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March 18, 2010

David Lighty

Thad Matta

Evan Turner


DENNIS KRAUSE: We have Ohio student-athletes Evan Turner and David Lighty. Questions.

Q. Evan, do you feel kind of like a long run in the NCAA tournament is maybe the only thing missing from your resume as a player right now, and what would that mean to you?
EVAN TURNER: I definitely do. We definitely want to make a long run, and we're in it to win it. And not just adding to our resume but also the program's resume. I think it will benefit everybody if we keep winning and everything will be fine if we do so, and we just really want to play as long as we can.

Q. I know you're with Ohio State and the Buckeyes, I heard you're very close to becoming a Badger, how close did you almost become a Badger?
EVAN TURNER: I was extremely close like, extremely close. Almost coming close to committing and everything, when I went on a visit one time.
But definitely I rethought my situation, took a little bit of time. I'm part of the Ohio State university, and it's been a pretty good relationship so far.

Q. Evan, any feelings about being on the Sports Illustrated cover and the jinx and all that?
EVAN TURNER: I never heard of jinx until a couple of days ago. I'm the type of kid you make your own destiny, will yourself into the situation, not worrying about the jinx but worrying about what my teammates and I have been doing, which is playing Ohio State basketball and that's it. Everything happens for a reason, and we're definitely going to try to just come out here and compete and play hard.

Q. Some guys yesterday were talking about before last season's NCAA, just being happy to be there and not taking the right approach going into the first game. With you not being able to be a part of that team on the court, sitting where you were sitting, did you see any danger signs and thinking to yourself that this isn't the way it should be, or what?
DAVID LIGHTY: I can't say too much. I saw a lot of dangerous times. But people were a little loose and lax, I guess you could say. But that's kind of naturally how we were last year. And I think this year we were a little more focused on the task at hand and coming in and making a statement I guess you could say for the first game and moving on and taking it one game at a time.

Q. I know you don't play Georgia Tech, but there's an interesting story about them. You heard about it. They gave up their cell phones for the conference tournament and for this. Could you imagine your team and you ever doing such a thing?
EVAN TURNER: Not really. I don't understand what that would gain. But we do things different here. Every program does different things. And if it helps them focus, and if it's a team thing, they're all doing it together, that's a great thing. I talked to my boy Ian Shampert before so I probably can't talk to him anymore, I guess.

Q. Villanova was almost knocked off as the No. 2 seed, the March Madness thing, is there anything about Santa Barbara that gives you reason to not take them lightly as the No. 15 seed?
DAVID LIGHTY: I would say so. They're in the tournament for a reason. They've got two good guards that attack you all times and good role players and they like to pressure and create havoc. You have to come in with your mind right for the game.

Q. Evan, I didn't see it happen, but I don't know if you were in the locker room watching Kansas State play or not, but Jacob Pullen fell pretty hard on his back from what I heard. I knew he was a Chicago guy, and you're friends with him, I think. I didn't know if you saw it happen back there or not?
EVAN TURNER: No, I didn't see it at all. It was a bad fall. I hope he's all right. I played with Jason since I was 11. He's a good guy and a good player. You never want to see anybody get hurt. And hopefully he's okay and his team can keep winning. And you never want to hear anybody get injured.

Q. Evan, scouts have compared you to Rajon Rondo as a rebounding guard and also to Brandon Roy. How much do you know about those guys, would you talk about that a little bit? And also do you ever hear from LeBron like Terrelle does or anything like that?
EVAN TURNER: First, I'm not Terrelle Pryor. Terrelle Pryor is a pretty big deal at Ohio State. I don't get those type of perks or benefits hearing from LeBron. But Brandon Roy is my favorite player in the NBA. I really like his game. And also Rajon Rondo is a terrific point guard. I've seen him play in person one time. He can really run a team. He's a floor general.
He's really smart. I think -- I was trying to argue this a couple of months ago, I think he's going to be a Hall of Fame basketball player. I think he's really that good. And he's a tough competitor.

Q. Your starters play a lot of minutes. Sometimes you guys are going 40 minutes a game. What's been the secret to having such a great record, winning a Big Ten championship, even though you're not getting much rest?
DAVID LIGHTY: Pretty much just playing together. I mean, we're out there playing the game that we love. So you really don't have time to get tired. I mean, it's something that we've been doing all our lives. So we are just out there having fun, pretty much, and playing together, like I said, and feeding off of each other.
EVAN TURNER: Just also we take the required approach to after practice making sure we're taking cold tubs, make sure we eat right or get enough rest. We're just really preparing and trying to do a lot of work before we take the floor to make sure we're physically ready to play a 40-minute game.

Q. I saw a sign on a building walking over from the hotel, it says the Historic Turner Restaurant, I didn't know if you were aware of it, and now that you are if you might like to have a meal there?
EVAN TURNER: I wasn't aware of that at all. But I wouldn't mind stopping to see what they're cooking. But that's pretty funny.

Q. Evan, you mentioned the pro players earlier. You're on Michael Redd's home court here, is that anything that occurred to you guys might that be a good omen?
EVAN TURNER: For the most part, when he's played it's treated him well so far. So hopefully we get that same type of luck. He's made a lot of shots here and we're hoping for the same luck.

Q. Is Michael here? Have you guys seen him? Has he talked to the team at all?
DAVID LIGHTY: Not that I know of.
EVAN TURNER: Not too sure.
DAVID LIGHTY: He's probably watching, though.

Q. I know you're playing and a lot of Ohio fans will be coming over the state line, but are they going to get much love from the Wisconsinites?
EVAN TURNER: I think so. Wisconsin fans are always pretty good fans. I'm sure if they're in the building maybe they'll root for a Big Ten team. And Ohio State fans will do the same thing.
But I'm pretty sure, knowing Wisconsin fans, they're probably out, wherever Wisconsin is, getting ready for their game.

Q. David, how did the towering arch on your 3-point shot develop? It didn't used to be that high, did it? Is that to soften it or what?
DAVID LIGHTY: I'm not sure. I guess you could say that. Put a little touch on it. But my dad shoots real high so people say I get it from him. He shoots even higher than I do. So I guess just from watching him and shooting the ball, really.

Q. Evan, one more question about the Siena game last year and about the mindset. I think you were 14 up in the second half. What happened after that? Was that a problem just letting up off the gas or getting too confident or what?
EVAN TURNER: I think we momentarily lost our minds. I think we started making plays. We were making plays we weren't supposed to make. A couple of plays, we were trying to throw no passes from half court. We stopped playing defense. But like Siena or any type of team, when you give them any kind of offense, when they're fighting for their lives, it's a recipe for trouble.
We didn't take care of business, and we spent the latter part of the game trying to fend them off instead of attacking and putting them away like we were supposed to.

Q. They've got a 7'3" guy that they bring off the bench as a shot blocker, when he's in the game, I don't know how much film you watched of them, but will that change your approach at all?
EVAN TURNER: No, if I have the play I'm going in. Haven't really changed my approach or anything. It's all about how the defense plays you. If I see two people on him, dish it out, if I see a wide open lane, and I have the confidence and I feel like I can get there and get a bucket or get a foul, that's what's going to happen.

Q. Evan, about that Terrelle Pryor LeBron James reference. Do you think if you win National Player of the Year maybe you might be bigger than Terrelle or at least get a text from LeBron?
EVAN TURNER: I don't know. I can't really predict that type of stuff. Terrell's pretty loved in Ohio, Ohio State. Their football program has done a lot for the school and what we're most recognized for.
So I can't really say.

Q. How many times do you figure you've seen that replay of that half court shot? And does a play like that, does that give you confidence or is that just another thing that happened during the year?
EVAN TURNER: It's just, for one, I was confident I was going to make the shot. It gives me confidence when I do have confidence I can do anything, my teammates and I can do anything.
Also, I haven't really thought too much about it to tell you the truth. We've played two games since then and all that is in the past right now. It's pretty much like a new season.
Questions for Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta.

Q. Thad, yesterday I guess some of the players were talking about the mindset going into last year's first round game and how I guess they kind of felt they were happy to be there. And I just wondered, with you, having your finger on that, what did you think going into the last year's first round game? Did you think they were ready or did you have a concern about that?
COACH MATTA: I thought we were ready until the ball got tossed up, and I remember turning to the bench and saying, "We don't look the same." And I thought we fought through that there in the second half, 12 or 14-point lead. But for whatever reason in that game we weren't as sharp.
I mean, Siena was obviously a very, very good basketball team.

Q. Do you try to diffuse all this talk that's going on in reference to Glen Rice and Danny Manning and the one-game thing and now Evan starting his run. How do you handle that whole thing? Because clearly you don't play that many other guys, you've had a lot of other valuable contributors.
COACH MATTA: To be honest, I need to be in tune with more what's going on in the world because I hadn't heard that. But I think these guys have a tremendous understanding of when Ohio State plays their best basketball, there's five guys out there playing together.
And I think there's been a trademark for this team throughout the course of the season of five guys both offensively and defensively playing together. I think with a guy like Evan Turner, who is very intelligent, and he's a very team-oriented guy, he's never shown throughout the course of this season any signs of that being a thought process for him. And I've seen guys that have become selfish or something along those lines.
But Evan knows he needs everybody on this team to help us win and I think that's what makes him what he is. I think that's why he's continued to elevate his game every time he takes the floor.

Q. Villanova almost got upset as the No. 2 seed. What do you tell your players to keep them overlooking a No. 15 seed?
COACH MATTA: Well, I think in all seriousness, the way we've done it -- and I don't want to change now because of the position we're in -- but the focus is on us. And we can't determine what happens in that game. The only thing we can determine is how we come out and play, and do we execute? Do we have a toughness about us on defense? As you coach a guy as long as the season's been, we're going on to our 126th practice of the year. You've got a pretty good feel for them. And this isn't a team that I've found that needs outside motivation to play well. I think they're more tuned into what we have to do. And the fact that that game was close, overtime, maybe it heightens their awareness, but I don't want these guys to be motivated by something that happened yesterday to affect today.

Q. You talked yesterday about some problems you had with flu running through the team. How is everybody right now from that standpoint?
COACH MATTA: Getting better. I think the guys that had it on Sunday appear to be better. They're putting more weight back on. Jon's the one that had it last, I guess you could say. We're trying to monitor everything that he's doing and getting the right foods and hydration and all those things. But he had a lot more color when he walked into the locker room here than he had the day before yesterday and the day before when he missed practice.

Q. What does the scouting report tell you about Santa Barbara and what you need to do to be prepared against them?
COACH MATTA: Lots of things. And first and foremost we have to do a great job defensively. And obviously with the player of the year, Johnson, Nunnally, you look at those two guys as two prolific scorers, the numbers and the consistency they've got ten their points with and how they've gotten them from 3s to drives, to post-ups, to fouls. But the thing that we've noticed from December until March is the other guys are playing great basketball, too, which is why they're here.
And so it's a team effort of defending and the big challenge for us is not giving them a lot of easy baskets, a lot of easy opportunities. And you do that by taking care of the ball on offense and taking great shots on offense. I think that's one of the things that we've got to do is really take care of the ball against their defense.

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