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March 22, 2008

Wink Adams

Lon Kruger

Curtis Terry


THE MODERATOR: Runnin' Rebels of the Mountain West conference are with us. We're going to have Lon Kruger, the head coach, start off with a statement on the game and then we'll have questions for Curtis and Wink.
COACH KRUGER: Thank you. Just, again, couldn't be more proud of what this group has done. They hung in there today for a while against a really good Kansas club and congratulations to KU, because they've got an outstanding team.
And they're not just a talented group, but they play well. They play unselfishly and they play hard and Bill's teams always do that. This team is no different. They're also very talented and very deserving of that 1 seed.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.

Q. Wink, did you go into the game with the mind-set you were going to drive the ball to the basket a lot and did you guys want to not settle for so many perimeter jumpers?
WINK ADAMS: I think so. We didn't want to change nothing that we do throughout the season. We just wanted to do the same game plan. Our strong point is getting to the basket. Sucking in the defense and kicking it out to the shooters. And tonight I think René and Joe and all them guys did a good job setting the picks, and I was able to get to the goal and get to the free throw line.

Q. Curtis, after you got off to the hot start you scored the first seven points. What was the difference for you? It was quite a while into the second half before you were able to hit a field goal?
CURTIS TERRY: Just trying to run the team and run the offense. Wink was successful getting into the paint and creating for us and getting to the free throw line.
So that was working for us so we just kept going with it and Wink did a great job of carrying us in the second half.

Q. Curtis, you talked about what you've been able to do to this program, playing under Coach Kruger. A week or a month from now when you look back at the strides you've taken in this program, what do you think you'll remember most in terms of helping bringing this program back?
CURTIS TERRY: How much fun it was. This has been the most fun in my life, the four years being here and being a part of a major basketball program and rebuilding and getting to the tournament two years in a row and the relationships I'm building with the guys and the coaches. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I'm definitely sad to have played my last game, but I'm very excited to see what these guys are going to do in the future and I know they're going to pick it up here in a couple of weeks and get right back to work and get ready for next year.

Q. Expanding on that, Curtis, can you reflect on the season a little bit? What do you think made you guys successful and looking ahead to what type of team you think is coming back here next season?
CURTIS TERRY: I think we bought into what the coach had envisioned for us. We went through a couple things early in the season and Coach sat us down and said we can either just go along and have a mediocre season or we can really do some things here and have some fun playing basketball the way people don't play it a lot and just going out there and having fun and picking each other up and diving on the floor and going after loose balls. And everybody bought into it and didn't want to just quit on the season, and guys are just having fun.
It turned into a great ride we went on in winning the conference tournament and beating a good Kent State and having a chance to take on Kansas. It's a great experience that we went through and the way we did it and nobody thinking we were going to be able to do the things we did this year that we did last year.
But for the future I see nothing but great things, definitely. I'm kind of disappointed I won't be able to have a role in it like I had in the past four years, but I'm definitely going to be their biggest fan and always rooting for them and cheering them on.
They're going to keep on going farther and farther in the tournament every year.

Q. Wink, how good was Kansas's defense out there, because they really limited the good looks you guys got, only made 12 field goals for the game?
WINK ADAMS: You know, Kansas is, as a whole, a great defensive ball club. Watching them all year on TV, they stress defense just like we do. They have some six-eight guys that shot up the ball very well and they defend well. They can come out and defend the guards.
Tonight their length was very effective against us and kind of had our shooting percentage down.

Q. Wink, can you also just reflect on the season a little bit and look ahead to next year with the guys you've got coming back, you lose two seniors and just talk about that also?
WINK ADAMS: Well, you know, it's always tough to lose two seniors that means so much to the team like Curtis and Corey. But I think this season we just kind of bought into what the coaches was saying and everybody said we were overachieving. We just wanted to go out and play hard. We knew we would win games. Couldn't stress defense enough. That's how we got this far.
And next year we got some bodies down low. We've got some guards that's here. And we're just going to be a better team. Our chemistry is going to be there with TreVon and Beas coming and some old players. And next year we hope that we get back to this stage and come with a better team and be well equipped so we can do better in the tournament.

