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March 15, 2018

Ed Cooley

Nate Watson

Isaiah Jackson

Jalen Lindsay

Kyron Cartwright

Alpha Diallo

Rodney Bullock

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Who has the first question?

Q. Kyron, and Jalen, you both part of a group that has made four straight tournaments in your times here, and you guys have had significant time during that period. What does that mean to you being a member of the Providence Friers?
JALEN LINDSEY: I think it's a testament to the program, coaching, staff and the players that have come through here. We've put in a lot of work in the past four years to get this, and we couldn't have done it without our teammates that have been along side with us this entire time and the players that were here. So, you know, me and Kyron, we're still grateful to be here again and we hope to make a run in this tournament.

KYRON CARTWRIGHT: Just been fun. You know, a long time coming. It's what you dream about, just been fortunate to be here for four years and, you know, starts every summer, you know. It's what we've been working hard for and our teammates have been working hard as well, and it was just fun this year to make history.

Q. Questions for Nate. Has it sunk in as a freshman you're about to play in the NCAA Tournament and what is that feeling like?
NATE WATSON: It's a great feeling. A lot of good teams out there and just feels great.

Q. Rodney, I'm curious how often do you think about the lay-up against Southern Cal a couple years ago. How much will the experience of playing in these games help tomorrow?
RODNEY BULLOCK: Thinking about the lay-up, I mean, it feels like it happened like yesterday and it was a great moment, and just to have the experience to come and play here another year is just going to help me and our team, and hopefully it shows throughout the time that we're here.

Q. This question be directed towards Alpha. What kind of changes have you seen around your team last week before the Big East tournament before you guys went on the run versus this week? Have you seen anything noticeable from your team mates?
ALPHA DIALLO: Yeah, definitely. Lot more confident, playing two number one seeds back to back and taking them into overtime was definitely a confidence boost for the guys and us. We're happy to be here, and we feel like we can put our foot down and make an imprint in this tournament.

Q. Kyron. The other day you said it's a completely different atmosphere between the NCAAs and the Big East tournament. Can you specifically define what the difference is in the atmospheres between those two and how you expect to raise your game to that level?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: I would guess, you know, it's always a familiar location when it comes to the Big East tournament. Playing there every year, you know where it's going to be. You pretty much know who your matchup is going to be before you start based off seedings, standings in conference. And playing in the NCAA Tournament, lot of times it's a lot of fresh faces, teams you haven't played before. Gives you a fresh perspective. The team doesn't know you as well, you don't know them as well. It's more fun to play against those types of teams you don't get a chance to normally due to scheduling and stuff like that. Just the overall excitement, the atmosphere, and as you guys know, you watch basketball every year, lot of crazy stuffs happens in March out there.

Q. This is for Rodney and Nate. What do y'all know about Admon, Tyler Davis and Robert Williams?
RODNEY BULLOCK: We know they're a great rebounding team and have to keep them off the boards. We got to plan and just hopefully box them out and try to limit as much offensive rebounds as they can get, and they'll have to guard us on the other side of the floor. We both got to think we got to take care of --

NATE WATSON: They're definitely a big team, get a lot of points off the second shots. Got to come under a box out, be big in there and try to stop them.

Q. This question can be for Kyron. Just kind of talk about the momentum you guys built in the Big East tournament and how you plan to carry that into your game tomorrow.
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: I felt our momentum in the Big East tournament, we were playing just as well as anybody in the country. Even with shots not falling we were still right there in every game and, you know, it gave us a lot of confidence knowing that we can play with those top teams if those two teams were number 1 seeds but, at the same time, you know, that stuff that we did in the Big East tournament doesn't matter anymore. Every game is you win or you pack your stuff up and go home. We got to lock in this game, try to take care of business and at the same time try to enjoy the moment and have fun.

