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


March 17, 2012


Jason Clark

Otto Porter, Jr.

Henry Sims

John Thompson III


COLUMBUS, OHIO

THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Henry, can you just talk about how you view yourself?テつ Do you see yourself as a true center?テつ If the answer is yes, can you talk about the responsibilities associated with that within your system?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I've never‑‑ I never seen myself as a true center.テつ I feel I can do a lot of things on the court.テつ I feel I can just call myself a basketball player.

Q.テつ What is it about that true center tag that guys kind of shy away from?テつ It seems like more and more players don't want to be called a true center at the collegiate level.
HENRY SIMS:テつ To me a true center is giving the block, left hook, right hook, no bumble around, knock people out (laughter).テつ It's just I feel like a true center doesn't encompass a lot of things that a basketball player would be able to do.

Q.テつ Jason, since you and Henry came in together, do you mind telling us a little bit about what you remember of Henry his freshman year, both as a person and a player?テつ And then step back and say four years later, how would you describe him to somebody who didn't know him?
JASON CLARK:テつ I think Henry was just like any other freshman that comes into college.
HENRY SIMS:テつ Go ahead and say it.
JASON CLARK:テつ They're looking forward to all the things that people talk about college.テつ He was looking to have fun like anybody else, like any other freshman.
I think he's matured a lot on and off the court.テつ He's just matured as a person, matured as a player.テつ Like he says a lot, this last summer he's rededicated himself a lot to the gym, and I think that was a huge step that not anybody could take.
So I think he's matured unbelievable.テつ He's gotten better as a person, gotten better as a basketball player.

Q.テつ Is there any other one best example of his maturity that either has to do with basketball or not, in addition to the gym and recommitting himself, that you could share?
JASON CLARK:テつ That I could share (laughter)?テつ No.テつ That's a tough question.

Q.テつ Along the same lines, Henry, is there certain pressure having the label Georgetown big man given the players like Ewing, Mutombo, Mourning?テつ Shoot, Roy Hibbert, everybody used to say Roy Hibbert couldn't walk and chew gum his freshman year.テつ By the end he was a special player.テつ Do you internalize that pressure and does it make you‑‑ does it turn you into a center in some ways?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I'll always be a center.テつ I don't know about the "true center" label, but I'll always be a center.
But when people throw me into the category with the Georgetown big men and they label me as that, it's just not every big man is the same.テつ Georgetown, they produce a lot of good bigs.テつ A lot of bigs do different things other than ‑‑ different from each other.テつ And I feel like I just fall into that mold, just not a typical Georgetown center, but just one that they found a little diamond in the rough.

Q.テつ Did one in particular motivate you over your career, anybody have a talk with you?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I came in‑‑ me, Jason, and Greg came in together.テつ Watching Greg every day in practice, and he came back during the NBA lockout, him, Jeff and Roy, and they worked with me a lot.テつ They taught me a lot of things on and off the court that I carry with me today.

Q.テつ Henry and Otto, as you were coming up on your prep careers and you started to grow more and more, did coaches try to push you into the post and sort of force you to play down there?テつ And, if so, was that something that you resisted?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I've been playing the post since‑‑ I was bigger than everybody else since I started playing basketball.テつ So the post was just‑‑ it was determined for me to play the post.テつ I've never ever had a problem with it.
But I always felt like I could do more outside of the post.テつ I had to develop the post game first before I could venture outside the post into the perimeter or try to make plays from other places on the court other than post.
OTTO PORTER:テつ Same thing with me.テつ Growing up I wasn't really considered a post player.テつ Of course, I was the tallest thing around.テつ So of course I had to play post for my team.テつ But transitioning from post to forward, that was a big transition.
But it's something that I can handle just practicing, though.

Q.テつ Do you guys fill out brackets?
HENRY SIMS:テつ No.
OTTO PORTER:テつ No.

