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March 23, 2006
THE MODERATOR: On the stage representing Memphis, John Calipari, student-athletes Rodney Carney, Shawne Williams and Darius Washington Jr. We'll start with a brief opening statement from the head coach.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: My statement is we really guarded, we rebounded in the second half, and my stars were stars, all three of them. Joey rebounded and my three stars were stars. We're pretty good what that happens.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Darius, they appeared to try to play your kind of game. Is that kind of a mistake to try to get in that game with you guys?
DARIUS WASHINGTON, JR.: It played into our favor. They wanted to run, so we're down running because that's our style. That's Memphis basketball. We run. They wanted to run with us, we got the victory.
Q. Rodney, talking about the defense, how much of an advantage is it for you guys when you're so much longer and taller?
RODNEY CARNEY: Well, that's what we concentrated on throughout our other victories, defense. Got a fake at the ball, we got concentrate on just knocking them down, helping other people. Once we got the defense clicking, the lead extended.
It was an all-out effort out of there. I'm proud of my teammates. They really gave all the effort they could on defense. That's what we have to do to win.
Q. For any of the players, how confident are you feeling right now knowing that the two teams out on the floor, you've beaten both of them?
SHAWNE WILLIAMS: Repeat the question again.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: That's what he does to me right there (laughter).
Q. How confident are you knowing you have beaten the two teams?
SHAWNE WILLIAMS: Everybody know it's hard to beat a team twice. We're not trying to jump the gun. You know what I'm saying, wait the outcome of the game. We're not going to even watch it. We're just going to wait to see who we're playing. We'll get prepared by coach, like we always been doing. Go through the same process and procedures.
Q. Rodney, does it matter if you get that first dunk every night? That seems to energize the team.
RODNEY CARNEY: That's what my dunks do. I spark the team with, you know, run-through dunks, come from the baseline, tip dunks, whatever. That gives the team intensity, gets them going.
That's my purpose. You know, I want to get the run-through dunks. I want to dunk on seven foot guys, just to get the team going. Once I come out, the intensity will still be there.
Q. Rodney, it was a five-point game at halftime. You made several big plays to start the run in the second half. Can you talk about the team's mindset going into that second half, what turned the game in your favor.
RODNEY CARNEY: Basically we knew we had to rebound. Once we hit the boards -- me personally, I had to rebound. Once we hit the boards, that was a big difference in the game. We kicked it up. We got transition buckets. Once rebounding, that ended the game right there.
Q. Darius, you usually play at a very high speed, fast pace. Is it unusual for you to see Coach Calipari even when you're in a fast-paced game asking you to go even faster?
DARIUS WASHINGTON, JR.: Coach Cal always want to, you know, try to push you more than your body can handle. That's how he always been, that's how he always going to be. He's going to try to make your body go to the max. When you're tired, raise the fence and come out or he's going to put a new fresh body in there.
Q. Can you talk about how you attacked the seven-footer? You came in with that teardrop shot, how well that worked, especially in the second half that worked, sparked the offense.
DARIUS WASHINGTON, JR.: That was the whole key. The seven-footer was standing in the lane, he wasn't moving. My whole key was to get as deep as I could and just, you know, teardrop it in. If I miss, I had Joey Dorsey, Shawne Williams to get the rebound.
Q. When you get the pace to a place where you're getting five or six possessions in a minute, do you think that's a time when the talent level on your team gives you an advantage?
RODNEY CARNEY: Yeah, I think it does. We get a couple more possessions rather than we should. You know, we grind it out. We use different plays, get Shawne in the post, get Chris one-on-one, get a lot of play from me, or something. We prevails on that. We were longer, a lot more physical than them, a lot more talented. We used it to our advantage.
Q. Third straight low-seeded team you've beat. Is there a secret that you can give to future top-seed teams? (Indiscernible)?
SHAWNE WILLIAMS: The low-seed team, they can be the No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed. My hat off to all them people. I can't say I never guarded a person like Morrison. He a good player. He feels he can go outside or inside. That team right there should have been in the top 10 during the season.
Q. Are you impressed with Bradley?
RODNEY CARNEY: Definitely. Even though their height wasn't 6'9", 6'6", 6'7", they played hard. Their other guards, they really shot the ball well, they got the big men the ball. They're a great team. They're a good all-around team.
Q. All the talk by the so-called experts was that you were the fourth No. 1 seed. This is your third 16-point victory. Is this making a statement about the quality of your team?
RODNEY CARNEY: We just want to go out and play. We don't watch them. We don't really listen to what they say. We just go out and play, let our plan do the talking. We don't really buy into that, let them get us mad or anything. We just going to go out and play. We don't listen to anything.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Great job, guys.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the head coach.
Q. I was sitting behind your bench. I can see the way your players like to play. When you take them out, they seem to give you attitude. What I like most is you give it right back to them. Does that happen mainly during this tournament or is it usually like that?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Because I get emotional, it's when you're Italian, you get emotional. I talk with my hands and I get emotional. So if I'm going to get emotional, then I can't always get mad at them for getting emotional.
Now, there comes a point that they understand that they would never cross. But I was the same way at UMass. I mean, think about it. If I'm going to get emotional, I don't want them to get emotional, that's not very fair.