Q. Questions for Jalen. Jalen, what have you and the seniors kind of told the young guys like Nate or some of the other freshmen about playing in the NCAA Tournament since it's an experience they've never had before?
JALEN LINDSEY: Yeah. We just tell them to have fun with it, you know, it's definitely something that is exciting. You know, you can get a bunch of jitters and be nervous. You got to enjoy the experience. When you get out there, don't let the crowd get to you and stuff like that. Just keep enjoying it and just play your game, just stay focused and listen to what the Coach has got to stay, trust what they're saying and trust the older guys in what we're telling them and learn and just get better from there.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Kyron, can you talk about your matchup with TJ Starks, a freshman, and Admon, what you plan to do there, how to attack him, how you'll attack him or what your experience will help you against a freshman?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: You know, I'm going to go out there, step on the court and be holding the ball, look straight to the bench. Coach Cooley is going to call a play, and I'm going to look at my teammates and yell out and run the play, try to play as hard as I can on defense, try to get a lot of stops and just try to bring some energy to my guys.

Q. Rodney, how is this team this year's Friars team different or maybe some comparisons that you've seen to some of the other teams you've come to March Madness with, you've been here four, five times.
RODNEY BULLOCK: Well, Friers, I mean, this year I feel like we have more depth and we have this year little bit more than the past couple years. We got a little bit more chemistry and I feel like it showed in the Big East tournament when everybody was healthy and nobody was ill, and I mean it shows we can play with anybody.

Q. Rodney and Kyron, you were talking about the differences between playing in the Big East conference tournament and playing here in the NCAA. In the Big East tournament you got a body of knowledge, you really know the opponents that you're playing against because you've already faced them a couple of times.
In a situation where you're playing against a team that doesn't know you and that you don't really know, in your mind do you think you guys have an advantage?

KYRON CARTWRIGHT: Advantage, I mean not really.

Q. Are you harder to prepare for?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: Are we harder to prepare for?

Q. Yeah.
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: It's up for the coaches who prepare to decide that. We play a lot of positionless basketball. A number for our team is just a spot on the floor. We got guys that can play. Besides me I'm the only person with a set position, you know. We got Alpha up here who can play any big from the 2 to the 4 and Jalen from the 2 to the 5 at times if we need him to. And the same with Rodney. I just think we're a very versatile team.

RODNEY BULLOCK: We got a lot of positionless players. It's hard to film us. We've got so many plays. Going to take a long time to scout us. We do have a huge advantage in that standpoint.

Q. Kyron, what is the scouting report on Texas A&M?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: What's the scouting report on Texas A&M? You know, they got bigs, two bigs, two traditional bigs, and when we woke up this morning everybody saw what the scouting report was in their room, big yellow paper right in front of the TV that says "box out." That's the scouting report, box out.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Okay. Thanks guys.

COACH ED COOLEY: I can't tell you how happy Providence College is to be here, exciting time for us and our program, exciting time to be one of the representatives of the Big East. Really proud of our staff, our players to get to this moment here and eagerly waiting to play against a very talented Texas A&M team. But to be on this stage and to be sitting on this podium here, it's a dream for all of us and hopefully we can make this a magical year for Providence College and the Big East.


Q. Coach, you speak so highly of Coach Gavitt, so when you found out that you had matched his record for most NCAA appearances by a Providence head coach what did that mean to you in?
COACH ED COOLEY: I think it's a good question. I don't think about it as much, but at the same time, it's an honor. It says the stability of our program, talks about the leadership from our athletic director and our president and our staff and the job that they've done and we've done collectively. It's an honor but it's just a number. Doesn't mean much as far as the number. I'm just -- hopefully there's many more to come.

Q. Coach, Rodney has started 100 or 101 consecutive games for you guys. How has he grown and matured over these years both on and off the floor?
COACH ED COOLEY: I'm really proud of Rodney Bullock. He's a graduate first and foremost, I'm really proud of that. Feels like Rodney has been here since I've been here. He's gone through a lot of practices, he's gone through a very turbulent time early in his career. The fact that he can respond from that, become a graduate and lead us to a record, for his class, the only recruiting class in the history of the school to come to four consecutive tournaments is a testament to his mental toughness and fortitude. I couldn't be more proud of Rodney representing Providence College.

Q. Ed, looking for something on Alpha's growth in the two years he's been here. If you think back when you were recruiting him, I know you liked his flexibility and that's really played out especially here in the latter half of the sophomore zone.
COACH ED COOLEY: Coach Thomas and myself, Coach Battle, when we went up to watch Alpha play at Brewster Academy, what stood out to us was versatility. Alpha can play five positions and really embraced that role. You can post him, you can put him in a ball screen, you can use him as a secondary ball handler. I think his versatility has allowed his growth. But his biggest growth is him trusting what we're teaching and what we're doing and that's been a great thing to see, his maturity. His versatility, being that Swiss Army knife has been something that's really helped our program. Alpha is a physical young man. He's embraced that role as trying to get the ball in the post as well. It's good for him.

