March 16, 2023
Denver, Colorado, USA
Q. Adam, what have you guys been working on the last few days, and do you kind of feel like this is a fresh start for you guys?
ADAM FLAGLER: Yeah, I definitely think it's a fresh start for everybody coming into this tournament. It's a new beginning, new opportunity. We've just been trying to focus on each other, being connected out there. We had a great group of practice days where we could compete and get back to the basics and do things that show our identity when we come out on the court.
Q. Adam, in terms of Flo, what is his legacy coming into this tournament in terms of program history, the all-time winningest player in program history. What does he do for this team and what is his legacy?
ADAM FLAGLER: You kind of answered it yourself to be honest, all the accolades and everything he's done for Baylor with his energy, his leadership and how he carries himself and he approaches every game as his last. We just want to go out there, including myself, go out there and play for one another. He's our anchor, to be honest. So anytime he's locked in and he's flying around out there, everybody is going to feel it. The fans are going to love it, and we feel like if he goes out there and gives his all, we have an opportunity to go far in this tournament.
Q. Adam, what's the similarities between you guys from two years ago to now? You guys are similarly really good offensively. What similarities do you see between the team that won the championship two seasons ago and this current team?
ADAM FLAGLER: I would say just kind of the situation. I know going into the tournament that year, we lost in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma State, and we just lost against Iowa State, so it's an opportunity to regroup. We had a great group of days where we could practice and hone in on the things that we needed to.
I think the situation is similar. But it's two different teams, and we want to make our own identity and make our own statement out here this year.
Q. Keyonte, I don't know if you've seen or even thought of this, but there's talk about this being the last year for kids who might be one-and-dones for the NBA and the next level. As someone who's had to make those decisions, how would that change your mindset if you're a high school kid a year ago and looking at should I go to school, should I GoPro? How is that going to change high schoolers' minds who may be thinking of an NBA career?
KEYONTE GEORGE: Yeah, you know, if some kids have the opportunity to do that, and they feel like they have what it takes, then you can't hold them back. But me personally, I love the college scene. Bonding with a group of guys, you've got older guys, younger guys, it's different cultures on a team. And I love college just for March. This time of the year, it's exciting, and it also gets you to -- I feel like college prepares you a lot more.
My personal opinion, I feel like every player should have this type of experience, but if they have the talent to go ahead and skip this, then you can't hold them back.
Q. Keyonte, you kind of touched on it a little bit, just the excitement level of March. This is your first experience with this. What are you maybe looking to showcase? Is this maybe the best national stage to showcase what you've got?
KEYONTE GEORGE: Yeah, definitely. We always talk about God gives us a platform, and we don't want to take advantage of it. I'm going to do everything in my power to go out there, play hard. My main focus is winning. When you have that mindset, you don't care about the points, care about yourself. We have that culture. Others just before yourself. That's just been my mindset coming into this tournament.
Q. Adam, the Big 12 has won the last two tournaments. What about the Big 12 prepares you for moments like this?
ADAM FLAGLER: You know, the talent is there, is obvious. The toughness, the coaching staffs, I think from top to bottom in the league, I feel like we have the best of the best conference. Any game, every game, away or at home is a battle, and when you play in March Madness, every game is win or go home.
I think a lot of teams in the Big 12 see it as that. When we go on the road or when we're playing home games, every game matters for standings for Big 12, regular season and for preparation postseason, as well.
Q. Keyonte, you guys got here a little early to acclimate. How are you guys acclimating, and do you feel like that was a pretty good idea?
KEYONTE GEORGE: Yeah, we got here early. I feel like all the guys have taken advantage of being here early. Our staff has provided us with the resources that we need to play at our highest level and be 100 percent. Like you said, we've really locked in and took advantage of being down here early.
Q. Keyonte, just curious what you remember about the 2021 Baylor team that won it all, and if that had any influence on your decision to come to Baylor and if that motivates you to recreate some of those memories in your freshman year.
