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April 4, 2008
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Memphis student-athletes. Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about the other day talking with Jesse Jackson and the 40-year anniversary of the King shooting. Was that inspirational for you guys at all?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Definitely. It was very inspirational for me and my teammates. We were just in our meeting room, like usual, before practice. Coach said Jesse Jackson was coming in to talk to us. He came in and spoke to us about life, not about the basketball side of things, about graduating, the struggles that he's been through throughout his lifetime and Dr. King as well. It was just something great to learn and get to know a little bit more information about what Dr. King did for us. That's pretty much what he talked to us about.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: It was great. I mean, just on a personal side, away from basketball, because he really didn't talk about basketball. It was great.
I mean, that's history. We were speechless. Usually we joke around with each other. But not one point, no one in there was joking when he was speaking. We were all focused in. It was a great moment. I mean, this is something that I never forget and I'm pretty sure none of my teammates will forget.
JOEY DORSEY: He's a very, very motivational speaker. He was talking to us, and everybody was focusing in. He came out to the practice and watched the practice a little bit. Got to wear Antonio's jersey. I was mad about that. Hoping he wore mine so I could get him to sign it. It was nice taking pictures with him and like that, though.
Q. Joey, Coach Calipari talked after the last game, he was giving you a homework assignment, asking you to write down your dream scenario for this weekend. Did you do it? If you didn't, what would it be like?
JOEY DORSEY: I'm still working on it. I can't tell y'all, though (smiling).
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the suspension and how you're handling it, if you're concerned this adds a blemish to the image of your program?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: No, it doesn't affect our program. What we done these past few years is speechless. We all done a great job. The situation with Andre, coach handled that very well. We don't know anything about that. We're all just focused on this weekend. We feel bad for Andre that he isn't here with us. But we got to move on and play the ballgame.
Q. Chris, what is it like playing for Coach Calipari in a game situation?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: He lets us go, but it's tough playing for Coach Cal. I mean, I don't know if a lot of guys can play for Coach Cal. He's very demanding. I mean, we look like we're free and we're playing out there. But it's not one play where he's not yelling at somebody, and most of the time it's me. I'm always getting yelled at. Motor, Chris. I mean, it's hard playing for him. It looks fun --
Q. He yells about effort, right?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: He yells about effort, but he doesn't expect me to miss a shot. So if I miss a shot, What kind of shot is that? Don't flip it. It could be a contested shot. He's very -- he's very upset.
But that gets the most out of me, though. He's very demanding. So it makes me play to my potential.
Q. You talk about Coach Cal being tough to play for. Must be something in the locker room. We've seen in the last two weeks how good he is at rallying around and getting you guys together. What is it like before a game with him? How great are his pregame talks?
JOEY DORSEY: He's a great preparer. He prepares for the games very well. You know, like when we played against Texas and Michigan State, we watched film on them. He prepared us very well for the teams.
Great motivator. He'll bring the best out of you.
Q. He's selling pretty hard the idea of you, Us against the World. Are you buying it?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: We never took anything, it was us against the world. We're playing against ourselves. We just want to play better than we played the previous game, regardless of who we play. That's how we've been looking at it all year. We want to be better than ourselves from the previous game.
This game coming up tomorrow, we want to play better than we played last weekend. Hopefully we can do that.
Q. Chris, you're 37-1. At what point in this tournament do you think people are going to stop expecting you to lose and start thinking you can win this thing no problem?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I'm not sure. But it's not everybody. Everybody doesn't expect us to lose. It's just some. And that's how it's supposed to be. It's just like some people don't think UCLA is gonna win, Kansas or North Carolina. It's just a matter of opinion.
And it really doesn't affect us at all because we're a pretty good basketball team. Like Antonio said, we've been staying within ourselves the whole season. It was a tough loss against Tennessee, but it helped us in a way because we wouldn't have had the monkey on our back coming in as we have to finish the year out as undefeated.
So we aren't really paying attention to what people are saying. We're creating our own happiness.
Q. Chris, how are y'all different from the team two years ago that UCLA beat?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: We're much more experienced. The first year when we played UCLA, Memphis hadn't been to an Elite 8 game in I don't know how long. We were pretty much happy to be there. We were pretty young, too. We didn't understand the intensity of an Elite 8 game.
Now we're more experienced. We've been to one. We played against Ohio State. We've added value, we have a freshman point guard who doesn't play like a freshman at all. So we're a much better team. We're a much more experienced team.
Q. Joey, last time you were here, there were comments about Greg and everything. Talk about how difficult that was, the game you had, the aftermath.
JOEY DORSEY: It was tough. You know, after losing to Ohio State, I wanted a lot of the focus to be on me. I was being a little selfish and immature.
