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March 14, 2018

Shadrac Casimir

Zach Lewis

Roland Griffin

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Q. Zach you've been here a couple times now. I'm curious what you've taken from the past couple experiences and how maybe this one is different?
SCHADRAC CASIMIR: We're facing a really good team. We're excited to get out there, since we have experience with it and try to set the tone for the new guys that haven't been here. I think once everybody gets a few plays down the court, the adrenaline will start running and everybody will be fine.

Q. What is your journey here with UMass and Canisius and this ability to experience this tournament coming in hot for yourself.
ZACH LEWIS: It's great. Everything you work for as a child growing up. It's one of those things you dream about. I'm just happy to knock off one of my dreams and get out there and play with one of my guys.

Q. Shadrac, I'm just curious, forgive the way this question sounds. With the success you guys have had, are you surprised the coach is still there? What happens is guys traditionally have success in this league and then they go up. Iona has had a bunch that have gone to another level. Why do you think he's still around.
SCHADRAC CASIMIR: Coach Cluess, you've got to get to know him. He's a hard worker. He doesn't take losing very lightly. Even if he wins, he starts the new season and puts it all behind him. That's the kind of person he is. It trickles down to the coaching and players. That has to do a lot with his success. They were winning even before I got here, so.

Q. Similar question for the other two players too, more broad-based, but sort of generic, talking about your coach. What makes him a good coach and how he has impacted you two guys personally at your time at Iona?
ROLAND GRIFFIN: My short time here, he demands like the best out of you every single day. It doesn't matter. We come into practice every day and work hard. Being a team. Like I said, he demands greatness out of you.

ZACH LEWIS: I say about the same. I mean, it's hard work. We come in here and work hard. You go home. I mean, he's like a basketball genius, honestly, as far as plays go, and how we play and how we work and how to get the best out of his players. He obviously, since I was in three different schools, I have seen no coach do it better than him.

Q. What makes him a genius?
ZACH LEWIS: The time he puts in a lot of work. Even when we're off the court, he's still upstairs putting in a lot of work, watching film. That's what makes him a genius.

Q. Duke's a team that evokes strong emotion. People love them. People hate them. When you were growing up, do you have memories of watching them in the tournament. Were you a fan? Did you hate them, what are your feelings?
SCHADRAC CASIMIR: Most definitely. Duke is a legendary team and legendary team. Some teams I like and some I didn't like. I like the opportunity to see where we stand against one of the best teams in the country.

ROLAND GRIFFIN: Same. Everybody grows up watching Duke. Coach K. is a legendary coach, and I have a lot of respect for him. That's it.

ZACH LEWIS: I would say the same. Duke is a powerhouse basketball school. Everybody grew up watching him against North Carolina and Syracuse. That's a good opportunity. We're excited to go out and compete against him. We work really hard, too, so we're excited to go out and play against them.

Q. Zach, Duke has a bunch of one-and-dones, two-and-dones. You guys are almost the opposite where guys come to Iona for a grad year. What made you choose Iona and what made you think they have success with graduate students and transfers?
ZACH LEWIS: One of the reason is the tradition for sure and also the academics. I was able to get into a sports communication and media program and that's something for me getting a Master's for free basically which is perfect.

On the basketball part, I would definitely say tradition and just to see how hard guys work. I played with John Severe, who played here last year -- I played with him growing up. Just how hard he worked coming in, and just seeing his success in coming here is one of the reasons I came here.

Q. You guys obviously know -- for all three guys, you guys are big underdogs. Do you look at how well you shoot from the perimeter as kind of the wild card that if you guys get hot from outside, that that can kind of be your "anything can happen" kind of day?
SCHADRAC CASIMIR: Can make a huge difference. We're known as a three-point shooting team. Once you step on the court, you never know how the game is going to go. We had bad shooting nights where sometimes our guys carry us. We're going to go out and take what the game gives us.

ROLAND GRIFFIN: If we get hot, we can compete with any team in the country, regardless what the name is. They tie on their shoe the same way we do. We're going to go at them.

ZACH LEWIS: We're just here to compete. We've got 40 minutes to play every game and that's what we're going to try to do. It's us against them. We're not really worried about their great powerhouse success and things like that. Just 40 minutes we got to be better than them, just for that one day, so....

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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