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March 8, 2012

Keith Davis

Bill Kennedy

Khris Middleton


Kansas – 83
Texas A&M – 66

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined now by Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy and student‑athletes Keith Davis and Khris Middleton.
COACH KENNEDY:  First of all, you've got to give a lot of credit to Kansas.  They demand so much help with Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey that we left some guys open on the perimeter.  When they make ten 3s and Robinson hits two 3s, they're a very difficult team to beat by anybody.
I'm proud of our guys for competing, especially in the first half I thought we did some good things.  But Kansas was very good today.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Khris, could you just comment on the fact that this team‑‑ Kansas is so talented, when they're as good as they are today, they're extremely difficult to beat?
KHRIS MIDDLETON:  They're a tough team from top to bottom.  So go out there and guard, and we have to guard every player, and they make us do that.

Q.  Khris and Keith, you guys played so well for about a 10‑, 12‑minute stretch there.  I think you were up 7.  As you look toward next year, is that something where you feel you can turn this around if you can play those kind of stretches consistently?
KHRIS MIDDLETON:  Yeah, I mean, Coach tells us all the time we've got to play for 40minutes.  Every game you've got to play for 40minutes.  This game we didn't do it, and it showed.
KEITH DAVIS:  I think as a team, yes, next year we'll be able to do that.  We'll have more guys willing to compete.  If we compete 40minutes, I think we can't be beat.

Q.  Khris, what made them so tough to defend?  It's not often that your team lets up 80points in a game.
KHRIS MIDDLETON:  Their guards can shoot.  They have really good bigs.  That's basically it.  You can't really double the post like you want to because he'll just kick it out every time.  We just wanted to try to make it hard on the post and contest their 3s, but they made most of those.  So it's tough.

Q.  Keith, do you think you'll be able to kind of ride the momentum individually from what you're able to do today against such a great team, with such good length and great bigs into next year?
KEITH DAVIS:  Of course.  But I have to work in the spring and offseason to be able to do things like I did tonight.  And it's up to me if I do that.  If I work hard, I think I can do good next year.

Q.  Khris, what did you learn about yourself?  What do you think the team learned about each other with all the struggles that you guys went through this year?
KHRIS MIDDLETON:  Just how good of a team we can be if you play for 40minutes.  There were stretches we played really good for five, ten minutes, but we just have to play good basketball for 40minutes.

Q.  What was the most frustrating part of this past season?
KEITH DAVIS:  I have to say the injuries.  I'd say the injuries are frustrating.  When you've got three of your top players out, that's a bind on the team.  That's the toughest part, is just the injuries.
KHRIS MIDDLETON:  I think for me it's just losing.  I mean, being there for three years and never lost this many games.  It's hard on everybody.  Just hate losing.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  What's your message to the guys, particularly the returning players?  This program has been on a rise, and after a one‑year lull, what's the message to make sure that they put in the work to squash this after just one year?
COACH KENNEDY:  Well, first of all, you kind of reap what you sow.  And just the message that you do the right things all the time in every situation, off the court, on the court, work ethic.  Just some characteristics of what it takes to be a champion.
And it's hard to do that when you have injuries, you have a new coaching staff, and you have the adversity we went through.  Just want them to learn to keep fighting, keep competing, and making good choices every day.
And we got better the last three weeks in practice.  Our effort was better.  We shared the ball a lot better.  Khris looked like himself I think the last couple of games and did some really good things for us.  He was obviously playing like our best player.
So we had some definition at the end of the season that we didn't have just three or four weeks ago or a month and a half ago.

Q.  Do you think the foundation's in a pretty good spot with who you've got coming in, with obviously you're still working on recruiting, you have some spots, but also just with a lot of these guys having to play, because of the injuries, should create more depth for next year?
COACH KENNEDY:  We have our base end, but we have to have them finish up with a good recruiting class.  We need some help.  When it became man‑on‑man against Kansas over the course of 20‑, 30‑, 40‑minute game, you could see that they had some guys that were on another level than us physically and athletically.
And to win big at this level you've got to have good players, and I think we've got a nucleus but we've got to add some more talent and some more toughness to our team.  And we've got to be a better defensive team where we can protect the paint.  We weren't able to protect the paint in this game, and we were exposed defensively.
And playing back‑to‑back games you've got to have depth, you've got to have some guys who are used to, who are athletically talented enough to play back to back and perform at a high level two days in a row.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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