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March 13, 2017

Bryant Crawford

John Collins

Keyshawn Woods

Dayton, Ohio

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by student-athletes Bryant Crawford, Keyshawn Woods and John Collins.

Q. John, maybe you talked about it with Danny during your recruitment, but as you've kind of emerged as a player this year, have you talked to Danny at all about what that was like for him as a player and what he's been able to teach you about being that targeted guy?
JOHN COLLINS: I think he's taught me there's a lot of pressure that comes with it, a lot of responsibility having that target on your back, definitely that everybody is going to be coming at you when they see you're against them at any given night. So just always be prepared. And especially times like this it's necessary for me to lock in and do what I'm supposed to do.

Q. John, has Austin Arians talked about his NCAA Tournament experience? Obviously not a lot of experience on this team. But he did play. Has he talked about anything, what he expects it to be like for you guys?
JOHN COLLINS: Biggest thing he's told me is to soak it all in. It was a great experience for him. Obviously at his former school they won their conference tournament. Definitely a different experience being an at-large school and not having to win the conference tournament to be able to get into it. So he definitely just said soak it all in and take it in and it's the best time of year to play college basketball.

Q. Bryant, what was the feeling like yesterday when you were all watching the selection show and your name finally popped up there? Were there any worries when it got so late in the show you hadn't seen it yet? And what was it like as a team to kind of celebrate that moment?
BRYANT CRAWFORD: I feel like the team started getting a little jittery, a little antsy, so seeing our name pop up was a big relief for us.

We've been like the First Four in, First Four out, basically a bubble team for the last couple of weeks. And we knew that in the ACC Tournament making a huge run would put us in it for sure. So losing that second game to Virginia Tech kind of left us with a little bit of worries and wondering where we would be. So it was a relief for us to be called.

Q. Keyshawn, does this feel like the NCAA Tournament to you? Are you getting to the point where you're getting excited or just trying to take it all in right now?
KEYSHAWN WOODS: Right now, just like they are, just taking everything in. It's different, everything -- coming to the hotel and having people cheer for you and congratulating you already for making it. So it's different. It's getting there for me to feel like we're here at the tournament.

Q. What's your favorite thing about playing for Coach Manning?
JOHN COLLINS: My favorite thing about playing for Coach Manning is probably that he expects excellence, perfection. He's a perfectionist, and he expects everything to be perfect in an imperfect game is probably my favorite thing. He's always expecting the best out of us.

KEYSHAWN WOODS: Just the way he challenges every day. He's always on us, if he's not on you, then it's more like he don't -- it's not that he don't care, but it's like -- like J.C., said, he wants excellence, he wants you to be your best at all times. He won't let any of us slack at any time. If he is then he's going to be on us and let us know what we doing wrong, what we need to fix and how we need to be. And that's one thing I like about Coach Manning.

BRYANT CRAWFORD: The same thing they said. He challenges us and no matter whether you're one of the starters or walk-ons, he critiques everybody and wants the best for all of us, not just as players but people, too. He treats us like his family.

Q. Has Coach talked to you about his experience as a player in the NCAA Tournament?
KEYSHAWN WOODS: Yeah, we have conversations, and he just pretty much tells us to soak everything in and enjoy the process and take it one game at a time and just try to look at it that way.

Q. Keyshawn, can you give an example of maybe is Coach Manning ever impatient with a particular group like the guards, bigs, something like that? And as a former player do you see that he maybe loses his patients a little bit sometimes?
KEYSHAWN WOODS: Uh, I don't know. I feel like he's on everybody, but for the bigs because he's a big, I know he expects a lot more out of them, considering that he was a big.

But I mean for us, I feel like he's on the guards and the bigs a lot, pretty much the same. But if I had to choose, if you gave me one to choose, I'm going to go with the bigs more than the guards.

Q. Bryant and Keyshawn, how would you describe John's value to this team?
BRYANT CRAWFORD: It's big. I mean, it's not like he does anything spectacular. He plays the game and let it come to him, I think that's what's best about his game. He doesn't force it. And he does all the small things and he definitely uses his athletic ability to his advantage. And just having a big that causes so much attention and is a big part of another team's scouting report definitely opens up the floor for our guards and our wings to be open on the perimeter.

