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March 17, 2018
THE MODERATOR: The Bearcats are with us. They will play Nevada tomorrow at 5:10 central time, the first of two games of a doubleheader. As mentioned, Jacob Evans III, Gary Clark, Kyle Washington are with us. We'll go right to questions.
Q. Just wanted to get your reaction to Virginia's defeat last night.
KYLE WASHINGTON: I think it's one of the biggest upsets in sports history, honestly. I mean, it was just crazy, you know. Tony Bennett is a great coach and a great person. Playing against Virginia in the ACC. They're a great program. It was pretty shocking, honestly. But, you know, Jairus Lyles and UMBC did a great job. They competed. That's what the tournament is about and that's what basketball's about. If you believe you can achieve anything, you can do it. It sounds cliche, but, I mean, I believe it.
JACOB EVANS III: It just shows that in this tournament, that every team in it is pretty good. No matter what the seeding is or what the record was with the 16 and 1, you just got to make sure you're always ready to come out and play.
Q. With that being said, you're now the highest seed in the South Region. Is the target now maybe transferred to your back? How do you have to make sure you respond to that?
GARY CLARK: You can agree with that, being that our defense is -- they say defense wins championships. So with that, us being so good on defense, I think a lot of teams will probably be keying, having like such a good game to where they can't make mistakes because they know we'll capitalize on that.
So you wonder why teams have such good halves with guys hitting five or seven 3s against us. The scouting report is you can't make mistakes, and just try to get buckets.
Q. Kyle, can you talk about your relationship with the Martin twins from your days at North Carolina State and what kind of players you think they are. What problems do they present?
KYLE WASHINGTON: No, I don't want to hype them up too much, but they are great players. And they're competitors. They play extremely hard and they're fierce.
I have a great relationship with them. I'm not going to hide. I'm not going to deny it. That's not going to translate when we get in the 94 feet. I'm going to compete against them like anybody else, because we're trying to achieve something as a team.
But, you know, we're extremely close. We were talking during the season. They changed that program over at Nevada and I'm happy for them. They've been through a lot, and I'm just happy to see their success.
But, you know, we're going to compete hard against them no matter what.
Q. For all of you guys, what do you -- I guess in what you've seen so far, what does Nevada do particularly well, and how can you combat that?
JACOB EVANS III: Well, they score the ball. They're a high efficiency offensive team. They can push the ball in transition with either five guys on the court and they have shooters, you know, even one through five, everyone can shoot the ball. That's dangerous.
You also have guys that can attack off the dribble.
GARY CLARK: I agree with what Jacob said. They spread you out and everyone can make a play or make a shot to where they really can hurt you. And being that all five guys push the ball, you've got to be on high alert at all times. One guy can't run back and just guard their man. Everybody got to get back and get set up because their shooters shoot from deep and none of them have really a slow trigger.
Everyone's -- they're looking to get it up fast.
Q. For any of you, 5'10" point guard. Nevada measures 6'7" across all five spots. Would you expect them to do a little post-up on your smaller guy?
JACOB EVANS III: We've seen that over the course of the year, teams try to post our point guards up. But we're game planning for it, preparing for what comes that way.
Q. Kyle, were you closer to one of the Martin brothers than the other? And what do you think about the fact you guys played together on a Sweet 16 team and now you're playing each other for the right to go to the Sweet 16?
KYLE WASHINGTON: I think it's just funny how the world works, how it all comes full circle. I told my best friend on the team, I said, I'm not going to be able to tell the difference when they came in the first, like, day or so.
They're very different, the two. But I was close -- I was just as close as one with the other. So, you know, like I said, we're going to compete hard and if people know me the way they know me, it doesn't matter who you are. I'm going to compete against them as hard as I compete against anybody else.
Q. Gary, you mentioned defense wins championships. There are those that say that Virginia's style of play, relying so heavily on the defensive end, is a style that's a little precarious in the NCAA tournament. There are those who say you need to score to be successful in the NCAA tournament.
Where is that balance for you and what do you think -- where is that defensive/offensive balance for you in terms of success in the tournament?