But, you know, I put that behind me and I had a great off-season playing with the USA team. I just want my teammates to rely on me when I'm out there on the court, and that's what I'm doing.
Q. What do you think about Kevin Love?
JOEY DORSEY: I watched Love a lot this year from UCLA. He's a great passer out of the post, outlet passer that he throws like Wes Unseld, that's incredible. It's going to be a big key to the team. He and Collison is the big key to that team.
Q. How do you feel like you've kind of grown and matured since the Oden thing last year?
JOEY DORSEY: Just being more mature, you know, on the court and off the court. Focusing on the game, I watched a lot of tape this year on my opponents that I go up against. You can see on the court I'm playing very well now.
Q. Chris, how much has the non-conference schedule helped you out through the tournament?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Oh, it really helps because we play a lot of teams from the big BCS conferences. It helps us out because without that we wouldn't be a No. 1 seed at all because a lot of people don't really respect our conference. You could say we have a weaker conference. But every team we play is like their Super Bowl. They're playing much better than they usually play. Their crowd is behind them. Every game is packed. Every game is sold out.
But our non-conference, it definitely helps us coming into this tournament because without it we wouldn't be even considered a No. 1 seed.
Q. Antonio and Joey, what was the image of the Memphis Tigers before you got here? How have you helped shape that image or change it?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: I think it's been the same. We're pretty much not worried about what the outsiders perceive us as. You know, we go on what we feel amongst each other. We feel we're a very happy team. We've been happy all year. Nobody's been down regardless of what went on or what's been said about us. We just go about our business. We're always smiling and always happy. That's how we've been all year. We're not changing for nothing.
JOEY DORSEY: Coach Cal was a great coach when I watched them. Dajuan Wagner was playing for them when I watched them. Went to the NIT and won the championship. Coach Cal brought me in, brought these guys along, added pieces to the puzzle. That's what made us the dominate team right here.
Q. Joey, could you talk a little more about what your summer was like with the national team, what you learned from it, what made you decide you wanted to be a part of it, how it directly impacted what you did this year.
JOEY DORSEY: It was more about me finding myself, going up against some great post players like Roy Hibbert, D.J. White. Making new friends over there. I made a lot of friends over there. When we were playing against each other during the year, I'm not conversating with anybody. I'm an angry person on the court. I'm trying to show everybody they can't match up with me. It was great for me to go over there and make some new friends.
Q. Chris, you've got an unorthodox array of shots sometimes, the floaters and the tear drops. Did you emulate different guys growing up or how did you come to this whole different kind of shots that you have?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Honestly, I don't know. Only thing I can say is growing up I played with the older guys. You just had to get your shot off somehow to stay on the floor.
I guess that came with it. But the floater is, I feel every guard should have that as an in-between shot because you won't be able to get to the rim every time. So it's just good to have in your arsenal. I try to perfect the floater. The other shots, I don't know. It's just me using my imagination and being creative.
Q. Chris, you talked about Derrick being a freshman, not playing like a freshman. A lot was made how he would fit in with you guys. How much does it help when you can play like he does to fit in?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: He fit in off the court first, you know. He came in with a lot of hype. It didn't get to him at all. He always tries to, you know, pump up his teammates and give all of his teammates the credit. We noticed that immediately.
But on the court, he just fits our offense perfectly because he can drive. He's very unselfish. Sometimes he's a little too unselfish, I tell him. But that's Derrick, though. He's a great teammate. Being able to play with that much heart and that ability and still being a great teammate, it's hard for a freshman, but he made it look easy. It was an easier transition for him than I've seen for many freshmen.
Q. When a team wants to play a halfcourt game against you guys and keep the score in the 60s, what can you do to pick up the tempo? Is it difficult for you to play a slowdown halfcourt game?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: No, it's not difficult at all. We were playing against teams all year, outside the conference, inside the conference, who tried to hold the ball against us. We still go out and play our game. We try to pressure the ball on defense and don't let them set up their plays and whatnot. We try to get into their clock on offense so that when we get the ball, we're gone. That's how coach wants us to play and that's how we've been doing it.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Yeah, we're definitely prepared for both styles of basketball. Obviously our style is getting up and down. But we played Michigan State, who runs a lot of sets, you know, tries to run a set every time up the floor. We were prepared for it. We can play the halfcourt game as well as the full-court game.
So either way, we're pretty good.
Q. Two years ago it was an ugly physical battle in Oakland, but you guys were a freshman and sophomore. How much bigger and stronger are you now and how much of an advantage is that?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I'm not sure he's any bigger than he was (laughter). But we've grown a lot. We've grown a lot. Me, Antonio, other juniors, we've grown so much. Like I say, I was 17, Antonio was 19, 18. So we weren't used to that type of game. We were coming out of high school where it was just, you know, you really didn't have to play defense. It was a high school game. That Elite 8 game really opened our eyes. And that's all it was.