Q.テつ You obviously knew you were going to play the winner of San Diego State and NC State.テつ Did you have any expectation who that might be before the game?
JASON CLARK:テつ No, we saw the final score when we were‑‑ because we played after them yesterday, we saw the final score when they were coming out of the tunnel.テつ We didn't really look‑‑ we weren't looking forward to who was playing who‑‑ who would be playing if we won the game.テつ We were really focused on playing Belmont yesterday.

Q.テつ It was a quick turnaround.テつ I'm wondering if you had an opportunity really to look at their personnel or what they do?
JASON CLARK:テつ Yeah, we had some time last night after dinner to get‑‑ our coaches got their personnel together.テつ We watched that for a little bit and today before we came over we got to watch some of their set plays and more of their personnel.

Q.テつ What were your impressions?
JASON CLARK:テつ Very good team.テつ We played them last year.テつ They have pretty much the same players on the team.テつ They're a very athletic team.テつ They like to get out and score in transition.テつ They're a very good team.

Q.テつ Henry, I think you saw a little bit of C.J. Leslie last year in Charleston.テつ Can you talk about maybe he's obviously improved, playing some of his best basketball now.テつ Can you talk about your memories playing against him and I guess what you've learned in the past 24hours about him, what you anticipate the matchup being like tomorrow?
HENRY SIMS:テつ He's a good player.テつ He can play both inside and out.テつ He has a really good handle for a big.テつ And he can shoot.テつ He dribbles.テつ Like I say, he dribbles.テつ He has a good post game as well.テつ Last year he did a lot of things, but this year he sharpened them up.

Q.テつ All three of you, did you kind of see a tempo battle brewing tomorrow?テつ And what other major issues do you see yourself facing against NC State?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I don't know so much about tempo, but I feel like we've been able to show that we can get out, we can play different types of ways.テつ We can play slow down the game, we can play kind of fast.
But they pose a problem.テつ They get a lot of their points inside.テつ It's a big focus of ours.テつ As good as our perimeter defense is, we have to have a good interior defense as well.
JASON CLARK:テつ I agree with Henry (laughter).
OTTO PORTER:テつ The same.

Q.テつ Jason, can you talk about what Henry does within this system and what it's like to have a guy that big and also has the versatility that he possesses?
JASON CLARK:テつ He's very versatile.テつ He passes the ball very well.テつ And that's one thing he's worked a lot on.テつ He causes a problem because he can score the ball in the post.テつ So teams start to pay a lot of attention to him doubling the post.
Since he's been working on his pass, he's been able to find open shooters or open cutters, and when they don't double down, he's a good one‑on‑one post player.テつ So he draws a lot of attention.テつ So that opens up a lot of everything else in our offense.

Q.テつ Henry, given that passing has become such an important part of your role, I'm just wondering growing up as a kid did you play other sports that involved like good hand coordination, like baseball or Ping‑Pong?テつ Or is there anything else other than basketball that you've enjoyed playing?
HENRY SIMS:テつ Growing up you always play like football on the playground and something like that, but never organized.テつ It was just get the kids from the neighborhood throw the football around.テつ But organized pretty much basketball was it.

Q.テつ Were you a good receiver?
HENRY SIMS:テつ No, I played quarterback because I didn't like getting hit.テつ I played the quarterback position most of the time.

Q.テつ How was your throwing arm?
HENRY SIMS:テつ Pretty good. テつI was pretty advanced at the quarterback position.
JASON CLARK:テつ Peyton Manning.
HENRY SIMS:テつ I just stuck with basketball.テつ I felt that's what my bread and butter was.

Q.テつ Henry, can we turn the tables on Jason a little bit?テつ Can you look back to when he arrived on campus and certainly sort of riding in the shadows like Austin and Chris before him and what you've seen in his growth since he's been at Georgetown?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I noticed early on with Jason that he was a little bit more mature than a lot of the other kids our age.テつ He handled responsibility well.
He was always early.テつ Never late.テつ I can never remember Jason being late for anything.テつ I always kind of looked up to him to have a role model or something like that.
He hasn't changed at all in the past four years.テつ He's been the same upstanding‑type person on the court and off the court.テつ On the court every day he comes to play hard.テつ That's something that‑‑ that's a leader.テつ He's a natural born leader.

