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October 26, 2016

Michael Young

Sheldon Jeter

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Pitt, Michael Young will be first to lead us off and then Sheldon Jeter.

Q. Michael, just what you can say about your first impression of Kevin Stallings when he came in? Just what you've taken away from him so far?
MICHAEL YOUNG: My first impression was just that he was truthful, he was honest. He was straight to the point. Had a meeting with him, me and Jamel. It was our first meeting with him. We were throwing a lot of questions at him, really trying to get a grasp of who he was, and what he was about. He was very honest with us. When we got to the court, he was preaching and putting in a play what he was telling us. From that point on, it was kind of a smooth transition.

Q. Michael, tell us what you liked and what you didn't like about last season.
MICHAEL YOUNG: What I liked about last season was that as the season grew on, as a team, we grew closer, even through the tough times, even through the bad losses and the close games we may have lost. We still stay close as a team. At the end of the season, we were closer than we were at the beginning. What I didn't like was just not winning at all. I'm a winner; I hate losing. And to not win it all is painful.

Q. What can you say about the deep-rooted rivalry between Syracuse and Pitt? Just kind of your takeaways from that rivalry?
MICHAEL YOUNG: I don't circle it on the calendar. Playing them means a little bit more because both teams date back to the Big East. To play them is something special. I like their gym. It's my favorite gym outside of the Pete in the conference, so to play them and get a chance to go against them is special and a little bit more competitive.

Q. Along those lines, it seems like every time you guys play, it's a slugfest. How tough is it to face that zone?
MICHAEL YOUNG: One of the toughest. Especially with the zone, and playing against the zone. We've got a lot of guys who mainly like to go against man. But to play against the zone and have to really unite as a team to try to get a win against the zone is tough. And playing against them, they always play tough. Those guys come ready to play. We come ready to play. Like you said, every game is a slugfest.

Q. Talk about the things that you don't like. Last season you started out the year winning 14 of your first 15 games. You closed out the season by only winning three of your last 11 games. It's almost a tale of two seasons. What did you learn about yourself through that process?
MICHAEL YOUNG: What I learned about myself is that it doesn't matter how you start, it's about how you finish. Just for myself, it's about no matter what you do at the beginning of the season, what matters at the end is how I'm playing, how I'm helping my team, and really getting us the wins that really matter most.

Every game matters. We want to win every game, especially with the conference play, and to end the season going into the ACC Tournament and going into the NCAA Tournament, it means a lot for my team and myself. So I really learned how I start is how I've got to finish.

Q. The question I had was, James Robinson was basically a four-year starter at point guard, and that has a lot to do with the personality of a team, who the point guard is. This is the first year you'll be playing without him. How do you see that taking shape in terms of the team's personality?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Well, right now we've got Jamel Artis at point guard. He's doing a great job offensively, defensively. He's taking care of the ball and doing everything we need him to do while also still being aggressive.

Like you said, with James, the team kind of took on his personality, and with Jamel, we're kind of taking on his. Everybody's being a little bit more aggressive. A little more offensive-minded and wanting to put the pressure on the defense. We're playing fast-paced and really getting after it.

So Jamel's doing a great job, and this team has really taken heed of his abilities and his attitude.

Q. The coaching staff has changed, but the team itself only with two freshmen is going to be a fairly experienced team coming back. Has it felt like the team has changed at all? Or are you guys feeling about the same, both in the locker room and on the court?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Yes, the team has definitely changed. New coach, new coaching staff. You've pretty much got new everything - new uniforms, new arena. Everybody, once Coach Stallings was hired, we all went into our meetings with him, and went into it what he wanted with an open mind. The team has definitely changed. He's starting Jamel at point. Everybody else, that's pretty much that will start will be between 6'6" and 6'9". We're switching everything on defense and denying passes, which will be different. The up-tempo style will be different.

So same players, but definitely it will be a different team.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Sheldon Jeter.

Q. Sheldon, just what you can say about your first impression of Coach Stallings, and what you took away from him when he first came in?
SHELDON JETER: It was just kind of like the same stuff I did my first time meeting him at Vanderbilt. A very genuine guy. Very truthful. But also at the same time wants to help us reach our goals. He's really designated more towards getting his best players shots, and getting shots that will help us win.

Q. You and Michael exchanged smiles as you got ready to take your position. It seems like you guys really like each other, yes?
SHELDON JETER: We're a very close team. We were like that last year. So everyone gets along with everyone. So we're all friendly with each other all the time. We enjoy each other's company. I don't think there is anybody on the team that has a problem with anybody else. We all consider each other brothers.

Q. To go into this Pittsburgh-Syracuse rivalry, just what you take away from it, what those games are like, both you and Michael smiled when I talked about the rivalry, so just what you can say about it?
SHELDON JETER: I'm smiling because I'm 5-0 against them, so I just enjoy playing them. Whether it's at the Carrier Dome or at the Pete, it's always -- they're always rough and tough games. They always, the competition level always usually picks up a lot when we're playing them. There's always something special about playing against them.

Q. You talked about that success against SU. Why have you had success against that 2-3 zone?
SHELDON JETER: We just had the personnel that's right to go against the zone. You have Jamel usually somewhere around the high post, operating in that area. You have shooters surrounding him. Then you have me and Mike really just kind of filling in in the open areas. So we've just always had the personnel since I've been there to really handle the zone. And we don't really get flustered when it gets late on the shot clock. We realize sometimes you've got to work and grind down the zone to get a good shot.

Q. It's hard to practice going into a game against a defense like that. Do you like playing against that style of defense?
SHELDON JETER: Normally I have good games against it, so I don't have a problem playing against it. It's just about finding the open seams, really. Preferably I'd like to go against man, and like you said, it's hard to practice that because it's a hard zone to really emulate. But I've had really good success and some of my better games in my career against them. So I enjoy playing against it.

Q. Michael had mentioned that Jamel Artis is playing the point this year. Can you address how that changes the character of the personality of the team?
SHELDON JETER: Jamel is just a skilled player, so when we say he's playing point, it's really everyone on the team has a chance to really bring the ball up at some point if you're skilled enough to do it. Jamel's just the person that gets us in, that starts us when we're starting offense really. But he's really handled it really well. Like I said, Coach is good at finding ways to take advantage of match-ups. So Jamel's probably going to end up with a lot of smaller guards on him, so Jamel will get the ball in scoring positions where he needs to to be most efficient.

And on top of that, to have a guard who when it gets late in the shot clock who can just score, just flat out score and make a play, it's a really, I guess it's a confidence booster.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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