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March 20, 2008

Antonio Anderson

John Calipari

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Robert Dozier


THE MODERATOR: We have from the University of Memphis, Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts. Guys, we're going to open things up for questions. Questions, please.

Q. This question is for anybody who wants to answer it. You guys have seemed to develop over the years the art of not overlooking teams and making the record that you have. You've got a team in Texas-Arlington that a lot of people know about but what -- how is your approach in this game in not taking a team for granted?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: We know Texas-Arlington is a good team, and we know they're capable of beating us. When you overlook teams, that's an easy way to get upsets. There's good players on every team on this tournament. They're capable of beating us. We're not overlooking anyone.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Pretty much the same thing as Chris was saying. Coming into the tournament, we may be a top seed, but there's 64 other teams that are here as well. So the seeding is thrown out the window. All the records are thrown out the window. This is a one-and-done tournament. We've got to come out with our best efforts or else we go home.
ROBERT DOZIER: Taking one game at a time. At this tournament anybody can be beat. You've got to be prepared mentally and physically.

Q. For all three guys, Coach has talked this year about the privilege of pressure. What does that mean, and how do you use it to motivate yourselves?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Basically if you don't have any pressure on you, you're not doing something right. So it's definitely a privilege to have pressure on you. I mean, I feel that every player wants some type of pressure on them in the country, you know, because it's fun to me. The way you handle pressure, it makes you who you are as a player.
ROBERT DOZIER: It's extra motivation skill you can use, you know, knowing that, you know, you got a job to do and you got to do it in order for your team to be good or whatever. It's just something you can use, you know, like he was saying, just a motivational tool.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Pretty much like my teammates are saying. It's a privilege to have a lot of pressure. We work extremely hard. In the preseason coming into the season, we held the record for about 27 games in a row without losing and home streak that went pretty far. You know, that's something we wanted to keep going. We lost a game this year, but the motivation for us as a team. We come out every day, work hard and just try to win ball games. Don't want to lose any. When you're winning, there's always a lot of pressure not to lose, and I think we handled that pretty well.

Q. Since the Tennessee loss and the close call at Alabama/Birmingham, do you believe the team has come together since then to probably step it up a notch? Do you think you're playing your best ball now?
ROBERT DOZIER: Definitely. I think like going into the conference tournament, right after UAB game, everybody has been pretty much on their game. Guys starting to hit their stride. Guys are coming back from slumps. We're just starting to click at the right time. I think it's a good thing for our team.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Well, the Tennessee loss and the UAB game was a tough one. But after that Tennessee loss -- we played them on a Saturday night, and we had a game the following Tuesday and came out with our heads-up high and won by a large margin. That really didn't affect us too much. We know a loss is a loss. We had to move on from that game, and the guys picked it up a little bit, offense and defense, and got things going.

Q. This is for any of the three of you guys. You only lost one game this year, and you are number one seed. You might not get the same amount of respect as, say, North Carolina gets because of the conference you play in. Does that bother you? Do you guys feel added pressure when you get to the tournament to prove people wrong?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: No, it doesn't bother us because we've been through it. I mean, Antonio, we've been through it already. We've always been the first number one seed to lose, and that's -- we don't look at that at all. We know we're not in the ACC, so they expect us to lose because of our conference. We don't pay attention to that at all.

Q. Fellas, wanted to know what y'all have learned about Texas-Arlington, the players that you see that you can march up against. What is it that they do that concerns you?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: We don't know anything about Texas-Arlington right now. Our coaches are handling the scouting reports. We're going out and practicing the way we usually do it, and we'll probably get a little bit of information on them later on tonight and tomorrow.
ROBERT DOZIER: Pretty much the same thing.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: We know they have a great post presence. We've been working on a couple of things to try to prevent them from scoring and getting easy baskets in the post.
ROBERT DOZIER: They also have a couple shooters -- they have a couple shooters we have to worry about.

Q. Guys, can you talk about getting to play so close to home in this regional, how you feel about that, and does that add any pressure to the situation?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: It doesn't add any pressure. It makes us feel a little more comfortable knowing we're only two hours away, and students who are lucky to get tickets and our fans who support us throughout the whole season, they get a chance to drive down and don't have to stay. They can drive back after the game. Just keep supporting us. The closer we are, the better it is for us. We feel a little more at home.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I feel that all of the number one seeds in the tournament, we have the least pressure on us because everybody is saying we're the first one to lose. So we're just having fun. It's nothing about being close to home that's adding pressure. We're just out having fun, honestly.
ROBERT DOZIER: Pretty much what he say. Being home, if anything, is more of a comfort. I'll be happy to see our fans here tomorrow to help us with the support, you know. There's no pressure.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: No pressure, man.

