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March 16, 2012

Mark Few

Elias Harris

Kevin Pangos

Robert Sacre


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Gonzaga student‑athletes.テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Robert, tell us about the matchup with the big fella in the middle for Ohio State, Sullinger.テつ Talk about the challenge that faces you.
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Well, I'm fortunate to see a big body like that tomorrow.テつ He's a great player.テつ Luckily our coaches have matched us up with some great big players in the past.
This past season, I've seen a lot of great big men.テつ I know I have my hands full, but I'm excited for the task and it's going to be a great game.

Q.テつ Kevin, with Aaron Craft, how do you deal with somebody like that?テつ Do you have to be extra careful when you're going up against a guy like that?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, I just do the same things as I've always done.テつ Try to be aggressive, not be too passive, try to get the team to a steady offense.
I'm looking forward to the challenge.テつ He's definitely known as a great defender, but I'm looking forward to it.

Q.テつ I saw John Stockton sitting four rows behind the bench.テつ With David on the team, how involved has John been?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Well, Big J, as we like to call him, we'll workout with him in the summertime.テつ He'll give you some pointers here and there.テつ If you run into him, he'll tell you what you might need to work on, what will help you, be beneficial to your game.
He's like Chuck Norris, he can do anything, man.テつ He's awesome (smiling).

Q.テつ Kevin, I'm sure you never remind him he's the son of an NBA star?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ We talk about that on the sideline in practice.テつ I haven't had a chance to work with him a lot, but hopefully in the near future.

Q.テつ Robert, teams have defended Sullinger different ways this year.テつ Some teams with tall guys have let those guys go on their own and let them use their length against him.テつ How have you guarded earlier this season centers who have a skill set like him and a body type like he does?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ You want to just limit his touches.テつ He's a great player, especially when he gets the ball.テつ He likes to get the ball in deep.テつ So you want to keep him from getting the ball in so deep near the basket and make sure you limit his touches.テつ If he doesn't get the ball, it's harder for him to score.
So make sure he doesn't get easy baskets, keep him off the glass.テつ That's another way he gets easy baskets, as well.

Q.テつ Robert obviously seems like a guy who is not afraid of a challenge.テつ How would you describe his demeanor with a matchup like tomorrow?
ELIAS HARRIS:テつ I think Rob always been like that, ever since I game to Gonzaga and got to know him.テつ He's not afraid of big challenges.テつ He likes to get challenged.テつ Yeah, great.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ I just would say he's a competitive guy.テつ It really rubs off on our whole team.テつ We really feed off his energy.

Q.テつ Everybody talks about Sullinger, Buford, the senior, can you comment on Deshaun Thompson, the type of game he brings, how different it is from those two.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, you know, I think he's a bit underrated.テつ You don't really notice his name all the time.テつ He had something like 30 yesterday.テつ He's a guy that can score in many different ways.テつ We definitely recognize that.テつ He's one of the keys to stopping their team.

Q.テつ Robert, coach called you a couple days ago an important historical figure in your program's history.テつ When you hear something like that, it's big.テつ What do you think when you hear something like that?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I think I'm that because I just give Coach Few a hard time.
It's an honor, you know.テつ But I think I take great pride in that.テつ I just want to make this season go longer than it needs to be, you know.テつ I'm so proud to be with this team and I'm so proud to be with this great group of guys that I want it to go further.
I really don't think about it, about myself, I want it to be with the team.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Me and Coach Few, we just kid and joke.テつ I like to give him a hard time.テつ Like today, I tried to set up my own ISO play, that didn't happen [oops].テつ Top of the key for a three, Coach Few didn't like it.テつ I like to give him a hard time all the time.