It's not as bad as you think. But my intensity and passion makes them more intense and passionate, which means they're going to, "I didn't mean to do it that way!" Yes, you did!"
Makes no bearing on me. I love all of them. You can be aggressive with them if they know you care about them and love them. They don't care what you know until they know you care. When they know you care, you can be aggressive. They know I respect them as players and as people.
If you watch it, they're having fun. They go back in, a kid that will say something, then he'll go right back in and he plays. I'm not worried about it. I stick him right back in.
Q. I know your guys don't remember this, but I know you do. Do these guys remind you at all athletically of those mid '80s Memphis teams?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I don't know. I never saw those teams. I don't know. I mean, you'd have to ask the Memphis people that are here.
Q. We've all written so much about the freshmen, sophomore Memphis. Tonight it seemed, especially at the start of the second half, that Rodney really triggered things.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Our stars have to be stars, if you're going to win in this tournament. If your star goes under, you better have someone else stepping up and being a star.
But the reality of it is you cannot count on a freshman to go do what Rodney did today. Darius Washington I think kind of quieted all this, "What is he?" I kept telling you all, and I told him prior to the game, any time he plays against a small guard, he goes for big numbers. He always has. I told the team that. I said, "You know what, he kind of reverts back to his mentality of high school. "I know I can score on this guy." He goes and does he what does best, which is score the ball. He also ran our club and defended, you know, as we ground it out. But Rodney, you're right, you're seeing him doing his better thing, and he's doing it.
Q. There were times in the game when the pace of the game was so fast, it was sort of bordering on chaos. You love it. In those moments, what is going on that's so good for your team? Why do you seize those moments?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: We're deep and we're also fast, so I want the game that way. Now, what I don't want to do, my old self, which is I cannot stand a team getting layups. We're not going to do anything to give them layups. You may get a jump shot in transition off the run occasionally, but you shouldn't be getting layups with the way we're playing.
We try to pick up the pace of the game and then just keep going, keep going, keep going until they got to call a timeout or I stick in three or four more guys.
I think the demoralizing part of it is when you're coaching, you look down there, we have three more guys at the bench, and they're chomping at the bit at the scorer's table to go back and they can play, too. It's like for the other team, "Who is this guy, the 10th guy? Who is this?"
If you watched us at the end of the game, we ground it out. Did you see us grind it, run the clock, middle pick-and-roll, post-ups? We can play either way. I thought my teams at Mass were good at that. We played Temple, it was going to be in the 50s, 60s. If we played GW, it was going to be in the 80s. We'd rather play this way. If someone forces us to play a shorter game, we're fine. We got enough guys.
Q. O'Bryant had seven and 11 halftime, one and three the second half. What changed?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Joey Dorsey was terrific. Joey was really good. We also helped off better. We did a better job of helping with other guys. So we got there.
I thought Sommerville was the guy that really did some things and got himself fouled and rebounded and did some things in the second half for them to keep it, you know, in a distance.
I thought Joey did what he's supposed to do. He got 11 rebounds. The technical bothered me. I'm going to tell you why. What if that was a close game? What could that kid have said that led you to get a technical? That's why I took him out and sat him. I'm not worried about this game, I'm worried about the next game. You don't want that.
What these guys said, the one thing now, the crew at ESPN, and I know who it is, kind of cut out what I said, like we're not worried about Bradley. You all were hearing what I said. We're not going to watch tape. I don't want them to watch that game. All they're going to do is go back and relax and enjoy what you just did. I'm not going to watch this game. When they tell me who won, we played both teams, I'm watching that tape. Then I'll watch this game on a tape.
I'm worried about my team. I'm worried about how we're playing. I respect everybody we play. They all scare me to death. But I just do it different. I don't want my guys -- they're not coaches. They don't have to watch five tapes. They'll watch about five minutes of tape of one of these two team, that's it. Go ball. Go ball. I'll worry about the coaching; you just get out there and ball.
Q. People talk about how athletic this team is. I think a fresh bunch of people see it again. To talk about them as a bunch of athletes, does it give short shrift of the rest of their game?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: They're skilled. I don't even call them athletes. They're not as fast and quick as you think. Chris Douglas isn't, Antonio Anderson isn't. Rodney is ridiculous. Andre and Darius are very fast. But Shawne Williams isn't a great athlete. Robert Dozier isn't a great athlete. What they are are skilled basketball players who can all pass, catch and have a feel for the game. That's what they are. And there's a lot of 'em. Makes it kind of nice.
Q. A question about Carney. You mentioned Carney is a great athlete. It's very obvious watching him dunk. To have the three-point shot he has, with that combination, where did he develop that?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: He's worked at it, but he's pretty good at it. Again, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but you put him in a fast-paced game where he has a point guard that can deliver him balls and find him in transition and get him open threes, wow, wow.
He'll never play on a team like this again that enjoys each other like these guys, that respect each other like these guys, that are truly trying to do something, and they're chasing greatness, and do something unique. He'll never again.
But I told him, I said, we just have to hope you're on a fast west team that's going to have a point guard that can deliver you. I'll be flying to go watch him play.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Thank you.
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