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March 25, 2006

Rick Barnes

Brad Buckman

P.J. Tucker


MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Barnes, LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker and Brad Buckman. We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Barnes.
COACH RICK BARNES: First of all, obviously LSU, outstanding team, defensively, made it really difficult for us to score. But also I told our team that we certainly have nothing to -- we're disappointed, but I really appreciate the effort that a Brad Buckman and a Kenton Paulino gave us today and throughout the four years they have been at Texas.
And this year especially with the expectations that were put on the program, maybe the most ever, in the way we were able to fight through it, to get within one game of possible getting back to a Final Four, that will be something in a couple weeks we'll look back and reflect on.
But, again, LSU deserved to win the game, they made the plays when they had to, and again, defensively they were outstanding.
Q. The two players, could you talk about the defensive pressure that LSU put on you guys and to limit you to 52 points in regulation?
P.J. TUCKER: They did a pretty good job. They played hard. We didn't shoot the ball very well. You give them a lot of credit. They played really hard. They kept coming back at us. So like I say, you got to give those guys a lot of credit.
BRAD BUCKMAN: There's no if and buts about it, I mean they played great D. And it's a tough way to go out like this and you saw the Duke game, they played that amount of D in that game too, so they did a great job.
Q. Can both players talk about the start of the overtime. There were a couple turnovers right out of the gate.
P.J. TUCKER: It was just mishandling the ball a couple times. We were trying to get a quick hit real fast and we just didn't take our time. Stuff happens, but you got to play through it. We had a good season, but obviously things didn't go the way we wanted them to. But just a little sloppy at the end.
BRAD BUCKMAN: Those turnovers were tough, man. I mean, we tried to get something going and we had a couple mental lapses and it just happened. It's how the game goes out. It's a tough way to feel like that, but it's been a great season and I'm not really thinking about that anymore.
Q. For both players, I wonder if you can talk about the wear of having to go against a guy like the Big Baby for 45 minutes and then also the jumping ability of Thomas and how tough that was?
BRAD BUCKMAN: You look at the stat sheet, man, it shows it. They're two great players. They came ready to play. And we did our best job. I think we played pretty good defense on those guys and it was tough, because Tyrus is always jumping when you try to shoot a shot and he had a couple great blocks that I saw. And Big Baby, I mean he's just a load down there, man, some of the moves and the shots he made, it's just incredible. You give them a lot of credit. They came out and did what they had to do against us. And it was a tough matchup.
P.J. TUCKER: The they're both two tough players. I think LaMarcus did a good job, Brad too, they played hard. But Glen Davis knocked down some big-time shots and over two or three people, I mean he just made some big-time shots. Tyrus Thomas got it going early, he got in the groove early, we let him get comfortable. So they're good players and once they start to get comfortable, they start playing well.
Q. Players, two questions, can you say something about what your offense was like once your big man was put in lock down? And number two, can you say something about the two-man scoring game that LSU had with Tyrus Thomas and Glen Davis?
BRAD BUCKMAN: You can't make shots every day. LaMarcus had a big-time game the first game. He was unbelievable. And then you struggle sometimes. He did his best trying to get his shots. They just wasn't falling. LaMarcus is one heck of a player. I give him so much credit because he did -- he tried to do what he had to do. It's tough when you can't knock down shots. But he took great shots. He never took shots that he wasn't supposed to take.
It's tough when your big man can't score. But he tried his hardest. And then Glen Davis and Tyrus, I mean that's going to be tough. You watch the Final Four, man, they're going to be tough inside and we'll see if teams can slow them down and do what they got to do against them. But it's going to be a tough matchup come Final Four time.
P.J. TUCKER: LaMarcus got a lot of good looks, shots that he's going to make. Most of the time he's going to make those. He got a lot of good looks, 10, 15 feet. And got some real close shots and he just missed them.
The night before everybody was all behind over him when he was making them. But you're going to have nights. Great players have off nights. He kept playing, he never cried, everybody just kept playing. Nobody on our team shot great. But they played great defense too. So you just got to keep playing the game. It ain't going to go your way every time.