KEYONTE GEORGE: Yeah, I remember where I was at, watching the National Championship game. I kind of -- during that moment in time, I kind of knew where I wanted to be at, and that put the icing on the cake. The three guards that they had, and then Flag was part of that team, and I just wanted to go somewhere where it was kind of an older group of guys. Just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, playing with guys like L.J. and Flag.
But like you said, it was an exciting team, and I feel like we can do the same. But we've got to take it one day at a time. It should be fun.
Q. Keyonte, along those same lines, do you have any particular memories of March Madness growing up, any games, teams, anything stand out in your mind?
KEYONTE GEORGE: I mean, the most recent one is when Baylor won. That Duke team with Zion and RJ Barrett, that was a fun team, so that's probably the most memorable.
Q. Adam, I see you have your beanie on. Was it kind of weird to have to pack some warm clothes for this trip coming from Texas?
ADAM FLAGLER: I've never been to Colorado, so I'm thankful to be able to travel and for basketball to take me places. Regardless of where we're put, we're excited to be able to play. Everybody doesn't get this opportunity to play in March Madness. I definitely packed for the weather, so yeah.
Q. Adam, Coach Drew mentioned the other day about some of you guys have transferred from smaller schools so you probably understand the mentality of the guys you're going to be facing, kind of the underdog. But can you maybe talk a little bit about that and respecting a team like Cal Santa Barbara?
ADAM FLAGLER: Yeah, we definitely respect Cal Santa Barbara. We want to give credit where credit is due. They have high-caliber guys, a great coaching staff over there, and we know we can't take this for granted. At the end of the day, our attention to detail and everything is just as if we're playing the best team in the country at this point.
We're really excited for the opportunity, but they've fought endlessly to get here. I know that they have to do a certain bid just like smaller schools when I was at Presbyterian. So I know they're going to have to fight but we have to be the toughest team out there and go out compete and have the most energy.
Q. Adam, I'm curious what you learned last season during the tournament in the loss to North Carolina and what kind of takeaways you guys can bring into this season?
ADAM FLAGLER: I think the main thing that I learned was the team that's most connected out there is going to win. At that time North Carolina had a lot of momentum and they were connected and flying around out there just having fun. We weren't, probably until that second half, to be honest.
If we can just put emphasis on going out there, playing for one another, having fun. Because this opportunity doesn't come for everybody, and I felt like we went out there kind of taking it for granted especially in that first half and they smacked us in the mouth.
I'm excited and thankful that I'm back here and I have the opportunity to play with these guys and have a different feeling at the end of the season.
Q. Do you feel like there is a reset button that you hit when you start the NCAA Tournament?
ADAM FLAGLER: I definitely think so. You know, nothing before this really matters. At the end of the day, with the neutral siting and just the opportunity to play in one game dictates everything at this point. Anything that you did before just doesn't matter. And we just have the utmost excitement to go out there and just play hard and put everything out on the line for this one game.
Q. Keyonte, how did this offense and the team chemistry change when Jon returned to the lineup from his injury and how rewarding was that as teammates to see him? I know he went through a couple surgeries and it was a long ordeal.
KEYONTE GEORGE: It was amazing to see the amount of work that he's put in. We were ecstatic to see him out there. He definitely provides a different type of energy, his ability to shoot three, as well, provides some scouting adjustments for a lot of the teams. And we try to do our best to pick and choose when we're passing it and making him that key target for teams that may not be accustomed to it as well as when he's rolling it and he's finishing around the rim. His toughness and his size and everything is something that was an addition to our team. At this point with Flo, Josh, Zach and now Jon, we have more depth at the big man lineup.
SCOTT DREW: Well, it's always a blessing to be a part of March Madness. It's the best time of year if you're a college basketball fan, player, coach. And during that month, unbelievable highs, unbelievable lows, but you've got to thank God every time you get an opportunity to be a part of it.
