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March 18, 2010

Jonathan Gibson

Marvin Menzies

Jahmar Young


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the New Mexico State student-athletes.

Q. If you guys talk about what you guys, now that you had a couple days, what have you seen about Michigan State that you guys need to come out and try to defend. What can you do well against them?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Rebound. These guys rebound like pros, NBA players. But rebounds are a big key, contain the guard, the little point guard, contest every shot, just play our game like we have been doing. Play with passion.

Q. Talk about just guards, guards and rebounding. You guys have done a pretty good job this year, is that something that the guards need to really focus on too tomorrow?
JONATHAN GIBSON: Yeah, just stay consistent rebounding for the guards and helping out the big men. And that's basically it.

Q. Jahmar, few minutes ago Kalin Lucas at the podium seemed to take exception to some of your comments from the other day. I think he called them disrespectful. I just wondered if you had any response to that.
JAHMAR YOUNG: I'm not getting into an argument battle with him over the airwaves. Someone said Kalin Lucas and I asked who? And I asked him again and he said Kalin Lucas and flipped it when he told me, a Michigan State point guard.
I watched him. He can play. Everyone can play. What am I supposed to do, bow down because of what they say? That's not going to happen, but it's no disrespect to him at all.

Q. Jahmar, glad you apparently are trying to clarify, so you just didn't understand the name when it was first said? You have heard of him. You are aware of him.
JAHMAR YOUNG: I watched him. I know who he is. We know exactly who he is then we got his bio, Big-10 Player of the Year or all Big-10, you know, he's a pretty good player, no disrespect. I'm not here to batter anybody names or throw anybody names, I'm here to compete. So I'm a player, Jahmar Young, I'll clear it up as a man. There was no disrespect. I'll clear it up as a man.

Q. After the WAC tournament did you guys expect to be able to get some more open looks maybe like against teams that maybe don't know you as well? Seemed like you were kind of bottled up a little bit more so during the tournament. But now, will those looks come a little easier?
JONATHAN GIBSON: As far as looks go, we try to execute the offense, take what the defense gives us. Maybe an open shot, maybe not. But we might have more because we never played this team. First time playing so we might get some open looks.
JAHMAR YOUNG: We're going to come out and defend. I feel that we can get our shots off against anyone. Some teams play tougher defense and we got to work a little harder. Hard work pays off. There's nothing wrong with a little hard work sometimes.

Q. For Jahmar, you guys don't seem like an, oh gee we're just glad to be here kind of team the way you guys talk you guys kind of have a swagger about yourselves. Talk about that you guys have so many different guys from all over the country.
JAHMAR YOUNG: We're happy to be here. We haven't done anything. We ran our conference which nobody expected. Everyone got us as the, ah shucks happy to be here giddy team, but we're the total opposite we're coming in with an assassins' mentality trying to win. We're not laying down, not going down.
I'm the team captain. We're not doing it if it's not allowed. So we want to get it out of their mind now, we we're not doing that the all. Just everybody get that out of your mind. We're not doing that of the. At all.

Q. How big was it getting Gillenwater back towards the end of this year?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Troy's a big part of the team. And he's one of my close friends and it was a very huge push and he helps a whole lot as we can see beginning of the year, we were getting hammered, blasted winning games by one point but Troy Gill gives us that inside presence that's versatile and can step up so it helps a whole lot.

Q. Can you talk about just athletically their front court do they remind you of anybody that you have played this year?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Not really. You know what? The size is different. That guy Green? He rebounds like Charles Barkley, man they just emphasize rebound, rebound, rebound. Morgan, he's more versatile back to the basket but can face you up so they got a good front court that we really haven't faced but we can compete with these guys, you know, and we don't feel a certain way about overall team. It's a great team. But we got to stay specific and do what we have been told and we'll be okay.

Q. Jahmar, well for both of you, you guys are you very confident talking about assassins mentality and Las Vegas has you as a 14 point underdog in this game. What do you think about that?
JAHMAR YOUNG: I don't think -- I'm not a gambler. I don't know nothing about gambling. Don't bet nothing on me or nothing. Please don't.
JONATHAN GIBSON: We feel we can go out there and compete with anybody. We got to go out there and show it.