KEYSHAWN WOODS: Pretty much what he said. John's progress this year was big for us. He knew he had to step up with losing Devin Thomas last year, and he did a great job in the offseason preparing himself. With having J.C. on our team, he draws so much attention and it just opens up the things for the guards and the other players on the team, because he has to have that type of attention because of how hard he works, trying to get post position, offensive rebounds, blocked shots. He does everything. He does the little things for us that have helped us be successful this year.

Q. John, I'll follow up on the question I asked Keyshawn about Coach and maybe some impatience. Do you feel like he's on the bigs a little more than anybody else?
JOHN COLLINS: Definitely. You know, there's a certain familiarity of the process. I'm going through right now the process he went through when he was at Kansas playing and developing your skills.

It's definitely a bit of a quicker learning curve when it comes to the stuff he wants me to know and find out and develop and put in my game. But he's definitely on me a lot. And like the guys said, if he's not on you all the time, then there's something wrong. I think he saw the potential in me, that's why he's always on me all the time.

Q. John, you committed to Wake Forest shortly after Manning arrived and started taking over the program. Is it any surprise to you to see this program in the NCAA Tournament this quick and this quick of a turnaround?
JOHN COLLINS: No, I think you can look at his previous coaching job, the way he turned the program around so quickly.

I think even though people doubted him doing it at an ACC school, I still like the way he approaches the game, the way he spoke about -- the way he takes time to build a program. And he needs players. And I think that was part of the reason I bought in, especially because he was an all-time great at Kansas. Definitely a lot of factors that wanted to be committed here but definitely the way he can turn a program around is proven.

Q. John, someone says "Danny and the Miracles" to you, does that register and mean much to you, and I guess -- if someone said "Danny and the Miracles" are you too young for that to mean that much or resonate with you?
JOHN COLLINS: It's always brought up, just talking to anybody, and they find out my coach is Coach Manning, that's the first thing that pops up. You hear it all the time from all the assistant coaches, and Coach Manning will joke about it a couple times.

But that group and what he did to take that group to the national championship game was pretty amazing.

I'm not too sure, I can find as much film, obviously I'm pretty sure I can ask Coach Manning for some film, he'll definitely bring it up, but that was pretty amazing what he did.

Q. Keyshawn, do you expect there to be some nerves, some big-game jitters tomorrow, seeing it's your first NCAA Tournament game?
KEYSHAWN WOODS: Probably, but I feel like our nerves kind of went out the window once we saw our names pop up on the screen. Everybody had that sigh of relief once we found out we made it.

And I just feel like everybody is just glad we get to play postseason play because that was all we really wanted to do, that was our goal and we're just happy to be playing in this tournament with this group of guys for the first time.

Q. Keyshawn, just wanted to get your impression of K-State and in particular the way they play defense?
KEYSHAWN WOODS: Well, we know K-State is very aggressive defensively and they're ranked, if I'm correct, top 15 defensively in the country.

We know they're going to pressure us, get after us and really be on us all night. We've just got to make sure we be strong with the ball, make sure we get in our spots, where we should be in order to handle that pressure and don't let the pressure get to us.

And for us we had an up and down year and we've seen everything when it comes from defenses, pressure. So I don't think that should bother us at all. But we just gotta make sure we stay together as a team and handle that pressure real well.

Q. Was there a turning point for you early in the year when you're productive that maybe you're fighting foul trouble or quiet stretches, was there a turning point where you were able to turn that into more consistency in some games where you were able to play in the mid-30s in minutes, staying on the floor and staying active?
JOHN COLLINS: I think it was just a transition from my play from non-conference play to conference play. Obviously you have to turn it up a notch when it comes to conference play. I think it was a mental state for me to be locked in and my coaches and teammates stressing the value I have when I'm on the floor versus to when I'm off obviously. It's a mental switch for me to realize the value that I did hold when we got into conference play. So I think that was it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Good luck tomorrow night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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