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March 18, 2009

Lee Cummard

Jimmer Fredette

Dave Rose

Jonathan Tavernari


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Brigham Young student-athletes. We'll go ahead and open it up for questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Lee, what did you think when you saw Texas A&M come up on the bracket?
LEE CUMMARD: First, I was a little taken by surprise, but then got thinking about it. Kind of a good matchup for us. They're very similar to last year. Should be similar game to last year.

Q. Lee, would you like to see a different mindset from the team coming out compared to last year's slow start or will experience dictate that?
LEE CUMMARD: I think that the guys that will start all remember last year, except for Jacks. We'll let him know before the game how slow we got off.
I don't think they'll get off to an 11-0 start this year. If we do that, get in the flow of the game, just compete from the start, we'll be a little bit better off than last year.

Q. How much stuff have you been doing specifically to try to get off to quicker starts, better starts?
JIMMER FREDETTE: I think it's mostly just a mindset. We got to go out there and, you know, be ready from the get-go.
Obviously, we haven't been playing real well in the first half for the past, you know, four, five games. That's something that we'd like to be better at. Get out there, get a good warmup, get sweating before we start the game, and get out there and have that mindset that we've got to go from the beginning because this is, you know, one-and-done. Got our backs against the wall. Got to go out and play.
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: Everybody is talking about how it's a different matchup, it's kind of a controversial thing that we're matched up with them again. But I think from all the 65 teams here, we're probably the luckiest ones because we know who we're going to face. We actually have a chance to know who we're playing against.
I know Louisville played Morehead. But we have a chance to play a team that we know we're going to get. We played with them last year. I know they lost DeAndre and Kirk and Joseph Jones. They're still a really good team. It's kind of a unique thing for us. We kind of know how to prepare.
We know how many mistakes we did last year. Just make sure, like Lee said, Jackson was the only one who wasn't around, but at the same time Jacks is a unique player, unique person. We don't have any trouble having a different mindset when the game starts.

Q. Lee, you're the only senior that plays significantly. You've been here a couple years now. How much of this to end the streak of all the straight losses is on you tomorrow, do you think?
LEE CUMMARD: I think it's just a team thing. I don't think there's any pressure to end the streak on myself. I mean, we've only been here two years prior to this. So really we only have a little bit part of the streak. We're just concerned with going out there and playing hard, getting off to a good start, letting everything else take care of itself.

Q. Jonathan and Jimmer, can you talk about Lee, his senior year, maybe what's on the plate for him if you can deliver in this game.
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: Well, I think everybody would agree with me that Lee's by far one of the top 10 players, top five players to ever play at the school. He will be one of the best players even on the West Coast, you know, throughout his career.
It will be unique thing. This is a whole lot bigger than him, a whole lot bigger than anybody on the team because, you know, we have a whole history of BYU basketball behind us. For so many years, you guys know better than we do, we haven't got a win. To top off, Lee's senior year, with a win right now would be amazing. For somebody that has done so much for the program, this is just the least we can do, see him off the right way.
I don't really think that a win or a loss in the NCAA tournament will define his amazing career. He's the best player I ever played with. It's been an honor to play with him.
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, definitely, just like what he said. Lee's been great for the program. He's the leader of the team right now. Obviously for him and for our team, we'd like to be able to get out there and get a win and advance. It would be something that would be very special for everybody and for the program to move forward, so...

Q. Jonathan, you said when you saw you were playing against them, you knew what you had done before, the mistakes. Josh Carter was up here saying he expects you will pay more attention to him this year. Is that something he's right about?
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: Well, they had a really good post player. They had three, four good post players last years. DeAndre, Joseph Jones, Elonu, and Bryan Davis. Our game plan was trying to get the ball out of the post guys' hands. We knew Josh was a shooter. This year, you know, the game plan is a little different because, again, we played against them. Like Lee said, we got 11-0 start against them that most likely won't happen tomorrow.
But the game plan, you know, is a little different than last year. But at the same time, it doesn't really matter, you know, how the game plan, you know, plays itself if you don't play hard enough. So it's gonna be a fun game. Like I say, at least we have the experience to play against them. I think we're fortunate enough to know who we play against and have another shot at them.