Q.テつ To go back to yesterday, I don't know who talked about it, but can you talk about how the 10 out of the first 14points that you scored, how that settled you guys down, that Jason scored?
HENRY SIMS:テつ When Jason's on, we're extremely difficult to guard because they not only have to worry about Jason shooting but Jason driving.テつ Jason driving and kicking.テつ He becomes a serious problem offensively.テつ When his offense game is on, his defensive game goes up even that much more.
When Jason's on, he's a pretty incredible player.

Q.テつ For each of you, your coaches talked about the motto of this team being having each other's back.テつ And do you feel like some of that was borne out of what happened in China and the things that went down over there and that maybe steeled your will as far as unity goes?
JASON CLARK:テつ That's definitely where it kicked off.テつ Because having new players on this team, you didn't know what to expect.テつ You didn't know if you could‑‑ when you're first building a team, you have to find out if you can trust that person.
And with everything that happened over there in China, after the whole brawl, we all understood that everybody had each other's back no matter what.テつ That's something you don't wish to happen, but when it happens you want to know that the guy you're going to battle with every day has your back.
So I think having each other's back from there, moving on from China, ever since then we've had each other's back in every game we've played and every practice.テつ We go at each other every single day in practice.テつ So I think it definitely started in China.

Q.テつ Put yourself back there.テつ What was the scariest moment where you really feared for your own safety and whatnot?
HENRY SIMS:テつ I'd say probably afterwards, we were walking out to the bus, because we didn't have any security with us or anything.テつ We didn't know what was going to happen.テつ But we made it back safely.テつ That was pretty much the biggest concern for me.
OTTO PORTER:テつ It probably was some afterwards and going back to the hotel, too.テつ It was late at night and things like that.テつ And the next morning, too, leaving to go to San Francisco.

Q.テつ What has the season been like for you having more of a leadership role on this team?テつ How has that transition gone, Jason?
JASON CLARK:テつ It's gone well.テつ After the last season, you know, Coach just talked to me about me stepping up and being a leader.テつ I was always playing behind the shadows of guys.テつ Now it's my time to step up.
Last time I actually remember being a leader was in high school.テつ So it was a couple of years back.テつ So, I mean, the year has been great.テつ It's a challenge.テつ And that's something I'm always willing to step up to.

Q.テつ Has there been any connection with that and your play on the court?
JASON CLARK:テつ Yeah, definitely being a leader off the court, trying to get the guys right, being to transition on the court.テつ You have to be on your game every single day.
You can't have an off day because you know that you're a leader; that when a leader has an off day, you know it might shut off to the other guys.

Q.テつ Otto, can you talk about Jason as a leader, a young guy, what it means to you to have someone like him around?
OTTO PORTER:テつ To have a guy like Jason around to lead you is great for us younger guys, five freshmen and the five sophomores, to look up to somebody that has experience to tell you things that you need to work on, things that you need to contribute to.テつ I mean, it's great having him as a leader.

Q.テつ Do you guys allow yourself any moments at all to be a fan of the tournament, and, if so, what was your reaction to all the upsets that occurred yesterday?
JASON CLARK:テつ We were Vegas fans last night at dinner.テつ But you do allow yourself to be fans at the tournament.テつ Because this is college basketball.テつ I think this is the most exciting sport other than‑‑ I think it's more exciting the NBA, baseball, all that stuff.テつ I think it's the most exciting.
So last night we were kind of fans because you know what's going on.テつ So when you're watching the games, you kind of get caught up in like being a fan.
HENRY SIMS:テつ Yeah, same things he said.テつ We are basketball fans, regardless of the level.テつ And we got friends and ex‑teammates on other teams playing right now.テつ And it's good to watch them play.
It's fun not to have to worry too much about what's going on on the court, or you can just watch other people worry.テつ Kind of a good feeling.テつ It's definitely fun.テつ We still think it's fun.