THE MODERATOR: Please wait for the mikes, please.

Q. Kyron told us that a big part of the scouting report was a big yellow piece of paper that said "box out." Could you speak to that in terms of the importance of that for y'all tomorrow?
COACH ED COOLEY: It's no secret, you know, Texas A&M is a very physical team, they're a powerful team, they have NBA size in a lot of different positions. And we feel if you allow them second, third and fourth opportunities, they're going to have a chance to really beat you. So high alert on checking out -- it was definitely talked about in everything that we do. You may have a block out sign on your back right now and don't even know it (laughter).

Q. What do you feel y'all match well against A&M?
COACH ED COOLEY: Can you ask the question again.

Q. Where do you match up well against A&M?
COACH ED COOLEY: Where do we match up well? We're still in our preparation. I don't know where we match up. I just know we're matched up to play each other. They have a lot of size where we're concerned with that. The point guard play has been very, very good as of late. I don't know where we match up with them. All I know is the ball is going up tomorrow at noon and we got to hoop. I don't know. That may be a question for them, not for me.

Q. Ed, with the grind of the Big East tournament having to play three overtime teams, two against number one seeds in this tournament, how do you refuel the gas tank in time to get yourselves as prepared as possible for this tournament as well?
COACH ED COOLEY: We're ready to play Sunday. We're ready to play the next day, you know. We have young kids who are passionate, they're hungry, the 18 to 22 years old. We have no time to be tired. This stage not about being tired. It's about opportunity to advance. Having a senior like Kyron, Jalen and Rodney, they've been in this situation before and all we're trying to do is get to the next game. We have to be disciplined in our approach to the first one, but how we advance, right now we're not talking about fatigue, we're talking about opportunity.

Q. For us not seen y'all play --
COACH ED COOLEY: You don't know anything about us. I like that, though.

Q. What did y'all do last week in the tournament so well as opposed to earlier in the zone when you are struggling a little bit? What have y'all done better?
COACH ED COOLEY: I think it's a great question. We trust each other a little bit more. As I always tell the players, it's a long season that goes fast and a lot of ups and downs. It's not how we start, it's how we finish. You got to see what guys can do, what roles -- what role fits the player to help the team win, and then you got to get a little bit lucky. I think all those came at the right time. Anytime you have a chance to play in the Big East tournament and the energy that's in New York City and the energy that's in Madison Square Garden, it somehow brings the best out of all teams. That's why to me it's the best conference tournament in America. I think that sets all our teams up for success in this tournament that we're fortunate to move on. We just came together at the right time.

Q. Ed, you mentioned that this team has gone through a lot of ups and downs this year and you're playing your best ball late in the season. What was the turning point for this group?
COACH ED COOLEY: I would say the turning point was us having more fun. We as a coaching staff not being as angry with the little things, smiling a little bit more. At the end of the day, it is a game. But really trying to have some fun with the guys being in their world, not us being 45 to 50 years old, but trying to be 18 to 22 year olds with them as far as enjoying what we're doing. Sometimes in coaching you don't enjoy what you do because you're worried about the unknown. My job is to try to stay in the present and enjoy the moment and let the players see that. Once the players saw that, I think we played at a different level.

Q. When was that?
COACH ED COOLEY: You asked when was that in the season? I would say JB a couple of weeks ago, three weeks ago, we kind of turned that page a little bit. And Coach Battle would always tell me, you got to enjoy the moment. And it's hard to when you're a Nervous Nelly like I am. I appreciated our staff for saying that and trying to enjoy the process.

Q. Coach, what have you seen maybe that's a little bit different about your team on Monday of last week before the Big East tournament and then fast-forward to this week when you're getting ready for the NCAA Tournament after the success that you had in New York this past week?
COACH ED COOLEY: I think the players are feeling a little bit more confident. We played some tough games, as you all of us do in the country. I think having some success has given our guys some confidence they can play with anybody in the country, and that's what that tournament can do for you. I just feel our guys are a lot more confident, little bit more energetic. This time of the year when you're able to get to this tournament, it gives you a different energy, focus. And obviously our job as a staff is to try to get our group to believe that they are better than they are to advance.