I love this team. Excited to see what we can do in March. Obviously each and every year it seems like the parity is at an all-time high. But that's what makes March Madness so great.
Q. Just curious what kind of similarities you see between this team and your 2021 team. Obviously you guys have really good offense again and Adam was saying that getting bounced in the Big 12 tournament early on like you did that year could also make for some motivation for you guys?
SCOTT DREW: I think the thing that stands out right away is the offensive production at the guard spot. The year we won it all, this year a lot of similarities as far as offensive talent. I think it's great having Flo and Jon in the interior that have National Championship experience, as well.
But at the end of the day, that team was in the tournament, defended at an elite level, and we're capable of that, and hopefully we can do that.
Q. You guys got here a little early. I guess maybe acclimating a little. How are the rebounding drills going?
SCOTT DREW: Well, we got here early to make sure you didn't get stranded on a mountain hiking or anything, so we did our job. We like the 70-degree weather better than the snow, but it's great to get to the site and get focused, be with the group. We had a great couple days of practice leading up to this, and praise God no one got injured, so that's the most important thing. We got better and didn't lose anybody.
Excited to see how much we've improved come Friday.
Q. You mentioned Flo and Jon; how has the offense changed since Jon got back, and just the chemistry between them and how are you utilizing both of those guys in different but the same roles?
SCOTT DREW: Well, to start with Jon, because of his injury was able to spend a lot of time just working on his shot and his passing. His skill level is really improved. Now you get a stretch big, someone who can shoot 40, 50 percent from three and that opens up the offense.
At the same time, it allows Flo and Jon both to compete harder and leave more out there and not worry as much about foul trouble because they have each other.
Q. Your brother Bryce is also here in Denver; curious the conversation you guys have had, and are you making any time for family this week?
SCOTT DREW: Yeah, so I was able to see him last night before their team meeting, and that's a huge blessing. Made it real easy for my mom and dad. And they're getting up in age so it's harder to travel, so going to one spot is easier.
The biggest thing was in the bracket, it was a blessing we didn't have to play each other. We can cheer for each other, and hopefully we can stay around together.
Q. It has been 25 years since "the shot" and your first victory in the NCAA Tournament. When you think about that number, what does that mean, the silver anniversary of that?
SCOTT DREW: 25 years makes me feel a lot older and you can't believe how quick time flies. At the same time an unbelievable March Madness memory and something that -- a lot of times, your biggest moments you want to share them with family, and I was able to do that with my dad being the head coach, my brother being there, and whenever I see that, it's a blessing.
Again, 25 years, it's amazing how quick time flies. I know the older we all get, we all say the same thing about how life moves.
That's why I just thank God every time we get an opportunity to be a part of March Madness. Tomorrow is never promised for any of us.
Q. When you find out that Grand Canyon doesn't have their uniforms, who makes the call to offer up jerseys and how did that go down?
SCOTT DREW: Well, we charge them by the hour.
Whatever we can do to help. Actually we were in that situation once. We went to Syracuse, I think it was '06, '05, something like that. Our uniforms shoes didn't show up. They were gracious enough to let us use their stuff. Ours got there just in time for the game, otherwise it would have been Syracuse versus Syracuse.
Anyway, normally that doesn't happen nowadays with charter flights, but I was glad big brother was able to help if they needed whatever they needed.
Q. How often is Bryce calling for info on Gonzaga since your success the last couple of meetings? And a scouting report on his pickleball ability?
SCOTT DREW: Yeah, so Roger Powell was with my brother and they've been great friends. And same with us, we know a lot about each other's program. It's tough when you play that person, but other than that, you always cheer for them.
I know both staffs really respect one another, and obviously the toughest decision was who Coach Few was going to choose as a partner. I'm a great recruiter so I recruited him right away. My dad and brother were going to take us on if we had time, but we didn't have time to get it in.
Q. Do you have an update on Langston Love and his status for tomorrow?
SCOTT DREW: Be a game-time decision, but he has been able to go through practice, so that's a positive.
