home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 28, 2008

Taj Finger

Trent Johnson

Mitch Johnson

Brook Lopez


COACH JOHNSON: Texas, very, very good basketball team. Probably as good of a team as we have played all year. They made a series of runs, and I thought we responded, and then I thought we got caught up in the emotion of the game there when it was 52-51, and next thing I know, I turn around and it was 58-51. But they made shots we didn't. Thought it could have been tight at the half but didn't work out that way.
Like I said, they are a very, very good basketball team, and this is a really special group. I told them immediately afterwards, one of the things going into this year, one of our goals was to establish ourselves, and for them to establish themselves as one of the best basketball teams in Stanford history. When you look at what this group has accomplished in one of the best leagues in the country and for these guys to have matured last year going into this year; and for the seniors to go through the coaching change and be receptive to the coaching and our staff, I thought it was exceptional.

Q. You're pretty much unstoppable offensively for the first 30 minutes, did you get worn down, and how much was Pittman a factor?
BROOK LOPEZ: I think they just started playing aggressively, since he started guarding me I started throwing up poor percentage shots that I don't normally make.

Q. Can you talk about just the way Pittman guarded you? He seemed to really frustrate you.
BROOK LOPEZ: He just bodied up against me and tried to push me off the lane.

Q. Did you feel like things were going a little better for you guys as a team throughout the first half, even though you were down by nine points at the half? Did it feel like you were playing better than that or you should be closer than that?
BROOK LOPEZ: I thought we played well for the most part. There were just a couple possessions, like Coach said, where shots didn't go down or we didn't pick up a loose ball or just broke down defensively.
You know, like Coach said, we really could have been tied at halftime.

Q. Trent mentioned the goal was to become one of best teams in Stanford history; can you look back that the team achieved some of those goals?
TAJ FINGER: Yeah, I definitely think so. No one expected us to be in this position. You know, we had a lot of down seasons -- or not down seasons, but I guess we didn't play, you know, in the past three years to Stanford, kind of what people expected Stanford to be.
And this year, we had a great season, you know, second in the Pac 10, making it to the Sweet 16, and I definitely think that we left our Mark.

Q. First half you guys seemed to have a lot of good looks but you went almost 18 minutes before getting a basket outside of the paint; was the arena a factor?
MITCH JOHNSON: We came in and practiced the last two days with the same backdrop, and for whatever reason, we didn't hit shots that we usually hit and they hit some tough wins along with some easy baskets we gave up. I think that was the telltale of the game.

Q. I wanted to ask, what was running through your mind, how you felt about the flow of the game when you cut into that 52-51, you guys had a lot of momentum. What were you thinking right then?
BROOK LOPEZ: I think we had just -- they were making their run, so we finally made ours, and we really were just looking to keep attacking the basket, which we didn't do. And I guess they just had their run then and we didn't really respond.

Q. Did you feel like you guys had one more run after it was 52-51 and they started pulling away a little bit?
BROOK LOPEZ: Yeah, I think we did. It's just, I don't know what really happened. Started turning over the ball a bit more, getting more careless with the ball, and I don't think we were going after loose balls or crashing the ball as much.

Q. I know it's probably a little early, but how would you sum up this season?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, very good. I mean, again, being around these guys every day and seeing how much they give of themselves, and they give to the program, seeing how hard they worked to improve, and then being in a league that top to bottom that's probably the toughest Conference in the Pac 10 Conference in a long, long time, to get to this point, it's not hard for me to reflect right away. And like I said, like I told them in the locker room, when they take a long step back and take a look at this, they will feel good about what they accomplished.
Yes, we had goals to be Pac 10 Champions during the season; yes, we had a goal to be conference champions; and yes they had a goal to get to the Final Four, and the thing about it, they believed, and they worked their tails off to put themselves in that position to where they just came up just a step short in all three of them.

Q. Can you talk about the way Texas defended especially Pittman, against Brook?
COACH JOHNSON: They didn't do anything against Brook that we haven't seen all year long.
The key turning point for us was against a team the caliber of Texas, offensively, and as good as they are defensively, when you have open shots, you have to knock them down. And I thought we had some good looks, three or four five looks in the first half that didn't go down for us.
In the second half, when they made two runs and we responded, and we got it to where it's 52-51 and they went man and got up after us and we tried to do too much. I thought there was three or four possessions where Mitch tried to do too much and got too deep; and Brook, and again, that's what high competitive men do.
I have so much respect for Texas as a basketball team and the thing that's most impressive to me as I saw on tape, they really defend you. We didn't get beat on loose balls as much as we did tonight. Rebound-wise it was even, but it felt like every key rebound they got, and we felt like that was the biggest difference, as opposed to what was going on with Brook.

Q. Everybody was mentioning there have been a lot of runs and you guys had a lot of answers, each time you got up, they came back and made a run. Anything different after they got out front, why you think you guys didn't have another run in you or didn't close the gap like you had so many times already tonight?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, for as hard as it is for me to say, they are better. They are better. They have got an exceptional -- they have got three, four guys who are pretty good basketball players, and it would be easy for me to sit up here and say, well, we ran out of gas or didn't do this or didn't do that.
We have done what we've done all year long. We competed and came up short because they were better at crucial times.

Q. You had trouble finding someone to knock down the open outside shot; can you talk about Landry's play tonight?
COACH JOHNSON: I don't know if it's one of the best games of his career. I just thought he was aggressive and he played and he relaxed and he had fun.
So again, he played a good game and did a good job and I'm excited for Landry, because he's a guy into next year that's going to have a huge role on this basketball team.

Q. Last year at this time, you said you were going to sit down with Brook and talk about what his future is going to be; is that discussion going to take place this year, and if this is his last game, what is his legacy with Stanford?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, again, at the appropriate time -- that's the furthest thing from my mind. Yes, I will sit down and talk, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this is probably his last game.
And his legacy at Stanford in my mind is he's one of the better post players we've had. And his growth, and he's had a lot of growth and it will continue, but it's been impressive. The sky is the limit for Brook, but as he knows and everybody else knows that's been around this basketball program and this team, his work habits and those things are the only thing that's going to stop him from being special regardless where he plays.

Q. Do you feel like there's a chance Robin won't be back next year?
COACH JOHNSON: You know, I don't know that. And who is coming back is not a concern to me right now. My concern and my thoughts is that this is a team with four seniors that played exceptionally well and this is a team that's pretty down right now. Taj Finger, Kenny Brown, Fred Washington, Peter Prowitt, those are where my thoughts are right now.

Q. You just mentioned that Taj and Fred have been the heart and soul of the team since you've take every over as head coach. Can you speak about them playing their last games?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, excuse me, you know, college athletics is about student athlete, and being selfless, always wanting to take care of your teammates, always want to be a good example for your program and your school and for your team and being an extension of your coach. And very few coaches will get up here and say, 22 rebounds aren't important; but to me, guys like Taj, guys like Fred, this is what this is about. And it's hard, because you know, for me, that's where I get the soul satisfaction out of seeing guys that compete every day and are willing to sacrifice everything they have for the good of the team.
We always talk about the five A's: Having an altitude, a positive attitude; being aggressive; understanding angles offensively and defensively; being aggressive, and then the most important thing and the last one is being accountable to your team and to yourself. That's what Fred Washington and Taj Finger and Kenny Brown and Peter Prowitt are about.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297