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March 16, 2017

Dan Hurley

Jared Terrell

E.C. Matthews

Hassan Martin

Kuran Iverson

Sacramento, California

THE MODERATOR: We have the gentlemen from Rhode Island. Our student-athletes are Hassan Martin, E.C. Matthews, Jared Terrell and Kuran Iverson. E.C., talk about your season and the trip out here all the way from Kingston, Rhode Island.

E.C. MATTHEWS: We are glad to be here. The season had its ups and downs and we had our glory moments and moments we wasn't too proud of. All of those moments brought us here and we were blessed to play in the A-10 tournament and now we get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Glad to be here.

Q. Looking back at the run in Pittsburgh, what worked for you guys specifically at the offensive end?
JARED TERRELL: Just specifically moving the ball around, passing it very well. I think our defense started the offense and in most cases getting stops and rebounds and being able to run in transition and being able to make shots.

HASSAN MARTIN: Like Jared said, our defense sparked our offense. Guys were tenacious on defense and were then able to get out and hit shots on offense and our confidence was out the roof. That's the other thing that helped us get that Championship in Pittsburgh.

E.C. MATTHEWS: We take pride in our defense and we're unselfish on offense and we trust each other and know each other's spots and like that. When we are making shots it turns our level of play up to another level.

KURAN IVERSON: Just like Has, said our defense led to offense. Our main thing was finding people who was getting it going like E.C. or J.T. They started a spark. We kept getting them the ball, and once Has got it going I just tried to contribute by playing more defense.

Q. Jared and E.C., you guys like to get up and pressure the ball, send the defense beyond the three-point line. What goes into doing that effectively? What have you noticed from just this team why you are so effective at getting into guys' grills?
JARED TERRELL: We started that in practice early in the season. We do a lot of workouts like that, defensive drills. Just containing and being smart not being too aggressive when you are following but pressuring the ball smart and making sure the other team doesn't run their offense smooth.

E.C. MATTHEWS: We try to knock the teams off of running their play smoothly and we see one person getting into their defender we try to feed off that and try to do it so whoever we are playing and therefore we just play defense as a whole very good.

Q. What does it mean to all of you guys to bring Rhode Island back to the tourney for a long time?
HASSAN MARTIN: Is means a lot to me, especially my last year here, going out as a warrior hasn't been done in almost two decades, and not only to get to the tournament but to win the Atlantic 10 Championship. It is something I will never forget and I'm excited to start this tournament.

JARED TERRELL: Just for the program it means a lot as well as myself and to get these two guys on the right and left of me to where they need to be, just a good feeling.

Q. E.C., your teammates said it means a lot. You tore up your knee with that ACL tear first game of the season. Talk about that journey, coming through rehabilitation and going through these games and here you are back in the tournament -- into the tournament after that serious injury?
E.C. MATTHEWS: A year ago around this time I was rehabbing and our season was over. The fact that a year later now that we're here and going into the summer workouts and going into the season we had the goal of winning the A-10 Championship and having an NCAA berth. This is what it's all about. We're just getting started. I feel like the ups and downs, the injuries that we all had and not really living up to our potential from the media, so to speak, it made us really strong, very strong and we wouldn't be here without that.

Q. E.C., I know a year ago when the NCAA games were in Providence you went to watch Buffalo with Coach Hurley. What did you learn from that experience and take away from it that made you want to play in it as well?
E.C. MATTHEWS: Nothing like it. I was a fan in the crowd, but seeing the amount of people there and the level of play and how hard the teams play and how every detail you've got to be really focused and put your all into it.

It's a blessing just to be a part of that. I think our team, we're going to feed off that very well. We're going to play hard. We're going to play very hard on Friday.

Q. Kuran and Hassan, the assessment of the match-up? They have a big guy getting NBA "hype" so what's it going to take to get him off?
HASSAN MARTIN: He's really tall and we've got to push him off the ball, not let him get close to the basket. So we have to get physical with him and push him off the block and force him to take shots that he's not comfortable taking.

KURAN IVERSON: Same thing as Has said, trying to be as physical as we could with him, being more aggressive. I'm going to do my best to help Has out down there, and I'm guarding a good shooter so I've got to stay as close to him as possible.

Q. Kuran, you had a little bit of NCAA Tournament experience at Memphis and Stanford, then at Indiana. If you talked about that with your teammates and told them about the experiences?
KURAN IVERSON: I told a couple of players on my team it's the best feeling ever. I went there with Memphis, we beat George Washington, then made it to the second round and played Virginia and then we lost. Ever since then I've told myself I want to make it back, and this has been a great goal for us and I'm finally here.

Q. Hassan, you guys have played well for a long time, won eight games in a row. Is there anything in common in those games that you guys have done well, that has allowed you to play so well for so long?
HASSAN MARTIN: I feel like we finally started clicking as a unit. This is how we expected to play earlier in the season with all those close games we had, and now it's getting guys going. E.C. is back to himself as he was before he was injured and our defense has picked up and our rebounding and guys are real confident. That's what got us to the last eight games and the championship, confidence, and guys getting back to themselves and us clicking as a whole.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thanks very much.

We are joined by Dan Hurley in his fifth season at Rhode Island. Coach, can you talk about your season overall and coming out this way?

DAN HURLEY: It's been an amazing journey this year for us. Starting early in the year, coaching in the preseason, a highly-anticipated team, top-25 team in the preseason and got off to a really good start, dealt with some injuries, key injuries to key starters through about two months of our season, the end of the nonconference all the way through to conference play, Hassan Martin and Jarvis Garrett, two of our best players.