Q. For Jonathan, when you got a guy like Jahmar here, your leading scorer and a lot of times probably sticks his neck out there, wears his heart on his sleeve, doesn't say anything scripted or cliche with a kind of effect does it have on this team it just seems like clearly we know who the leader is and I'm sure guys do too.
JONATHAN GIBSON: Well JY is the hardest worker. That's who he is, he works hard he says on his mind he's not going to hold nothing back and assassins mentality gets everybody pretty far. So we just got to go out there and win and he's one of our leaders.

Q. John, as a senior you were here three years ago when the team was here, I think you're the only one on the team that participated in that game. What have you shared with the rest of your teammates about your experience here before?
JONATHAN GIBSON: Just a higher level intensity and we are on the national stage, big spotlight. Playing on channel 2. But at the same time, just got to go out there and win, execute and it's going to rely on defense, because defense wins championships.

Q. Wonder what kind of pace are you looking for tomorrow night, what kind of -- from watching Michigan State what kind of pace do you feel like they want and how important will forcing turnovers be in this game?
JAHMAR YOUNG: I don't know very important. But you got to you got to know our defensive presence but you can't go out there and jump on the little point guard. He can play. He can cut back left. He's very good off the hesitation. We got to just contain and challenge shots and box out. But for the most part is we have to do that's the main thing we have to do.
JONATHAN GIBSON: The pace as far as just play our game plan, play up tempo, pressure and get out on the break and transition.
JAHMAR YOUNG: Oh yeah, we seen this team, you know, we seen the team that go up-and-down super fast and then we seen the team that can grind it out and execute so they're going to have a change of pace for us but we got to be ready for whatever they throw at us.

Q. You probably are in a game tomorrow night where you got two six men who are as good as any six men in the country. What is it in Gillenwater that allowed him to embrace this role like Dray Green. What about Gillenwater?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Everything doesn't go your way but Troy understands he's a starter. And if I was coming off the bench I would understand that I'm a starter. He just accepts his role and enjoys the ride. He's not complaining he's putting it out there on the line every night and that's what we love about him and can't say nothing bad about him he's ready to compete off the bench.

Q. Talk about how big of a part of the game plan is trying to pressure this team full court. Is that something that you guys seem like you have been successful doing that but I mean but they have some guys that can handle the press?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Are we supposed to reveal that right now?

Q. Do you think you can have some success pressuring them full court?
JAHMAR YOUNG: I believe. But as with every team every team turns it over. Everybody's not perfect but we can't just set people and they just back up and observe you. Can't just run and run up on them. Because it's one face, one pace, it's a did you think. So we got to be really careful what we're doing and just stay together. So you might see some press, you might not. We might just go man full court.
JONATHAN GIBSON: You can't go run at people. So we'll take our defensive schemes and take them I'm not going to tell you what we're going to do but you'll see it tomorrow.

Q. Your 3-point shooting that's been one of the strengths of your team and Michigan States's had some trouble defend the three, can you just talk in general about how much the 3-point shot has been the a game changer for you all this year and part of your arsenal?
JAHMAR YOUNG: I don't think we practice a lot of threes. It just, you know, you practice make perfect we still ain't perfect but our coaches emphasize you got a shot, don't pass it up. If it's wide open that's the best shot we're going to get sometimes it will be a three, sometimes it will be a lay up or a pull up, but we get threes I guess we just find the 3-point line and run to it but I think we get to knock down threes. And defending well, it will be a shocker or a surprise what you guys will see, but we are here.

Q. For the threes, I must say, from pressing the guards at the wing we like to drive and kick like moving an off the ball so we emphasis that in practice and in the game, so far it's worked out for us.

Q. Jahmar one of the advantages Michigan State's had over some people this year is a lot of teams they will play Lucas and Lucious, two points guards on the floor at the same time. Do you think that your play, multiple play making point guards can mitigate that some. How do you approach that?
JAHMAR YOUNG: I don't think we have -- we play two at the same time too. But it's going to be an even matchup, but these guys as far as point guards, we haven't seen a point guard in our league compared to these guys as far as quickness and height. You know what I'm saying? These are some guys that's really fast and can score as if he were a big man. And they in a fashion that way. But it's going to be, do you have -- we got two point guards -- I handle the ball as a point guard too. But there's no limit. We'll be all right.

Q. Jahmar you're from Baltimore, how did you get to New Mexico State?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Brief as I can be here. You know, I was already counted out growing up. And I got a lot of schools late. Like I had a few Big East schools, the ACC schools, late. And when Reggie Theus was here he recruited me. So I made my mind up and told my mom, I'm going west to get away from my city, the negativity and all that and just make something positive out of it.
For the most part it's been working out. I'm really proud of myself as an individual and my team for embracing me this way and making me the player I am today. I'm not the best. I'm working on it. But compared to where I was, I would do it all over again I. Wouldn't go nowhere but New Mexico State. Because I make my own path, not in one else shoes or spotlight. Hard as it is, late night at the gym, you got nothing, no respect, no recognition. And I never in my wildest dreams did think I'd be here. So I just got to thank my team and my coaches for molding me into the player that I am today and giving me a chance to be here.

Q. You mentioned Reggie Theus. For both of you, what kind of impact did he have on bringing you out there and what kind of impact does he have on this team now?
JAHMAR YOUNG: As far as now? He has no impact on the team now. It's the Marvin Menzies era, how everyone would say it. But he helped me a lot because he motivated me like none other because he done everything I wanted to do. He was a professional player, he was a cool guy, down to earth, and he made money playing this game and provided for his family. At the end of the day that's what we all compete for, that's what we want to do. And get a free education. That's nothing better than that to me.
JONATHAN GIBSON: As a freshman Reggie taught me a lot of things on the court as far as being point guard that I didn't know coming into college and I thank him for that. But as far as now, like it's the Marvin Menzies era, so we're going over that and competing to win it.

Q. Jahmar, can you talk about what is difficult about guarding Jonathan Gibson because you see him in practice everyday and Jonathan can you talk about what's difficult about guarding J Y?
JAHMAR YOUNG: He got this move, so many moves, and he's quick. And you'd think my length would stop it, but the dude Lucas? I can see that Lucas is similar to Jonathan because of their deception. But he's lightning quick. Lucas change directions in a split second. The difference is that he's very hard to guard. I've been crossed over several times, he made game winners on me several times. But you got to keep on pushing and I got it down pat.
JONATHAN GIBSON: I'm not saying on Jahmar. I would say his foot work definitely coming off screens, dribbling, half head fake, fade away. I'd say he got one of the best mid range games I ever seen and I played against a lot of people. So that and athleticism. Everything's off the roof.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you guys. We'll take questions from Coach Menzies.
COACH MENZIES: Did my guys entertain you? They can.

Q. Coach, when you started working with Jahmar, did you kind of have to battle with yourself, when do I let Jahmar be Jahmar or do I have to put a muzzle on this guy, do I just let him be himself? He seems so genuine.
COACH MENZIES: He is very genuine, very charismatic. No, I had an instant appeal for him because of his personality and we just kind of clicked.
I just continued to mentor him. He's had his moments and I've had mine and we have continued to grow from the onset and it's evident now in his personality and the way he performs on the floor as well.

Q. Can you just talk about maybe the matchup between Troy and Green and the front courts in general. Especially those two guys.
COACH MENZIES: I really try to stay away from individual matchups. I won't elaborate too much, other than to say that I think both of those players are very versatile and skilled, tough guys that have the ability to turn the game with their ability.
So obviously we have got a to do a great job on Green and we have got to have our guys inspired to play. But I think at the end of the day this is going to be one of those types of games where we have just got to continue to concentrate on what we do and our own execution and hopefully that will be good enough to make it a battle.

Q. What kind of pace do you want in this game? What kind of pace do you expect in this game? I know you mentioned the other day Michigan State plays different paces, they run sometimes, they can play a slow-down game. What do you expect them to do in this game and then how important is it for you to try to force them into some turnovers?
COACH MENZIES: I think it's important to force any team into turnovers, especially when we look at how we play. We want to obviously try to heat you up and do some things defensively to keep you off balance a little bit. But the pace of the game doesn't really concern me as much as again how well we play execution wise on both ends of the floor. And that we continue to grow in our, in our development.
The way we played the last three, four games we have been very productive and we have cut down on a lot of the negative things in our game. So if we -- now I think we're really focusing on us, I think we're really focusing on what we have to do preparing and planning as if we would any scout, we're just not as familiar. But we have had a few more days to prepare now, so hopefully by tomorrow we'll have the personnel down and we'll have the scout down and the kids will be comfortable with our scouting report and we'll be able to go out and execute.

Q. Troy Gillenwater was named to the all-tournament team in the WAC as a sixth man. That's fairly unusual. What does Troy mean to your team since he's arrived on the team?
COACH MENZIES: Well Troy's a starter that comes off the bench. I mean he's a true, I guess you would say a sixth man, but he's a starter. He's just, he just was in a position where he was thrust into that role based on our rotation already being set once he got eligible. But since then his disposition and his willingness to do that and his whole attitude has really accented our chemistry.
I think that when you have a player of that caliber that can come in and give that you added bonus at that time of year and it gives you kind of an X factor because as he grows and as and Wendell McKines as well, all those both those two kids are kids that joined the team late. So when you get a chance to add players of that quality, then you continue to grow as the season goes on and that's why we're really hoping that we just build off of what we did in the WAC championship and the WAC tournament, I should say, by winning the WAC championship and put ourselves in position to play great basketball. And that's what we want to do. We just want to go out and continue to play and progress off of our last game. If we do that then hopefully we'll give them a very good game.

Q. During the tele-conferences Wendell and Jahmar said some things like Jahmar saying he didn't know who Kalin Lucas was, Wendell saying, push me and I'll push you back. Jahmar saying you better watch out. Kind of a lot of different things there. Is that totally kind of surprising to you that they would say something like that or was it just kind of who they are and it's just maybe they said things like that or a version of that maybe in the past?
COACH MENZIES: They have a lot of confidence. They have a lot of confidence. They're not being critical, they're not, I mean, you know, if a player doesn't know a player, I don't think that's a slight. I mean, I don't know a lot of players.
We are on the west coast and we, we don't play in that conference, we don't see those guys on a regular basis. I think it would be a slight if he said that about somebody that we played or that's in our conference, but I mean if you don't know a kid, there's a lot of kids in the United States.
So it's, you know, we, Jahmar's serious about basketball. He's not serious about being a basketball fan. He doesn't go home and study other teams. It always amazes me when somebody, even an assistant coach, he's know so much about what's going on in other programs. It just blows me away, you go on the road recruiting and you walk and talk to an assistant coach and I'm digressing here, but I need do to defend my guys. Because I talk to a coach and he'll tell me who is getting fired and who is getting hired and who these teams signed. And I'm going, when do you have time to figure that stuff out? And why aren't you focused on getting better and getting your own kids better.
And Jahmar has that passion to get better. He has that passion. He's a gym rat. He is one of those types of kids that he's a warrior. And he doesn't -- and he's focused and he doesn't get distracted. So -- well as much as, I mean he doesn't get distracted much, let's just say. Less than he used to.
And that's -- I will respond to that. I don't think he, Jahmar doesn't mean anything, you know, that's -- however people want to take it, they're going to take it, but I know the kid and I know his character and he's a very, he has a high level of respect. He knows they didn't get seeded as high as they did for no reason.

Q. I think they have like 13 and a half offensive rebounds per game. Have you done anything different in practice getting ready for this team as far as trying to keep this group off the glass? More of a focus than normal?
COACH MENZIES: We got another two kids eligible, two seven-footers. So, I'm just kidding. We, no, no, we just, we are planning and preparing as we always have. We have obviously made an emphasis in our scouting report and obviously made it an emphasis in our preparation on the floor talking about it. Catching it in practice and pointing it out and teaching it and so forth.
But it's like any team. You play a certain team that shoots the three ball well, you got to get your kids ready for that. You get a team that rebounds well, you got to get your kids ready for that. Every team does something, every team at this stage of the game is going to do something really well. So you just got to prepare them more mentally at this point of year.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, coach.
COACH MENZIES: All right. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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