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March 24, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the Notre Dame students.
Q. V.J., how have things changed for you during this month of March?
V.J. BEACHEM: Just been playing with a lot of confidence, just trying to knock down open shots and do whatever I can to help us win. But just for us to be in this position, it really speaks to our team, finding it at the right time, especially defensively.
Q. Zach, how would you describe just your evolution since you came to Notre Dame and even this year, and a follow-up to that is I think I heard Coach had you watch video of yourself just from an emotional standpoint, how much have you changed in that sense, too, and if you could talk about what he did with you in that?
ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, I think I've matured a lot and grown individually as a player and as a man both on and off the court. But Coach Brey took me aside. We watched some film. I was a type of an emotional player and sometimes I let it get the best of me. But over the course of the past few years I learned to channel it in a positive way and really use it to play my game at a high level.
Q. Demetrius, a lot of NBA mock drafts have you in the top 10, top 15. How do you put that out of your mind, what do you do to put your future kind of out of your mind at this point and focus on what's ahead of you immediately?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Just kind of worrying about what's here and now, focusing on how I can be the best I can be today and how I can help my team win games. So that's what's most important. And I just want to go out and have fun with my teammates. These are like my brothers. Just spending time together, hanging out, having fun. Just playing as hard as we can every time we step on the court.
Q. Wisconsin is one of the best defenses in the country. Do you guys think you found anything you can exploit to score when you face them tomorrow night?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Yeah, we're going to throw the ball into Zach a bunch, give him a bunch of post feeds and let him go to work.
V.J. BEACHEM: We're just going to try to play our game offensively, get great movement with the ball, a lot of cuts, and just try to knock down open shots.
ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, I agree. I think we have one of the most efficient offenses in the country as well. So us just playing unselfish and playing our movement should be great.
Q. Zach, the clips he showed you, when was that and which ones, like what did you see yourself doing? And can you describe that and were there certain ones or certain game where it really kind of stood out to you or clicked with you?
ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, it was a little bit late after last season. We put a bunch of clips together from the past games, some practice where I had some bad body language. I let my frustration get the best of me. You see my body language after certain plays and really just watching that really helped that way I can see because sometimes you can't really notice it until you can see, yeah.
Q. Demetrius, this is Steve Vasturia's hometown. Any cheesesteak plans? And what does he do for you on the court?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: We had cheesesteaks as soon as we got here yesterday in the hotel, so had it right away. Gives us a great lift, just as a whole. He's a great leader, he definitely leads with his actions and his play. He goes out and plays as hard as he can and gets on the floor. He's always the first guy to the floor. That's definitely something that the team really needs and he's really giving it to us in his whole career at Notre Dame.
And he just plays as hard as he can. And he just knocks down the shots and -- he does it all. So he's definitely a guy you want to have on your side and a guy you don't want to be matched up against.
Q. Zach, about your emotions and I know you talked about tempering them and your body language. How much do you feed off having the snarl and that attitude on the court?
ZACH AUGUSTE: I draw from it. I draw from the crowd as well. I love playing with high energy. I try to float off a little bit of my teammates. They play high energy as well, and that kind of rubs off on me. So just the high level of energy and passion and emotion is what I feed off of when playing basketball.
Q. Demetrius, could you talk about your counterpart at point guard, Bronson, what you've seen of him on tape and what he does for the Wisconsin team?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: He's a really great player. I saw him play a little bit of high school as well. He can really shoot the ball. And he has great fundamentals. And so he's just a really great player. So it's going to be fun being matched up as a competitive person. I just love being matched up against other great guards.
Q. V.J., you've seen a big uptake in your role in minutes this year. What about Coach Brey's offense and the system you guys run has made you be able to step in and be so efficient like this year?
V.J. BEACHEM: I think just our movement offensively. We really a lot of times are four around one around Zak, and we just move and cut without the ball. We kind of play, besides our point guard, positionless, and it really allows for guys to step up and knock down open shots, drive whenever. And we really just play free out there -- the freedom that he gives us really just allows all of us to play at the highest level and use our strengths.
Q. Zach, how much have you seen of Ethan Happ, and what are you looking for in your matchup against him?
ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, I haven't got to see too much from him. We watched a little bit of their game. He's a great solid player. I'm just looking forward to playing within myself and focusing on us as a team.
Q. V.J. and Demetrius, I wanted to ask about Zach, the emotion he plays with. How do you react to it and do you have a best Zach moment on the court that you can share?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Every time we step on the court I think it's a new memory made. And Zach, he plays with a lot of passion, has a lot of passion for the game, and he loves to play. So he gets fired up, he makes these big-time blocks and big-time defensive plays or offensive plays, and we really feed off that energy. So it's contagious in a good way. So we just try to feed off this guy and keep him rolling.
V.J. BEACHEM: I agree with what Demetrius said as far as Zach's passion we feed off it a lot. But my favorite moment was the game against Duke in the ACC Tournament when he got the and-one and was, like, hitting his own head. I don't know what was going on there. But it got the rest of us going.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We're joined by Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. Questions?
Q. With Zach, I know you showed him some videos of just his, maybe, bad body language and things you didn't like. What did you want him to see and how much of an impact did that have?
MIKE BREY: I think Zach as a young player in our program was a great over-reactor. He plays with great emotion. And I wanted to be careful because the energy and emotion and passion he plays with drives our team and is contagious many times. But a reaction to a mistake, a reaction to what he thought was a bad call -- he had an incident as a young player in practice where he got upset and punched the standard and broke his hand. And that was the ultimate of: Can you just take a deep breath? And I think it just comes with growing up and getting older and being very coachable.
Q. Philadelphia has a lot of history in this tournament. Certainly you got to see perhaps the most significant moment. What goes through your mind when you see Christian Laettner running around the court at this time of year so frequently?
MIKE BREY: A lot of memories from across the parking lot in that old Spectrum and certainly I spent a lot of time in it, even when I was down the road in Newark, Delaware. But I have a lot of respect for Philadelphia basketball. Growing up in the corridor on 95 and the history here, not only in the NCAA Tournament, but this is a basketball city.
I was kind of -- I was kind of a stepchild down there in Wilmington, Delaware, but every now and then they'd let me come up, Dunph and Jay, they made me feel like Philly guys every now and then because I was close. The great coaches that have come out of this area, just even being in our hotel, the people working, they're hoops people. So I'm energized being back in the city, and I'm really proud that I can bring my team here.
Q. Just your thoughts on this new NBA draft rules, what it might mean for a guy like Demetrius and your thoughts on Coach Calipari saying everyone on his team including walk-ons would declare?
MIKE BREY: I want to add to that, I'm going to put my name in, too. I'm going to go, too, and test the waters. No, I think it's great. It's great for the young people. I don't want to hear about, it's tough on coaches. One of my assistants started whining about it. I almost fired him last night. I said: Shut up. I think it will save some bad decisions that we've had that a kid can go, get the information and still have time to digest it.
Certainly for Demetrius Jackson, it's great. And I love how the NBA and the NCAA are really working more hand in hand lately. This is a great rule.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on Calipari putting his whole team?
MIKE BREY: Putting his whole team in? Well, he's not getting any pub here lately, because he's not playing. So he's doing anything to stay out there. They guy's a master. He's a master.
Q. Sports Illustrated article last week gave you high marks for finding players who are maybe a little under the hot recruiting radar and developing those guys over the course of four years. What are the keys to doing those two things?
MIKE BREY: I think now we have a system -- I have a great staff, and I have a staff who has been with me for a while. So we kind of know how to earmark guys and find them. You being from Asbury Park, there's a guy that we've injected into the starting lineup in Matt Farrell that fits the bill. We signed him late a couple of years ago. And he was great. He's gotten better and been patient.
We love guys that have been with us four and sometimes five years and get better. And I think it's interesting, the program we're playing, they do it the same way.
Q. A year ago you described Steve Vasturia as a baby- faced assassin. Could you expand on that, and do you still consider him that same type of player? Has he matured beyond that?
MIKE BREY: My facial hair still grows faster than his. So he's still baby faced. He's a beautiful basketball player. I tell young kids, watch Steve Vasturia play the game. His feel for the game, his instincts on both sides of the floor, I think that has to do with Speedy Morris and great high school coaching and playing in this corridor.
But for him, the guy has made big shot after big shot. We ask him to drive more this year, and he's added that to his game. He's still our most reliable defender that we will put on people. And he's going to have to guard Hayes some tomorrow night. Where he's really grown is he's been a quiet guy. He's talking more. He's become more of a captain. And that's helped us and helped him individually.
Q. When you face a team that's evolved during the season, is it hard to get a gauge on just what kind of team you're going to face tomorrow night?
MIKE BREY: No, I think we have a great feel for them. And I have the utmost respect for the Wisconsin program. Bo Ryan and I are on the NABC board of directors together. We have been friends, I think, for a while, both kind of worked our way up in the profession similarly. So I've always respected his program.
Greg Gard should be mentioned for national coach of the year stuff. I mean, this team was 9-9, 1-4. They lost to Milwaukee and Western-Illinois at home. And he's got them really playing. I think they're extremely confident. They're running what they run and they've always run. And a little bit like us, they believe they're supposed to win every close game. So I think it makes for an exciting night tomorrow night.
Q. What are you looking to exploit in Wisconsin's top-tier defense?
MIKE BREY: Well, I think you have to try and get down on the floor on them a little bit and not play against their set defense. One of the things that's helped us with Matt Farrell in the lineup, we have another guy that can push it in transition other than Jackson, and we can maybe get some easy buckets. Because if you have to play against their set defense, it becomes kind of a long night.
Q. Just a follow-up to the Zach stuff, do you remember the incident, like what happened or what ticked him off to make him break his hand?
