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March 15, 2012

Rick Barnes

J'Covan Brown

Clint Chapman

Myck Kabongo


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the players.

Q.  This is for Clint.  How much does Yancy Gates compare with Thomas Robinson in a physical standpoint or is there anyone else from the Big 12 who he compares with a little bit?
CLINT CHAPMAN:  You know, all I can tell is from what we watched in the films so far, but I think Thomas is probably the most comparable.  Also, you know, other guys in the league are very physical players.
So I think, you know, just having to go from experience against playing guys like that, that's what we're going to have to build from that.  It's going to be a team effort against a guy like that.  That's basically what we're basing it on.

Q.  J'Covan, you came into this season with no looking around, and last spring seeing no experience except you.
What kind of expectations did you have and do you think, you've met them for the most part?
J'COVAN BROWN:  I didn't know what to think, you know.  We started off with just me, Lex and Chap until everybody got in and when everybody finally got in before school started we had a lost work to do, you know, some of the workouts wasn't good, you know, but we just -- had to find ways to put it together, you know, and these six freshmen we battle with every day.  You know, they're a great group ever guys and work hard.
I think the outcome, you know, shows that they wanted to do whatever it takes to win games so just really was a great experience.

Q.  Myck, you're one of six freshmen on this team.  Obviously with some of the older guys, the coaches been telling you it's your first experience in the tournament.
What have you been hearing from the older guys?
MYCK KABONGO:  It's a great stage to play on.  We're more than excited.  We worked towards this to get here the whole season so they said just cherish this moment, we're here.  It's a once in a lifetime experience.  We're going to enjoy it and have fun.

Q.  Myck, you guys gave Mizzu a tough game. They have a pretty small lineup that compares with Cincinnati.  Will that help you out a good deal tomorrow?
MYCK KABONGO:  I think it will.  They play four guard type of offense, you know, we've seen a lost teams do it before, Villanova and stuff.
I think playing Missouri in our conference really help us helped us and we have guys on this team that can guard the position from 1 to 4.  Jaylen and Jonathan do a good job of guarding guys out on the perimeter.  It really helps when you have guys on this team that can guard different positions.

Q.  For Mike, since.  Since Texas as gone to the tournament for 13, 14 years, was it ever hard to realize it's not just a given that you're going to go to the tournament, that you actually have to work and for all the players, can you talk about how Coach kept you motivated this year?
MYCK KABONGO:  Definitely there's a standard at Texas and we understand that.  Obviously the track record speaks for itself.  Coach obviously motivates us every day.  As a player you got to be motivated yourself.  We had a group of guys that knew what was at stake and we motivated ourselves, too.   We pushed each other every day at practice, and we competed and showed fight every day and every time we stepped out on the Court.  As players we all pushed each other and having guys older guys that have been here before us really helped us, too.

Q.  J'Covan, you guys are 11th seed, not favored.  Is it different you know role for you in the tournament, you guys have usually been a higher seed.  Are you kind of cherishing that fact that you guys are a little under the radar here?
J'COVAN BROWN:  Yeah, I cherish it.  You know, we just going to go out there and play hard, you know.  People count us out during the whole season, some thinking we weren't going to make it.  We're going to go out there and just play Texas basketball, don't worry about what the cite particulars say about us.

Q.  J'Covan, Mick Cronin said he recruited you to come to Cincinnati.  How seriously did he recruit you? How seriously did you consider going there?
J'COVAN BROWN:  Well, he was talking to me every day but, he really wanted me, you know, but I wasn't too worried about making a decision or going to Cincinnati.  You know, when I was a 9th grader, I said I was going to come here and I kept my promise by coming to Texas so I wasn't worrying about the Cincinnati stuff.  
THE MODERATOR:  Anyone else?  Thank you guys.
We're open again with Texas Coach, Rick Barnes.  Please raise your hand if you have a question, state your name and affiliation, please.

Q.  Rick, since you were so close to T. J. Ford, how tough is this week been on you and have you been able to speak with T.J.  At all?
COACH BARNES:  Yeah, we spoke quite a bit, even last week and he had called and we had talked about it and when he first told me over a week ago he was thinking about doing it, I asked him are you sure about it?  He said I really am.
I think from our conversation and the way I certainly know him, is that I think he's in a great place.  I think he really fees good about what he's doing and because of that, you know, I feel good about it with him and for him because he had thought long and hard about it and he thinks it's the right thing for him right now and he's happy, he's extremely happy to have a chance to continue to be a part of the Spurs organization.
Right now I think he's just going through the process of deciding what he really wants to do but the fact that he gets to stay there is going to give him some time to do that.

Q.  Do you know he'll be here?
COACH BARNES:  I don't think he'll be here.  I think he'll continue to do what he wants to do there with the Spurs but he did tell me when we spoke last -- last time I spoke to him was last Saturday, he said as soon as he gets a break, he's going to come up to Austin and see us.

Q.  Coach, what kind of problems does Yancy Gates present on the front line with you guys down to three healthy forwards?
COACH BARNES:  He definitely presents a lot of problems because of his size and the fact that he -- I think he does a really good job of getting his positioning where he wants it.  I think when his shot goes up he does a tremendous job of kind of getting you underneath the basket, get in position there he can come up over top of you.
He doesn't always just need angles and so we're going to have to really work hard at trying to do our work early and not let him establish the position that he wants and we're going to have to do it without fouling and then there's no doubt when the shot goes up we're going to have to really make a great effort to try to keep him off the glass.

Q.  Coach, I was reading that back during the Big 12 tournament you read up on the marker board NIT, NCAA, which one do you want to be?
Can you talk about that and other techniques for motivating your young team this season and keeping them focused on the end goal?
COACH BARNES:  Well, you go back to where we were a year ago in our program after the season was over with, we only had three players that we went through a spring work out with.  We had a Lexi, Clint and J'Covan Brown.
These are the three guys we walked into the gym with in the off-season.  Those three guys worked harder than they ever worked and all three of them have had the best years ever their career.  We were able to bring in a couple of our freshmen that we always try to bring in for summer school to start establishing the work ethic and what we wanted there and then we were fortunate to add two more players in August or we would have had 7 recruited scholarship players.
This we're we've got 9 recruited scholarship players on our team along with two walk ones and if we went back and went through the whole year where when guys got hurt, there's many days that we went three on three, four on four.
We just didn't have enough bodies to go up and down and do all the things that we would like to do.  The one thing with this group, we felt like this was not a one year proposition.  We felt like we were really trying to reestablish a culture with our basketball program and we made the comment we don't do anything we've got to learn to do a couple things right.  One ever them was we wanted our guys to understand how hard they had to play to compete and win at this level.
And we chose -- we had the option that we could have backed off our non-league schedule but we felt like we built our program to a point where national, we're a national program and we didn't do that.  We told those guys this is what Texas basketball is about and we're going to compete from the beginning of the year until the end and, you know, we dropped some games early in the year that were tough losses for us and we actually told our guys the very first game, if you don't think this game is important, wait until March and we really tried to get our players to understand that every game is important but in terms ever a lot of different, you know, motivational techniques, we're not really that much into those type things.
All that happened in that situation was I actually done that one time before while I was a coach at Clemson where I literally wrote the NIT and NCAA on the board and I told the players while I was at Clemson and when I come back in here after the game I want the see where your name is going to be and I remember as soon as I said that before I even left the room Terrell McIntire jumped up and put his name under the NCAA.  Obviously after the game everybody was under the NCAA and we came back and won that game against North Carolina.
Talking about you asked me at the Big 12, I just said to them I don't know if we are in or not, the NCAA Tournament right now, but if you need any motivation, I would think about that right now.  You got about two, three minutes here and we've got 20 minutes left to play.
I would put it all out there not that they hadn't done that but the fact is in the Iowa State game we went out and got down 11 and -- we've done that a number ever times this year and came back and was a great team win for us.