Q.テつ Elias, are you going to be guarding Deshaun Thompson?テつ If you are, talk about what you saw last night.
ELIAS HARRIS:テつ Yeah, I'm going to start off with him.テつ He's a really good player.テつ Like Kevin said, I feel he's underrated.テつ He's a really physical player, can score in a lot of different ways.テつ I got a lot of respect for him.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
ROBERT SACRE:テつ You know, it's one of those things where you know the program is always going to be good.テつ Coach Few has corner blocks on his program where it's not going to change.テつ I think that's what's so great about this program, is there's ‑ what's the word I'm looking for ‑ there's an attitude and a prestige that we always have to stick to.
From the guys ahead of you, you look forward.テつ They know how Coach Few is.テつ They help you through that.テつ You're always going to have to learn how to play for Coach Few.
I think he is Gonzaga, and the players he recruits makes Gonzaga, as well.
ELIAS HARRIS:テつ I think Rob is right.テつ If you look at Coach Few, he's been with Gonzaga I don't know how many years.テつ It's just great to have him here at Gonzaga.テつ I think if you look at the older guys, share some of the stories we experienced with coach, it just proves the point that he's been consistent throughout the years as a coach with his mentality and his approach to Gonzaga basketball.

Q.テつ Kevin, growing up a coach's son, what are your earliest memories of your dad coaching you?テつ What were the things he pounded into you as a kid?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Growing up, I was always around the game.テつ My dad definitely taught me a lot of what I know today.テつ Playing one‑on‑one with him all the time, he forced me left because he wanted me to really work on my left hand.テつ Growing up watching the game, he really wanted to instill a passion in me, he wanted me to enjoy it.テつ I think that's what I took from him most.

Q.テつ One of the things when you look at Ohio State, they don't get much production out of their bench.テつ Is that something you guys are hoping to exploit and take advantage of?
ELIAS HARRIS:テつ I mean, obviously you try to put great ball pressure on the starting five, starting lineup, try to get into their bench.テつ It's going to be a challenge.テつ It's a really good team.テつ They understand their roles.テつ It's going to be a great task.

Q.テつ Robert, have you seen the tape of the Kentucky game, and if so, what do you think of the way Harrellson played him?テつ Do you think that's a strategy you might use yourself?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I haven't seen that, to be honest.テつ I just know how our coaches want me to play basketball against Sullinger, how they want me to play.テつ So I'm just going to listen to the game plan and just stick to that.

Q.テつ Who concerns you the most of the Ohio State lineup?テつ How big is rebounding going to be?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Well, rebounding is key.テつ I think whoever wins the stats on the rebounding will most likely win the game.
I think all around they're a great team.テつ One through five, they're a great team.テつ Craft is a great player.テつ He distributes well.テつ Sullinger is a big body.テつ They have scorers on the wings.
It's going to be a good task, a great challenge for us.テつ I'm excited for the game.テつ I know our guys are excited.テつ We love these games.テつ This is what we came to Gonzaga for.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Kevin, as a good rebounding guard, do you want to jump in on that?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ I'm going to try to do whatever I can to help our bigs. テつThey're really physical, did a great job last year.テつ If my man doesn't crash, I'm going to try to help them out, get a body on the bigs, as well.
THE MODERATOR:テつ College basketball players invariably are college basketball watchers, too.テつ What do you think of when you think of Ohio State, this team in particular?テつ In turn, what do you think Ohio State thinks of you guys?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ E (smiling)?
ELIAS HARRIS:テつ I don't know what they think about us.テつ As far as I can talk for myself, I think Ohio State's a great program over the last couple years.テつ I mean, I'm just looking forward to playing Ohio State really.
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Yeah, they probably think we're a bunch of players from all over the world and we're just the United Nations and we're just coming together and make it all work.テつ I don't know.テつ I have no idea what they think of us.
But, you know, they're a great team.テつ We were so excited to see them in our bracket.テつ I feel that we're all going to be fired up to go out and play them.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, I have no idea what they think of us.テつ I know I respect their program a lot.テつ Really looking forward to playing them, as well.

Q.テつ Talk about your bench, Spangler and Hart, they were fantastic last night.テつ The energy they bring coming in, doing the little things, the dirty things, is that something that you can talk about, Ohio State not being so deep, but you guys are, their contribution off the bench for you guys?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Ryan Spangler and Mike Hart, they're the best.テつ They bring it all the time in practice.テつ It's great to see that.テつ They push us.テつ They push the starters.テつ So when they come into the game, I feel like people underestimate them all the time.テつ They get rebounds, do all the dirty things.
When you look at it, Ryan Spangler could have gone anywhere for football, but he wanted to come to Gonzaga and play basketball, just be that guy, to be the dirty guy.テつ It's great to see a guy that will just sacrifice.
I think that's the best thing I could say about those guys.テつ They can go play anywhere else in the country.テつ They sacrifice and limit their minutes and time to be with us.

