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March 15, 2018

Bruce Weber

Dean Wade

Barry Brown Jr.

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We welcome juniors from left to right, Barry Brown, junior and Dean Wade, student-athletes from Kansas State. We'll have about 15 minutes. Ask you to raise your hand, let us get the handheld mike do you. Let us know who you are, who you're with, and please direct your question to the specific student-athlete.

Q. Dean, I'm sure you didn't expect this question today, but how are you doing physically with your foot?
DEAN WADE: I'm doing good. Gets better everyday. So, it's doing better.

Q. Are you expected to play?
DEAN WADE: Just a game-time decision.

Q. You shut down some pretty good scorers. What are your plans, if you're the one guarding Marcus Foster, what do you plan to do with him?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: We have a good team defense and we have a particular way we're going to try and guard him and contain him and not let him and some of the other scorers get loose. It's going to be my responsibility, but I mean my teammates going to have my back and I'm going to have theirs.

Q. Barry, you look a lot better than the last time we saw you. How is the eye? What went through your head as were you laying on the Sprint Center floor?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: My eye is pretty good. Maybe 98 percent., I guess. It's doing good right now. I can see pretty much a hundred percent almost. I mean -- but when it happened, I was just kind of in shock. It was just scary to see a lot of blood in my eye and I really wanted to get back there on the floor to help my teammates out. Ultimately I couldn't, so I just tried to cheer from the bench.

Q. Dean, you said it's a game-time decision, but the fact it's lose-and-go-home-type situation, how likely are you to play?
DEAN WADE: Depends how I feel. I would love to be to be out there. This is what you dream of as a little kid, being in March Madness, everything like that. I'm itching to get out there. We'll see what happens. If I can't, I'm going to be the best cheerleader we got, not -- our actual cheerleaders are pretty good. I'll be on the bench and I'll be cheering them on.

Q. Dean, not playing in Kansas City in the play, talked about how Mark played and how important it was to see him step up into that kind of role?
DEAN WADE: He played amazing. Ton of energy on the floor. Was very focused, very motivated. He played physically but he was also under control the whole time. Just a technician down there. They couldn't stop him. Him playing that well boosts his confidence a ton, and just seeing him fight like that I think gives our team a little more confidence in him. And, you know, they thought hard. That was the best fight I've seen out of him this year, and we're going to need that in the tournament so hopefully we keep that rolling.

Q. Barry, you've played and defended a lot of really good guards in the Big 12. Are there any that you think are somewhat similar to what you'll face in the game tomorrow night?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I can't even think about that now. I'm sure it is. He's a scorer. Kind of a lead scorer, 20 points a game for his team. And so I've been watching him a lot these past few days since we found out who we're playing. I kind of know what he wants to pick his shots at and where he likes to get his shots off now. I'm going to do my best on him.

Q. For either one of you. The chances we'll see the two-one throw backs tomorrow night?
DEAN WADE: I wish.

BARRY BROWN, JR.: I wish. I don't know. I don't think the NCAA allows it in March Madness. So, I mean, I wish they did but I don't think it's going to happen.

Q. Dean, of all the things you've accomplished this year, in particular inference play, I'm just curious where you feel like your game has grown the most over the course of this conference season?
DEAN WADE: You know, I've grown as a player. I think most of that has to do with my maturity mentally and just how I approach the game. You know, every game is a do-or-die situation in the Big 12. That's how I thought about it, and I just wanted to be aggressive a little more consistent than I was the past couple years and I think that had a lot to do with my teammates just keeping me going, keeping me -- keeping my confidence up when I was down. And I think it's just a combination of a lot of hard work in the off-season that's paying off.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Both of you, how important is it for this program to get this win, to get through the round of 64 and kind of get that monkey off the program's back?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: It's very important for us. We are really trying to not only get into the tournament, which is one of our goals as a team, but win some games in the tournament. And so to get this first win will mean a lot for our program and fans, our coaches and even us as players. We made it here last year. Unfortunately we got knocked off in the first round. Hopefully we're ready and little more mature to handle this first round.

DEAN WADE: I mean it would be huge for us, just shows like we're picked low in the Big 12, it would be big come out and prove some people wrong and so it would be big for our program.

