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March 18, 2010

Eric Hayes

Landon Milbourne

Greivis Vasquez

Gary Williams


THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and take questions for the Maryland student-athletes.

Q. Greivis, you've got a reputation as being an outspoken guy. Is that something that you've tried to bring down a little bit this season?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: Definitely I'm just trying to focus on playing the game and trying to get better. Trying to get my team better. So it's about winning. It's not about saying anything.

Q. I would just like to get a little history about how you found your way to Maryland and when you started playing ball and when you found out you had the talent you've got.
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: I used to play for -- I still play for my national team but I play when I was like around 14, 15 years old my national team and then they sent me out to a camp in Brazil. The NBA, they do some type of camp like NBA Without Borders, so they sent me over there. And a couple coaches, assistant coaches and all the people were trying to get me to play in Europe professionally, but I didn't want to go there. I told them that I wanted to go to school in the States and they tried to contact me with somebody and they contacted my high school coach, and then and I got to Montrose Christian School that same year. That was like six years ago.

Q. How excited are you to be here finally coming over a big trip for you? How was practice yesterday? What's the general feeling?
ERIC HAYES: I think we're all very excited to be here. That was along flight for us. Yesterday's practice was good. Everybody was up beat. I think we were just really excited to get out here and play tomorrow.
LANDON MILBOURNE: I think we're all feeling well. Everybody's feeling good. Excited about what's going on right now. We're real excited to be here. The main thing is just getting wins. And that's what we came here to do. So that's what we're focusing on.
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: I'm so excited. I'm so excited. I'm happy to be, we're all happy to be here. The whole team is happy. So we are here to win, like Landon said.

Q. Maybe for Landon, can you talk about stopping Houston's guard, Aubrey Coleman. Leading scorer in the nation. What do you guys have up your sleeves for him?
LANDON MILBOURNE: Just going to play our defense. We're not going to change much about what we do. We help each other out a lot on the court and there's very rarely chances for players to go one-on-one with us. So we're just going to play our game. On the other hand, they have to guard us too, so we're not really worried about one player, but he's a good player, but at the same time they have to guard us too. So we're just going to go out there and play our game defensively and offensively and see what happens.

Q. Do you know who will have the assignment on Coleman?

Q. Can I ask you the same question?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: He's a great player. He can flat out score. I'm going to try to contain him and I'm going to use my size but like Landon was saying, we're not going to change anything. We got to play our team defense and we definitely are going to give him respect. He's a great player and players like that can take-over a game. But they are going to have to play defense on us too. So I think we have a pretty good team offensively too. So we're not going to change anything, we're just going to play Maryland basketball.

Q. Eric, talk about what Greivis Vasquez brings to the court, aside from his scoring?
ERIC HAYES: Well he brings a lot to the court. He's a very good rebounder for his position. He's been a very good defender for us. He finds guys when they're open. I don't think there's really much on the court that he doesn't bring us.

Q. Talk again about when you say you're going to play Maryland basketball, what kind of things do you do to take away what your opponent Houston's going to try to do?
LANDON MILBOURNE: Basically we come out with a lot of energy. For people that watch us play, we press a lot. We play the press full court, three quarter court, half court, whatever it takes. We don't really play a zone that much. But we play real tough man-to-man. And we flat out run. We he help each other a lot. There's rarely any times where you see our team shift over to like half of the court will be empty side of the court. It never happens. We're always all over the place. And we try to make it hard for guys to score, try to make it hard for guys to take easy shots, take away their open looks and in practice we simulate what the black team with our other team and try to get them to get used to the team's offense and their tendencies and we try to take those away.
So it's real simple but it's just about us working hard anus having the attitude that we're not going to give up easy shots and we're going to get up-and-down the floor.
ERIC HAYES: I think it's like Landon said, it's having the intensity on defense. Helping each other out. Having each other's back. We can't say that Greiv is going to lock them down himself. It's going to be a team effort to contain him and they have other guys that can score as well. So it's a just it's going to be a great defensive effort from us.
Also just running our offense like we have been throughout the year.