Q. How have you guys managed to, with all the talent, different talent, that you have on the team to be as unselfish as you've been all season?
ROBERT DOZIER: You won't be a great team if you have selfish players. I mean, since all three of us been here, the biggest difference between us, all of us are unselfish. We've got maybe nine, ten guys that can go out and score 20 points every night, but it doesn't work like that. Whoever has got it going, they're getting the ball. So, it kind of takes pressure off each player individually.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: We really love each other. So we all want to -- we all want the see each other do well. That's why there's not any selfishness on this team. We want to see each other prosper and do well. Selfish teams, usually it will come out and you'll end up losing because of that selfishness.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Well, we want to go far in this tournament, and being a selfish, that can get you out of there. Hopefully we can take it a little step further. For now we're going to go out and play basketball tomorrow night and take this thing one game at a time.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Guys, we appreciate it very much. Best of luck to you.
We're joined by Memphis coach, John Calipari. Coach, if you would give us a few comments about being here, and then we'll open things up for questions.
COACH CALIPARI: Our team is excited about this opportunity. We appreciate the respect that the committee has shown our team and to give us the second overall seed, but none of that really matters because all the teams in this tournament are deserving of being here. They have a feeling that they're going to win because they've won all year. Most of the teams in our bracket won their tournament and they're coming in here on an absolute high. We have to play great basketball and compete at a level that we've competed at most of the year.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Coach, Chris Douglas-Roberts was saying a few minutes ago that he didn't really feel that much pressure being a number one seed and playing close to home because he keeps looking at people saying that Memphis is going to be the first number one seed out, like I guess that's been the case the last couple years.
Do you use that as a motivational ploy, or it's old hat for you now?
COACH CALIPARI: You know, I've never been one to say "It's us against the world." They hear it. In this information age, it's on the Internet or on TV or radio, they'll hear something. And if that inspires them, great. But we don't have to bring it up.
The statement we make is how we play, how hard we try to play, and how unselfish we try to play, and, you know, how we play with synergy, and there's great discipline on both ends of the ball, whether it be defensively or offensively.

Q. John, with the combination of talent that you have, how are you able to get all of these guys to buy into the team concept and be as unselfish as they've been?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, it's a good point that you make because our bench has been so solid, and a couple times, you know, we had -- we came up empty from our bench. But for the year, it's been really phenomenal that just about every player on our bench has scored 20 points in a game.
That's amazing to say. Every one of them, all five backups have scored 20. I think Shawn Taggart may have had 17, 18, 19, something like that.
But their role, they understand that this is bigger than all of us, and without them, we can't do it. And anytime they've played poorly coming off the bench, it's hurt us, but they're a part of something that's unique and special and may be talked about for 30, 40 years.
Andre Allen, for example, if we do something unique and special, he'll benefit more than any player on our team because he's from Memphis, and so he's really accepted his role of backing up Derrick Rose. And Willie Kemp who was a starter, who did as much to recruit Derrick Rose as anybody, now comes off the bench as, quote, a player, making plays and doing what he does and has had huge games and last year against Ohio State and against Texas A and M, he played two of his best games in the high pressure situations.
So Shawn Taggart has really helped us off the bench. Jeff Robinson has been phenomenal because there's games I don't play him. The next game he comes back and has 12 points, eight rebounds. He keeps responding. I'll really proud of him. Doneal Mack is instant offense. All those guys could start at a lot of programs around this country and they choose to be on a team like this and be great teammates. I would say this is: This is an interesting group because I really believe they're friends first and they're teammates second.
When you're that way, you really support each other. The bench supports the guys that come off the bench. You know, they just -- they all root for each other. If I go to a guy who is playing well to sub, the other guy will say, "Leave him in, he's really doing well." It's been unique.

Q. On the heels of two Elite 8s, do you sense a different relaxment or ease heading into this tournament from the last couple of years?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't think we were uptight the last couple years. That's why we got to Elite 8s. When you talk about UCLA and Ohio State, the first pick -- Ohio State was, you know, unable -- if it wasn't a team like Florida, they wouldn't have lost. For us to get that far, I think we were relaxed. I think we relaxed. The thing I'm trying to convince these players of, this season will be talked about in Memphis for a long, long time. The icing on the cake would be something special now, but either way, you're not going to take away.
We want to do well. We don't have to do well. It's not like okay, if you don't, it's a disaster. No. I don't want them to feel that way. I certainly don't feel that way.

Q. Coach, can you talk about playing so close to home. And is that a positive, or are there some negatives that go along with that?
COACH CALIPARI: We had a two-hour bus ride that took us three and a half hours. So it was one foot of road that they were working on that just slowed us down for -- we were in a crawl. No, this is a great city for us, and I think we'll have great support here. But New Orleans was a great city last year for us. We must have had 56,000 people in New Orleans, but Texas A and M had 23,000 in San Antonio and UCLA had 18,000 in Anaheim. It's the luck of the draw.
For us I think we played well and deserve to be close, but so does North Carolina. So does UCLA. So do other programs, Texas. They deserve it just as well.
THE MODERATOR: Anyone else? Any other questions for John? Coach, thank you very much. Best luck to you.

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