Q. I know you're not sure on your status yet. Assuming perhaps did you play tomorrow, would you have any concern about conditioning, your rhythm with the team being away from practice for a little bit?
DEAN WADE: Yeah, I'd be pretty concerned with it. I just focus on defense. I haven't really been out there with them guys practicing, keeping the condition up, but I just focus on defense and doing what I can do which is defense, playing hard, and rebounding.

Q. This question is for both of you because it's about both of you. You two seem to have grown really close as the season gone on, not that you weren't close before, but there seems to be a real bond, something about being the two guys that has really clicked with you guys. Am I accurate in that, or do you really hate each other when you walk away from the podium?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I think we've grown a little bit closer, just trying to rally our guys together early in the season, trying to boost our stock in the Big 12 and ultimately in the seeding for the tournament. We kind of just try to take the team under our wing and be the best players we can be on and off the court, be vocal leaders and lead on and off court, in the weight room, class, all kind of stuff. And I think that kind of jelled us together, brought us together a little bit. I think teammates are kind of following our lead.

DEAN WADE: Just off what Barry said, we're the older guys, we have a lot of new guys, young guys haven't really been through the fire, I guess you could say. Kind of took it under ourselves to take them under our wing and just really show them through the ways and, you know, how to keep stay focused through the Big 12 season.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions? Okay. Thank you, guys. We'll see you tomorrow night.

We welcome Coach Weber.

Q. Bruce, can you just update us on Dean Wade's, how he's doing?
BRUCE WEBER: We had him in the boot basically all week. You know, during practice he would do treatment and some running in the pool, some different things, and today is probably the first day let him do a little bit. We were in another gym, just let him get some shooting and moving around. We'll let him shoot this afternoon and just see how he feels. Probably be a game-time decision tomorrow with him. Barry is fine, Barry -- he was back in practice on Monday. I don't think he had total a hundred percent vision on Monday, Tuesday, but he's back to normal right now, no problem with him at all.

Q. I'm curious, what was your first reaction when you saw this draw kind of come out and obviously Marcus and also Nigel Johnson of Virginia?
BRUCE WEBER: Kind of laughed about it. You know, to me the most important thing, we got in the tournament. My second wish was maybe for Dean's sake to play Friday and get to play Friday night and get a little bit of rest. Marcus is a very good player, good offensive player. Proud that we -- our staff found him, helped with the development. Obviously he had some -- I don't know if you call it setbacks or whatever, some different situations came up and he's done a great job for Creighton and Coach Mac. And then Nigel obviously had some different things with him but we can't worry about that. All we're worried about is playing Creighton and seeing if we can stop them and one of the key players will be obviously Marcus as their leading scorer.

Q. Coach, with all the attention on Marcus, not just off the floor but on it, does a guy like Khyri Thomas seem like someone who might not be getting enough attention this week.
BRUCE WEBER: I said the first day after we got the Selection Sunday night when we had the little media get together that Marcus is very good at scoring but Thomas overall all around he might be a better player. I don't think there's any -- he does so much for them. He's a lock-down defender, he's strong, he can post up. He plays a little bit of point, little bit of 3, 2, for them. He's shooting the 3 ball well. Just he's a good compliment to Marcus and their team. He's a good player. There's no doubt about it. You look at the potential draft boards and pops up on there so he must be very good if he's there.

Q. Does it make preparation more challenging not knowing if Dean is going to play or not, I mean as far as putting in sets and how you're going to play, not being aware whether or not you're going to have him?
BRUCE WEBER: All we can -- we kind of prepared without him. We did stuff without him, and I guess it helps because they've been playing small ball for the most part. So kind of when we played Kansas, when -- welcome to 6'5" and under. It's similar to -- give us -- if they were big now, we might have a little bit of an issue, but it's going to be tough no matter what. But we've been dealing with it. Obviously if Dean is there, it gives us a little bit of a big guy that can score inside with Mac. Hopefully that will give us an advantage.

Q. Bruce, just if you could sort of give some insight into how the decision is going to be made with Wade. Is this going to mostly be about how he feels working out on it, or is it possible there's a component of this decision that's going to be you throttling back his enthusiasm and in his own best interest?
BRUCE WEBER: The most important thing is his best interest for his future. Obviously he's one of the better players. He's got not only a future with K-State but hopefully in the NBA and we can't let that -- we don't want to harm him where something would happen he couldn't play in the future. So, we're relying on our team doctors and trainer. Dean wants to play. He wanted to play against Kansas on Friday night, and we just said for your future and to have a chance to play this week, we needed to sit him and rest him. And we'll just -- we'll see how he feels and then, you know, talking to the doctors and the trainers, we'll make the final decision.