Q. I guess on the game as a whole, but also in the second half, did you feel like you had to do a lot offensively tonight just to keep the team in the game and to try to, like Curtis said, carry the team there in the second half?
WINK ADAMS: You know, we kind of did, like Curtis said, we just ran the play. I was able to get, draw the foul and get to the free throw line. And Curtis, he just told me to keep going, just being a leader he told me keep running the play. You just make shots for somebody or even just go draw a foul. I was able to do that tonight.
And just our shots wasn't falling, I thought we could have shot a better percentage but it was one of those nights when guys weren't shooting very hot. But we had fun and everybody played hard tonight.

Q. Could you guys explain the frustration of the amount of fouls that were called or losing Joe and René early in the second half to fouling out?
CURTIS TERRY: That's just the way the game goes sometimes. Fouls are going to be called. We got to the free throw line 34 times. So, I mean, we can't say things were going -- weren't going our way, that's just the way the game played out. Some tough calls in tough situations, but you gotta play the game and just things happen and let the pieces fall where they may. And unfortunately for us René and Joe, two of our key guys, got in foul trouble and happened to foul out.
But we played through the best we could. And it just caught up with us tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time. Congratulations on your season.
We'll stay here a bit longer with Coach Kruger.

Q. Lon, unlike maybe other teams that you forced to go small this year, does it speak to their overall skill that it not only didn't bother them but they were obviously able to pull away and go off the dribble and score?
COACH KRUGER: Kansas is a very good ball club they're also capable of being versatile like you say. They can go with a lot of different options, a lot of different combinations. It's not like guards can just drive by Arthur. He's a very good athlete. Rush, when he was in there, next biggest guy, hard to drive by him. Good ball club. Bill's sharp and he has them playing awfully hard.

Q. Could you talk about Curtis and his play tonight and then overall the season, just what he's meant to the team even back to November?
COACH KRUGER: I couldn't be any more proud or happy for Curtis, given four years ago he comes in and nothing was known, had no expectations.
He just improved each year his role grew and to think that four years ago he was going to be our point guard and leader, no one could have even imagined that.
He's done a great job. It's not just that he did it out of default, he gave us great leadership all year and great direction and kind of captained a ball club, if you will, that turned it over 10 times or so a game and took care of it and Curtis had a lot to do with that.
So, again, it's very happy for him and he meant a great deal to our program.

Q. A lot of higher seeded teams are getting beaten this regional. Are you getting a strange feeling of déjà vu?
COACH KRUGER: (Smiling) that happens from year to year, occasionally. There's been years where that's happened more frequently than others. Yesterday in Tampa I guess that's never happened before.
But it's like I heard Bill mention, a lot of teams when they go smaller and more athletic, it can be a tough matchup come tournament time and pose problems for more traditional type teams.

Q. Specifically I was talking about the way seeds were falling in front of KU in '88 when you guys were set up to meet them in the regional final. Is there a similarity there?
COACH KRUGER: It could be. Again, we were one of those upset winners they faced. So I'm not going to take anything away from their championship in '88. That's part of tournament play. When you play and you look forward to the bracket and you expect to play a Purdue, like they expected to in '88 and all of a sudden it's a Kansas State instead. And that sometimes makes it a different path from what you expected. I won't say easier, but from a seeding standpoint, maybe a smoother path.

Q. One of the questions you asked when you took the job was can you win a national championship here, and when you perceive a team as opposed to a program as teams that get back here every year, where do you think you are at now as when you took this job and are you a program more sense than a team because you've been able to show you're back here two years?
COACH KRUGER: This group, maybe when you look back on it, what we'll have had is the fact that maybe established that program feeling as opposed to this last year and dropping back. This group maintained and really solidified what we're after. And put next year's group in position to go ahead and make progress from what they did.
That doesn't mean more wins necessarily, because it's next year's team is a big trap. As you know the expectations are going to go up and it's always hard to win 27 games.
Next year's team could make progress and win fewer games, for sure. We've got some tough road games in the schedule early and conference is going to be better.
And all of that contributes to what may play out. But, yeah, I think this year's team really contributed to the program feeling as opposed to just occasionally coming up with a good team.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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