Q. P.J., one, could I ask you about injuring your hand, and what effect that had, and two, the sequence where you missed the front end of the one-and-one and then Davis hits that off balance, turn around jumper right after that, I believe.
P.J. TUCKER: Those are two big plays in the game. My hand, nothing to do with it. If I'm in the game, I'm playing. There's no excuse for nothing. So my hand had no affect on anything. I'm not going to sit up here and make excuses about anything. But that was a big change in the game when I missed the one-and-one and they came down and scored.
But even after that we still made plays and made it to overtime. But we just didn't come out and play our basketball in overtime. So with all that being said, we still had great opportunities to win the game, we just didn't max out on them.
Q. For P.J., just talk about the future of this team. Obviously you guys have shown you have got a lot of young, up-and-coming talent and obviously you're going to miss Brad and K.P., but just talk about the talent coming back next year.
P.J. TUCKER: We got guys, man, I mean, I think that we got guys coming back, we got coaches that do a great job recruiting, we got a lot of good kids coming in, great class next year. But we're going to go back and work like we always do in the off season. We're going to start working as soon as we get back, like we always do. So we're just going to prepare for next year now and just get ready.
Q. Brad, I don't know at what point you went and switched with LaMarcus on Glen Davis and I think y'all decided to double him a little bit more late in the game, right?
BRAD BUCKMAN: Our guys did a great job helping out. He's a load down there so we need some help. We felt like that the guards could come down and try to strip the ball and they did a couple times.
Q. Brad, can you just talk about what -- your performance today, you've been struggling here of late, but you got off to a great start and had a good performance today.
BRAD BUCKMAN: Well, my performance would be a lot better if we came up with a W. But, I mean, I thought I played okay. It's never great when you don't win. I don't know what to say, man. I don't -- I just -- I'm going to -- it's hard to talk right now. I've been thinking about too many things. So I think I played okay.
Q. Brad, what did you think of playing against Tyrus Thomas, just what kind of athlete you felt he was or have you played somebody like that?
BRAD BUCKMAN: He's a tremendous athlete, just for being a freshman he's got a huge upside. And he's aggressive, he can rebound the ball, and he is going to be good, man, he's going to be real good. So it was a good matchup.
MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse our student-athletes. Questions for Coach.
Q. Was this as good a defensive padlock you've seen put on LaMarcus? And generally how much does it throw your team offense off when he has this kind of a game?
COACH RICK BARNES: I told -- and I talked about this coming in, I thought defensively they were an outstanding team coming in. And people are going to talk about LaMarcus, but I thought where they do an unbelievable job with perimeter defense. We were trying to work different angles, trying to get our perimeter guys involved and they're very much underrated. You go back to the Duke game and the job that they worked on J.J. Redick, I mean, everybody's going to look at their shot blocking ability and we blocked seven shots today too and they blocked seven.
But it's not just their inside defense, I mean, obviously Big Baby, he's a -- that's a tough matchup for LaMarcus. I mean, the thing that I wanted LaMarcus to do was to try to get a little bit deeper post-up so he could get up over the top of him. And then we tried to work inside out and tried to get movement with our perimeter guys. They did a great job of fighting through screens, getting there, being there on the catch, and really they turned in an outstanding defensive effort. Both inside and out.
Q. The way you guarded Glen Davis, it was mostly LaMarcus most of the game and you went to Brad late in the game and you doubled him some I guess with Kenton, right, I was just curious what all you considered defending him. If you felt like you should have doubled him earlier?
COACH RICK BARNES: We were choking it in there early too, you know. I look at it, it's a tie game and we -- you know, I mean, again, they're going to score some points. He made some tough shots too now. You go back and look, LaMarcus had five blocks and they were probably -- I don't know how many shots he missed, he was 11 for 19. I would image and LaMarcus blocked three or four of those shots. But we were trying to really help off getting Kenton down there, against the zone. We were trying to really work hard inside of trying not to allow them to work the paint area. But they have done it all year. They don't -- you know, their three-point shooting is something they're not going to -- tonight they took 18 of them, but they work hard at working that area of the floor because of the fact that they have got the athletes, and if you help too much, if you come in there and you do try to help and then he shoots the ball, which he normally does, it's hard to get the back of the board covered on the back side because of their athletic ability.