GARY CLARK: I think being able to -- our team being versatile defensively adapting to whatever teams throw at us, like, you know, all year, we've seen different things as far as teams throwing at us with no post guys or having one dominant post guy.
So, you know, we have to turn our defense into offense. And a lot of times, it doesn't work that way, where we have to score the ball on the offensive end. So I think we just, as a unit, we recognize what we have to do that night and just get it done.
Q. Does this team remind you a lot of SMU with their length and the fact that they play a limited amount of players?
JACOB EVANS III: Yeah. Most definitely, because they only play six, seven guys. They're really close. They have great chemistry on the court. Also, they can attack you different ways on offense, how SMU was last year. And they cause matchup problems, one through five.
But we're going to prepare for them and be ready to play tomorrow.
GARY CLARK: Yes, definitely. They spread us out, you know. You think -- you try to wear them down, because they only have six guys, but, you know, they're so used to it all year, playing that way, where they make adjustments and, you know, they try not to foul.
But SMU last year definitely was one of those, just like this team, where everyone could kill you on any position and just cause terrible matchup problems, offensive rebounding, and it all just spread you out, gives them several different weapons they can use.
Q. All three of you came to Cincinnati from elsewhere. I wonder if you could describe or maybe play tour guide, what it's like as a basketball city. What it's like to live with the two big programs right there next to each other and so on.
KYLE WASHINGTON: I think it's interesting. Xavier's obviously a pretty good basketball program also. But I just think that Cincinnati as a city loves basketball, and they embrace the college atmosphere and the two programs and two styles. Two different cultures, so I think it's interesting.
GARY CLARK: Yeah, definitely. I didn't realize the exact -- the intensity between the two. You know, being from Carolina, you have Duke/Carolina/NC State. You don't really see much of it unless you're born into one of those homes.
But it's intense. You love -- the city loves a rivalry. It's like split right in the middle of some households. It's funny to hear one brother say UC, the other brother says Xavier.
But, you know, you live for the rivalry.
JACOB EVANS III: Honestly, coming from Louisiana, it's just exciting to see fans around the city that actually like basketball. Basketball is not a big sport where I'm from. So just having people that's interested is great for me.
Q. Mick likes to talk about your program as a developmental program. He doesn't get a lot of one-and-done guys. He likes to bring players in and develop them. Gary and Jacob, you've been there the longest. Can you talk about what it's like to be in a program like that? Do you take pride in that? And what you think that means.
JACOB EVANS III: Most definitely, you know. Just showing how much your hard work pays off, year after year. It's actually -- it just helps you grow as a player, you know. Once you see that improvement coming from your hard work, it just makes you want to keep working harder and keep getting better as a player.
GARY CLARK: Definitely. You know, every year, to see the development I was going through, you know, it was tough sometimes. But I think now, as a senior, I really get to -- I'm glad I stayed the course. I talk to our young guys, Keith and Trevor, about how important it is, every summer, to really lock in.
Talking to Trevor now about playing with confidence. Just never get discouraged and constantly keep working at it. And I just can't be more thankful that I had coaches every summer that constantly just show me film and just get me to develop my game.
Q. Speaking of development, just talk about the progress that Jarron's made this year. He had an amazing game yesterday.
KYLE WASHINGTON: Jarron has always been a great player, from his freshman year, he's had impact games. Whenever he had his chance and whenever we needed it, he was always there.
So Jarron, the sky's the limit for him. Going off of Gary's point, we just kind of keep on -- reinforce the idea of keep on working hard. Don't worry about adversity. Keep on striving. Because, you know, they're going to be great.
But Ted, you know, sky's the limit for him. I love him.
Q. To follow up on the developmental thing, do you think it's good for college basketball to have more programs like that, given some of the things that are going on now across the country? Is it good for the game?
KYLE WASHINGTON: Do I think development is good for the game in college?
Yeah, I think it is, for sure, because sometimes people want instant success. Some people want that overnight success. Sometimes when you want something great, it's going to take a long time. You have to put a lot of time into it and you're going to have to make a lot of sacrifice.
