post players did a great job, starting with -- I think Rauno Nurger probably did the best job. Bush Wamukota did a great job. Shaq did a great job, he blocked some shots for us tonight. He had two blocks. Tonight was not the night for Anton Grady. Even though he did score a couple of baskets or one basket for sure, but he struggled with their size. But he played well against Vandy, so hopefully he'll play well again against Miami.

Q. Coach Martin just said if he had a message for Fred VanVleet, he said, please don't let anyone tell you you can't play in the NBA.
GREGG MARSHALL: Who said that?

Q. Coach Miller, I apologize.
GREGG MARSHALL: Well, I hope both of them play in the NBA. I've said it all along, they just need the right program, the right -- they need to go to a program that appreciates winners, and they'll find a place like -- Coach Miller had a guy by the name of TJ McConnell last year. I think it was McConnell. And he's in the NBA right now, and he started at Duquesne, transferred, had a great career, and he's doing work as a rookie in the league.

I think Fred is similar. Sean would obviously know. He played at a high level. And I don't know how long he played in the NBA or if he played in the NBA, but I know he was a great college player at Pitt.

These guys are going to go somewhere if they get the right opportunity and the right situation. The more you watch them, the more you practice with them, the more you see them do the right thing every day, every way, they'll wear on you. And ultimately they'll get on the floor, and then you'll see the scoreboard going the right direction and the win column improve, and then someone will give them a second contract.

Q. You're now 9 and 3 in your last four trips to the NCAA. That's the same record as Michigan State and Wisconsin, and it's one game behind Duke, who's 10 and 2. What does it say about your program to be keeping that sort of company?
GREGG MARSHALL: Especially with the seedings that we normally get, we get Kentucky, and this year we're 11 and we go to Dayton. Last year we were a 7, probably should have been a 4 or 5. It really doesn't matter. It doesn't matter once you get in the tournament. It's all about the team that you're playing, not the number in front of it, and that's what I love about the NCAA Tournament. And that's what our players love, because we get an opportunity to play an Arizona. Unless we play them in an exempt tournament, we're not going to get a chance to play them in Arizona. We would love to play in Arizona, home and home on a yearly basis because it would obviously make us better and Sean would have to determine if it would make his team better.

But we know that to play teams like that in the NCAA Tournament, you have to give it everything you've got, and our guys do that every single possession.

I was so pleased with how we got back in transition tonight. We sprinted back after we missed, and we missed a lot of shots. We missed 35 field goal attempts. But rarely did they push it and lay it in or dunk it in transition. We were able to get back, get our butts to the baseline, and support that basketball and keep them from getting in the paint.

Q. They made their last run and cut it down to 13. You called a time-out. How much of that was to regroup and how much was just to rest a little bit?
GREGG MARSHALL: Well, our guys played a lot of minutes. 34 is a lot of minutes for Fred, and 32 for Ron. When they play 34, 32 minutes, that's big-time minutes because of the effort that they expend on both ends.

I just didn't want it to get too much lower. They had made a nice run, and we needed to get the ball inbounds, first of all, and get it up the court and get organized and run some clock, and then hopefully either get fouled or do something at the end of the clock. We needed to talk about time and score at that point, and I had timeouts to burn. I think I had a couple still left at the end of the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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