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March 19, 2016

C.J. Williams

Jared Johnson

Thomas Walkup

Brooklyn, New York

Q. Just bear with me if you can on this. Since the game the other day, your Twitter feed, how much has it gone up if you've noticed? Has your phone been blowing up from people you've never heard of?
THOMAS WALKUP: Yeah, a little bit. Just from fans outside of Texas and outside of the Nacogdoches community a little more than it usually would after a victory.

Q. I was talking to your dad earlier today, and mentioned a couple of things. So I want to get the lowdown about what are you getting the most comments about? Your hair? Your beard? Your biceps? Or the tongue at the end of the game the other day.
THOMAS WALKUP: I think the tongue has been my favorite memes that have been out there. But also the beard ones have made me chuckle.

Q. Thomas, you've had big tournaments in the four games that you've played at SFA. Just talk about two double-doubles in tournaments and two double figures and nine rebounds in two games. Just talk about how you stepped it up or just been the leader in the tournament games that you've played.
THOMAS WALKUP: I think it just comes from experience. This being the third year, it's much easier to step up and just kind of let the game come to me and let the nerves just relax a little bit. So I think it just comes from experience.

Q. For Thomas and Jared, Stephen F. Austin has won a lot of games in the past, but the success under Coach Underwood has taken it to a different level. What's the difference? What does he bring? How have things changed?
THOMAS WALKUP: His intensity, the culture that he's built at SFA is incredible. It's fun. It's energetic. Every day of practice is a huge competition between all 15 guys, and I think that's ultimately where the successes come from and why we play ten guys deep.

JARED JOHNSON: Coach Underwood, he brings such a competitive edge to the team and to everything that we do on a daily basis, whether it be just how we approach practice and things that we do in practice. That carries over to the game. He emphasizes how important it is for us to be a comprehensive unit on the floor. So that's something that he brings, and I think that contributes to a lot of our success.

Q. Thomas, you said last night that you hadn't shaved since November 1st. So I wanted to know what you went as for Halloween. And then for all of you guys, the experience of having been here before and having won a game before, what does that help you with going into tomorrow to try to prove that it's not just a one-game thing and that you guys can make a real run in this tournament?
THOMAS WALKUP: For Halloween, I was Green Man, if you're familiar with the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And as far as approaching tomorrow, I think we are the real deal, and we're preparing to win. We're not preparing just to go out there and say we won a game and we're satisfied. I think it's all about the approach, and that's what we're approaching it like.

C.J. WILLIAMS: Yeah, what Thomas said. We just came here to get to the Final Four. We're trying to win this whole thing. So we prepare every day for it.

JARED JOHNSON: It's pretty much what these two guys said. We prepare every day to come out and compete and to win. We feel as if we can beat anybody that we're facing against. At the same time, we know it's going to be a tough row, but I think we're prepared for it.

Q. Thomas, forget the wins and losses for a second. The injuries that you had to overcome in high school, just what does it mean to you to be playing right now?
THOMAS WALKUP: It means a lot. Coach Kaspar recruited me to come here. He gave me a chance and not many people really did after I had those injuries. My game really took off when Coach Underwood got here. I feel very blessed and give that up to the Lord for allowing me to play basketball.

Q. Thomas, there's a lot of Internet memes yesterday with you and Bryce Harper. I don't know if that was something that you had seen before. I was curious what you thought of it. And also, if you didn't say yesterday, why haven't you shaved since November?
THOMAS WALKUP: Yeah, I've seen a couple of the memes. I think they're pretty funny, pretty comical. Bryce Harper is a handsome guy and a pretty successful guy as well.

But as far as the beard, I did the no shave November deal, and I kind of got lazy with it, didn't shave it, and then we got on our win streak, and once we were three, four games into the win streak, I was like, oh, I've got to keep it. We're still riding off that win streak.

Q. You mentioned that you guys know you're the real deal. I was wondering what it feels like on selection Sunday when you get a 14 seed. What's going through your mind? Are you thinking, wow, we're going to shock the world? Or is it, oh, we've been disrespected?
THOMAS WALKUP: I think kind of both. You always want to get the highest seed possible. There's a lot of good teams out there, a lot of high major teams that are going to take up those first ten or so seeds in the four brackets. So you're always fighting for the 11 or 12. So when we do drop to a 14 seed, all right, let's go show these dudes that we can actually play and shock the world.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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