Q. Curious, you guys play for coach who is pretty demanding. I'm wondering how close do you think you guys have come to becoming the team that he expects you guys to be?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: I think we're pretty close. I think we're pretty close. I know that I have no doubt that this team can do some damage in this tournament and we're all pretty close to coach and we are going to get his back. We are going to play our best. We're going to do our best.
We're going to put everything we got out there on the court. So we're close. We had a great season. Now we're in the post season, so we have to do it even a better job the next couple weeks, you know, not the next couple weeks, this Friday. It's a huge game on Friday. It's just so huge for us. We got to understand that.
LANDON MILBOURNE: Main thing coach always talks about is working hard. He's not going to get upset about you if whatever you're doing is going hard. And working with a lot of energy. And that's pretty much what we try to do every player on the team tries to give that to coach, just work hard as you can and you know you can't really ask for anything more and we listen to him and he's been around for a long time, and he's a great motivator. We just try to take everything he says in and add to that that we're working hard and usually we come out with a win.
So we don't shy away from anything he says. Everything he says we take into it and it's been working this far in the season so we're just going to continue to listen to him and work hard like he wants us to.
ERIC HAYES: In the beginning of the year he had great expectations for us and we have had great expectations for ourselves as well. So we put ourself in a position to do something great and I think it all just starts on Friday.

Q. Do you think you have an advantage if you have an advantage over Houston, what would it be?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: I don't think we have any advantage. I think if you watch the games, we have been watching the games all day, you can't get over confident. It's going to be a huge game for us as well as for them. So we're going to compete and we're going to try and do our best. But we're in the going to get over confident, but like we're going to Beth beat them. No. That's not how we're going to be. We're going to be there and we're going to show up humble and try to play our game. Obviously we're going to try to win, but it's not going to be easy.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys. We'll have Coach Williams take questions.

Q. Tell me about the biggest improvement you've seen in Vasquez this year.
COACH WILLIAMS: Last year he led the team in scoring, rebounds, and assists. This year I think he's a better defensive player. He's really helped us in some big games where he had to in addition to the offensive responsibility do a good job defensively for us. So that really helped us especially down the stretch in our ACC games. And then just his maturity. I think that he's done what you would like to see with players that come through the system for four years. He's just gotten a little more mature each year. He's been a great leader. And that's a big part of it, I think. To get to us where we could play our best it was his leadership along with Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes.

Q. How did you find Vasquez? I don't know if you're aware that you and Tom have the identical wins and that you're going to be breaking the tie here in this game this weekend. And I thought you might want to comment on that.

Q. Yeah.
COACH WILLIAMS: I've known Tom since he was coaching in Tufts back on the east coast. But how did I find Vasquez? I was fortunate. He played locally at a school very close to our campus. I went to see Kevin Durant play. We got Greiv, Texas got Durant. So I guess that's okay. But I liked Vasquez right away. He was really skinny. I guess I saw him his junior year in high school and he was really thin. But he loved to play. As you get into coaching I enjoy coaching players that love to play the game. There's still guys out there that love to play and he is one of them. So I've had a lot of fun with him. It's been great watching him go through some things that were tough and how he handled it, you how he came back when he was criticized and I think it's just made him a tougher person and one of the better players that's out there right now in college basketball.

Q. Again your thoughts on the fact that you and Tom have identical wins going into this game. Tied for fifth nationally?
COACH WILLIAMS: How many do we have.

Q. It's 648 I believe?
COACH WILLIAMS: No, it's 649. No, I'm just kidding.
I really don't know how many we have. But longevity helps in those situations, but Tom was at George Washington right there in town when I was at Maryland. We played I think when he was at Texas in the NCAA tournament awhile ago, I guess that's about 15 years ago now. So we have kind of followed each other around and I'm just, I know I feel very fortunate to have stayed in the game and always have a job because you have seen really good coaches along the way that whatever happens, happens, and all of a sudden they're not coaching anymore. So I think I'm proud that I've always been able to be a coach since I've been a head coach.

Q. Is there going to be more focus on perimeter defense as Houston is a very solid 3-point shooting team?
COACH WILLIAMS: We have to be aware of that. They have so many people that can shoot threes, it's not necessarily the numbers that an individual player shoots, but five or six guys can come in there and at least, and be good 3-point shooters that particular game or that particular half. So that's the problem.
The other thing is that they're a very good free throw shooting team. So if you extend it gives up more room to dribble penetrate. I think that's why they're so tough to guard sometimes. And any time that we have teams in our league like Duke that are really good 3-point shooting teams and any time you play against them you, it's a little bit of a gamble as you extend to hopefully not give up a lot of free throw situations to them. So it will be tough. It will be tough, but I think it's going to be a really good game with the way we can play defense at times and the way Houston can shoot the ball.

Q. I'm wondering if when you have a day like today where there's already been some crazy upsets, whether that makes you even more nervous or is it a good thing for a team in your position to kind of see those kind of things and kind of reinforce the message that anything can happen or does any that have matter?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think it matters. I think that players know more about what's going on with the seeds and things like that than we talk about. In other words, I just stay away from all those things. We're playing Houston and that's basically it right now. So you can't worry about it. But players know. It's hard to now day toss hide and not know. Not know about what's going on. And so that that's okay. But the big thing for us today is this is exciting now. The games have started. We want to play. And I think that I sense that with our team today, that we want to get out there. And of course having said that we probably thing, I think it's a last game, you know, in the first round of the tournament. But that's okay. I've been there before and this team's been very did your able this year. We had some tough situations with snow back in DC, not that you don't get any out here, but we had a game postponed with Virginia which we wound up playing four games in seven days because of that. So late games, ACC games. And we got through that. And so whatever happens during the season either gets to you or it makes you tougher. And I think that we have become a pretty tough team.

Q. How close is this team come to sort of taking on the personality of really playing like the types of teams that you like to have?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think they're really good. I think they have bought into the defensive end of the court, which is important. With players like Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes and Vasquez, they have a great deal of experience, they have all scored over a thousand points. Greiv is over 2000, so we have some offensive things. And when you have players that have had some success offensively, to be a good defensive team they're the guys that have to buy into it and our seniors have done a great job of that.

Q. Back on Selection Sunday and continuing until today, it seems that all three of your seniors, Eric, Greiv, and Landon have all had a very serious business-like approach. I understand that this is very important to all three of them as it could possible be their last game. Has there been a different approach in practice or certain things that you've said to them or is it just coming from them, their desire to win and continue on in their career?
COACH WILLIAMS: No, I think they have been good all year. You get to be a senior, you realize there's a finite number of games left. And you want to win as many as you can and then you want to play as many as you can so we're in a situation now where each game could be your last game. So maybe you focus a little more, but I've been really pleased with the way they battled through some tough losses this year and came right back and played and the way they prepared. Preparing for games is really important. And I think our guys don't have to change much to do a good job to prep for our first NCAA game.

Q. Obviously you have all kind of tape and all that kind of stuff. But having coached against Tom as you have, do you think that gives you even an better sense of what they're going to try and do or what he likes to do than if you had just been looking at them cold on tape now or?
COACH WILLIAMS: I don't think I've coached against Tom for 15 years. But I think when he was at Texas, right?

Q. GW?

Q. Again he hasn't changed a lot though.
COACH WILLIAMS: Coaches change. I think I've changed the way we play. I know have I just looking at old games and whatever. And I think that the one thing about Tom's team, they're always aggressive defensively. And see that's what I look like or look at for the other coach is style of play in terms of how his teams play. Some teams lay back a little bit, some are very patient on the offensive end of the court. And the one thing that Tom's teams have done all the way through, with whatever school he's been at, is they attack. And I think that's a great way to play and it should prove to be a very entertaining game, because we like to play that way too.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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