But now we've been there before and we're older and we're more mature. That's going to help us. That's going to help us a lot.
JOEY DORSEY: He hit it on the note. He hit it on the note. He said it perfectly (laughter).
Q. Have the rules of changed curfew since you started the NCAA tournament?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: We've been on curfew since -- we've been curfew all year.
JOEY DORSEY: I don't know what it feels like to be outside.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: We're used to it. We're amenable to it. We don't even know if the curfew is still on. It's only a week left. This is the last week. We're going to stick to it. We're not going to go out and, you know, do anything now. We're going to stick to it. It helps us with discipline. It helps our discipline. Off the court if you're disciplined, on the court you'll be pretty disciplined. We just stick to the curfew now. It's not a burden any more. But earlier, it was horrible (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: That will wrap it up. Thank you, gentlemen. Good luck tomorrow.
We're joined by Coach Calipari. Questions, please.
Q. Do you have any pregame rituals? Anything you've done since you arrived here in San Antonio for the team to really let them relish their experience here at the Final Four?
COACH CALIPARI: We haven't changed all year how we prepare for a basketball game, when we show them tape, how much we do in practice on the other team, how much we do for us. So we're treating this like the next game. We came down a day earlier than we normally would, but we didn't get here till 9:30 at night. We're just trying to be real consistent in what we do.
Q. Your relationship with Larry Brown, how much of an influence he's had on your coaching. He's here this week.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, he just called. He's in the building right now. We'll take him with us to practice.
He's a mentor. He's a friend. He threw me a life raft when I was fired in New Jersey. Hired me at the University of Kansas when I had no business being hired. Who was I to work with Larry Brown?
We talk three, four days a week. He's just somebody that I take great faith in. Listen, when he says something to me, I listen.
Q. For lack of a better way of asking it, Andre Allen, what the heck?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, that's been said many times throughout my career, what are you doing?
My comment's real simply, I love him and I'll love him before and I love him now and I'll love him a month from now. But the reality of it is he cannot be here. When I make moves, it's not based on one thing, but accumulated things.
The effect on our team, don't think it will have much at all. Willie Kemp was our starting point guard a year ago. He's now on backup point guard and he was throughout the year anyway. Doneal Mack gets an opportunity to step up. I think he'll have a big tournament.
The commitment I'll make to the City of Memphis is that we will make sure he gets his degree from the University of Memphis. So it's unfortunate. It's an intervention. Interventions don't always come on your own timetable, but they do come. When they come from me, whether it was Jeremy Hunt or Sean Banks, you deal with them.
Q. Do you often talk to kids who are about to go to the NBA about your NBA days? If this is a high point, would you qualify that as your low point?
COACH CALIPARI: No, I loved my experience and I learned so much. You know, I'll still hear from those players. Sam Cassell will hit me, Joe Klein will hit me. Those guys, they'll reach out to me. So, no.
But it was an experience that I had great enjoyment in doing. This experience, there's nothing like bringing a team to the Final Four in coaching. In coaching, this is it. The whole experience for your kids, for your program, for your school, there's nothing like this.
But it's a good experience for our staff and everybody else, too.
Q. Joey talked a lot about his maturity over this year from last summer, from the Oden game last year. Can you give some examples of that. If you could share with us whether he did your homework assignment you gave him last week.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I asked him to write another story. For all of you that don't know what I did with Joey, I told him if he doesn't think good thoughts, if I see a body language that I don't like, you're coming out of the game 'cause you're body language dictates what your mind is thinking. And I want positive thoughts. And if I saw a body language that was negative, he came out.
But I also asked him to write a story. I said, I want you to write a story how you want your senior season to end. It's your fairytale, it's your dream, write it. Maybe they carry you off the court because you made the game-winning free throws. But write the story.
Then I asked him to read it, read it over and over and over. And after that was pretty good, I said, Why don't we try this in the NCAA tournament. Write the story. What do you want to happen?
For my team, I kept saying, I want you to expect good things to happen because your only other option is to wait for bad things to happen. And I want these young men to learn through this experience that it's okay to expect good. It's okay, you deserve it, you deserve to be thought of in the light you're thought of, and thought of highly. You deserve it.
With him, that's been that struggle. You know, I love Joey like a son. But he does some of the dumbest things I've ever seen in my whole life, like my own children. He has matured. Right now he's playing as good a basketball as he's played in his life. And I'm proud of him and happy for him.
Q. This is your second Final Four. Neither one was in a power conference. Can you talk about an accomplishment, how much it means to you, and if it was necessarily harder at UMass or Memphis getting to the Final Four?