Q.テつ I was real impressed with the zone that you played yesterday against Belmont.テつ Can you kind of talk about the evolution of that zone, and do you think that your zone defense now is as good as your man‑to‑man defense has been and how confident you are in playing it?
JASON CLARK:テつ I think both our man and our zone is really effective.テつ And I think the biggest reason for that is our length and our speed.
We have a really big team this year, and it bothers a lot of teams.テつ We're able to get out on 3‑point shooters even if you know they're a step or two off the 3‑point line.
So I think that is really effective.テつ And, you know, we work a lot on both our man and our zone.テつ So, I mean, I think, both is really effective.

Q.テつ Otto, I guess before most of you guys were born, the way coaches got players, they went to the backwoods and they found‑‑ but nowadays coaches go to ABCD Camp.テつ Nike.テつ That wasn't your background.テつ You stayed in Missouri.テつ Was your father against that world, or how did that happen and how do you think it helped you that you didn't participate in that world?
OTTO PORTER:テつ He wasn't so much against it.テつ Of course, he grew up playing basketball, too, so he knew exactly what it took to get to the next level.
So I just wanted to work on my game a little more, and he just told me, hey, you want to do it, just stay home and just work on your game.

Q.テつ How do you think it helped you?
OTTO PORTER:テつ I think it helped a lot transitioning to college, being prepared, things like that.テつ It definitely helped a lot.

Q.テつ Henry, back to my question about the true center thing.テつ How much of that do you think is about guys at the next level like Kevin Garnett doing so many different things at 6'10"?テつ Do you think that's affected the collegiate level and guys like you wanting to do more?
HENRY SIMS:テつ Definitely.テつ K.G., he's versatile defensively and offensively as well.テつ He can guard guys on perimeter and also make plays on the perimeter, little 17‑, 18‑foot jump shot.
People look up to K.G.テつ People in my generation look up to K.G. tremendously, especially bigs.テつ We want to emulate him as much as possible.テつ So I think that kind of affected an entire generation of kids, K.G.'s play.テつ And people like K.G.
JASON CLARK:テつ Anne Littles (phonetic).テつ That's my favorite player.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Coach Thompson.

Q.テつ What do you think has led to sort of the change in college basketball where we see fewer true centers?テつ Henry was just up there talking about how he doesn't consider himself to be a true center.テつ Can you talk about that change at the collegiate level, especially with your dad coaching guys like Mutombo and Ewing?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I'm not sure about that.テつ I walked in, heard the very end of what the kids were up here saying.テつ And I think that their desire to emulate the guys in the NBA is what he was talking about when he was talking about Kevin Garnett.テつ I think that's a part of it.
But at the same time what I think is important is whether Henry considers himself a true center or not, that Henry and every person that plays that position for us can do things that a true center does.
So it's not just a question of floating out on the perimeter and doing perimeter things.テつ It's great, and we've been fortunate enough Henry being the latest to be able to be a facilitator, to be comfortable every spot on the court.
I think what happens a lot of times when people‑‑ when big guys say I don't want to be a center, I just want to be stuck down there, they forget they have to be effective down there.テつ I think with Henry and with everyone else that has played with us, you'll see although they do other things they're effective on the block also.

Q.テつ Coach Byrd talked about yesterday that he was surprised to see so much zone out of your guys.テつ I think he said he'd only seen from what he'd studied you guys played it about a third of the time.テつ I'm wondering if that's an accurate estimate.テつ And also if you can describe how the zone's progressed through the year, however long, that you're able to rely on it as much as you were yesterday?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I think we've been able to rely on it all year.テつ Going into different games.テつ A third probably is about right.テつ And I think that's as much of a function of the opposition, what we think we need to do.
I don't think we're entrenched or stuck on we're a man‑to‑man team or we're a zone team. テつI think both at different points have been very effective; both at different points haven't been as good as they need to be.
But we have a comfort level sliding back and forth.

Q.テつ Going back to the question about true centers, your dad won with real true centers in Ewing and Mutombo.テつ Can you talk about the differences between guys like that and the way they played compared to Henry Sims and Greg Monroe and the guys who have operated successfully in your system?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I'm not sure that it's that much different, to tell you the truth.テつ We look at one of the best true centers in NBA, Roy Hibbert, NBA All‑Star for four years, operated very well in our system.
And I think that our guys, we put an emphasis on skill development for every position.テつ But I don't know that there's much different‑‑ I think that the guys that played for me would have been very successful playing for Pops.テつ And I know that the guys that played for him would have been successful playing for me, too.

Q.テつ I'm wondering how you see the matchup with NC State and what are the major issues that you think you're going to have to confront?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ It's a difficult matchup.テつ They're a team where I don't think in most games we've had the size advantage.テつ I don't think that's going to bother them at all.テつ And you look at them and they have very distinct, very tough interior presence.テつ But at the same time they have very good perimeter play.
So from our defensive perspective, whether we're talking man, zone, whatever the heck we're going to do, we're going to have to be very good at all parts.テつ And then at the other end of the court, they're soft, they make it difficult for their opponents to score.テつ You watch game after game, and no one seems to be getting easy open shots against them.
So if we're going to have success on Sunday, we're going to have to be good at both ends of the court.

Q.テつ John, do you think the history and success of a program like Georgetown, does that mean anything to kids these days when you go recruiting?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I hope so.テつ And an honest answer is probably to some it does and some it doesn't.テつ But I hope so.テつ You hope that people want to be a part of something special.テつ You hope that people want a connection to all the stories and the successes and the people, the people more than anything that have come through this program.

Q.テつ When you recruit a Henry Sims and some of the other bigs that you've recruited, what do you tell them about their responsibilities and their demands, your demands within your system?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ What are you writing an article about (laughter)?テつ I'm having a hard time figuring that one out (laughter).
I think we stress to them that you're going to have a lot of responsibility.テつ The bigs in our system touch the ball maybe more than any program in the country.テつ They touch the ball every time down the court.テつ They touch the ball multiple times in a possession.
That doesn't mean you're going to have to turn and shoot the ball every time and that you quickly will understand and learn how to read the game of basketball.テつ And there's a premium on the decision‑making process of when it's your time and when it's your time to help your teammate.
So I think‑‑ and some have had an appreciation.テつ Some people we've recruited had an appreciation for that, some haven't.テつ But you're going to touch the ball and you're going to have to be a complete player, not just on the block scoring not just, hey, we'll let you play in the perimeter, and all that means we'll let you pick and pop and make a shot, but you'll have to make plays for yourself on the block.テつ You'll have to make plays for your team on the block.テつ You'll have to make plays for yourself middle of the court, elbow area.テつ You'll have to make plays for the teammates at the same spot.テつ You'll have to make plays at the high post for yourself and for your teammates.
So we've had a little bit of success with that.

Q.テつ This is very similar to what Myron just asked.テつ So I don't mean to belabor it, but I'm curious about how you teach this role of being a facilitator to an 18‑year‑old as opposed to being a star, or do you recruit simply for kids who will buy into that?テつ How much wiggle room is there in your world for them getting it all wrong and starting it over about being selfless, facilitating?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ If I tell you that, I might have to kill you (laughter).テつ I think that you're looking at it wrong, because I think we have had facilitators but they've also been stars.テつ So I don't necessarily think you have to sacrifice one for the other.

Q.テつ Wanted to ask you, how would you evaluate Hollis's play of late?テつ Seemed to struggle a little bit just shooting the ball.
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ It hasn't been as good as it's going to be.