Q.テつ Very nice comments about the basketball program.テつ Do you think anybody in the country first thinks of basketball with Ohio State?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I don't know.テつ E?
ELIAS HARRIS:テつ I don't know.テつ Uhm, you got me here (smiling).
ROBERT SACRE:テつ You got me.テつ I'm never speechless.テつ I don't know (laughter).
Yeah, Ohio State, basketball.テつ They had great players always come through.

Q.テつ Everybody thinks of them as a football school.
ROBERT SACRE:テつ No, yeah, I completely understand.テつ Yeah, they're always seen as football.テつ But I feel like that mentality's changed, especially when you look back, they've had great players come through.テつ Greg Oden is one of them.テつ That whole team that went to the finals.テつ They've been since then, that I've been watching college basketball, they've always been in the tournament.テつ They've really challenged teams, gone far in the tournament.
The program is really a prestigious program for basketball.テつ It's big whatever.テつ I don't know what you want to call it now.テつ It's really a prestigious program there.

Q.テつ Kevin, can you talk about your relationship with David Stockton, what you've learned from him, from his dad as well.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, no, me and Stocks are good buddies.テつ In practice we always push each other.テつ We kind of think alike on the court.テつ We both had parents that knew the game pretty well, studied it.テつ We're always on the sideline talking about strategy, all that.テつ Off the court we have a great relationship as well.
I think we push each other to make each other the best we can be.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, gentlemen.
We have Coach Mark Few from Gonzaga.テつ Coach, do you want to give a few opening remarks.
COACH FEW:テつ Well, I never know what to say following Rob up on the podium, especially when I wasn't present (smiling).
So, no, again, in this tournament, it's just great to stay alive.テつ You live to play another day.テつ We know we're going to play a great team, a team that's definitely Final Four worthy.テつ We'll have to play every bit as good and probably a little bit better than we played last night, which was pretty good.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Coach Few.

Q.テつ You just mentioned Rob.テつ The personality you met initially when you were recruiting him, how does that compare to the person he is now?テつ You called him an important historical figure to your program.テつ How big was his personality?
COACH FEW:テつ It was big and goofy.テつ Weren't quite sure if you could ever get the goofy side dialed in.テつ He's just kind of those once‑in‑a‑lifetime personalities.テつ I said over and over again, he walks into our arena, I can hear from my office when he comes in.テつ Every person he meets I think feels like they're a friend of his.テつ I mean, that's a great gift to have, it truly is.
He's always been excited to be at Gonzaga.テつ He loves Gonzaga.テつ I don't think he's ever had a bad practice in five years.テつ I mean, the guy just works and works and works and brings enthusiasm.テつ He's just been a joy to coach.テつ As you guys know, he's funner than hell to hang out with, so...

Q.テつ Sullinger has been perceived as the type of player who can have trouble trying to score against length.テつ With you having a 7‑footer, do you feel you need to help on him or do you feel you need to mix it up to keep him off balance?
COACH FEW:テつ I mean, I haven't seen him struggling that much.テつ I mean, he seems like he's very smart, takes what people give him.テつ He's one of those players that has just a great touch.テつ His ball goes in, sits up on the rim, always kind of rolls in.
You know, I mean, Rob is as good a defender as we've had in there.テつ We're not going to probably leave him out on an island either.テつ We'll play around with some different things.