But at the end of the day, I think it will be more -- the long-term gratification will be more satisfying, honestly. Just to stick with something and for people to see examples of it. Sometimes people aren't going to wake up and just be a number one pick. So I like it.
GARY CLARK: I agree. I talk to our guys about running their own race and not getting discouraged when you see the other guys you played against and see them going one and done and get really discouraged each year seeing those guys making their dreams come true.
You've just got to focus on yours. It's definitely good for the game because it just shows other guys that just because they didn't take, you know, they didn't take one year for him to get it, he take four years and look at his career that he's had, the four years and not just one year and out.
Q. Gary and Jacob, a hallmark of this team is you guys don't get too high during a game or too low. You're very even keeled. What do you attribute that to? Is it your personalities? Is it your coach? Is it the way the program is set up? How has it served you this year?
JACOB EVANS III: Well, you know, it's a long game. Coach preaches that to us all the time. He tells us teams are going to go on their runs, we're going to go on ours, just make sure at the end of the game that we're winning. No matter what happens during the game, we just try to stay focused, stay locked in on our game plan and make sure we're doing the right things offensiveily and defensively.
GARY CLARK: I said it yesterday in one of the interviews, a team can't be hot the whole game, whether they start off hot or end in the second half hot, you know, you just got to waver the storm. I think it comes from Coach constantly telling us play defense and rebound. All else will just come full circle for us.
And we typically do that. Whether we're down 18 when we're home against Houston or, you know, up and lose a lead. We just constantly keep digging at it and eventually, you know, we'll be successful.
Q. I guess this would be for any of you guys, but between Virginia losing, Arizona going down, Miami also being upset, it seems like the South Region in general is kind of -- is kind of opening up for you.
Is it hard for you guys not to look ahead and sort of say, yeah, you know, there's potential here for us to advance pretty far in this tournament?
KYLE WASHINGTON: I think the point you're alluding to is looking past this game. I think if you look past anything, you could fall short. And in this tournament, you don't get a second chance.
So if we look past Nevada, that would be our first mistake before stepping on the court. So we're definitely not looking past Nevada. Like I said before, the benefit of going to Cincinnati is we're going to prepare for everybody like it's a round of 32 games.
We've been preparing for people -- we've been preparing for Western Carolina early in the season before anybody was, you know, talking about this.
So that's the benefit of going here. We're not going to overlook anybody, and we're not going to underestimate our competition.
Q. Guys, I don't know if you're aware of the phrase on social media, "Gary Clark is a problem." But just curious, for Kyle and Jacob, what makes Gary a problem? And then if Gary could talk about that as well.
JACOB EVANS III: Well, you know, he can do everything on the court: pass, score, rebound, defend. He's a great leader. He leads with -- he's not that vocal all the time, but he'll tell you when you need to step it up.
He also leads by example, you know. So just him being a problem in all phases of the game, you know, I could definitely say that statement is true.
KYLE WASHINGTON: Yeah, I mean, Gary Clark has done so much for this program. I mean, people can say it, but then they don't fully understand the aspect of that idea and that statement, because, you know, first of all, he has meat cleavers at the end of his wrist and he jumps out the gym.
And his defensive IQ is -- his IQ for basketball in general is out the roof. He's just a great leader. We understood, you know, the three of us and the rest of our team understood what it took for us to be good and for us to keep on making big strides.
He was one of the catalysts for it. He understood what it took. He's been here the whole time. I'm just glad to see all the success that he has. He deserves all of it.
GARY CLARK: I think when I hear it -- or, you know, first thing I think about is rebounding and defense. When people -- the scoring is cool and all, but I think when I'm really a problem is when I'm blocking shots, rebounding and just dominating on the defensive end in any aspect.
I think one of my favorite plays would probably be at Memphis when I fell and got back up, and I was like, okay. That's when I realized, okay, I play defense pretty hard and I think that's -- when you say Gary Clark is a problem, I think of rebounding, blocking shots and just dominate.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. That was wonderful. Good luck tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports