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March 25, 2016
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin today with questions straight for Coach or for the student-athletes.
Q. Coach Wright, your offense right now is number two nationally in adjusted efficiency. I was wondering if this was something that you kind of built, like how you tinkered your way into constructing a team that could be this efficient.
COACH WRIGHT: That's one of the things with this group, early in the season we felt like we had a chance to be a really efficient offensive team, because everybody was so skilled.
When you have a five-man like Daniel Ochefu, who is as skilled as any of the guards, great decision-maker, ball handler, passer for his position, extremely skilled, usually the other guys are skilled. But when you have a guy like that at the five spot, you know you've got a chance to be pretty good.
I think these guys have really worked hard to fulfill our expectations.
Q. Ryan, I'm curious what you remember about the last game against Kansas back in November 2013 and the shot you hit at the end of the game.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: That was a grind-it-out, street-fight type of game. It was not a very high-scoring game. I don't think either team had any rhythm offensively. It was a defensive battle. Guys all over the floor and just all over the place rebounding and taking charge and everything like that.
But the shot I hit was, I think, my only shot I made the whole game. We were fortunate enough to get the win and get a stop after that.
Q. Kris, don't want to assume your matchup. We'll let Coach coach the team. If you're matched against Ellis, what are the advantages you think you might have, some of the advantages you think he might have? How do you think that will play out if that's the matchup tomorrow?
KRIS JENKINS: We don't really have matchups. We have five guys playing the ball. So I don't really look at that. He's a great player. They're a great team. We'll be ready. We're looking forward to it.
Q. One of those times you're in front of him, would you be able to stretch him?
KRIS JENKINS: Play with confidence, play aggressive, and know that my teammates got my back.
Q. Ryan, what are the challenges presented by a Frank Mason, who is their defensive spark plug? What would it be like against a guy that apparently plays with the same intensity as you?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We know he's quick. He's a great on-ball defender and they're a great defending team. On the offensive end, he dribble penetrates and finds guys and finishes at the rim. So he's going to create some problems for us.
But like I said before, we're going to have defend them as a team and attack his aggressiveness on defense.
Q. Kris, at the end of the first half last night, you hit a long 3-point shot. Could you just take us through that shot and your awareness of the shot clock and your position on the court, and also just talk about your improved 3-point shooting recently.
KRIS JENKINS: The shot clock was running low. I think I got the ball with like three seconds left. I just wanted to give us a chance to score. The shot just happened to go in. And I just try to stay aggressive and make the right play. Recently the right play is just for me to catch and shoot. My teammates do a great job of finding me in open spots. A lot of the credit goes to them.
Q. For Coach and for Ryan, both Kansas and Villanova have really rolled through the NCAA Tournament so far, playing as good as anybody. I'm curious, the way both teams are playing, do you see this as a true heavyweight fight that you see play out in the NCAA Tournament?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We're just -- it's our biggest game of the year because it's our next game. We know that they've played well throughout the whole Big 12 season. We all saw it. We were playing pretty well throughout the Big East season. We're going to play with confidence. We know they're going to come in with confidence too. We know it's going to be an ugly game, and we'll try to make it that way.
Hopefully, we can get the win at the end.
COACH WRIGHT: I know players look at it differently. They're looking at just next game. They're wired in. I see the comparison, because I think both of us are playing our best basketball right now, and both of us have played pretty well during the season.
So in that sense, I do see it as a heavyweight battle of two teams playing really well. I think both teams are really balanced. They are very, very talented at every spot. They're very disciplined, very well coached. I hope we are.
It's one seed, two seed and teams that I think feel very good about how they're playing. So I would say that's a heavyweight matchup.
Q. I'd like to ask both Arch and Daniel to take this one. Do you feel like you have a good handle on whatever it is that went wrong in the tournament? I'm sure it wasn't the same situation each time, but in these previous years? And how comfortable and confident are you that whatever it is, you're past it, you've figured it out, and at least that won't be the thing that gets you again?
DANIEL OCHEFU: We haven't really changed anything we've done based on our shortcomings in past tournaments. This year, for myself and Ryan, because of the last go-around, intensity has risen naturally. Guys like Jalen, Mikal, Phil, young guys, they're stepping up and playing like upperclassmen. My fellow upperclassmen, Kris, Josh, and Darryl, have been playing like seniors. Locking in and staying committed to our core values, we haven't done anything different.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We've just been focusing on the little things, just taking it step by step, day by day throughout the whole season. Not that we didn't do that the last couple years, but I think it got to us when we played a little bit more athletic teams. We tried to play the same style as them. We have to stay committed to how we play and try to beat teams with toughness and our smarts.