Q.テつ Aaron Craft was Big Ten defensive Player of the Year.テつ When your point guard can be disruptive, change the flow of games and so forth, can you walk us through what your conversation is going to be with your two freshmen, but more importantly with Kevin, having that type of pressure that Aaron is going to apply?
COACH FEW:テつ That's a great question.
You know, I've already kind of talked with Kev a little bit.テつ The important thing with Kev is to stay aggressive.テつ When he's coming at you and aggressive, no matter who we're playing, we're just a lot better team.テつ He came out last night with a good pace because we were worried about the physicality of the West Virginia guards kind of climbing up into him, grabbing him, slowing him down.テつ I thought he did a great job dealing with that.
Obviously Aaron is as good as there is in the business at pressuring, getting hands on balls, you know, kind of knocking you off your game.
We've played a lot of really, really good, quick guards this year.テつ For the most part Kevin and Gary have held up remarkably well.テつ I think the key with both those guys is just to keep 'em aggressive, keep 'em attacking.テつ We're certainly way better off when Kev's in that mode.

Q.テつ 11 times in the last 14 seasons, Gonzaga at least one NCAA win.テつ A lot of buzz is about the teams that have made the breakthrough to the Final Four.テつ Do you think it's good or bad that your program might be being held up to a bigger standard over time?
COACH FEW:テつ I mean, I don't know what standard or whatever.テつ Hey, I think probably one of the greatest things we have going is we made this thing 14 straight years in a row.テつ You look at the programs that aren't involved in the NCAA tournament this year, you look at the programs that we share that number streak with, I think Kansas and Duke are up there, and Texas, and that's about it.
I think that's probably the greatest thing we've had going with our program, is the continuity.テつ We haven't really dropped off success‑wise.テつ You get in this tournament, it's a crapshoot.テつ It's about matchups.テつ It's about if your team's playing good at a particular time.テつ It might even come down to luck.
I was part of staff when we went to the Elite 8.テつ We tipped one in at the buzzer.テつ We had no business tipping it in.テつ As long as you can keep getting in the tournament, putting yourself in the position to advance, that's the most important thing to me.

Q.テつ You just mentioned the word 'matchup.'テつ How is this matchup for Gonzaga?テつ Teams look at where they're at in the bracket and they matchups that are favorable.テつ Is this a favorable matchup?
COACH FEW:テつ You know, this is a really, really good team that I think a lot of people picked for the Final Four, to win a national championship.テつ I'd rather play Wisconsin‑Platteville.テつ That's a better matchup for us.テつ No offense to them, whoever we have around here.テつ Bridgewater U or something like that.
No, I mean, this is going to be a very difficult matchup for us.テつ But at the same time, I mean, we have good bigs, they have good bigs.テつ As good as our guards have been this year, the two freshmen guards have been phenomenal when you factor in how many minutes we've played 'em, kind of how they've held up.
But, I mean, the strength and the core of this team was built around our inside guys, Rob, E, and Sam to a certain extent.テつ Much like Ohio State.

Q.テつ Do you feel you have maybe an advantage with your bench the way they played yesterday and the fact that Ohio State's bench has been non‑productive this year?
COACH FEW:テつ I mean, you know, our bench has been up and down this year, too.テつ But, I mean, we have some guys that we have a lot of confidence in.テつ We're committed to play 'em.
Actually some of those guys coming off of Ohio State's bench look pretty good to me.
Again, I think it will be situational tomorrow.テつ I think we'll have to play very, very good to be able to move on.

Q.テつ When you look at coaches like Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, who stick around, you were one of kind of the forefathers, talk about the benefits of being able to stay where you are, establish that consistency?テつ Are you ever leaving?テつ Seems like you're part of the furniture now.
COACH FEW:テつ First of all, it's scary to be mentioned as a forefather.テつ I know we're out here where George Washington hung out and the fellas.テつ I need to come to that realization.テつ I'm not a spring chick anymore.
I think with everything, it's whatever you want.テつ It's whatever works for you.テつ I've been incredibly blessed with just great players.テつ I mean, you guys saw them.テつ To not only coach out on the floor, but to be around, for my kids to be around, it's been a real easy, comfortable deal up there.
Spokane, if you haven't been there, it's a big enough city you can get anything you need, but at the same time we don't have a lot of agents hanging around at practice, a lot of things like that going on.テつ I have the luxury of having my players' full attention, and they have the luxury of focusing on basketball and school.テつ I think that's kind of nice to have in this day and age.
Then the lifestyle just fits me.テつ I mean, I love the outdoors.テつ I like to exercise, mountain bike, fly fish.テつ Not many better places to do that than up there.テつ As long as we can keep winning at a high level like we have been, attracting great talent like these kids we got up here, why screw with happy?