Q. Ed, I guess how have you personally grown or changed as the head coach and the leader of this program since this NCAA Tournament run first started?
COACH ED COOLEY: I feel I've grown a lot. I think it's been something to me, it's still a dream for me, you know. I can't believe I'm on this stage talking to you, to be honest with you. I feel very blessed and very fortunate. But having been to this tournament and what you have to do to try to advance, how lucky you have to be. I think I've grown as a game coach as far as preparation with our staff. I think our staff does an amazing job. I think our staff are all head coaches, and I think they've helped me grow in the process of not being too nervous all the time but try to smell the roses sometimes, and it's hard for us to do that. But I feel I've grown a lot in a lot of different ways, and I give all the credit to our staff to help me.

Q. Ed, is there another team that compares to A&M that you faced this year?
COACH ED COOLEY: Georgetown has a really big front line and versatility with their small forward. They would probably be close. We played Minnesota early, I think game 2. They would simulate the size the strength and the brawn of a front line of Texas A&M. Those two teams come to mind right away with their length in front of the rim and their athleticism and their guard play. Those two teams would be very similar.

Q. Coach, preparing for a big game like this what tools do you use other than watching video of the other team?
COACH ED COOLEY: Pray. Pray, man. I believe. It's not where can you get a basket when you need it when you're scouting. A lot of these tournament games come down to last second plays, special situations, are you prepared for that, is your team prepared for that? Those are the things we're trying to prepare for, because it does come down to little things in these tournament games.

Q. Coach, are Nate, Kalif, and Rodney ready to match up with the size A&M has?
COACH ED COOLEY: Are they ready? If they're not, there's a problem. My babies are ready for sure. Those kids are ready to play, you know. If they're not, there's a problem. They're more than ready to play. We're excited. Our kids are so energetic right now, I can't wait to get out on the floor and practice with them today. Our kids are living the dream. We don't want that dream to come to an end anytime soon.

Q. With Kyron's experience, how much do you feel he can take advantage of that, being a veteran going against a true freshman point guard in TJ Starks at Texas A&M?
COACH ED COOLEY: I think once you get to this time of the year, these kids aren't freshman anymore. He's played 30-some-odd games. He's been coached by one of the best coaches in the country. He's in the a freshman. Hopefully some of Kyron's game experience can help us down the stretch. This is all about how you get to the end, not so much how you start, how you get to the end. And Kyron has had some big, big games late in games. He's made big shots, big free throws. I'm just hoping his experience can help us down the stretch.

Q. Ed, a lot of your players were sort of talking about the team's versatility when they were up there, guys who can play a 2, 3, 4 and maybe even the numbers don't mean that much in your scheme.
Do you think that because of the versatility, you are a harder team for an opponent to scout and prepare for because guys do so many different things?

COACH ED COOLEY: We love versatility. And when we go out to recruit, we look for multi-positional players other than if you have a 7-footer or a Mighty Mike with the ball. At the same time, the way the game has changed, you know, we've kind of evolved with the changing of the game and just get multiple players that can make plays, pass, catch, shoot, defend. It's not about our size. It's versatility puts a lot of coaches in a stuff spots. That's why you have these preseason games. You look to guard that, look to schedule games, schedule early games to see where are you in your season and then post-season. Our versatility has been our greatest asset. And one of the greatest strengths of this program is guys that can play multiple positions. So we go out and recruit guys, you're not going to play just one position, you're going to play multiple positions for us.

THE MODERATOR: Last question.

Q. I was going to say there's going to be an awful lot of praying between you and Billy Kennedy. You mentioned him being a top coach. How well do you know him and what is y'all's relationship?
COACH ED COOLEY: We don't have a relationship where we call each other every day to see what foods we're eating. I've seen him in our business for a long time. Always praying for his health. Watch his teams played. They do a really good job, they're organized. I just respect the job that he's done. Really great league that he plays in. I hope my prayers are a little bit stronger than his tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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