home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 17, 2018

Trevon Bluiett

Kerem Kanter

J.P. Macura

Nashville, Tennessee

THE MODERATOR: The Xavier Musketeers are with us. They have a date with Florida State tomorrow. It's game two, 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. They're out of the Big East. J.P. Macura, Trevon Bluiett, Kerem Kanter represent the student body.

We'll get right into questions.

Q. As members of a 1 seed that played your 1 versus 16 game yesterday, how did you experience the Virginia result? Whether you watched the game or heard about the final score later, how did you experience that?
KEREM KANTER: They call it March Madness for a reason. Things happen in March. I think Virginia is a great team, but every team that plays in the March Madness plays with a purpose. It's their last game of their season so I give UMBC a lot of credit.

TREVON BLUIETT: Pretty much what Kerem said. Kind of how I've been saying the whole time, I mean, when you're in the March, tournament seeding doesn't really matter. It's all about who wants that game more. So, you know, at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what seed you are.

J.P. MACURA: I mean, I agree with both of them. Like Kerem said, anything can happen in March, and it's crazy that a 16 seed beat a 1 seed. But anything can happen.

Q. Trevon, you tested the NBA waters twice. In retrospect, looking back at that now, do you think it would have been a mistake had you gone and what have you gotten from these past two years at Xavier, not just on the basketball court, but as a person that you would not have gotten had you gone to the NBA?
TREVON BLUIETT: Well, whatever decision, if I did decide to go, that I would have thought it was the best decision for me, not necessarily a mistake.

But, you know, the fact that I did stay, a lot of beneficial things did come out of it. You know, I don't regret my decision at all, and I've been saying that ever since I made it.

I knew we had the potential to do everything that we've done, and everything that we can do, and just looking to achieve those goals.

Q. Tre, not long after you guys won last night, you wrote on twitter, and I quote, Xavier will be the first No. 1 seed to drop out. And it got 2,000 likes. You say you're worried about yourselves, you're not worried about the outside noise. For you, do you feel like you've always had to prove yourself at Xavier? What does it mean that people thought you would be the first No. 1 seed out and obviously you weren't?
TREVON BLUIETT: We don't have to try to prove ourselves. That's not what any of that is about. We focus on us, focus on the team. What that tweet was just how the outside world thinks about us and the respect that we don't get, in a way. Like I said, we use that as motivation. We don't really look too much into that. More of a fun tweet. But, you know, yeah. Is what it is.

Q. Going into the tournament, there was a lot of talk about Virginia and just how their focus on the defensive end of the court. Going into the tournament, how that might be precarious, that people say you have to be able to score to have success in the NCAA tournament.
For any of you guys, where's that balance for you? One, do you believe in the adage that you've got to be able to score a lot of points to win in the tournament, or where is that balance between offense and defense for you guys?

J.P. MACURA: I mean, I would just say we need to focus on the defensive end more than the offensive end as of now.

I think our offense is really good. I think we play together and, at times, on the defensive end, we get beat off the dribble. Everybody down the line has been working on that, keeping guys in front of each other. I just think if we continue to defend, we can win a lot of games.

KEREM KANTER: I think we're a really good offensive team. We scored 100-plus points last night. That's not going to be the case going forward maybe. We're going to have off nights, so we've got to make sure we lock in on the defensive end as well.

Q. J.P., Florida State's Trent Forrest, No. 3, he really pushed the pace for them last night. What are some things he does really well and what are some things you guys will have to do to try to to slow him down in order to get a win tomorrow?
J.P. MACURA: He's a fast player and I think he can get to the rim and I think that on the defensive end, we need to be able to do our game plan the right way and really focus in on him.

Q. Tre, following up on that question, and all three of you, if you could answer this, you said you don't feel like you've gotten a lot of respect, you're the team that won the Big East regular season title and are very high in the RPI and have done a lot of things.
Why do you think Xavier has not gotten respect from a national vantage point?

J.P. MACURA: I mean, there's been multiple things that have been said about us of being the first No. 1 seed to lose and I just think that little things like that people say have kind of -- you know, that just seems like they disrespect us in a way.

We've been saying it for a while, that we don't really care about what they say, because we're worried about the guys in the locker room and the coaches and playing together.

So they can continue to say whatever they want, but we know how we need to play.

TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah, I mean, everything J.P. said is right. I couldn't tell you why we don't get that respect on a national level. It is what it is. But we're going to continue to work on ourselves and be the best team that we can be within ourselves.

KEREM KANTER: Yeah, I mean, like they said, we could care less about how much respect we get. We deserve to be a 1 seed for a reason, so we've just got to play our basketball and not listen to outside voices.

Q. Kerem, this one's for you. You were able to kind of finesse your way to success against a 7'2" front liner last night in Trayvon Reed. Florida State has quite a massive front court. Do you think -- one of them is 7'4", I understand. Do you think you, in particular, can finesse your way to success again, or is there a different approach you would want to take to a player that's two inches tall? How much of a difference does that make?
KEREM KANTER: Hopefully, I can have a good game like I did yesterday. I'm not going to go out there and try to force shots. I'm going try to stick to the game plan and do whatever my coach asks me to do.

Q. Kerem, you had mentioned this was one of the reasons you wanted to transfer to Xavier, to be exactly in this position. How does this experience this year kind of compare to your other experience in the tournament and is it everything you expected?
KEREM KANTER: I haven't had an experience like this before. Back in 2016, I played in a tournament and lost in the first round. But with this team, I think we're going to be really successful, really experienced, you know, older team. So hopefully, we can go as far as we can.

Q. For Trevon and J.P., what's the familiarity like with Florida State? It's been a year since you all met in the second round. When you start talking about them, how much do you flash back to last year's game and do you prepare for them maybe to come out with a little bit more desire for revenge, payback, to get to the Sweet 16?
J.P. MACURA: I mean, they're a very athletic team and they play well together, and they're tough, and we got to keep them off the glass.

They got some of the same guys as they did last year, and I have a feeling that they're going to try and come out and get some revenge.

TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah, you know, since we played them last year, some of the things that they do, sort of similar. Some of the things they do is different.

Like J.P. said, they've got a couple players returning from last year and they've also got new players as well. I think with how things ended last year, they're definitely going to look for revenge and try to give us their best shot.

So we just have to be able to take their shot and withstand that and do what we do best.

Q. Trevon, you said Sunday night, as a senior, there is a heightened urgency to keep playing games. You also said that you sacrifice for your fellow seniors because you guys have been together and through it all.
Can you elaborate a little on that, on the sacrifice?

TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah. I mean, we all come from schools where we were the guy, you know. We got every shot. We called all the shots, got to tell people where to go, do this. You know, we each had to scale back a little bit on our -- everybody has a little selfishness in them, and we each had to scale back on that.

To be able to do that, to be able to make that sacrifice, to not be as selfish, to be willing to play with other teammates, I think that's what separates us and makes us a better team.

Like I said, any guy on this team, 1 through 13, 1 through 8, the guys that play, they can be the guy on any given night. So it's just a big credibility to them to not get big-headed and just stay and worry about the team first.

Q. First, for Kerem and then for Trevon, looking back to December when Coach Mack changed the lineup, starting you and Naji Marshall, what impact do you think that had so far this season?
KEREM KANTER: I think it gave me a little more comfort coming off the bench. You kind of want to do a little bit more to stay on the court more.

But I think it gave me a little more comfort, knowing I'm one of the starters, obviously that.

TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah. So, I mean, having Naji and Kerem in brings a lot of versatility to our group, our lineup. You know, you have Kerem who can push the ball from rebounding. He's a 5. Bring him out on perimeter.

Then you've got Naji, who I think is an all-around, solid player. One of our best defenders on the team. He just brings extra athleticism and extra length and I think that's kind of what helps us.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Best of luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297