Q. Jay, you talked about during the Big East Tournament that you wanted to make a run and get to the Final Four as much for these guys as you did for the Big East, that you wanted to help get respect back.
I guess now that you are one game away from potentially doing that, do you feel that that would go a long way to restoring some of the respect that the league had when you were coaching for so many years?
COACH WRIGHT: I do. My first responsibility is to these guys. I really would love to see these guys play in the Final Four. I'm enjoying watching them play and just being along for the ride with them and just watching them really enjoy challenges. They really are fired up, focused.
The players have taken over all the responsibility, and that's really fun to be a part of as a coach. You don't get that a lot.
As far as the Big East is concerned, that would be a byproduct of watching these guys be really successful and get to a Final Four. And I think we're a new league. We're going to go by our record and we're going to go by our accomplishments.
So if we can do that for the league, I do think it would help our respect level. And if we can be a part of that, I'd be really proud to do that.
Q. Perry Ellis has always been a good player. This year he's been a greater scorer. In the last eight games, he's taken it to another level. Nobody seems to have done anything crazy special, double teams or anything else. I don't expect you to give me your game plan on Perry, but why do you feel like nobody has tried jump defenses, double teams, whatever? Why do you think that is?
COACH WRIGHT: It's a good question. It's something we've had to struggle with preparing for them. They're very well coached. If you put too much attention on Perry Ellis, they have a system and a scheme to take advantage of that and get everybody else easier shots.
And the other players are very talented. So it's not like there's a -- Perry Ellis, for his position, one on one, is an outstanding player. But it's not like there's a large amount of distance between him and his teammates for their position.
So you just can't do it. You've got to try to play him straight up. And if you give him too much attention, they have a way of getting Selden going. Graham gets going. I mean, Graham was the MVP of the tournament, right, the Big 12 Tournament. So if you give him too much attention, these guys, every one of these guys can kill you.
Q. Daniel, I know you're used to this question, but how is the ankle and was there any problems this morning when you woke up after what happened last night?
DANIEL OCHEFU: My ankle is fine. It was a little sore this morning, but this is how it's been for the past couple weeks. I got some treatment and I'm feeling good. I'll be ready to go come game time.
Q. Coach, you referred to this as a heavyweight bout. In light of where we are and where you're from, are you Ali or Frazier and why?
COACH WRIGHT: Wow. I was hoping no one would ever ask me that here. I'm a Philly guy. I was always Joe Frazier. With great respect for Muhammad Ali and especially everything he's done outside of boxing with his life. We've quoted him.
But in Philly, Smokin' Joe is the man. The underdog, the fighter, the Rocky. We love Smokin' Joe.
Q. I'll ask Josh and Kris, same question. Because Coach had said that he feels you, all of you, are making your best decisions right now at this point of the season, best decision-making he's seen, what contributes to that? Where does that come from? How has that developed and why?
JOSH HART: I'll just say with experience. Coach puts us in the most difficult situations in practice every day. So just that experience, just decision-making on us, being able to go in there and make the right play.
Me personally, I've got to give Mikal Bridges a lot of credit. Some days he kills me at practice. Some days I have trouble making the right play against him, his length. He's a great defender.
The experience, we've got three seasons under our belt, me and Kris are kind of like seniors. Just the experience, the repetition that Coach puts us in is really just helping us learn and be able to go in there and make the right play.
KRIS JENKINS: Just like what Josh said, just the experience. Our teammates are unbelievable. They push us each and every day. Eric Paschall, who is a redshirt who couldn't travel with us, but going against him in practice, and in previous years going against JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell. Battling with those guys and learning from those guys and learning from Arch and Daniel and just being pushed. Those guys do an unbelievable job of making all of us better.
Q. Kris, what does a night shooting the basketball like you had last night do for your level of confidence? Jay, if you could follow up, what that does, the wrinkle it gives you offensively.
KRIS JENKINS: My confidence stays the same. I play off my teammates, our energy, our defense. So our defense shows our offense. So my confidence, it never gets too high, never gets too low, whether I shoot bad or whether I have a great shooting game. I always believe the next one's going in. So I always keep that mentality.
COACH WRIGHT: There's one thing to know a guy is a good shooter, seeing him in practice and being with him every day and shooting drills. But it's a different level of confidence for all of us on this dais when you go through game after game in a season and the guy hits big shots every time.
The guy goes through some tough droughts, but still comes back and hits a big shot at the end. I think Kris's shooting and confidence right now has given all of us confidence that this guy can just get the ball anywhere on the floor and drill it against anybody, any time.
It's not just because of what he's done the last couple games. We've lived this for a couple years now. He's always done this offensively, where he's really improved is we can really count on him defensively and rebounding. He had nine rebounds last night against a really good rebounding team.
So we can keep him on the floor for long stretches and he gives us tremendous confidence because he's one of the great shot makers we've ever had.
Q. Jay, a lot of your guys talked last night about the first ten minutes or so of the Seton Hall game and how kind of it was a springboard for the last few games. What was the teaching point from that first half and really the first eight or ten minutes that's kind of applied to these last three games?
COACH WRIGHT: These guys are smart guys. After the Seton Hall game, we went home and we just looked at let's look at the first five, six minutes of this game. Let's just look at us, look at our stances, look at our eyes, look at our aggressiveness. We just said -- I showed them maybe three or four clips, and I said, Do I have to show you any more? They all just said, Nope. I said, That can't happen to us again. If it happens again, we're going home.
And that's what we did. It was that simple. And they just take it. They get it. It's why it's been a great team to coach. You really -- they're intelligent. You just show them something, you explain it to them, and they just take it and go. That's why I said they've owned that now. And they've really started games with great intensity.
Q. I don't want to creep you out, Kris, but I keep looking at your face and seeing what I think is a very -- the very start of a smile. But you don't always go beyond that. It's like -- am I onto anything there? If whoever up there will maybe describe Kris, his demeanor, his personalty. You guys take a few stabs at it.
DANIEL OCHEFU: This is his face. He always looks like he's mad and wants to smile. We all know Kris is a great guy with a great smile. Just let it shine.
KRIS JENKINS: Don't touch me, Josh.
COACH WRIGHT: He's a clown. He's putting on a good business face right now. He's one of the clowns of our team.
Q. Ryan, you played against a very high-profile point guard last time. No matter who you play against this time, it will be the same thing. Your numbers are great, the team's record's great. Do you feel like you get the kind of attention you deserve for how well you play? Do you carry a chip on your shoulder about it?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I think we've gotten a ton of attention, and we appreciate it. That's not what we try to focus on. Try to focus on each other on the floor. Whether we play well or play poorly, we know we're going to get the attention and people talking about it because it's a big game. We can't really focus on that. The matchups is more about our team versus their team.
Q. Jalen, I asked the Kansas players the same thing, so I just want to compare and contrast. How will you guys be spending all the time you have tonight and all day tomorrow? What will you guys be doing? Will Coach have anything planned to keep you entertained or amused? What's the day look like?
JALEN BRUNSON: I think what makes it so special is we can be -- you stay consistent. We do what we do. We enjoy each other's company. We'll keep everything the same. I mean, we all go into each other's room, do whatever we've got to do night before the game. I think that consistency really has helped us.
Q. (Off microphone)?
JALEN BRUNSON: Oh, we're going to do what we do on a normal game day. Come and eat breakfast, just talk to each other a little bit about anything. Once it's time for the game time, start preparing. We get our minds right.
THE MODERATOR: We'll let the student-athletes head to the breakout rooms.
Q. Jay, I know you're into Big Five history. Two coaches in the Big Five have taken two teams, taken a team to a Final Four twice -- Ken Loeffler, La Salle, and Harry Litwack.
COACH WRIGHT: I wasn't going to get that one. I was going to guess. I didn't know Harry Litwack.
Q. Harry last did it in '58. That's 58 years. What would it mean to you to be the third Big Five coach to get a team to the Final Four?
COACH WRIGHT: As you know, Joe, I take great pride in being a part of Philadelphia basketball. So anything that we do with that, with the history of Philadelphia basketball, anything that we do means a lot to me.
It doesn't -- it's not what inspires me, but I usually find out these things from you. And then when you tell me, I love it. I do. I'm really proud of it. I'm really humbled to be mentioned with these guys.
I went to Harry Litwack's camp when I was a kid. It's an honor to be mentioned with those names, though I wouldn't have known La Salle and Loeffler. I would not have known that. I knew they went, but I didn't think about him as the coach.
Q. Jay, understand you guys switch and help and everything, and Kris's answer was a good answer, but on those times when he and Ellis match up, if they do match up tomorrow, not assuming that --
COACH WRIGHT: I think he doesn't want to match up. He was hoping he's not on him. He doesn't want to deal with him.
