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March 21, 2008

Stephen Curry

Bob McKillop

Jason Richards


COACH McKILLOP: About seven or eight years ago, Gonzaga set the bar for teams that were not affiliated with the high-powered, major conferences in terms of excellence. They have elevated and raised that bar significantly so that in the course of a ten-year period, they have reached a status without being Conference affiliated as an elite program.
For us to come in here and get a stamp on our program with our first victory in postseason play in close to 40 years was a very challenging task and one that I think the entire Davidson community can be very, very proud of.
And of course, I'm most proud of the way our players performed as a team. They understood their roles. They played it to perfection and they responded to the adversity of being down for a consistent part of the game. So I leave here knowing that we did get better and also knowing that we had a lot of fun today and certainly very, very happy that we played to win.

Q. Jason, when they scored on their first four possessions, did that set you back on your heels a little bit, and what did you have to do to dig down keep to come back?
JASON RICHARDS: I don't think it necessarily put us back on our heels. We didn't stop what we do and we pushed the ball and came right back and maybe tied it up. We just kept our composure and stuck to our offense and got back in the game even when they kept coming back.

Q. At one point, I think when you tied it at 62, you pounded your chest and pointed to the ceiling there; were you pointing to anyone in particular and what was going through your head there?
STEPHEN CURRY: That's just my sign. I play for God and try to give Him the glory and that's my thing to take attention off myself, because it's not me, it's Him. He gave me the talent.

Q. I guess we're in the pointing portion of the questioning. You also pointed at your dad a couple of times. He said that when he played in college and made some big shots, he pointed to his father. Is this the sort of thing that you'll be able to pass on to your children some day, and how will you remember this game? How will you think back on this game?
STEPHEN CURRY: Well, he's been there my whole life. I think the things I do on the court kind of come from him, so he's in my head during the game and I like to keep him involved.
I mean, I plan to be involved in my kids' life if that's what it is. I mean, this is just a great team effort. We were down the whole game pretty much and towards the end of the second half, we had to come up with some stops and Andrew came up with some huge rebounds down the stretch and got us extra possessions and extra shots. It has not really sunk in yet but we have more work to do in the tournament.
Going to enjoy this for a little bit, and then move on.

Q. Stephen, what was it like to be a part of the atmosphere out there, the entire arena is rooting for you guys and everybody is pushing for you guys to win this game; what was it like to be out there today?
STEPHEN CURRY: It was a lot of fun. They were in the game and loud the whole time, and I guess that's the benefit of being close to home, so that's why we were happy to be in Raleigh.
I guess it's a fun game to play in with the atmosphere like you said. A pleasure to play in front of our home fans and maybe turn some locals or other teams's fans for us.

Q. For those of us who have never shot like that -- (laughter) -- what does it feel like to have that kind of game in that kind of situation, this stage?
STEPHEN CURRY: Take every game the same way and approach every game the same way, so this is nothing different for me. Warm up the same way and shoot the ball the same way.
So I don't want to get caught up in this is a big atmosphere and people are watching kind of mind-set. My teammates were open, Jason found me in open spots and I just had a lot of confidence to shoot it.
The big-time or the NCAA Tournament doesn't change my mindset at all.

Q. Can you just go over what was going on in your mind as those last few seconds ticked off the clock and you hoisted the ball?
STEPHEN CURRY: I was just happy to realize that we had just won the game. We had fought hard the whole time and came back, and just to get that last rebound and celebrate with my teammates, we worked hard all year to get to this point, and like I said, we have more work to do. So I'm just enjoying the moment.

Q. Jason, can you tell us from your point of view, do you see something in him when he gets into those kind of zones? From a player on the court, what do you see?
JASON RICHARDS: I see a lot of shots going in. (Laughter).
When Steph gets hot, he's not going to cool off. I think you saw today, he had 40 points and had so many great shots for us. When he's shooting the ball like that, you have got to give him the ball. He's our leading scorer and everybody knows that. He had a great game today and had some great shots and really brought us back in the game?

Q. Have you seen him in a game situation shoot like that?
JASON RICHARDS: Oh, yeah, there's been many games this year where he's averaging 25 points, he's done it all year for us. This game he kind of showed the nation even more what he's capable of doing.

