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March 14, 2008

Jeff Bzdelik

Marcus Hall

Richard Roby


CHARLIE FISS: Ready for the Colorado Buffaloes and Coach Bzdelik and his two student athletes, Marcus Hall and Richard Roby. Let's go to questions for the student athletes.

Q. I wonder if you could talk about how fatigued you were late in the game after playing extended minutes in the double overtime yesterday.
MARCUS HALL: Me personally I wasn't fatigued at all. I felt good. I have been playing long minutes all year long. Other guys on other teams played long minutes. I was prepared to come in and play our number of minutes. And fatigue in my body was the last thing that hurt us at the end of the ball game.
RICHARD ROBY: I don't think it affected us really. I think you got to give Oklahoma credit. They did a good job defensively on us. You go to a basketball game, you have to be mentally prepared for anything.

Q. Marcus, you said fatigue wasn't a problem down the stretch. What was the problem down the stretch?
MARCUS HALL: Rebounding, you know, that was the biggest key. We said that yesterday. That was a big key while we won the basketball yesterday. We knew we had to come in today and rebound and we gave up 15 offensive rebounds. I'm sure out of those 15 opportunities, they probably scored 50% of the time.

Q. You came to within one and two a couple of times. Do you feel like you had a lot of empty possessions with the ball when you could have tied it or taken the lead? Do you feel like if you could have gotten over that hump, the momentum would have gone your way?
RICHARD ROBY: I believe so. We just couldn't get over that hump. Every time we would get within one or two, we would miss a shot or turn the ball over and it would lead to a basket for them. So we were always playing uphill, climbing uphill.

Q. I know an emphasis this year that coach has talked about is changing the culture in the program. How has it changed over the course of the past year?
MARCUS HALL: I think it has changed a lot within this one year. I know I learned a lot just about the game itself. Me, personally, like I said, I've always wanted to win, willing to do anything it takes to win and that's what it's about. I think those -- the guys that are coming back, you know, are realizing that you got to do the little things to win ball games.
RICHARD ROBY: Yeah, I believe the culture is changing every day. You know, everybody learned a lot this year and it was a learning process for a lot of guys, even veterans like myself. There is still a lot to be learned.
And the young guys have to know how hard it takes to win ball games and nothing is gonna be easy. Winning is never easy.

Q. Rich, can you talk about what reaching the scoring record means to you.
RICHARD ROBY: When I look back on it in a few days, I'll probably be -- it will be a great feeling. Right now trying hard to sink everything in that this is the last game I'm playing in a Colorado uniform. There is a lot of different emotions going on right now for me to even think about that.

Q. Rich, did you even hear the announcement that you had set the record?
RICHARD ROBY: Yeah, I heard the announcement. You know, but I was just trying to stay focused on the game and pulling out this win. That's the only thing that was on my mind at the time.

Q. Rich, you said you are feeling a lot of emotions right now. What are those emotions?
RICHARD ROBY: Just kind of at awe that this is the last time I'm going to be in a Colorado uniform, be teammates with guys like Marcus and Marcus King-Stockton and to what the future has to hold for me.
CHARLIE FISS: Okay, guys, we'll let you go back to the locker room. Thanks for coming. We will take questions for Coach Bzdelik.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about your team getting so close and like the players said, not being able to carry it to the next step and get over the hump.
COACH JEFF BZDELIK: Frustrating but successful people are only momentarily frustrated, and that's how we feel. The experience is a great teacher.
As these young men said -- first of all, I would like to just back up and congratulate my seniors, all three of them, on their leadership, their effort. They've represented this great university extremely well both on and off the court and that's a credit to them as people.
But, you know, as they talked about, we've been in a lot of ball games this year with a chance to win. But we didn't block off several times tonight as Marcus Hall said. We yielded 15 offensive rebounds. We never culminated our defense by rebounding the ball.
Offensively, this offense takes great energy. Our lack of depth and the fact that I thought we were a little fatigued from yesterday -- and, again, we're not about excuses or explanations, not at all. But this offense takes great energy to score without the ball. And today we just tried to score with the ball.
And so we never really got into a flow. We had opportunities. I know with 3:45 left in the game, if I recall correctly it was 46-44. We missed a free throw and then defensively we fell asleep on the weak side. We were not where we were supposed to be and we yielded a lay-up. So really from a one-point game, it then became what? A four-point game. So little plays like that throughout the course of the game really hurt us and then we spot them a 10-zip lead right out of the gates. So we were always trying to fight back.
But I applaud the efforts of our team. We never quit. We always believed and we kept battling.

Q. Was spotting them that 10-point lead, what were the factors there and you guys not getting the fast start that you wanted?
COACH JEFF BZDELIK: Boy, I wish I knew (laughter). We got up this morning, we went to one of the local colleges, we watched film, we walked through what we wanted to do. We even shot a little bit. Shot some free throws, did the best we could to get us -- you know, to be ready to play and to get off to a great start, and we didn't.
But, again, we fought back and we had our opportunities.

Q. Jeff, what were your expectations of Rich, having played against him once coming into this season and how would you evaluate how he did this year?
COACH JEFF BZDELIK: He is very talented, obviously, to score the ball. He can drive it. He can shoot it. He can post it. The one thing that I really never knew about is what kind of young man he was, and I wasn't disappointed at all. I mean what I say, he cares about the way he conducts himself on and off the court. He's coachable. You know, I think the biggest thing is that he cares, and that's a great quality.

Q. Coach, did it surprise you that Oklahoma didn't have Blake Griffin in a whole lot? And what did that mean to the game? What did you do in that regard?
COACH JEFF BZDELIK: Well, I mean, we had prepared for them and, you know, I mean, he's very talented, as you can see. He had six offensive rebounds in 15 minutes and we just didn't put a body on him the way we should have. Not only do you have to put a body on him, but you have to drive him back. And that's something we put an emphasis on and actually practiced for, but we didn't do it.
And he's a talented player. Again, with my basketball team or with any team, your opponent really is yourself and how you play the game and, again, I go back to the fact that little things are things that cost us throughout the course of the year and that is the failure to consistently block off the failure to consistently defend with the weak side awareness, to cut hard all the time, to make the extra pass all the time.
But, again, you know, I heard Coach Knight say, I think it was last night or the night before, that really to be a good basketball team all your players have to have the ability to score. And that's really when you become special.
You know, we are limited in some regards with our ability to make shots. And so that puts a lot of pressure on the guys who can.

Q. Jeff, you talked about expectations for this year a couple weeks ago. Realistically with eight new guys coming in, what would be your expectations at this point for next year?
COACH JEFF BZDELIK: Well, let's put it this way, whenever Colorado takes to court, we expect to win. And that's not an arrogant statement, that's just a statement of one's competitive spirit. There are no moral victories, there are no excuses, there are no explanations.
I'm so excited about the future. I was very excited about this game, and we certainly had it within our grasp to win this game and move on.
But, you know, when you take a hit, you dust yourself off and you get back up and we're just going to keep working and there is a lot to work with with the investment, as we've talked about so many times, the University is making to not only men's basketball but to all the sports. And it is a wonderful, wonderful time to be a Buff. I'm excited and looking forward to the future. To be honest with you, Monday, I'll probably get the young guys that are returning and, "Hey, let's start working."
CHARLIE FISS: Coach, thank you very much.

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