Q. I think he was trying not to give a game plan. Anyway, what are the advantages and disadvantages that you would see in the matchups from both sides? Bill thought from his standpoint, his guy might have to chase out more than he normally does. He left it for you to say what the other side would be. Where would Ellis have the advantage?
COACH WRIGHT: I think what's unique about both of them is that they can -- both of them are going to have to chase each other, and both of them can post up. Now, Perry can post up deeper and use his size on Kris. Kris has got like a mid-range post-up game.
I think Kris might have a little bit better range that would extend Perry. I think Perry's better driving the ball off the dribble. Kris is going to have to contain. But they're both mismatch nightmares. Both of them. They are. For everybody. I don't mean just each other but if you get a small guy on Perry Ellis, he's posting him up. You get a bigger guy on him, and he's shooting if he has space. If he comes up on him, he's driving by him. Kris does the same thing.
Those guys are really, really valuable in basketball. Forget college basketball. In the game of basketball, those guys are really valuable. And both of them are good decision-makers. They're intelligent. You see some guys that are good ISO guys, but if you bring help to them or you trap them, they're not good decision-makers. Both of them are good decision-makers. That's why I'm a coach and he's a player. He doesn't even know that. But he knows what to do when he gets the ball.
Q. I asked Ryan about the last time you guys played each other. Curious what you remember the shot he hit to win the game.
COACH WRIGHT: I remember that he had not made a shot and we had a baseline out of bounds late and we were a really young team and they were a young team. They were younger than us, because Wiggins and Embiid were freshmen. All these guys were freshmen too. So they were actually younger.
And I was thinking it was early in the season and I was thinking, who are we going to run this play for? I really thought Arch hasn't made a shot. But if Arch misses this shot for game and we lose this game to Kansas, it will not affect Arch at all. Some of these other young guys, if they miss it, it could crush them for the season. It's really what I thought about.
The other really unique thing about that game, I think I told Bill this, Wiggins had played, I don't know, maybe one or two games before that, and we were pressing him a little bit. He had five turnovers. I think he was sick that day too.
We, in the scouting report, pumped him up to our guys, how good he was. In the game, he had like five turnovers, didn't play that well. I said to our guys, I said, All right, watch this team. I said, You think they turned the ball over and we just beat them? You don't think they're that good? This is why players need coaching. Wiggins had five turnovers. I guarantee you by the end of this season, this kid will be one of the top picks in the draft. The kid, Embiid, got in foul trouble in that game. I said, When he gets coached by Bill Self for a year, I guarantee you this kid is going to be a great player by the end of the year and this team will be a great team. They didn't look good then, guys were sick.
When teams win a game, they think they're better. Then they watched them. At the end of the year, I said, You see that team now? Is that the same team that played us? They're all like, No. I said, That's why players need coaching. You need to be coached.
It was helpful for our guys, who heard a lot about Embiid and Wiggins, to say, well, those one-and-done guys are getting coached. I better listen and be coached. It really helped our team.
Q. Jay, it seemed like you were -- correct me if I'm wrong -- you were one of the first coaches on a major D-1 level to kind of go to four guard or small ball offense. I was wondering what in those early years did you see that kind of -- you talked about how Daniel opened everything up from a personnel standpoint. What did you feel like you were missing then that you know you needed to get for you guys to be able to play the way you're playing now offensively?
COACH WRIGHT: Are you saying from when we went from when we were four guards, how we changed?
Q. Yes. I'm trying to get at the evolution of how you've made the offense into what it is.
COACH WRIGHT: Well, we went four guards out of desperation. Our power forward, Curtis Sumpter, tore his ACL and we had a Sweet 16 game coming up against North Carolina. So it was kind of out of desperation. But it worked, and then we said, ooh, this is something good here.
But we knew it could only get us so far, and we needed good big guy inside. When that started -- when we started to have some success, people started calling us Guard U. And it was difficult to recruit good big men because they thought, hey, I'm not going there, it's Guard U.
And we said to Daniel Ochefu -- we had Dante Cunningham, who we actually recruited as a three-man and he wound up being our five-man on a Final Four team. We couldn't get any big guys to come. I remember going to Daniel Ochefu and saying some big guy is going to benefit from playing with these guards. Because they can't double you. You've got these guards around you. Come play with them. He's a really smart guy. He really thinks the game. He came in and we moved Taou Yarou. We also did that with him. He came in right after Daniel.
And that's -- when we got that big guy in the middle to play with those guards, I think that really solidified us as being a complete team.