Q. Could you talk about your background with some of these Texas A&M players, JT. Jimmer, talk about playing on the East Coast again.
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: I played AAU with some of the assistant coaches, Byron Smith. I played with him for the Houston Swoosh. Chinemelu Elonu (Junior) and I played with DeAndre on that team. Before my sophomore year, I'm really good friends with Wink. I went down to Houston, hanging out there. A bunch of guys, I got to go to College Station there hanging out. I know pretty much everybody on the team.
Just a good friendship. We keep in touch all the time. We're friends on Internet, on Facebook. We text each other all the time. I was following their game against Texas Tech. A good overall friendship.
Byron and I are together since probably I got -- so probably 14, 15, I know coach Byron. Junior and I always room whenever we're on the road traveling. Playing at Kingwood, playing in Vegas in the tournament for the Swoosh, Junior and I always roomed together. It's a really good story.
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, just being from back East, obviously it's a great opportunity to be able to come back here and play and have some of the family and friends be able to come out to the game. I'll probably need a lot of tickets, especially for this next game. If we win, I'll probably need even more.
It's gonna be exciting. I'm just ready to get out there and play in front of the family and friends again.

Q. The difference now is that Texas A&M don't have the big guys. What do you expect from them?
LEE CUMMARD: They still have big guys. Bryan had a good game against us last year. Junior is definitely a threat down low. So they lost a few, as well as we did. But it's still gonna be a similar game. They're playing very similar to how they did last year. They run a lot of the same stuff. So do we.
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: They got, like Lee said, a lot of big guys. Junior and Bryan, they're really good post players. Bryan is a little old school where he pump fakes a lot. He has that kind of old-school swagger to him. They also have a backup 6'9" kid. I don't remember his name. He's really good and he's really skilled on the post. He can go over both shoulders. It's not like they're a bunch of 6'6" guys now. They still got height and some strength. They're hard to push around, so still big.

Q. Lee, can you identify what you think the key is to playing well, winning this game. Can you also answer if you feel like the program's recent history in this tournament, is there some pressure that goes along with that?
LEE CUMMARD: Well, one of the keys is definitely gonna be Josh Carter. I mean, he got 26 on us last year. He's their leading scorer. We're going to have to do a good job of containing him as a team.
Then, you know, taking care of the basketball and rebounding I would say is another key. We're going to have to do a good job of that. They're physical. Sometimes they send three or four guys to the offensive glass. If we can control that, it will really help us a lot.
As far as making history, I mean, we've had great success while Coach Rose has been here. One of the things that has eluded us has been an NCAA tournament win, advancing in the tournament. If we can do that, it will be a huge positive for this program moving forward.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.
We're joined by Brigham Young head Coach Dave Rose. We'll ask you to make an opening statement.
COACH ROSE: Well, we're excited to be here. I think Philadelphia is a great city. It's good for our players to have an opportunity to see another part of the country. We're really excited to be in the tournament. Looking forward to the matchup with Texas A&M. I think, you know, our staff and our program, we're happy for our players because these players have had a terrific season and they've played really hard and they deserve to be here.
Look forward to the game tomorrow.

Q. What difficulties are presented to you having to face this team that you faced in the same scenario last year and losing that game?
COACH ROSE: Well, I think there's always positives that you can look at, that you can take out of games. I think the game last year was a really close game. We got off to a slow start. We recovered from that. We got a lead. Then, you know, late in the second half, we lost the lead. We weren't able to kind of make up that space.
We got out-rebounded in that game. So I think that, you know, one of the things that we've done as a staff is just try to find the things that were good, that we did really well in that game, that we can kind of emphasize. Spent some time working on things that, you know, can help us play better.
I think that all five of their starters were involved in that game last year. So we have a pretty good idea of how physical they are and how they like to play. I mean, I think that's a good thing.

Q. Can you identify some of the things that you think you guys need to do to have a better start and to be successful in this game.
COACH ROSE: Well, I think one of the things that's really important for our team is, that we take advantage of opportunities that are created for us at our speed, at kind of our pace, how we play. I think sometimes we get sped up a little bit. We may take an open shot, but we may have a better shot. So be a little bit more patient offensively to start the game.
I think that that's probably one of the most important things we can do, is just maybe be a little bit more patient in our shot selection.

