March 29, 1996
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY
Q. For Marcus. The Olympic Festival seemed to be kind of your coming out time. If you could reminisce about that and discuss whether you had something to prove in terms of nationwide competition then.
MARCUS CAMBY: What I saw when I was coming out of high school, everybody was talking about Rasheed Wallace. He was on my team. So I think when I went down to San Antonio, a lot of people were focused on him. We had Stackhouse and Donta and John Wallace, I took it upon myself to try to make things happen and make a name for myself. And I went down and tried to play well.
Q. For Marcus. It seems like every year in the Final Four there's one player, a star player where people say it's going to carry the load being the star. Looks like this year it's going to be you. Are you comfortable in that position?
MARCUS CAMBY: I'm very comfortable, but I'm surrounded by a great team. You don't have to score 35, 40 points to be successful. This is a great team and there are a lot of great players on it.
Q. Could you guys talk about your relationship off the court, how you met and coming from how you got here and how it helps you on the court, maybe, this is for Edgar and Carmelo.
EDGAR PADILLA: It helps a little bit because we've come from the same backgrounds. And we've gone through the same things together and the same situations since we were freshmen. And now at this point we play our best.
CARMELO TRAVIESO: Being so alike and coming to school together for me and Edgar, and working together like we did for three years helps us on and off the court. And our relationship is special because we help each other out and when we're on the court it's the same thing.
Q. This is for Dana. Could you talk a little bit about your basketball development in college, coming out. And also what it's like to come out back to the area, being in this environ. Is it a bit more special because the game is being held in the New York area?
DANA DINGLE: I think every year I became better as a player, since my freshman year to my senior year, because I haven't been playing basketball for that long. I started playing in high school. Every year I think I've progressed. And since it's the Final Four and also my last year, I think it's exciting for me to play my last days in college basketball in the Final Four back in my backyard.
Q. Marcus, a lot of us in this room have been writing about how important Kentucky's depth will be and their ability to wear your team down. Your thoughts on whether that will be a factor and how much?
MARCUS CAMBY: I don't think that will play a factor in this game. It's do or die for both teams. Everybody is going to go all out on our team. If they want to substitute that's fine for them. I think think substituting that much the team gets out of rhythm. And once we get in rhythm, we go from there. When I hit a couple of shots and get my rhythm, I start getting into the flow of the game.
Q. Carmelo and Edgar, Coach Pitino said that you guys, you committed 23 turnovers against the Kentucky press. And he thought that the way you handled the Arkansas, Georgetown press showed the ways you guys matured as guards during the season. Can you talk about the difference in the way you handled Arkansas and Georgetown compared to Kentucky the beginning of the year?
EDGAR PADILLA: I think the Kentucky game was the first game, and we were trying to -- it was our first game of the season and we were trying to get used to playing together and know what we had to do out there. And now that we played against Arkansas and Georgetown it was different games, different situation because it was the end of the season and now we really know what we have to do. And we know what we're capable of doing through the whole game.
CARMELO TRAVIESO: That first game against Kentucky, we went up against probably the best pressing team. And it was the first time, like the first experience for me, Edgar and the rest of the team. When we make a press, everybody helps out. And that showed in the Arkansas and the Georgetown game. And through the whole year we were pressed and we've matured and our team has played better together and it showed in the last two games.
Q. Donta, we've heard many players refer to Coach Calipari as a motivator. Can you give any specific examples he's done to help motivate you or things that struck you about him motivating somebody else?
DONTA BRIGHT: One example is when we played the Converse All Stars, we played the Sluggers (phonetic) and they beat us. After the game a couple of guys and myself we stayed in, and we were talking with Coach Calipari about things we could do to get back on track. And he talked about an hour, he gave us things we should start doing, extra work, coming to practice early, staying after practice, getting into conditioning, lifting weights more. That gave us a motivating factor right there that we could be a good team.
Q. Either Dana or Donta. All year Marcus has been getting a lot of publicity, and as the year progressed the back court has been, too. You've been overlooked, sort of, do you feel you're a secret weapon, going into this game?
DONTA BRIGHT: No, Marcus is the best player in the country. And we've got two of the best guards in the country. We're part of the puzzle. We do anything for our team to win ballgames. Dana can defend and score, and I can bring the same things to the table. But collectively we go out and play good. We don't worry about who gets the credit, we want to win.
DANA DINGLE: Donta pretty much said we don't care about the publicity as long as we win. We're happy about that. We know what we can do on the court and as long as we're helping our team win, we must be pretty successful in what we're doing.
Q. Marcus, you guys beat Kentucky early in the season but now do you feel a sense of pressure that in order for your season to be a success you have to beat them again? Is that an awkward, difficult situation for you guys?
MARCUS CAMBY: Not really. The season has been successful so much for us. We've beaten quality teams all year long. I don't know. They're a different team from November 28th, but so are we. I just can't wait to get started, for the ball to be tossed up tomorrow.
Q. Carmelo, last week Coach Calipari talked about the barriers that this team had broken through to reach this point. And can you maybe address those barriers and which ones were breakthroughs for this team. You look at the situation a year ago you were here at the threshold of the Final Four, now you're back in the Final Four.
CARMELO TRAVIESO: Coach talks about breaking barriers. One of the barriers we had to break this year was coming out and playing in noon games and coming out and winning those games. Another was winning at Temple. We broke a barrier when we beat Kentucky, before that they beat us twice. He speaks in terms like that, in breaking barriers, whether it was in practice or in games or whatever. He uses that to get us motivated to get through tough situations.
Q. Marcus, because where you guys are ranked and Kentucky is behind you, people are viewing it as the championship before the championship game. How do you view this game and how do you not put so much emphasis on this game?
MARCUS CAMBY: I'm not stressing this game that much. This is important for us and our university just to get this win, it would give us great satisfaction to beat them again. But once this game is over and hopefully if we win, it's just another game to be played on Monday. We're taking one game at a time, just going out there to try to play UMass basketball. If that's not good enough, we go home. And the season has been successful.
Q. Marcus, you picked up another award this morning from the BWA. Can you talk about how it feels to be recognized for so many individual honors on a team that most people consider a very people oriented team.
MARCUS CAMBY: It feels good to be considered the best in many peoples' opinion. All the individuals are great, but nothing would be more sweeter than to get these two victories in New York. But I don't let those individual awards affect me or how I play on this team. Without the team none of the awards would be possible, so a lot of things should go to them.
Q. Marcus, can you talk about being an 8 point underdog to a team you beat already this season and why you think you're an 8 point underdog for a team you bet already this season?
MARCUS CAMBY: I think we like being an underdog. I think being an underdog all year long they don't expect us to win. They've been playing great ball, and blowing teams out. We weren't expected to win, or win the bracket in the East in Atlanta. So we're just going to come out and and let it fly.
Q. For Marcus, where did the phrase, "Refuse To Lose", come from on your warmups? And if Coach Calipari proposed that did you think it was a little corny or did you think it might inspire your opponents a little more to see that when you guys come out for your lay up?
MARCUS CAMBY: It was here before I came to UMass, I think the guys before me developed this motto. I think we go out there and refuse to lose. I think no team in the country has had so many close games as we have. When it comes down to the last four minutes in the game we don't have it in our mind to lose. In the last minutes of the game we're going to find a way to put out.
End of FastScripts....