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March 16, 2017

Tim Cluess

Sacramento, California

THE MODERATOR: Okay we have the head coach of the Gaels, now in his seventh year, Tim Cluess. Tim, could you give us an overview on your season and what it took to get here?

TIM CLUESS: We had an up and down season early on. We had great tournament out in Alaska, winning that tournament there. I think we finished 12-4 in our last 16 games. Our players have worked hard for us and gone through a lot of adversity this year and come together as a group. I'm really proud of them, and we're really, really thrilled to be here.

Q. Coach, you're a New York guy, east coast guy. Have you been out to Sacramento before? How was the flight?
TIM CLUESS: I've never been to Sacramento. Been out to California a few times so far, great trip, everything is beautiful so far, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Uneventful trip?
TIM CLUESS: Uneventful.

Q. Coach, what have you seen of Oregon so far and the strength of the conference, the Pac-12?
TIM CLUESS: The Pac-12 is tremendous this year. Oregon is one heck of a team. They're talented from top to bottom. They run and gun. They can really shoot. I love the way they share the basketball. They don't turn it over. They play with a tremendous amount of energy. Their transition offense is really, really good.

They have a number of guys, obviously Dillon Brooks being the main player, but they can all play and they can all score and they play with a lot of passion and energy. It's going to be a challenging game, but we're really looking forward to it.

Q. Coach, I know some of your guys were here, last year they were here. But for you, is there anything you know going into the tournament that you didn't know in, say, 2012?
TIM CLUESS: I would like to say, yes. But I guess just the experience. I've been to it as a player, so I understand what that piece is about. I think trying to relate to our players and trying to manage their time and their energy and their attitude going into the tournament and trying to manage that and give them a better chance to be successful.

Q. What is the attitude that you're trying to manage or how do you have them going into it?
TIM CLUESS: We have a tremendous amount of energy as you get close to this game and you don't want them to use it all up before the game. They were very excited in our workout that we had earlier today, so not overdoing it on the practice court, showing them a lot of video, talking about it, letting them enjoy the moment, making sure they're getting proper rest, proper food. It's hard for young men of that age who have all that energy to get their sleep. So to make sure they're getting to bed and not up running around and all the things you can do to manage it and talk about their strength and staying focused on the task at hand. When we get to the game time making it about one play at a time and one possession at a time and don't make it about a bigger picture than that.

Q. How do you plan on winning this game in a west coast environment that's pretty close to Oregon?
TIM CLUESS: Obviously it's an advantage for them and they deserve it. They've had a tremendous year, but when you go on the basketball court it's may the best man win. We just have to be better tomorrow.

Q. You've been here three of the last five years. Obviously, this is not just a basketball team. This is a basketball program. Could you talk about this campus, this university and the dedication and commitment to the program?
TIM CLUESS: I think our school has been terrific right from the administration to the president on down with support. Our alumni have been great.

When I got there they wanted to continue the tradition of Iona College and have a strong basketball program there as part of that tradition. I've had all the support I could ask for there and I've been fortunate enough because of my assistant coaches that work so hard to bring in quality student-athletes who work really, really hard for us. I'm really proud of them, a lot of these guys have been overlooked in the recruiting process and they needed to prove something. So we take that mentality that we have a lot to prove to people every time we step on the court and I love the guys who embrace that and they work hard and deserve everything they've gotten and couldn't be prouder of them.

Q. I was talking to Jordan and he said he was looking forward to this because there are guys that he's not to towering over. He's bullying in the paint and he could get "refed" properly. Do you think he could play a little more free?
TIM CLUESS: Wouldn't that be great? I hope because of the physicality that these referees and these teams are used to that that's allowed a little more in this game. He's a powerful guy and sometimes a bump by him can be overexaggerated by the opponent and it's hard to referee that. At this level, I'm looking forward to him being on the floor for 30 minutes or so.

THE MODERATOR: Any further questions? Okay, Tim, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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