Q. All the time Lee gets a lot of attention, sees a lot of double-teams. A lot of times he might get away from his shot, might look to set others up. Can you talk about him shooting when you want him to shoot and how he reacts to that attention that he gets.
COACH ROSE: I think you've seen it develop over the course of the year. At the beginning of the year, we needed him to shoot a majority of the possessions. He had a huge game against Long Beach State at the start of the season. A 20, 30 high point game. Lee is really comfortable at shooting shots where he feels really confident. Shoots a high percentage. He doesn't have to shoot the ball to feel like he has a real effect on winning. So there are times when we need to encourage him to shoot more. But, for the most part, we leave it up to Lee because he's got a great feel. He's a great competitor. He really makes his teammates better.
So we'll kind of get an idea of what teams are doing. There's no question that there will be some type of game plan to kind of control Lee. It's been that way the last month and a half. So once we get an idea of, you know, things that they're doing, we'll try and get other guys involved and then find ways that we can free Lee up a little bit more.

Q. After three straight conference regular-season championships, all you've done at BYU, how important is actually taking the next step and winning an NCAA first-round game to your program?
COACH ROSE: Well, it's obviously extremely important to our players and to our staff. But every game that we prepare for is important for us to win. And this is really important because it's the next opportunity we have to play. There may be some added importance to the fact that you need to win these games so that you continue playing, so that your season doesn't end.
But it's something that we, you know, really believe that our team's capable of doing. And that's how we'll prepare. That's what we expect. We'll go from there.

Q. Do you feel like that little monkey you have on your back from recent tournament appearances, does that add any pressure to these guys?
COACH ROSE: I hope it's not adding any pressure because it is really an accomplishment to make the field and to have an invitation, to have a place and a spot, have a seed, be in the tournament. And so that's a sense of accomplishment that I think needs to kind of make your team feel a little bit relaxed.
I do know for some of the returning players there's a real will to win and they want to win this game. But I would hope that there wouldn't be any added pressure as a result of that because it's quite an accomplishment.

Q. The last four tournament losses have been by five points or fewer. You're right there. How important is the notion with your guys that one play they make or don't make may be the difference in these tournament games?
COACH ROSE: I think that it's apparent that in all those games we could play a little bit better, and we had possessions during the game that we left empty that we could do a better job of. You know, hopefully this group in this game will be able to put 40 minutes together where we make all those plays.
I don't expect that we'll play a perfect game. I don't think we need to play a perfect game. But we do need to play at a really high efficient rate. Rebounding is a huge key. If you look at the games that we've struggled with in the year, especially in the second half, we've had issues rebounding the basketball. So that's got to be a main priority with our team. Hopefully we take advantage of our opportunities at the free-throw line. The last month and a half we've been a pretty good free throw-shooting team. Then executing our game plan where we get all five guys on every possession on the same page doing what we need to do to force them into tough plays.

Q. Does it concern you basically playing the first game of four, a few thousand miles away from home, where there's not any real home team? Does that worry you, the lack the excitement?
COACH ROSE: It will be interesting to see what type of atmosphere is in the arena for our game. But I think we've played in all different kind of environments. So I believe that we'll be able to adjust to whatever that atmosphere is.
I do believe that you'll have two teams out there competing really hard, but both teams have worked really hard to get here.
Personally, I think, you know, at least for me, I like playing earlier games. I like games being earlier in the day. We'll just take advantage of that opportunity.

Q. Your decisions about playing time behind Chris Miles, in a game that could be physical like this, will it be a feel thing, according to fouls, matchups? Will Noah or Gavin be available? Will Anderson play also? Do you have any kind of a game plan what you might do?
COACH ROSE: Gavin is available. He practiced well the last week or so. Hasn't played in a game for quite a while. That will just be kind of a game-time feel.
I think that Noah and James are both players who continue to get better. They've really helped us down the stretch here. So they'll get an opportunity. Then you just have to see how they take advantage of that opportunity. If the matchups are good for them, if we can use them in a way that will help our team, we need to do that. We need them both to play really well with the minutes they get. The more help we can get off the bench, I think the better it will be for our team.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH ROSE: All right. Thank you, guys.

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