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March 10, 2020

Danny Manning

Brandon Childress

Olivier Sarr

Isaiah Mucius

New York, New York

Pittsburgh - 81, Wake Forest - 72

DANNY MANNING: Really exciting first half of the game in terms of you're looking at the score, I thought both teams played at a high clip offensively. In the second half both teams cooled off a little bit. We cooled off a little bit more than them. We didn't do a good enough job of staying in front of the basketball and challenging shots off of any type of dribble penetration. They got to the point of getting the shot up and then also they had 11 offensive rebounds, but they really did a good job of converting those into points where they got 17 second-chance opportunities. We got 13 second-chance opportunity points off of 16 offensive rebounds, we just didn't convert enough in that category. We had some guys do some really good things offensively, but at the end of the day we didn't make them miss enough shots to give ourselves a chance to win, and that created some separation from us in the second half.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q. Isaiah, what clicked in the first half for you and what got you going, and then did they make an adjustment on you that kind of took those things away from you?
ISAIAH MUCIUS: I think the confidence from my teammates, I think when the game started they told me to be aggressive on both ends of the floor and try to be a vocal leader out there. And it started clicking, I was hitting shots, they kept feeding me the ball. I think in the second half they just started to take me away, deny me, make other people score, so that kind of slowed me down in the second half. I was in foul trouble so I was out for a couple parts of the game, and that kind of affected how I was playing.

Q. Brandon, they had 11 steals. What were they doing? Were they cutting off passing lanes or were they just aggressive? What led to that?
BRANDON CHILDRESS: I knew going into the game that every ball screen they were going to either trap or the big was going to corral me; what that means is basically when I come over, the big is going to stay there until the ball gets out of my hand, and sometimes they were more aggressive than usual, and I was careless with the ball. So as a senior point guard with four turnovers, it's unacceptable.

Q. Brandon, this might be the last time you wear a Wake Forest uniform. How much pride do you have in this place, considering your dad, considering everything you've said about being Wake Forest's point guard, how much that meant to you?
BRANDON CHILDRESS: I mean, you can tell by my emotions after the game when I came out I just let everything out. I gave Wake Forest all I had from the moment I committed on October 24th of 2014 during Midnight Madness. I told Coach Manning I wanted to come here and didn't even hesitate when I got the opportunity. People don't know this; my father had no fingerprint in my recruitment. It wasn't a bad thing, he just wanted me to make my own decision. Coach Woodbury recruited me and he built the relationship, and after that I always knew about Wake Forest but I always knew where I wanted to go and prove people wrong that I belonged in the ACC. So being black and gold, that was just, it's in my blood, so...

Q. Olivier, given you guys shot over 60 percent, I think, in the first half, did it feel like you guys should be up more than just one at halftime?
OLIVIER SARR: Offensively we did a great job, we just didn't play defense enough and that -- we didn't carry that on the second half, and that's what got them the lead and they played really good, so yeah.

Q. Brandon, obviously your relationship with your dad has been tremendous for you this season. Can you just look back over your four years at Wake Forest and talk about how that time has been for you?
BRANDON CHILDRESS: My father has played a tremendous role from being a mentor, a friend, a brother, a father and a coach. From day one he told me we've got to be able to separate father and son and coach and dad, and we drew that line. I said going into my junior year when even Coach Manning told me I would have to accept a bigger role, and there was going to be a little more weight on my shoulders so I embraced that, and so the sacrifices he made for me from -- I remember him picking me up from school and taking from me Winston to High Point every day, to now we sit beside each other on bus trips and even plane trips sometimes, watching film, and I can go home and get a home-cooked dinner whenever I can.

I mean a lot of people don't know what that guy does for me outside of basketball. I mean, I try not to stress about basketball as much, but our relationship outside of the 94 feet, I will always forever just cherish that, and I love him. I can't thank him enough. We both let out a lot of emotions. This was a heck of a journey. It's been a heck of a ride, and I appreciate everyone that's been supportive of this. I'm thankful for these guys beside me. I'm thankful for my coach and everyone else, but my father, I mean, these guys will tell you how that relationship is, man. It's unbreakable; it's a bond that will never be broken.

Q. Brandon, can you reflect on maybe what you're most proud of when you think about your career here at Wake Forest?
BRANDON CHILDRESS: Just the development of our coaching staff, our development of individual players on the team, as well, and the culture's gotten a lot better since my freshman year, meaning that we just became a lot closer, and it's really you can tell it's more like a fraternity with us, how well we bond off the court. We spend a lot more time with each other.

I can't wait to spend time with these guys soon just to embrace it. I graduate in May, so spending time with these guys and just showing love to them and just embracing what we built, and I know that I left a tremendous gift for these guys, man, just showing these guys what it means to bleed black and gold. I'm really proud of Olivier, third-ACC all-team. I mean, no one expected that. I mean, I believed in him. I told him before the season I need you to be the most improved player of the year. And as soon as we got in the locker room, I told him I want nothing less than Player of the Year next year, so...

Q. To all three, Brandon my first question for you is did you feel snubbed by not being on any of the all-ACC teams, and to Olivier and Isaiah, next season coming back, of course, you're losing a dog in Brandon, but you two God-willing will be coming back and Chaundee will be there. What are you two looking forward to or optimistic about next season? I know it's a tough loss you've just come off of, but thinking about next season.
BRANDON CHILDRESS: You're right. You're right.

Q. You feel snubbed?

Q. Or you felt like you should have been -- if you feel like you should have been on the third team, do you know whose spot you should have took off that team?
BRANDON CHILDRESS: It doesn't matter. My play showed for itself. You can -- despite numbers and whatever, I know I should have been up there and all the guys who were voting know I should have been up there.

Q. Olivier? Talking about next year.
OLIVIER SARR: For us it's just we got a lot of returning guys. Even though we're losing a lot of guards and especially Brandon, it's going to be a huge, huge difference and we got Jacoby coming in. I think he's ready he to step in that leadership role, too. We just got to work again, go back to the basics. We got a lot of work to do off-season, film to watch, and use that time to get better.

ISAIAH MUCIUS: I think we're ready to work. The core guys, the older guys, me, Olivier and Chaundee, I think, are ready to lead the young group of players that we have. I think we have a lot of guys that have contributed throughout the year. Ody, I don't think anybody really thought that he was going to be an asset but he came in and was a dog for us, offensive rebounding, just really attacked the glass every time he had to. Ish came in and had good minutes.

So the young guys, they work every day. People don't really see it, but it's just in the gym almost 24/7 they work. So they want to get better and they want to win as much as we do, and I think Brandon and the seniors left their mark of like, oh, yeah, just work. Brandon is one of the hardest workers I ever met in my life. He just works every day and he rubs some of that on to every single person on our team, and I think that's going to carry into next year and I think we're going to make a change.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for coach.

Q. Last season ended with a press conference that said you were coming back as coach. Do you expect to be back next year too?
DANNY MANNING: Absolutely.

Q. Have you seen the development and the steps taken to justify that?
DANNY MANNING: I think our team has definitely improved. I think if you look at the individuals that are on our team and how they have come from where they were last year to where they're at right now, I think without question there's been improvement. I think when I look at our team, I think the young men have put forth great effort. Extremely proud of this group, and I definitely feel like we have taken some steps, not as many as I would like, not where I'm content with where we're at, but I certainly feel like we have taken those steps in a direction that I want our program to go in.

Q. Champagnie surely was showing up on your scouting report. How did he get so open for a career high of 31 points I believe it was?
DANNY MANNING: Well, he started out, he was their leading scorer in terms of what they do, production-wise, and field goal leader, and we knew he was certainly a capable three-point shooter. So he shot seven, he made three, but he did a really good job of getting on the baseline and getting some back-door cuts behind our head in our zone, and they did a good job of finding him. Yeah, he got a hot hand and they did a good job of finding him, and we weren't good enough in terms of trying to slow him down. So he got the hot hand and they rode him out.

Q. Did you need to stay in the zone because of the lack of options off the bench, looked like you had basically a six-man rotation tonight.
DANNY MANNING: No, I mean, going into the ballgame, the analytics piece, they average about five threes a game. And that's something that they if I understand, they finished the game with six tonight. We wanted some long shots coming into it, so that was part of our game plan, and like I said, Champagnie just, he got hot. I thought their other guys did a really good job. I thought Xavier Johnson was really good in terms of coming off and attacking, attacking, attacking and finding the open man with eight assists.

Q. Five seasons out of six so far in your tenure have ended with more than 18 losses. At this point are you enjoying your job as head coach at Wake Forest, and are you at all concerned about fan apathy, given the lack of attendance at Joel Coliseum?
DANNY MANNING: I love coaching. To have an impact with helping young men grow and develop and help them prepare for the future, I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to share my experiences. Our staff the same way. And then help these guys. We want them to get better as basketball players, we want them to continue to develop and grow as people and certainly I feel like that is happening. Yeah, you want to win more games, there's no question about it, and continue to work. But I will say that this is a group that I'm extremely proud of because I think we have gotten better throughout the course of the year from where we started.

Q. What about the fan apathy?
DANNY MANNING: Yeah, I mean, your fans are your fans. A lot of them expect certain things, but at the end of the day you're going out there and you're trying to do the best you can, night in and night out. And we certainly appreciate our fans and we want to have that support to continue, but these guys and the coaching staff are doing everything we can to continue to take steps and get better.

Q. The 18 turnovers and their 11 steals, was that more on their defense or was that more on you guys not making great decisions passing the ball?
DANNY MANNING: I think it's a little bit of both. We knew that they were going to come out and be aggressive and we talked about getting to 3 near outlets any time one person was double teamed. A lot of the turnovers for us too, you factor in some, a charge or two, you factor in a travel or two, which contributes to that, but a lot of times it was a deflection that they would get and they would somehow come up with a loose ball. I think in the second half -- in the first half I think there were three possessions where we created some type of miss or deflection and we didn't come up with a loose ball and they were able to score like six points. And that happened in the second half too.

But to answer your question, we knew they were going to come out and be aggressive and we knew we needed to handle their pressure better. I think some of those turnovers, you are never happy with them, but when you're down late in the game you do have to press and try to go make some plays.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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