Q.テつ How much of David Stockton's, obviously his father John, how much of his father's influence do you see in him?テつ How much is John around the program and what does he mean to your program?
COACH FEW:テつ John means everything to our program.テつ He was the first one to come through.テつ He's the one that kind of set the standard for how you act, how you prepare, how you handle success.テつ I mean, he's a very, very humble guy for the amount of success he's had in basketball and in life.テつ I think that's a great role model for all of us.
David shares a lot of qualities with John.テつ I mean, David is as competitive a guy as we have on our team.テつ He's got the great vision.テつ He has the long arms, big hands.テつ Some of the same mannerisms.テつ He's a great anticipator off the ball.テつ Just held David back a little bit, he's not quite as big as John.テつ It's always hard when you're getting compared to one of the all‑time best at their position.
He's been great.テつ He's able to workout with our guys over in the summer at the Warehouse.テつ We redid an old warehouse, put a bunch of courts in it across the street from our arena there.テつ In the off‑season our guys are able to go over there and play with him, just pick up different things from him.
He sees the game differently in a lot of ways.テつ It's interesting to sit down with him and talk with him about it.

Q.テつ David claims that he can beat his father now one‑on‑one.テつ Do you buy that?
COACH FEW:テつ I'd find that really hard to believe (smiling).テつ Whenever I was around John, John will call fouls on game point until his team wins.テつ That's one of the greatest qualities he has as far as keeping the winning streak alive.テつ I assume that's the same thing he does to David in the backyard.

Q.テつ At this time of the year, in a game, is it more about what you do and your execution of your team that you worry about or the opposition?
COACH FEW:テつ No, I mean, yeah.テつ Obviously with us, you know, we need to be able to‑‑ I think what's probably getting underrated in all this is just how solid a defensive team Ohio State is.テつ They can turn you over with their length and their quick hands.テつ They don't give you a whole lot of easy looks.テつ The looks you get, you got to step up and make 'em.テつ Your bigs are going to have to score over some big bodies in there that are bumping you and grinding you.
You're just going to have to pick your poison on how much, you know, of your defensive attention you give to Sullinger, when you got other great players like Buford and Thomas, Aaron Craft can knock down shots, and those guys.
I'd say it's a combination.テつ We spent a good time going through their stuff today, but we also spent a lot of time going through our stuff today to get us ready.

Q.テつ Most teams game plan for Buford and Sullinger.テつ Last night Thomas has a career high.テつ Can you talk about game planing for him?
COACH FEW:テつ He's a tough game plan.テつ We spent a lot of time watching some things today with the team and going over it.テつ I mean, he scores in such a variety of ways and such a variety of spots, you know, that you really got to just get dialed into him and make sure, you know, he just doesn't get going like he did last night.
I mean, he's tough on the pick‑and‑pop, he's tough on the drive, he's a good offensive rebounder, he's tough around the basket.
You know, again, we're just going to have to make sure situationally wherever he has the ball we understand, you know, what he's capable of doing all the way out and step past the three‑point line.テつ Then hopefully give our guys help when he puts it on the deck because he was pretty good driving it in a lot of the films I've watched.

Q.テつ The arena, how much of a factor is it having gotten that first one out of the way, the depth perception, sight lines, everything like that?
COACH FEW:テつ We played in a lot of these.テつ We try to play in as many of these as we can all year just to prepare ourselves for the NCAA tournament.
We'll play many times three or four neutral‑site games if we can if the season permits, big arenas, NBA‑type arenas, neutral sites, with the different sight lines.
I think our guys are as prepared as any.テつ They certainly were very comfortable last night shooting the ball.テつ I have the type of shooters that notice these kinds of things.テつ Pangos is a guy that gets in the gym, knows the net, knows the rim, knows the ball, notices those things.テつ We've had a lot of those over the years at Gonzaga.テつ Both he and Gary were comfortable here.
Getting in and practicing today obviously helps also.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, coach.
COACH FEW:テつ Thank you.

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