Q. Based on the information that you already have, are you predisposed to leaning one way or another?
BRUCE WEBER: We've gone without him all week so we're prepared that way. If he plays, obviously you got one of the best players in the Big 12, one of the better power forwards in the country. It would be a nice addition to us. We've got to see what happens and can't always plan. I didn't plan to have Barry Brown only one minute the other night either. You expect the unexpected. You just got to play.

Q. Coach, sticking with Dean, you've been at this a long time. When you watch Dean Wade play, he's not a highlight reel. He's kind of the opposite. He's fundamentally sound, almost a coach's dream to work with?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah. There's no doubt. And his improvement from -- you guys have seen it that cover us from day one, from high school, the guy -- if you saw him in high school, his confidence, his strength, he's really intelligent as a player, he's so versatile and he does stuff on both ends of the court. He's one of the better defenders for big guys. He knows ball screen schemes. He's probably one of the best passers for a big guy. We almost kind of joke, if he was at maybe some other place besides Manhattan, Kansas he would be getting a lot more attention nationally. I think that will come in the future. I know as the season went on, a lot of NBA calls, lot of agent calls, all that so he's got a future and it's been fun to coach him, watch his development. And the best thing about him his character. He wants to win. He's so humble and it is, as you said kind of a dream come true for a coach .

Q. At some point you're going to have a conversation with Marcus, if not before the handshake after the game. Do you have any idea what you might say to him?
BRUCE WEBER: I'm just happy for him. If he's successful and he's doing things the right way, that's great. And if I'm part of that, that's even better. I said it over and over, you know, it's my job to help them, help them. There's more than just basketball. There's school, basketball, and there's also life and doing things right. And, you know, if he's making progress in all those things and I had something to do with it, that's great.

Q. Bruce, I'm just wondering how big are you a proponent if Wade is only shooting for the first time this week? Maybe he's been in film sessions and understands the game plan, he hasn't been out there executing and practicing it. Does that have anything to do with your decision at all he hasn't had --
BRUCE WEBER: Not really. We played all year. If this was week two or something, I'd be a little bit hesitant on it. And what we just talked about. He's so smart and he knows where everyone should be and that was our biggest fear against Kansas because he's kind of -- I don't want to call it the football free safety. He kind of sees it all and he's there in the right spots and covering up for when guys make mistakes. So that part I wouldn't have -- getting his rhythm, his explosion, and it's like Kam was out three, four weeks. When you're out that long and don't play basketball, it takes a little bit of time. But obviously he gives you a big body, smarts, he does so many things for us. He still can help us. I really believe that.

Q. Coach, addressing nobody in particular, you had to hit the reset year three after things happened, you lost seven underclassmen under that group. When you went back to do the rebuild, how much did character play into when you looked at guys like Dean and Barry because they're high character guys that are accountable and hold themselves accountable?
BRUCE WEBER: It was very important. That and we talked a lot about getting guys that have won. If you look at Barry Brown, he took his team to the Final Four. Dean Wade won a bunch of State Championships. Kamau won State Championships, City Championships. Levi won State Championships. You get guys that care about winning. It's important. Talent is one thing and it's great and you need talent, but if you can find guys that care and they want to do things the right way and give you great leadership, it's probably the best thing about our team is the leadership. It's made it so much easier. It definitely helps and it's something that we did address as a staff.

Q. Bruce, you told us Sunday when you had the conversation with Kam when he was -- when you had been shooting free throws, told him to relax. Has he responded the way you would like to at this point?
BRUCE WEBER: The nice thing we actually had practice this week. He hasn't had practice. You know, when he came back during the middle of the games, you maybe had one practice a week, you got preparation, you got a game, and then you got the day after where you're just kind of going through things and shooting. So we had really three good days of practice. I thought he did well.

Q. You know, I told him to focus on all the little things that can help our team, whether it's getting us into the offense, guarding, you know, if he makes an open shot, that's fine. But, you know, think about it, last year the st game of the NCAA he had 24 against Wade. He's got experience. He's been through it. Hopefully all that will add up and he'll have -- it would be nice for him to see a smile on his face and help us get -- be successful.
THE MODERATOR: Other questions? Thank you.

BRUCE WEBER: Thank you.

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