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March 22, 2017

Bob Huggins

Elijah Macon

Tarik Phillip

Nathan Adrian

Jevon Carter

San Jose, California

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. Questions?

Q. We so often get to interview Mark Few as members of the Spokane media, but you had him on your show back in 2012 in Houston. Wondered what you thought of him as an interview subject?
COACH HUGGINS: I felt sorry for him. He was walking through the park, like somebody killed his dog. And Frank Martin and I were sitting there doing -- it was my coach's show. So I'm just trying to cheer him up, you know. Tried to help him. He was very happy at the end because he got, put some digs in against me in my own show. I think we talked about fishing, didn't we? I think so.

Q. Have you heard from Jerry West during the tournament at all, and what does he mean to you and to the university still?
COACH HUGGINS: Jerry is West Virginia. I mean, he's the most well thought of, the most popular, the most -- and Jerry's been great to the state. Jerry still comes back. He's got a house at the Greenbrier. He's been fantastic.

Jonnie played for me. I talked more to Jonnie than I talked to Jerry. In fact, I think Jonnie's come to the game. So, I don't know, he means everything. I mean, he's such a good guy, such a bright guy, and he cares deeply about our state.

Q. Since the Gonzaga team is one that often time gets overlooked because of the conference it's in and the schedule it plays, but it's still here with the 1 seed. That being said, how are you guys approaching this team and this game?
COACH HUGGINS: I don't think they get overlooked by basketball people. I think the basketball people know what a great job Fewy's done there. They know the tradition. He may end up being the winningest coach of all time if he keeps going the way he's going. I mean, I don't know how you take that lightly. They've got a great following. They've got everything that you need to have to have a great program.

Q. I was wondering, obviously you guys play in different time zones for your road games and the conferences. Are there any major adjustments you have to make for this team playing on the West Coast?
COACH HUGGINS: You know I'm not smart enough to do that. We're just -- we go where they tell us to go when they tell us to go. And the time zone thing, you know, it's 7:30 at home. So we generally play around that time when we're at home, anyway. So I don't think it ought to be an issue.

Q. You and Coach Few, how did you guys work out -- how did your relationship begin? Was it just being in basketball places at the same time?

Q. With Coach Few, yes.
COACH HUGGINS: Yeah, the Final Four, clinics, those kind of things. He's actually fun to be with. He doesn't look like that, but he's actually a lot of fun to be with.

Q. You had a matchup that you kind of had to win against Notre Dame at the point guard position. Gonzaga gives you a couple different ones, one at point but then the one inside. Is there one that's more important than the other for you to take away?
COACH HUGGINS: Yeah, I think the guards, because of the way we play. We've just got to try to do what everybody else does, just kind of limit their touches inside. But I mean the whole thing with us starts on the perimeter. So we've gotta do what we've been doing.

Q. The basketball people you reference, they generally regard them as one of the better defensive teams in the country. I'm curious what you see to explain that?
COACH HUGGINS: What who -- Gonzaga?

Q. Gonzaga.
COACH HUGGINS: I think they always have been. They do a terrific job. I think they do, one, they do a great job of scouting, so they know what you're going to do. And they -- our game, to be successful in our game is about taking things away from people and they do a terrific job of taking things away. Then they've got that great size inside, not just size, but they're good. And they limit you to one shot.

Q. I'm asking you to go pretty far back here, but that tournament game against Gonzaga, when you got ejected and then Chuck got ejected. I'm just curious, looking back what you thought of that whole situation, and was Chuck somebody who frequently had those kinds of back and forths with the officials?
COACH HUGGINS: Chuck's father was an official. So for a long time a lot of the guys that we had, his dad broke them in, you know, to officiating. So he had a great relationship with those guys, because of his father.

I don't know, go and sit in one of those locker rooms for a half and see how you like it. They don't put a TV in there. Nothing. I mean, our orthopedic surgeon was coming in and telling me, you know, what the score was. And then the NCAA people came in and said you can't do that because I was sending messages back out.

I mean, people think I'm a hell of a lot smarter than what I really am if I can do that. I couldn't possibly do that. But I mean the biggest thing -- and cell reception in there was awful. Just horrible. And I wanted to call my mother and apologize for getting thrown out and embarrassing her. She said I can't believe you lasted as long as you did, the way they were calling things.

I just saw Mike Kitz (phonetic) in Buffalo. A good guy. He's a good guy. I wasn't even talking to him when I got thrown out. It was the other guy, but he threw me out.

Q. Piggybacking off of that, the last time you played Gonzaga in the tournament, you made some changes in the years following, too. I don't know, did the way that season ended and the two seasons that followed, what did that time do as far as shaping your response on how you got back to this stage?
COACH HUGGINS: Well, they were just -- they were better than us, but so was a lot of people. If you're talking about those two years. We weren't very good. They did a great job. I mean, if you remember, the year that you're talking about, if I am on the same page as you are, everything went through KJ. And KJ had one heck of a year.