Q. Could you describe how you were able to keep away from them, keep them from following you in the seconds before you went to the free throw line with about 14 seconds left?
STEPHEN CURRY: I really don't know what was happening there. I was running around and if I saw a white jersey, I turned the other way. That one move made on the halfcourt, I have no idea what I did. I was basically just trying to play keep-away for a little bit.

Q. For you as a senior, that it could be your last game, how much of that was going through your mind?
JASON RICHARDS: Not really when you step on the basketball court, it's not really going through your head. I was focusing on getting the win and it was fun, those last couple of seconds, we knew said sealed the victory. A lot of joy was going through my body and it's nice to celebrate right now. We can smell the roses a little bit, but we have to get ready for Sunday.

Q. Your dad says you've been playing with a chip on your shoulder from being ignored by other schools, but how much sweeter is it to have the stage with Davidson and your teammates here?
STEPHEN CURRY: It's very special to be on this team. Last year we started, nobody really expected anything out of us. We were a young team, and to work hard for these last two years and get to this point, it's definitely special to be a part of.
We wanted to do it for our seniors this year, because they have put in the most time and effort into what we are about, and definitely for our coaching staff who has worked hard all year. I just feel honored to be a part of this team and play for some great guys next to me, and just enjoying and having fun every time we step on the court.

Q. How much did that Greensboro game on the road when you came back from down 20 and won it at the end, how much did that run through your mind here at the end today?
JASON RICHARDS: We definitely thought about it, because Coach said in the huddle, we have been here before when they went up by 11. He has confidence in us and we have confidence in him and his game plan ask we stuck with it.
But definitely Greensboro and being down in the game and coming back helped us today?

Q. Can you fathom how long it's been since Davidson won an NCAA Tournament game, 1969?
STEPHEN CURRY: I know Coach has gotten here five or six times and not won a game so we wanted to do it for him, too. He's put his heart and soul and everything he has into our team, and I think he sleeps, eats, drinks and thinks basketball every day. Just to be a part of it and do it for him is special.

Q. Take us back to your high school days, you were at Charlotte Christian High School, and Bobby Jones, former North Carolina player helped build the program; can you talk about that?
STEPHEN CURRY: He was my coach sophomore year and we had another great coach in Sean Brown. I have a great foundation in basketball that coached me well and kind of paved the way for Coach McKillop to hone my skills, too. I have a great background of basketball from being at Charlotte Christian. It was a great basketball school.

Q. Maybe you went over this, but just talk about that performance by Steph in terms of the many other great performances you've seen him have.
COACH McKILLOP: It was like an opening-night star performance on Broadway, and he was the star, but he had a great cast with him. The audience was sensational. There was a lot of music, great songs, lots of dancing. So it was a Broadway opening that really got great reviews in the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and Newsday, and the Times.

Q. We have had the great fortune of seeing Steph a lot the last couple of years but the whole country got to see him today. Can you just talk about how grateful you are to have coached him these last two years and how special a kid he is?
COACH McKILLOP: Last year against Maryland he had 32 and left the court I think with about 17 seconds fouling out to a standing ovation up in Buffalo.
I think the world, the basketball world, saw what Steph could do last year. They have seen him and they have looked at Davidson from a not very strong Conference and, well, he's doing it at a not very strong Conference. But if you look at who he's done it against consistently -- and today he did it against man-to-man, three different guys, he did it against the diamond-and-one, he did it against the 3-two zone, he did it against constant switching, and he did it against players who were sitting on his topside, sitting on his bottom side, and he did it against a variety of defenses and was magnificent in his performance.

Q. Talk about the resiliency, the grit, of these guys coming back from huge deficits throughout and also guys like Max contributing there.
COACH McKILLOP: That's where you have to resurrect memories and we have been in this situation before against Ohio State and we didn't finish it off. We were in this situation against Maryland's 18-point lead and started celebrating, deviated from our game plan and end up losing, and then Ohio State, Duke, Charlotte, UCLA, N.C. State. Of course the one we marked against Greensboro where we had the deficit of 20-points plus and had to come back from that. We are chalk full of memories and being chalk full of memories we have a lot to hang our hat on and a lot to reflect upon and a lot to learn from.
This particular group of young men is an extraordinary, terrific, in terms of their ability to learn. You know, yesterday we said to them there's going to be tension and anxiety when you step on the court for the practice yesterday. It's cavernous in terms of the arena but there will be people there cheering and watching your every move and tension will result.
What you need to do is you need to help each other out, cheer for each other and pat each other on the back. It's funny, when you help each other out, you forget about your tension and anxiety. When you take the focus off yourself, the spotlight is now on the team, and we have that great lesson yesterday, and I thought we performed that way today.