Q. Coach, how have you seen your defense progress this year? It's been pretty solid and also what do you see in the Kansas defense?
COACH WRIGHT: Our defense has continually improved throughout the season. It was a weak part. It was a weakness early in the year. Our rebounding was a little bit of a weakness early in the year.
I think we have some young guys, always freshmen, Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, learning our system. And then when Daniel got hurt, being able to play Darryl Reynolds and Mikal Bridges more got us some size and length. So that helped our defense, and I think that that's really been the key to our success is being able to play more guys with length and getting more experience.
We've always marvelled at Kansas's defense for years under Bill Self. They are physical. They are disciplined, and they're very committed. You can see some committed defensive teams, but they don't have the length and the athleticism to get it done. You can see some teams that have good athleticism and length but they can be undisciplined.
They've got the package. That's why they -- what is their record? Is it 12 straight Big 12? I mean that's absurd. You can only do that with great defense. Not good. Great. And to do that consistently, that's what it is.
So, I mean, we really respect them for always being one of the best defensive teams in the country.
Q. Coach, two-part question. If you can expand, please, on the itinerary for the guys for tonight and tomorrow. No offense to Jalen, not a lot of information.
COACH WRIGHT: I don't think he knows.
Q. I figured. The second part would be where did the saying shoot 'em up and sleep in the streets come from?
COACH WRIGHT: What Jalen answered to you was really all he knew. We are very boring and you can ask our guys from Philly. We are the most boring team in the world in everything we do. But we do the same thing all the time.
We love being on the road. We actually just -- all the coaches eat every meal together with the team every night. I mean, every meal. We all eat together. Coaches, players. We never go out separately as coaches.
We enjoy that time we spend together on the road. We talk about life. We talk about basketball, not just our team. So that's what he's saying, that we'll do the same thing.
So tomorrow we'll all eat breakfast together. We'll meet a little bit, come back and eat lunch together. We'll watch film, we'll going to our shootaround. We'll come back, rest up. We'll come back, watch film again. We'll have -- our team chaplain does a little service before each pregame meal. We eat our pregame meal at the same time. We leave to go at the same time. We do everything exact -- it's a boring day, but it's what we do and we love it. What was the second part?
Q. About the shoot 'em up --
COACH WRIGHT: I read a book one time, and I think it was Mike Riordan. Is it Mike Riordan? No? But I think it was Mike Riordan. Did Kevin Grevey play for Buffalo? I think it was Mike Riordan. I just read an NBA -- older NBA player said that saying. I'm going to get this, because I'm going to know. I'm going to find this out because I read it. And I just loved it. I just loved that saying. That guy was that kind of player. I think Mike Riordan was.
I just stole it and I just said I want our guys to -- I always remembered as a player, if I felt the coach gave me the confidence to shoot the ball, I always felt like I played better. If I knew he wasn't going to take me out or wasn't going to be mad at me if I missed or if I took a bad shot.
So I always wanted our players to have that confidence, and that's what we use it for. And I never want them to fear having that game. If you're going to have a game where you shoot 8-for-11, you can't be afraid to have that game where you shoot 1-for-11. If your coach doesn't let you do it, you're never going to have that 8-for-11 game. That's our theory.
I better find out where I got that. I count on you guys for that stuff. I'm going to find this out. I think it might have been in Connie Hawkins' book. I'm going to get it.
Q. Coach, during the course of the season, obviously, different conferences, different parts of the country. Are you aware of a Kansas, what they're trying to accomplish? Second question, a couple months ago they inserted Landen Lucas into the starting lineup, and they've kind of taken off since then. Can you just address what you see on tape, what he brings to the table?
COACH WRIGHT: I can't tell you who was starting before Landen, but I watch all those games on ESPN. So I've seen so many great -- they've played in some epic battles already. Someone asked me about -- I didn't call this a heavyweight fight. Someone asked me that. I just said yeah, I could see how you could do that.
But they have played in some heavyweight battles in that conference. You watch them all on TV. You look for the games, Iowa State, Oklahoma games, Baylor games, Texas games. It's crazy. Michigan State.
But what I do see that Landen does is he knows his role and he's very intelligent about it, but yet he's talented enough that if they need to go to him, he's good enough to be in Perry Ellis' role. He'll probably be in that role next year.
But yet, he's good enough to be in that role, but yet he plays a complementary role where he's always on the weak side block, always offensive rebounding, always makes good decisions. You can go to him as a post-up player. That's what makes them -- someone asked me a question earlier, why you don't double Perry Ellis. He could be that good if that was his role on the team in a different way. He could do it in the post. He's a really talented kid.
Q. Jay, I don't want to misstate this question, because if you go to the Elite Eight, you've had a great, great, great season. But can you kind of put into words the difference between the eight and the four in terms of -- these guys might not care, because whenever they lose, they're going to be devastated.
COACH WRIGHT: My players?
Q. If they do. From the standpoint of alumni and the community and coaching, when you look back, the four is when they start painting stuff on the gym wall. Is there a difference there?
COACH WRIGHT: Huge. It's monumental. It's interesting you say they don't know it. I hope they don't, because I want them to play this like the next game.
But outside of here, it's -- outside of just the game, to get to a Final Four is monumental. It's the whole week leading up for the university is great, for the alumni.
In college basketball, getting to the Final Four, for some reason, I think if you're in the NBA and you get to The Finals, if you don't win, it's not that big of a deal. But getting to the Final Four, it's so big. It's defining.
If you played on a Final Four team, I mentioned to our players all of our young assistants from our Final Four team, the young guys, like the graduate assistants, the video guy, they all are major assistants on major college teams.
I told our guys, because people want people that were associated with the Final Four. So it's really defining. It really is, and I don't think -- I hope they don't understand the difference. But if you get there, if you get there and experience one time, you will know. And if these guys are lucky enough to get there, the guys that come back and play, if they play, if they get to play in this game, they'll know the difference, how big it is.
Q. On Wednesday, you talked about the importance of momentum and I wanted to see what you saw in your team last night when Miami made a run in the first half, made that game close, and how will momentum affect you guys tomorrow?
COACH WRIGHT: There's two kinds of momentum. The short-term momentum within a game, which I thought Miami started to get some. We put Josh Hart back in the game. That was our answer to momentum, to get Josh Hart back in there with two fouls. I thought it really helped. It could have hurt. He could have got his third foul and they would have kept it going.
But after that, I think we maintained it. There was a play where Josh Hart had a layup, missed it. Got his fourth foul. That could have changed it, and I thought we responded well. I thought we held on to the momentum.
The momentum in a season, for us right now, is really strong. We're playing good basketball, getting better every game. The things we talked about earlier with Kansas I think is the same way. They're on longer momentum. They've won, I think, 17 in a row. That's momentum. That really, that helps too. That helps you within games. So I think that positive momentum for both of us is important.
And if either one of us gets it during the game, the other is -- good teams have a way of breaking that.
Q. Jay, having been here as a coach of a mid-major, what did that do for you and what advice would you give to someone who is making that leap like the man who's coaching Rutgers right now?
COACH WRIGHT: Getting here at the mid-major makes you appreciate it more than if you only started at the high level. If you've never experienced playing in those play-in games, the pressure in those play-in games is incredible, in those championship games for the conference tournament.
I've told our staff that, some of the guys that have been with -- Mike Nardi, Baker Dunleavy, they played at Villanova. They've coached at Villanova. I said to them, you have no idea what that pressure is and how much you appreciate going.
And when we go to the tournament, I always look at it that way. I look at it as if I was at Hofstra. Like just don't ever take this for granted. Remember the feeling when you were at Hofstra and you got here, how big that was.
And for Steve Pikiell, I think that's going to be a real value to him coaching Rutgers to have that feeling of the pressure. There's no game you play at the high level that's the same pressure as that game. And then to be able to appreciate it when you make it.
Q. A little bit of a heavy question, it's about Kris. Have you had to take any special care with him in a sort of family sense? He's got a different sort of experience than most bring to your program, I'm sure. A lot of these guys in the locker room, they talk about family. I wonder if some of that is especially for him, in your opinion, or how you think it -- at least what you think it does for him and what it contributes to it.
COACH WRIGHT: He actually really does have a unique situation, but it's a positive one. His mom and dad still stay in great communication with him. I literally text with his mom almost every day. She was a college coach. And it's never -- she -- today's text was: Keep your foot on his throat.
It's a coach, you know. She talks like a coach, and she's amazing. His dad's still real close to him. Then he's got the Britts who I see them sometimes at our games when I know North Carolina's playing. I don't know how they figure it out. I know they go down to North Carolina all the time to see Nate.
But they treat him -- he's definitely one of theirs. And so he really has two families, and he's a really strong kid. He's got great character because he's got two sets of parents that are great character. It's a pure positive.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, we're out of time. Appreciate it.
COACH WRIGHT: Thank you, guys.
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