But, yeah, we were trying to double, trying to get as much help down there as we could without giving up position to give the offensive rebounds, to give up offensive rebounds.
Q. Davis' three pointer in overtime, that put them up seven. How big a back-breaker was that?
COACH RICK BARNES: It was a big one. Obviously he hasn't made many this year, I think he's taken what, 21 or so this year and but he shot the ball well. He made a tough -- another couple tough shots and that's what you're going to need this time of year, somebody against -- you know, that can go get you a shot against pretty good defense. And he draws a lot of attention. He's got a great touch around the basket. He's physical. He can take a hit. And he can still score after a hit. But and he's a good -- he has skills. I talked about that yesterday, it's his skills that really impresses you, the way he passes the ball and handles the ball and he'll shoot it, even if you have two or three people around, he still feels he has the ability to go score it and he does a pretty good job.
Q. I wonder if you can talk about that drought you guys had at the start of overtime.
COACH RICK BARNES: Well, we were trying to run the same action we had been running when we really tied the game up when we were really trying to get P.J. isolated. And we just didn't execute it. We didn't handle it the way we needed to. And we allowed them early, the very first possession, they went down and scored, we came back and we just didn't execute.
I could break it down a couple different ways, but like I told the team in the locker room, we -- no one single guy cost us this game today. We won as a team all year and we lost today as a team. And really the credit should go to LSU, because when the game was in doubt, they made the plays they needed to make and we didn't.
Q. Can you say something about how young LSU is, how impressed were you at how well they were able to perform being so young?
COACH RICK BARNES: I don't know if young -- youth has anything to do with it. What impressed me about it was their athleticism. I mean they're an extremely athletic team. Glen Davis, regardless of his age, physically he's well advanced. They -- again, I don't know youth has anything to do with it this time of year. They played in a really good league and they have been in big games.
You go back and look, they have had a great year, they went into Morgantown, West Virginia and won a game. I think they played Connecticut pretty close. They're an outstanding team and they played in a tremendous league.
But, again, I think when that -- when they go out there and play, I don't think youth has a lot to do with it, because I think these guys get exposed to so much early and I could talk about our youth too, but I don't look at our guys as being that young right now.
Q. What kind of chance do you think LSU has in the Final Four?
COACH RICK BARNES: I think they have got as good a chance as anybody. I think if you get to this point any team that's playing right now has got a chance. Because we know in one game -- 40 minute game, anything can happen. And again, you go back and look at their year, they have had a great year. So absolutely they do and whoever the other teams advance there, they will all have a chance.
Q. Do you feel like you milked about everything you could out of this team? I know it was good enough to get to the Final Four but with Brad and Daniel struggling a little bit and Kenton's knee, do you feel like you pretty much maximized this team?
COACH RICK BARNES: Like I told our guys, we're disappointed, you know, we really are disappointed because we wanted to get back and have a chance like every team that was in this tournament, but I'm proud of this team. I really am. I'm proud of what Brad and Kenton have done in their four years and you look at 30 wins and the most in school history and like I told the team, we're all disappointed right now, but a couple days we'll look back and we'll reflect and I think we'll appreciate more what Kenton Paulino has done in his career and certainly Brad Buckman.
And so I don't know, I mean, we'll always look back and question this or question that, but right now there's no doubt this team has had a great year and I've enjoyed coaching them. Because they haven't given me any problem, we have had a happy locker room all year. I watched guys improve and get better and we'll do just like every team now, we'll get back and get back into our what we need to do and we'll try to work hard at trying to put ourselves back in position to get back here again.
Q. Did Kenton hurt his knee in Thursday's game or has that been coming on or a chronic thing?
COACH RICK BARNES: He actually hurt it in the Kansas game in the Big-12 championship game. They had a player that rolled up on him and then he hurt it again in the I want to say the NC State game. And he went in for the layup tonight on the way he had a breakaway, he hurt it again a little bit. But it's been -- it started hurting him in the Kansas game.
MODERATOR: Okay. We'll conclude that. Thank you very much, Coach Barnes.

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