Q. Going back down memory lane to your brother's shot, that moment sort of introduced a lot of people to your dad, maybe the casual fan. How often do people ask him, you, Bryce about that play just as you go?
SCOTT DREW: I know they get asked a lot more than I do. At the same time, I know my dad, a Hall of Fame coach, and it was great that Valpo's platform grew a lot and people were able to see just what God was able to do with Valpo's program. My dad is somebody that doesn't care about any accolades or awards. He just wants to serve his players, always has, always does, and still does to this day, helping them with jobs or marital, career advice, anything.
But it was great as a big brother to see your little brother hit that shot, and it was great to see people talk positive about your dad. Again, when you talk about iconic moments, when you see that, my first thought is dang, that's what it looks like when I had more hair and my dad had hair and my brother was a pup. Again, that's what makes March Madness so special. You have opportunities to have those great moments.
Q. Some of your guys have quite a lot of NCAA experience. How does that help, especially with them being able to relay what to expect to the other guys?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I think players' experience players' leadership is always more important than coaches'. Why I say that is 18- to 23-year-olds listen to each other and peer pressure is much more important than what coaches say. Having upperclassmen that can say this is what we need to do and why we need to do it, that means more than me saying it.
I know we have great upperclassmen leadership. And going back to memory lane, one thing that's ironic is none of our guys were born when my brother hit that shot, so that makes me feel real old.
Q. Bryce hits that shot but the indelible image of that dog pile. Jared is a first-year assistant with you and been with you for 15 years. Talk about what Jared has brought to your program and what he's meant as an assistant coach on the floor?
SCOTT DREW: Well, first it showed his intelligence because he got on top of the pile and you knew he was going to be a good coach from that. Jared is somebody that is tremendous with people, and because of his relationship skills, it lends to someone who's going to be really successful in whatever profession he chooses. God gave him a great ability and understanding for basketball and passion for it, and he's been a great contributor to our program and a big reason why we've had the success we've had.
Q. What's unique about UCSB and the way that they play basketball, and is there a point on your schedule where you kind of pinpoint and say, okay, they kind of did a little bit of this that we can pull from?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I think first because of film nowadays, you get a chance to get a feel and analytics for -- there's no stone unturned with any opponent you play. I think especially because of COVID, you have, again, more parity in college basketball because people get granted that extra year. And they have a lot of players that have had -- first of all experience, second of all been at different levels in college such as Cal and Temple and Oregon.
But it starts with their coaching staff. They do a great job in developing and creating a winning program. I think it's the third-winningest program in California in the last six years. And their style of play, very deliberate on the offensive end, and they usually get high-percentage shots.
Then defensively very sound, really good team defense, and tournament -- you find out more about other names that you probably haven't heard. But Mitchell, their point guard, is somebody that most college coaches all know about, big conference Player of the Year, and 6'5" point guard, pro prospect, someone that really does a great job facilitating for everyone else on the team.
Q. On a day where both you and Bryce are in the same place, parents bring both shirts? Does one of them wear Baylor, one of them wear Grand Canyon?
SCOTT DREW: That's a great question. Probably something you'd have to ask my dad. We've scrimmaged Bryce before and my dad wore neutral colors, so he actually thinks about that stuff, because Bryce and I would call him out, just so you know. I would assume it would be one and one or both the same. But hopefully they've got a lot to smile about Friday rather than a tough day.
Q. Keyonte was in here saying that the championship you guys won two years ago was the icing on the cake for his decision to come to Baylor. How excited are you for him to experience this tournament, and how important is it going to be for him to be at his best for you guys to advance?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I mean, he's somebody that's had huge games for us. And at the same time there's things that you don't always see in the stat sheet that show up in plus/minus and other things. And with his improved defense, rebounding, those two things will probably be more important than the scoring from the standpoint he's a gifted scorer.
But in this tournament you don't defend, you don't rebound, you don't stay. His ability to do both of those can really help our team.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports