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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: COLUMBUS


March 16, 2012


Jason Clark

Otto Porter, Jr.

Henry Sims

John Thompson III


COLUMBUS, OHIO

Georgetown テや 74
Belmont テや 59


THE MODERATOR:テつ Opening statement by coach John Thompson III, and we'll open it up to the student‑athletes.
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Any win this time of year is a great win.テつ And that's a great win against a very good team, against a coach that's one of the best that doesn't‑‑ he's forgotten more than I'll ever know.
I'm extremely happy to be able to get a win today, this afternoon.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.

Q.テつ Jason, having lost early in your past couple of NCAA Tournament appearances, was there a sense of urgency for you specifically early?テつ I think you scored 10 of the team's first 14points.
JASON CLARK:テつ I think it was definitely a sense of urgency, not just for me but the whole team.テつ We've known what we've done in the past.テつ So it was a big thing for us to get this win today.
But we gotta keep pushing.テつ We've got a lot more games to play.

Q.テつ Henry, was there a moment in this game where you felt like all the talk about you guys not being able to get out of the first round was just over?
HENRY SIMS:テつ Yeah, when the buzzer sounded.テつ Felt good to get that game under your belt.テつ But we didn't come here just for one game.

Q.テつ Henry, can you talk about not getting frustrated when you first got the first two fouls?
HENRY SIMS:テつ Can't get frustrated at all.テつ There's a whole game.テつ I got those two fouls early.テつ It's hard to get down when you know you've got teammates who can pick up the slack.テつ Jason ‑‑ today was Jason's day.テつ So it was Otto's day.テつ A lot of guys stepped up for us today.テつ I fouled out early, it wasn't‑‑ or I got fouls early, but it wasn't a big deal.

Q.テつ Henry, I think you have five assists and a lot of the offense was running through you on those back down screens.テつ Can you talk about how that's maybe developed this year through your career and your passing ability and how the offense has been able to sort of run through you at times?
HENRY SIMS:テつ The center has a lot of responsibilities in the offense.テつ Mainly making sure that the team gets good shots.テつ The team is set up where we're running an offense.テつ My passing ability is off my teammates, getting open and catching the ball and finishing.

Q.テつ Is that something you learned when you got to Georgetown?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I guess it kind of developed.テつ I'm not really sure.テつ It's a hard question to answer.

Q.テつ Henry, you know you had the trouble in the first half a little bit and at one point you had a basket in the second half and looked like you had a big smile on your face.テつ Like that.テつ Can you talk about the emotion?テつ Were you happy that you were getting into it from the scoring standpoint?
HENRY SIMS:テつ There's a smile on my face a lot during the game, especially when we're winning. テつI think the play you may be talking about is when the team was clicking, we're getting stops on offense, and we were alsoconverting on ‑‑ getting stops on defense and converting on offense.
That smile was just relief.テつ It felt good that it happened.

Q.テつ Otto, can you talk about your guys' focus particularly in the zone, closing out their 3‑point shooters?
OTTO PORTER:テつ That's what we've been practicing on, focusing on.テつ They have a lot of 3‑point shooters.テつ We just had to focus on closing out on them, making them drive, just good closeouts.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.テつ Questions for Coach.

Q.テつ Coach Byrd, the Belmont coach, he said that you really threw him off by playing as much zone as you did.テつ Was that a‑‑ I don't know, was that the game plan from the beginning to get them out of sync, or can you talk about your defensive strategy?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ We went in expecting to play both man and zone.テつ Once we settled into our zone, I thought it was very effective.テつ So we stayed with it, probably a lot longer than I had planned, probably longer than the game plan.
But I thought our zone was fairly effective against them.

Q.テつ It didn't seem there was any evidence at all of a player on the team taking today's opponent lightly or playing with anything less than total commitment and intensity.テつ Did you see it that way?テつ Did you talk about the danger of this game, or is that just what you expect from this group all the time?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Both.テつ I mean, that is what this group has given us all the time.テつ I think that we're experienced enough, smart enough to understand that this time of year you cannot take any opponent lightly.テつ I've seen several times the last couple of days that once you get to this tournament, the number that's next to your name does not mean anything.テつ That's an outstanding team that we beat today.
And our guys knew that going in.テつ And they know that even more now.テつ So, no, there was no let‑up or looking past anyone.テつ We're not going to do that.

Q.テつ I asked Henry about the passing ability and how the offense sort of runs through him.テつ I'm curious, when he was in high school, if you remember that ability‑‑ did you see that in him?テつ If not, how much did that have to develop and how much did you guys have to put in in terms of that passing ability?テつ And the second part of the question is what is the key to making that work, that offense work and having a center who can do that?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Well, in high school, you know, we saw glimpses of that.テつ But he's 6'10", 6'11" in high school.テつ They're not going to throw it into him.テつ He's got a 6'5" guy against him, he's going to shoot.
I think we asked him to do a lot more than he was used to doing.テつ And you have seen the growth particularly this year, you've seen the growth in his overall production, his commitment, his understanding.
So I think‑‑ he's a senior.テつ He's a senior.テつ And whether this country, a lot of kids want to understand or not, a lot of times you do continue to get better.テつ And by senior year you can go through three years of not doing that much, being quite honest, to all of a sudden where Henry's having a terrific senior year and a very good latter part of his senior year.

Q.テつ What's the key to having someone like that facilitate that‑‑ what's the key to making an offense like that work when you ask a big guy like that to facilitate that?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ If he can do it.テつ We've had big guys that can do it.テつ We had years where we haven't.テつ We just adjust and tweak who you have doing what.テつ He's very capable of making plays.
His decision‑making tonight I thought was very good, his decision‑making on when it was open for him to go ahead and score and when his teammates were open.
He handled their double teams, I thought, very well.

Q.テつ John, you guys played NC State last year in Charleston.テつ Obviously a lot of the same players, but a very different team.テつ What's your read on them as an opponent?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ One, I haven't really looked at them yet.テつ Give me a couple of hours.テつ A couple of my assistants can probably answer that question a lot better than I can right now.
But your lead‑in is appropriate.テつ They have a new coach running different systems, much‑‑ we sit here and talk about how Henry's growth and developed, a lot of their guys have progressed and are different players than they were last year.テつ It's a totally different set of circumstances.

Q.テつ I was kind of interested in Mark's question about when you see a center or a big guy in high school, do you look at his hands and feet and how do you understand whether the guy can pull off that position, because it's such a unique skill set, I would guess?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I gotta be honest.テつ I haven't looked at a cat's hands and feet.

Q.テつ Dexterity.
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I think it varies from person to person.テつ I know we demand a lot out of that position.テつ We demand a lot out of that position, as Henry said.テつ And we're going to ask you to do a lot of things that possibly you're not accustomed to doing.テつ You're actually going to do a lot of things that a lot of programs, a lot of coaches won't want their centers to do.
But I think what's important is that every position, whether it's center, forward or guard, they're skilled and they're well rounded.テつ And so a lot of the attention that Henry's getting has nothing to do with him scoring.テつ It has to do with his ability to help and make his teammates better.
And so we want to see that in every position.

Q.テつ Is dexterity either there or not, though?テつ It would seem to be something you can't teach, either your hands are good or they're not?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Correct (laughter).

Q.テつ How much relief do you have just not having to get any more questions maybe after mine about not winning the first game of the tournament?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ There's no doubt‑‑ and I will be misleading if I were to say it was not a relief.
You know, we've had all ends of the spectrum from Final Four, Sweet 16 to the last couple of years where we've had early exits.
So because of that, naturally, leading up to today, there's a lot of questions.テつ Our guys turn on TV and see seems like most of the world picking us to lose today.テつ And so you plant that seed.テつ You put that in the back of your head and then you move on.
So it's over.テつ As Henry said or Jason, one of those guys said, we came here hoping to win, expecting to win, and now we're prepared‑‑ going to start to prepare for Sunday.
But this tournament is not about let's get that monkey off your back, it's not we're going to see if we can win another one Sunday.

Q.テつ Is that old school Georgetown defense like the Thompsons like to see it played?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Our defense has been‑‑ there's a guy floating around here somewhere, you might need to ask him that question‑‑ our defense has been old‑school Georgetown defense I think for large chunks of this season.

Q.テつ On that point of that defense, could you just speak to what the large skilled bodies you have to work with enable you to do as a coach to make that defense so impenetrable?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Let's not get carried away with it (laughter).テつ We've been penetrable many nights this year.テつ As Coach Byrd said, looking at the tapes, I think we can win this one.
But we're versatile.テつ We're long.テつ And a lot of times people just look at heights and associate that with being having length and being versatile.テつ But we have several guys that are 6'8", 6'9" that can guard guards, guard little guys, guard medium guys, guard big guys.テつ And they're willing to do it.テつ It's not just the gifts that God has given them.テつ It's a desire.テつ It's attention to detail.テつ It's a caring about getting stops.
So I think we're versatile.テつ We're a lot more versatile and flexible at both ends of the court, but defensively we can do a lot more that we haven't been able to do the last couple of years.

Q.テつ I know you don't want to talk about NC State yet, but can you talk about the turnover or the turnaround that you guys have to do with the fact that you're saying you don't know much about NC State yet and these tournament turnarounds?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ But the beauty of that is that I think everybody's going through it.テつ I haven't sat down and studied NC State, but there's a whole lot of people on my staff that have studied NC State.
That's the nature of tournament play, whether it be the Big East Tournament, whether it be your preseason tournament, your holiday tournament.テつ Obviously the stakes are higher right now.テつ And, quite honestly, in a couple of hours I'll have a pretty good feel for them.テつ As soon as we get back to the hotel, we'll start working.

Q.テつ I think Liz said something about the intensity, but I noticed a possession with only 90seconds left, the game is over, and your guys were still really going at it.テつ A lot of starters out there.
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ We gave up a 3 on that possession, didn't we?

Q.テつ But they were playing really hard, you know.テつ Did you notice that and did you look for things like that and does it mean anything?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ It means a lot.テつ The game is 40minutes.テつ And that's whether you're up, whether you're down, and so that's something that this group, I think, has embraced.テつ But how much time is on the clock, particularly the defensive end, doesn't always dictate‑‑ or it will not change our level of intensity.
Let's back up a second.テつ I mean, they hit 10 3s.テつ We didn't want them‑‑ they got off 27.テつ We didn't want them to get that many off.テつ Now, that's what they do.テつ They're outstanding at it.テつ They have good shooters and the coach does a great job of getting them shots.
So let's not act like our defense was impenetrable today.テつ I mean, we had a good defensive effort but it's got to be a lot better if we want to have success on Sunday.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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