Just our program and our team and coaches did a great job of winning enough games, keeping our head above water until we were able to get healthy late in the year. Once we were able to get healthy late in the year we were able to resemble the team that folks anticipated seeing in the preseason. A team that won eight straight to end the year including the conference Championship and eight straight road or neutral site games.

So incredibly determined team. So excited to be out here. Excited for our great fans and our athletic director, Thorr Bjorn and so much had to go right to get back here after an 18-year absence, but we're excited to be here.

Q. Coach, one of the other reporters mentioned that you and E.C. went to watch the NCAA Tournament last year. What was that experience like? Why did you want him to take it in in that fashion?
DAN HURLEY: Yeah, we went out to Providence to see E.C.'s old high school coach, former Romulus State Championship coach. When he coached E.C. there, he was coaching the University of Buffalo against Miami in the tournament and E.C. was making progress with the torn ACL, and I wanted him to see what the atmosphere was like. I wanted him to see and feel and sense, you know, what it would be like if we were able to obviously put ourselves into a position to get there, put the work in, make the sacrifices, continue to push himself in his rehab so he could get on this national stage and have the eyes of the country on him.

We knew it would be a great story because this was a kid that nine minutes into the opening game of his junior year, his whole world fell apart. I think it's one of the great stories of the NCAA Tournament here is E.C. Matthews, his recovery from that devastating injury and the fact that he led us to this tournament along with obviously a number of other tremendous players.

Q. Dan, your guys were just in here. They seemed pretty loose, pretty confident. Mentally are they where you want them to be right now?
DAN HURLEY: Yeah, I think the best thing, once we got healthy late the best thing we had going for us was the "edge." I think we're one of the hardest-playing teams in the country. We really get after people. We try to make people uncomfortable.

What we were able to add to that over the weekend in Pittsburgh was shot making and offensive confidence. If we're an elite defensive team, if we're going to play as hard as anyone in the country, and we're going to have confidence in shot-making at the offensive end, I think that's why the guys looked relaxed because that's who we are right now.

Q. Dan, people here in Sacramento are probably familiar with your brother having played for the Kings, but do you have any past experience here and what's it like to be here for your tournament experience?
DAN HURLEY: Emotional for me just because my last time here I was watching my brother cling to his life in a hospital room surrounded by his family. Just amazing how it's set up that we're now out here. I'm not sure how many times Bob has been out here since, but he will be out here for the game tomorrow.

To see Sacramento on that screen in the airport the other day was emotional. I'm going to keep it together up here, though. Bob will be here obviously along with my family that's here and a bunch of traveling from Jersey City.

Q. Coach, thanks for sharing that with us, because I was here at that time when your family was going through that with Bobby. You come from a basketball family, as well as a coaching family. Your older brother is coaching at Arizona State and your dad is a legendary coach from New Jersey. How is that to have all those minds in one household to come out to be as successful as your family is?
DAN HURLEY: Kind of one-track minds there, not well-rounded people, unfortunately. We've even dragged my mom into it. She was the score keeper.

No, I mean, listen, it was our lives. It was our family, obviously my father, tremendous passion for basketball, tremendous passion for Jersey City and St. Anthony High School and the city itself is an amazing city, and they love basketball. You grow up in a city like that, some of the best courtyard games in the metropolitan area. We learned so much about coaching basketball from going to practices as young kids, 5, 6 years old, our babysitting with my dad was doing ball-handling drills at his varsity practices. That was his idea of babysitting. That is how we grew up.

If we weren't doing that we were watching games on TV and through osmosis we were learning so much about tactics and relationships with players, you know, and how to take a team through a season. It was like living a coaching clinic for 18 years.

Q. Dan, as you look at the Creighton match-up what's the biggest challenge with defending them?
DAN HURLEY: They're like the Golden State Warriors with how they push the ball and how they shoot threes, the best offensive team we will have play played this year without question.

Greg McDermott, the stuff they run, the nuances of it, he looks like he could be a tremendous NBA coach based on how good he is on offense. Foster is a potential pro. Justin Patton is a lottery pick, and Thomas is a great player and they surround those three with shooters and they're an underrated defensive team. They've adjusted since Watson has been out. They found themselves. It's going to be a heck of a game for us to stay close in and hopefully have a chance to steal.

Q. Could your family take the Alfords?
DAN HURLEY: It would be an interesting family battle. The Alfords would be a great battle. The Drews want a part of us too. The Millers. I think we should do something when this is over, like a 3 on 3, get the old men involved too.

Q. Like a Pay-Per-View event or something, reality TV?
DAN HURLEY: Yes, but they would be held in Rhode Island. It would be great for our state, great exposure.

Q. Did your dad give you any advice?
DAN HURLEY: He was at the Atlantic 10 Championship game and he kept giving the manager notes to hand to me which I thought was ill-timed because it was his first in so many months. He gives me so many basketball things. It's almost like Hubie Brown, my father has a mind like Hubie, and he will give me after a game such smart, subtle, basketball reminders. That's why after every game I call my dad like a good son.

Q. Coach, have you been feeding Preston any misinformation?
DAN HURLEY: I've been trying to throw him off a little bit. We spoke two days ago. I tried to talk to him about all the adjustments we've made since he hasn't been here, how the style of play has changed so much. Preston, you know, is another person that's responsible for this program being where it is, you know. He helped in an enormous way with recruiting early on, taking over a program that bottomed out, helping us build the culture and Preston is a great friend. We're so thrilled to be in the tournament.

It does stink on some level to go up against a friend and then to go up against a former player that has so much pride in URI and in his time here, so I know he's hurting. He's hurting a lot more than I'm hurting right now.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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