COACH CALIPARI: Any team from any league to get to a Final Four is very hard. Doesn't matter what league. What's happened for me, I've been very fortunate. I happened to go to two schools that made commitments to play basketball at the highest level and to support the student-athletes. When we took over at UMass, there was a 15% graduation rate. When we left, it was 80%. When we took over Memphis, it was a zero percent graduation rate for six years. We've graduated 15 of our last 17.
Dr. Raines at the University of Memphis made a commitment to these young men academically, through academic support. We have an athletic director in RC Johnson that understands how you have to travel, their diets. The BCS league, you have a training table 'cause of football, and your players eat on that training meal. You don't have that at the non-BCS schools. You got to figure out, How do we feed these guys and make it right? How do we travel so we don't beat up their bodies? Do we bus nine hours or do we do this right?
When I was at UMass, Michael Hooker was our president who later went to North Carolina as their chancellor and he said we need a top 25 program that graduates kids that does things right, that we can be proud of because I need it to help build this institution.
I think I've been at two places like that, so I've been fortunate. I've been lucky. In the non-BCS, it takes a village. It's not just the basketball coach. It takes a village.
Q. You just mentioned getting to a Final Four is tough for any coach and program. How should history look at UCLA that has gone to now three straight Final Fours?
COACH CALIPARI: Ben's done unbelievably. What he's done, the first thing was change a culture of how we're going to play. Do you know how hard that is? And especially this day and age, where kids are hearing how good they are, that they do nothing wrong. They're coached in the summers. They just go do what you want to do. All of a sudden you're going to go to UCLA, one of the most storied programs, and you're going to guard. If you don't guard, you're not playing. You're gonna be physical. You're gonna rebound, be tough. We're not going to play as fast as you want to play. We're going to grind it out, set screens, we're going to win.
For him to do that in L.A., it's just -- it blows me away. We played them two years ago early in the season. We beat them pretty easily. By the end of the year, it was a different team. That's what coaching is.
But it's also getting a team to buy into how we're going to play and how we're going to win and have it collectively thought of, which he's done.
Q. You talked about Larry Brown as one of your mentors. You have a couple from Pittsburgh, bill sack co and Joe DeGregorio. What does it mean to you to have them here this week and what did you learn from each of those guys?
COACH CALIPARI: Bill Sacco (phonetic) was my high school coach, an absolute grinder, worked year-round, had great relationships with all of us as players, knew when to have fun and knew when to get tough. There was time in practice that he would break it up by doing something goofy, tackle somebody, we'd all be jumping and piling on, where we knew we could have fun.
Took a team that has lost for 30 straight years, Bill Sacco (ph) took them to the playoffs and created pride in all of us that we could -- just because we went to this school doesn't mean we can't play in state championships, the state playoffs. We were able to do it.
Joe DeGregorio coached me at Clarion University. I've never seen a more positive, upbeat, passionate person every day in my life. You'd walk in tired and he would be absolutely whistling and skipping every day until you're almost like, I don't even want to see him because he's making me feel bad because I'm a little tired, this guy is whistling and skipping.
The biggest thing is they've been friends for the last - I'm not going to age myself - for a while. They've come down to games in Memphis. I go and see them. There's not a time that I don't go to Pittsburgh that I don't see both of them.
You know, also for the people in Pittsburgh, Betty Ridl is here. That's Buzz Ridl, the former Pitt coach, who passed away, his widow is down here. That's another Pitt connection, someone I had a great relationship with. I'm excited about that, too.
Q. Talking to Larry Brown, he says he's not buying the whole underdog thing from you guys. Why does that resonate so much with you? Does Andre's suspension kind of feed into the "Us against Them" mentality that this team has had all year?
COACH CALIPARI: We haven't had that all year. I don't know why people are saying that. We've won almost all our games. What's happened in the NCAA tournament, most analysts picked us to lose. Is that not true? Cal, you're making it up, you're trying to create.
But here's what happened with my team. I've always said that can be an inspiration. But it's like sugar. It's a one-game inspiration. What drives you is that you're trying to beat your last performance. You're trying to compete against yourself. And that's what this team has done.
I'm not in there saying, They don't want us, we're going to show 'em. I don't do that. You can talk to my players. What I do say is, Let's compete against ourselves. Let's not worry about the opponent. If we give our best effort, a better effort than last weekend, and we lose, they were better than us and we've had a great year. But that's our best chance of winning: competing against ourselves. We're not playing us against the world.
Now, the other programs are more highly thought of than Memphis, and they should be. Between UCLA and Memphis, we've won 11 national titles. That's a good number (smiling). They should be more highly thought of than us.
And I'm not saying that to downplay my program. We've won more games in the last three years than anybody else. I know we're an elite program. I know what we are. But you know what, we're still making statements about what we are and how we do what we do.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations. Good luck tomorrow.
COACH CALIPARI: Thank you.
End of FastScripts