I mean, when you're the leading scorer, leading rebounder in the Big East, you're pretty good back then. And they did a good job of kind of taking him out of the game. But, I mean we really relied on KJ and Truck, and they did a great job taking both of those guys out of the game.

Q. Gonzaga has obviously been very good for a long time, but it seems like they've taken a step forward this year. What, if anything, is different or even better about this year's Gonzaga team, from your analysis?
COACH HUGGINS: Honestly, I don't know how to answer that. I think they've been really good for a while. You look back at the players that they've been able to attract there, I mean, they've had great players. And I think we all know great players makes coaching a whole lot easier.

They got really good players again. And I don't know -- Mark could answer that better than me -- how this team compares to those other teams. I don't really have any idea.

It's always a pleasure talking to you guys. I mean, I just, I got woke up this morning excited about being able to come and talk to you folks. Thanks.

THE MODERATOR: We welcome the West Virginia student-athletes Jevon Carter, Nathan Adrian, Elijah Macon and Tarik Phillip. Questions.

Q. For any of you guys, Bob's got a bit of an interesting and I think unique style and kind of way he conducts himself on the sidelines. Is that something that you guys, it's taken time to get used to as you played for him? And what is it like playing for him?
NATHAN ADRIAN: I think all of us knew what we were getting into whenever we signed up for this. But I think that's kind of part of what we did, we enjoy playing for a coach like him and that's what we look forward to every day.

Q. Jevon, your guys' press obviously puts a lot of pressure and responsibility on the other team's point guard. I'm just wondering what you've seen out of Nigel Williams-Goss?
JEVON CARTER: He's a good player. Good size. He's poised. Try to play at his own pace, and it's our guards' job to make him uncomfortable.

Q. Elijah, as a team that's posted up as much or more than anybody in the country, you faced a team that liked to do it at that rate in Bucknell. But will the challenge be for you guys when you go up against two 7-footers who get the ball with great consistency?
ELIJAH MACON: Just to make it real hard for them. Obviously we'll front the post the whole game, but obviously you just make it really hard for them to score the ball even if they do catch it. It starts with the guards, just putting ball pressure on the guards and just make sure we do what we gotta do if they do get the ball.

Q. Nate or anybody else, he just mentioned if they get the ball. Your role to deny that entry pass in the first place, so they aren't even able to get into their offense.
NATHAN ADRIAN: That's kind of what we try to do. We try to take away passes to make them start their offense further away from the basket, make the entry pass harder, make it easier on our bigs.

Q. Tarik, you guys have had a number of close games this season. Something like that, where you've been through tight situations in the final moments of the second half, how much can that help when you're going into tournament play and you know that each time you step on the court you've got a quality opponent?
TARIK PHILLIP: We played against a lot of good teams. As you have said we've been in a lot of tough battles. I feel like our team is ready for those battles, poised for those situations. And we should be ready if we get into those type of situations.

Q. Jevon, I know it's a very different makeup of this team, but two years after the first time that you got a taste of the Sweet 16, what if anything is different this go around, whether it's just that you've been there before? Or how is this week leading up do you think been different from two years ago?
JEVON CARTER: This year is this year. Two years ago is two years ago. It's totally different. This is a different team. We're playing a different team. Different region. Different state. This is different. Everything's different.

Q. Nathan, what do you think of Przem Karnowski's beard and how does your compare?
NATHAN ADRIAN: His is better than mine and I'll never be able to grow one like that.

Q. His is better than yours?

Q. What about just beards in general. I think half your team has beards. I think it might be nine guys. If it were a beard competition, how would it work out, do you think, for any of you?
NATHAN ADRIAN: I have no idea. But I don't think we think about that too much.

Q. Starting with Nate, when you get into a situation like this, you're this deep in the tournament and you've got a head coach like Bob Huggins, who you guys -- he's been to a couple of Final Fours but never got in the national championship. How much do you at this point think of what it would mean to get him one, as much as you do obviously yourselves and the team?
NATHAN ADRIAN: I think that's something that would seal his legacy as one of the greatest coaches of all time. But we're trying to do it for ourselves, for him, for the state of West Virginia. We're trying to do it for a lot of things.

Q. Anybody else?
ELIJAH MACON: Yeah, just what he said, I feel like this is for the state. Not only for him, but it's really for us. I mean, we put in a lot of work over the summertime. We do a lot of workouts. I just feel like it would be a waste of time to come this far and just let it all go.

Q. Jevon, why is the press so effective this year? Has it gotten better in your career there and why?
JEVON CARTER: More experience. You know, we've been doing it. This is our third year at it. We've kind of seen what every team has to offer. And we have a good coaching staff. They do a great job of preparing us for what teams are going to do. And we want to win. You know, we're winners.

We want to go in there and prove people wrong. We have a lot of doubters. We keep that in mind. Like Nate said, we're trying to cap off Coach Hugs' legacy, give him a national championship. It would mean a lot for everybody in the state of West Virginia. It's what we came to do. We just came to win.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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