Q. Obviously with the success you guys have had over the years the last few years, you did not need a win in a tournament to affirm your program, but can you discuss what it does mean and obviously it has been 40 years and the impact of that for you.
COACH McKILLOP: When you win a game in a tournament, it's an imprimatur; it's when a Pope makes a rule and he thinks it's the rule of the church and he stamps on it. I learned that in second grade in Richmond Hill. This was our imprimatur. This was our chance to stamp our program as legitimate, and there are many more opportunities for the Pope to put his imprimatur on this program, and I think Gonzaga clearly has done that.
They have done that by what they have done year after year after year. They are not a shooting star; they are a shining star, and that's our aspiration, for a program at our level to get to that level of consistency. Three in a row is a pretty good statement. We need to continue to move in that direction.

Q. Along the same lines, you've come a long way with this program, as has the program. Your sense of history in picking up this first win since 1969.
COACH McKILLOP: I played against that team. I was at East Carolina at the time and lost to Davidson in the championship in the Southern Conference Tournament. I know that team very well and I know those players personally. I remember the old Charlotte Coliseum, what it was like. That was one of the most storied stories of college basketball.
Lefty Drazelle (ph) was remarkable in what he accomplished at Davidson College. That was one of the stories of the century. As I said, Gonzaga has established the bar. Lefty has established a bar that I don't think can ever be touched.

Q. Only the Vatican can do that. Pope is on the line, wants to thank you. Seriously, have you seen -- when you've seen Curry shoot like that, first of all, does he remind you of anyone on any level, and did you see anything in him today?
COACH McKILLOP: I've seen this happen. I've seen it for two years. I mentioned yesterday that when I first saw Steph in individual instruction in his freshman year in September and October, I boldly stated to our alumni gatherings that this is someone special. He has an uncanny ability to get the ball released. He's got a great ability to get open, and he's got teammates who are sensational in their willingness to get him open.
I don't know if you can give the kind of credit that is -- in the stat sheet it's not going to show how many screens Thomas, Boris, Andrew and Steve, Max and Jason set for Steph today. But, setting screens is one thing. Getting the ball, using the screens and getting open and then delivering, and that's why this is so exhilarating, because everyone took part in this, and Steph comes out at the 40 and we are absolutely thrilled with that. But he is one of a kind when it comes to using screens and getting shots off.

Q. Some people Remarking down the stretch that it would be a great basketball game today; how much good fundamental basketball was played today?
COACH McKILLOP: They came out of a time-out and ran a back-door on us. We went over it but we didn't execute in terms of defensive response to it, but that's great basketball. We came out of a time-out and got a double screen for Steph and a split for Rossiter. He comes off the bench and gets four rebounds in four points in 15 minutes and did it not because he high-jumped over anybody or passed over anybody; he used fundamental basketball.
That's why Gonzaga is a joy to play. They just play the game the right way and I think we do, too. It's a good sign that teams like this are advancing into the tournament.

Q. Lost in the performance was Andrew's performance and his rebound led to Steph's big three and he had a couple big plays down the stretch, what about his play in the last 45 seconds of the game for you today?
COACH McKILLOP: I said this the other day in front of our student body. I said, "If God had put Andrew in the Garden of Eden, we would still be there." That's the kind of man he is, and to see him perform like he did today, wow. I couldn't be more happy for him.

Q. Obviously the emotion shows right now, but just what does this mean coming close the last few years and being able to pull it off and doing it in the fashion that you did?
COACH McKILLOP: You know, we give a penny out to our players after each practice, and each guy earns a penny by his performance in practice and they deposit it in a big money jar in our locker room. That's the message that we give them; you have to get better a little bit each time; and we have gotten a little bit better each practice, each game, each film session and each game, and it's a great lesson to learn.
We are getting better, even though it's just a little bit better, we did a little bit better today.

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