MIKE BREY: I think it was just he was having a frustrating practice. He had turned it over a couple of times. And then he turned it over again and thought he got fouled. And the assistant coaches reffed in practice and he didn't get a call. As a young guy he just turned around in frustration with a closed fist and punched the standard. Broke his hand, was out six weeks.
And it really cost him probably being in our lineup. It cost him having momentum that season. And we laugh about it now. But it was just him being hot-headed as a young guy. He's done a great job channelling that passion and energy into positive stuff, and what it does is it picks up the rest of the group. His passion is amazing.
Q. On the court, he has a chance to break a field goal percentage record. What's he brought in terms of consistency? How has he gotten to this point on the court?
MIKE BREY: He's been a bright lights deliverer. When the lights are brightest, big-time regular season games, he has really delivered. And in the ultimate big stage, this tournament, for him to be mentioned of possibly breaking Bill Walton's record, it's unbelievable. It's just amazing.
I'm very, very proud of him. But he gave himself to us. Here's a four-year guy who let us coach him. He didn't get distracted with, am I good enough to leave early or I need to play a certain way. He knows how to play in our system and he plays to his strengths and he doesn't try to do things he shouldn't do. That's why he's been amazingly efficient, and he's going to make a good living playing the game after his college career is over.
Q. Coach, without revealing too much, do you anticipate doing anything to keep V.J. in the sort of role and momentum he's been having or do you just kind of want to let him feel it out naturally?
MIKE BREY: I'm going to reveal a big secret: Play him a lot. Play him a lot. Play him 30-some minutes. Don't mess with him. I'm really thrilled with what he's given. You and I talked about this, I think, back in South Bend, here's a guy that wasn't very confident last year. I wasn't even putting him in the game this time, because he just wasn't ready to do it. And to see him setting the tone for us, I'm thrilled. Again, it's another guy who has given himself to us. We've been able to coach him. We've grown him up. And he's really delivering now and I think he'll go into this weekend very confident.
Q. You were talking about your staff. Martin Ingelsby is being mentioned for a couple of head coaching openings, one of which you know about quite well nearby. What are the characteristics, the qualities he has that you think will make him a fine head coach?
MIKE BREY: I think somebody's going to get him. I'd be thrilled if the guys in Newark got him. I think he'd be an unbelievable fit. But that process, I'm sure, will play himself out. He's the whole package. We've been known for our offensive efficiency and how we've played. He has as much input in what we do offensively as I do. We conspire on a lot of things.
A great communicator. Our players love him. He knows how to connect. He's done a heck of a job recruiting. And what's lost a lot of times, too, is he's got a great family. His wife gets the profession. Three young kids. As you know, being in the community with your young family is as important as running the right out-of-bounds play when you start to build a program.
Q. There's been a lot of teams that have played, you've played two point guards in the past, and a lot of teams in the tournament play two point guards. How much does that help an offense and kind of what are the reasons you've done it in the past?
MIKE BREY: We've trended to it a lot. I think back to Chris Quinn and Chris Thomas, McAlarney and Chris Quinn, Tory Jackson and McAlarney. To have two ball handlers on the floor, two guys that can go off the dribble, I think it just makes you harder to guard, and it takes the pressure off that lone point guard.
In our case Demetrius Jackson, people have been loading up on him the second half of the season when he's the lone handler -- are they going to double the ball screen? Or how they come at him. It's exhausting. Sometimes when Matt Farrell can initiate the offense and Demetrius can get down on the baseline, it's a little refreshing for him to catch it maybe on the wing or the corner, instead of having to bring it into the teeth. And that's why we've liked doing it, and right now we're in that mode with Matt and Demetrius.
Q. What are you telling your guys when things get close down the stretch in these games?
MIKE BREY: It's more what they're telling themselves. You know, the talk in our huddles, the leadership -- even V.J. Beachem, we talked about as a staff, in the huddles down the stretch against Stephen F. Austin, and it didn't look very good. He's telling guys, we're fine, stay calm, let's get a stop here, get a good possession. I think at this point in the season a group has complete ownership of itself and what they're saying to each other and how they pick each other up and how they believe is more important than what I'm saying to them.
Q. You've been in the ACC for three years now. Is there a difference between how that conference prepares you for the tournament than the Big East? And what do you attribute the ACC success in the tournament?
MIKE BREY: I think it's very similar. When we left the Big East, it looked like this ACC of this year. We were getting the eight, nine bids, and of course that one year we got 11 bids. But I have the same feel this year, I had the same feel even on our media day that I thought we'd be really deep and we were. And Louisville, maybe we would have had seven if Louisville was around and part of this thing.
But it definitely gets you ready. It gets you tougher. You've seen many different styles of play. You've seen and experienced many different game situations. So I think our league now, after this year, has really spoken loudly of who is the conference, and we'll go in next year with the same momentum.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports