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March 18, 2011

Devin Gibson

Jeromie Hill

Brooks Thompson


Ohio State – 75
UTSA - 46

THE MODERATOR: We want to welcome our University of Texas at San Antonio student-athletes Jeromie Hill and Devin Gibson as well as head coach Brooks Thompson. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH THOMPSON: Wow, they're good. We all knew that. We knew coming into it how good they were. I think that we sum it up as they're so efficient in everything that they do. They're so well coached and so disciplined that I told our guys at the end, before I talk about our team, I was proud of them. They did a nice job and they played maybe the eventual national champion today.
I definitely think they're good enough and experienced enough to go deep in this tournament, obviously, and for them to prepare the way that they did and to come out and play well against a 16 seed speaks volumes about what type of team they are.
It's the NCAA Tournament and they came out and played very hard and played very well, and obviously were pretty prepared for us and what we did.
So I'm very proud of the run that my team made. I'm proud of these two, but I'm proud of that entire locker room. It's been the most phenomenal season in UTSA basketball history and we're proud of what we've done to this point, both on and off the floor. It's been a tremendous year for us. We really grew as a basketball team throughout the year. We grew as a family. And looking back I can't think of anything that -- I can't just say anything but unbelievable things about them.
We're the second most inexperienced team in the country, and to get to this point of the NCAA Tournament, win an NCAA Tournament game, and to go out there and play as hard as we could against Ohio State University speaks volumes about our guys in that locker room, and I'm a proud man and a proud coach today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Devin, you've had a spectacular career at UTSA. You've played your final game of college basketball. Just what are your thoughts right now?
DEVIN GIBSON: To be honest, nothing but good thoughts. Finished up the season very well. Knew we could win the conference tournament. Didn't know we were actually going to make it this far by making history and winning the first NCAA game ever for our school.
It's just nothing but good thoughts. I'm happy how I finished up my career here.

Q. Brooks, you talked yesterday about doing some things out of character or out of what you're used to doing. Slowing the game down I'm assuming was what you were referring to. Can you talk about that strategy and how you think it played out?
THE MODERATOR: Let's keep it to questions for the student-athletes.

Q. What makes them so efficient? Was it just outside shooting against your zone, or what?
JEROMIE HILL: They were just very efficient. They moved the ball. They weren't rushed. We did slow the game down, but they just played calm and collected and they just took their time and got the best shot they could get. And they just couldn't miss in the first half and had us on the back foot. And credit to them, you know. They dished it a lot to us, that's for sure.
DEVIN GIBSON: I think they play how a championship team plays inside out. Sullinger, you know they're throwing the ball in to him and they've got Diebler out there lighting it up from 3. And they play very well together.
They played -- they passed the ball around and just found the open man and made shots. What a championship team does.

Q. Jeromie, you and Melvin looked like you really had trouble today with the bigger, more athletic players today. Can you talk about your struggles? You had a good start and then just couldn't find your way later in the game?
JEROMIE HILL: I think it just comes down to inexperience a little bit. We've never played on a stage this big before. The biggest game we've had all year is against Oklahoma State. So for us to come out and play against such a big team was a bit of a wake-up call.
And we had a bit of trouble, but at the same time it's a learning experience, and we know where we need to be now, and we've got time on our side being the second youngest team. We're going to go back and take a lesson from it and just try and get to that level of where we need to be. It's just a great experience for us.

Q. Was it possible to enjoy the game today? Obviously from a score-wise, it was pretty lopsided. But was it possible to enjoy the experience of playing in this game in front of that crowd, against a team of that caliber?
DEVIN GIBSON: At the beginning, you know, before tip-off and everything I was just kind of enjoying just the atmosphere. Like never been in an atmosphere like this. It's probably one of the most -- best events ever put on. The NCAA does a great job.
But when the ball's tipped up, it's just another game, trying to go out there, compete and win.
JEROMIE HILL: Of course you enjoy it. You play basketball because it's your favorite sport. Winning, losing, doesn't matter, being in such a great atmosphere, I couldn't ask for anything more. And we did enjoy it, yes.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. The question about the pace?
COACH THOMPSON: I forgot it already. I'm teasing. I think we had to shorten the game as much as we can. And I've got to credit our basketball team, because it's hard to go out and try to play that way. You've got guys that are used to scoring and doing things, and our guys showed a great amount of discipline tonight to try to do that.
But it's something that we had to do, and I think it obviously worked early. It's kind of scary when you're going against a powerful team like that to go out there and try to run up and down the floor with them, especially early with the crowd. Our whole goal was to try to keep the crowd out of it as much as we could and keep the score as close as we could to have a chance to win in the last four minutes.
We were just hoping to try to do it. But then we opened it up and let our guys play, and then that's when the ball started rolling around the rim and doing some things.
I think that we were more efficient in our offense and scoring more points when we were holding the ball. But obviously when you get a lead like they did, holding the ball, you can't catch up obviously as easily.
But we were going to try to do that the entire game. But once that lead got there, we needed to try to gain some experience out of this and play the way that we needed to play for our future in what we're going to do.
So if I had to do it all over again I'd do the exact same thing and just hope that we guarded a little bit better. We were sitting back in that zone because we knew we couldn't guard them man, and they made some shots, there's no doubt about that. And, again, they're very well coached and a very efficient basketball team.

Q. What were the magic words that teed you up?
COACH THOMPSON: Did I get a T? I don't remember. I think I was probably disputing a call.

Q. I guess Northwestern kind of set the model for how to play these guys: pack in on Sullinger, try to lock down on Diebler, hope the other guys miss shots. Can that work?
COACH THOMPSON: I think it can. Obviously it didn't today. I think it can. But if the other guys are stepping up, you look at Buford stepping up and hitting those and Thomas off the bench hitting his shots. You've got to crowd Diebler, there's no doubt about it. And you've got to make him put the ball on the floor and bounce it.
Sullinger, our guys were just bouncing off him, and Lauderdale down there, and it was funny to look at our starting center up to Lauderdale to start the game, you know, at the jump circle. It was pretty comical.
That's the difference in levels that you see from our level of basketball to the Big Ten or the Big 12s in the world is size.
And that size affected us greatly, but I think it can work, but it won't work if Buford and -- just to answer your question -- Craft and those guys do what they're doing. If they're making shots, then it's not going to matter.
But I think most people will try to game plan on Sullinger and Diebler. It's pretty common to or pretty easy to see to the common fan what they do, what you have to try to take away, but the other guys stepped up throughout today and I think they will through the tournament because I think they're class players.

Q. Brooks, can you talk about Devin now that his career is done? He's meant so much to your program. You'll never coach him again. So just your thoughts now that he's finished?
COACH THOMPSON: That's the only sombering thought of this entire day and process of what we're going through right now.
He's meant everything to our program, there's no doubt. He's what you would want to model a student-athlete after. We've had four great, great years together. And I hope he would repeat that. And I think he would, in teasing.
But he's been a great ambassador to our program. You never have to worry about what he does off the floor. He's going to graduate with a double major this spring in his senior year with a 3.2 GPA. He's been an Academic All-American, Freshman of the Year, All-Conference performer all year. He was the MVP of the conference tournament this year. When you lose something like him, physically we're going to lose a lot out of our program.
He's just been as joyous to coach as you could ever imagine, and I really think that this year was the most special thing.
I think when I walked in the locker room -- this just sums up Devin's character -- he looked at all our young guys and said: Thanks for the year. Thanks for allowing me to finish my career this way.
And I'll tell you, I'd tear up in sleep at night, before I could go to sleep at night at the conference tournament, just thinking about what it was going to be like to celebrate with him after that buzzer went off if we could win it. And it was as special a thing as I've ever been a part of in athletics to be able to share that with him, because every year he would always ask, and I'd tell him -- we'd sit and meet and talk about what a great year he had. He'd say, Yeah, but, Coach, we didn't get that ring. I came here to get a ring. And for him to be able to get that his senior year is awesome, and we're going to miss him tremendously.
But on the flip side of that, we've got a great group of young men in that locker room that will step up. But Devin, you know, in my five-year head coaching career, he's been a huge part of it for four years, and I'm proud of that young man and his family and just proud that he could go out on top.

Q. Melvin obviously had a tough game. Is that just the defense, Lighty, those guys?
COACH THOMPSON: Yeah, I think their size is going to affect Melvin. He weighs 165 pounds soaking wet. And he's playing against bigger, more physical guys. That's going to happen.
But early, when we were holding the ball, he had a couple of open 3s that he missed. He would normally knock those down. I think Stephen had a wide open 3. So I think that the game, instead of being 16 at half, would have been a lot closer if we were making those shots.
And I think the second half would have maybe been a little bit different because the guys would have kept on that game plan and kept going.
But with Melvin there's no doubt the size and the physicality will affect him, and Melvin knows that. And he's a very talented sophomore that he's going to have to live in the weight room, and he knows that. And that's why we're talking about gaining such valuable experience for our young guys that they get to see there is big physical guys out there that are athletic and can play.
So it's a great experience for him and our young guys.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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