Q.  Rick, Mick Cronin said the problem with his team is come play sense.  Did you experience any of that this year or things pretty even, do you think?
COACH BARNES:  I'm not sure how many times I thought things were going well this year but I don't think our team has been complacent.  I think that we've had, again, with six freshmen, I think we were in a lot of learning situations and we told them we would never use the fact that being a freshmen team is an excuse because you go back to last year's national champion, they started four freshmen.  We can't use that.
We definitely had a group of guys that had a lot to learn and we had -- even our older guys, they were in roles they had never been in.
When you become a starter and you're expected to perform day in and day out and you've never had that expectation, you got to learn to deal with that but I don't know if I would ever say our guys were complacent.
I don't think that because I think it was more of them understanding and going through the grind of what goes in this from the beginning of the year to where it is because there's no doubt young guys get tired and young guys probably need more work than older guys but can't take it but with our group, our goal as a coaching staff was simply we're going to get better every day.
We've kept that focus.  We did it this week.  We went back after Big 12 tournament and went back to work and worked on the there's that we think we have to continue to do to be successful winning basketball games.

Q.  Just wonder if could you talk about how important J'Covan Brown is to your team and how much you rely on him?
COACH BARNES:  A lot.  He's important.  We rely on him -- I don't think people really understand how hard it is to score 20 points a night, night in and night out or do what he does because I can assure you that every team that we played this year he has been the focus of their game plan.
So he goes out every game with a big builds eye on his back.  He's not only going to be guarded by one person, a team defense that's going to look to try to stop him because he's a terrific offensive player and -- but he's been pretty darn consistent all year.

Q.  Coach, from watching Cincinnati on film, how effectively have they defended players coming off the flex screen and just what challenge does that present for you?
COACH BARNES:  Well, I think they defend.  I mean they mix their defenses and I do think that when you go in to games you know what you like to do but you also have to expect the other team to defend it and it's not always the first cut, it might be you have to go to your second or third action, whatever it might be.
I just think it gets down to your habits and I really think it's screening, it's cutting, it's spacing.  I think all that is what you've got to execute and you're going to have to work hard.
I've told my team all year if we would work as hard on the offensive end as we do on the defensive end, we'd be a much better team and where we've at times where I don't think we've improved or we've shown the improvement is with our offense.
We've been a team that once we get our defense set we've Ben a pretty solid defensive team for the most part but offensively too many times we break away from what we really want to do because maybe the first action is defended and we just don't finish what we practiced and we've gotten better but we're skill still not where we need to be.

Q.  What do you tell your players the most impressive thing is about Cincinnati?  Did you show them film of the Syracuse game and say look what they beat Syracuse to show them how good they can be?
COACH BARNES:  We'll show film of what we think they do most and what we need to try to defend and I think our players know, one, that when you're in a great league like the big east and when you play for a big east conference championship they snow how good they are.  TV being what it is today, Cincinnati has been on TV and so I think our players know they're good and I think anybody that is in this tournament you know they're good.
Certainly may have a team that's seeded where they are coming out ever a league that they've come out of and had the success that they've had.  I don't think there's any question our players know how good they are.

Q.  What I am do you tell them is the most impressive thing that Cincinnati does?
COACH BARNES:  Again you watch them own offense.  They certainly shoot the 3.  Terrific at dribble penetration.  They have a post player they can throw it to that can create problems.  Defensively Mick has always been a guy that wants to get after you but they seem to be playing more zone than they've ever played.
They're really a multiple defensive team, and the fact is they wouldn't be where they are right now if they didn't do a lot of things well but from an offensive stand pint we got to get back, got to set our defense.  We've got to try to contain dribble penetration and defend the 3 point line.  To be very honest with you, that's almost what we have to do every game.  It's just a matter of executing and getting it done.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?

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