Q.テつ We were reminded again yesterday that lower seeds knock off higher seeds in this tournament, especially early weekend.テつ Is it a completely silly notion to think that this tournament would be any different if there were no seeding at all?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Explain that.テつ I'm not sure what you're asking.

Q.テつ Somehow just picked everybody, okay, these are the teams in the tournament, we just throw them out there, we don't seed them, would it be any different?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Okay, I hope I answer this the way ‑‑ what you're‑‑ I mean, I don't think so.テつ I said yesterday after the game that it makes no sense‑‑ you're foolish if you go into the tournament and you look at the numbers behind the names, behind the teams, next to the teams and assume that just because of what number is next to them one is significantly better or better than any other.
I think with parity across the board in college basketball, I think the fans‑‑ not just fans‑‑ everyone gets caught up in terminology, whether it be high major, mid major, low major.テつ What's that mean?テつ A lot of times the low majors, mid majors have better facilities than the high majors.
A lot of times the personnel, whether it because they're older and have developed, are better.テつ But these kids‑‑ kids across the board are exposed to so much basketball and learning so much that the talent level‑‑ now, there are a few exceptions.テつ There's a handful of teams their talent is significantly better than everyone else.
But for the most part across the board the talent level among the teams is small.テつ It's a small one.テつ So can you sit here and say is it a big surprise that lower seeds beat higher seeds, it seems to happen more often, no, not at all.

Q.テつ Coach Gottfried mentioned that one of the things that happens to teams that play against teams like yourself that get a lot of backdoor cuts, they feel like it's more than giving up two points, teams get demoralized, do you feel that way and do you feel that your team gets energized that way off a backdoor cut?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I don't think we get energized.テつ I think that so much of a premium is placed when teams are preparing for us to stop the backdoor, that we've quickly adjusted starting looking for other options.
That's just one small part of what we do.テつ I think it's important to get points in the paint, whether it be off of a backdoor cut, whether it be off post‑up or second shots.
So our cuts backdoors is another way to get a point in the paint.テつ I don't think scoring that is any more ‑‑ gives us any more enthusiasm or is necessarily more demoralizing to our opponent.

Q.テつ Have you seen‑‑ has there been a connection this year between Jason's increased leadership role and how he's played on the court?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ I don't think so.テつ If you go back and look at it, Jason was pretty good last year on the court also.テつ And so obviously with‑‑ and one thing I want to say about this as it relates to Jason's leadership, I think he's done a terrific job of leading by example.
I think when people start asking questions and talking and discussing leadership, you know, I think the image that pops into most people's head is him sitting down and having a powwow with the young guys and walking them through certain situations.
I think he's been outstanding as being the hardest worker in practice.テつ I don't think Jason lost his sprint in four years.テつ Just setting the tone and example about how he goes about his business every day has been as important a part of his leadership as anything that's come out of his mouth.

Q.テつ I'm not sure what your memories are of the 1989 game between Georgetown and NC State are, but there's a significant portion of the people in Raleigh who think Alonzo Mourning fouled to Chris Corchiani at the end of that game instead of the travel that was called.テつ I'm not sure if you remember any of that.
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ (Laughter) I do not remember that game specifically.テつ When you were asking the question, the first thing that went through my head was there are a lot of people in Princeton, New Jersey, that thinks Alonzo Mourning fouled Bobby Scrabis on the last shot of that game too.テつ So that must have been the theme that year.
JOHN THOMPSON II:テつ (From behind curtain) Both of them were wrong.
(Laughter).

Q.テつ Is there an element of Henry's development this last four years of which you're most proud or you think has been most valuable to him?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ The fact that he has developed is something that I'm extremely proud of.テつ I think I said this yesterday.テつ Henry's a college student, and he's a college student that those who have been with him for four years you've seen a steady growth that's not abnormal for college students, on the court, off the court, in life.
And so I think that he's at a point right now‑‑ and I could not have said this last year, I could not have said this two years ago, I couldn't have said this his freshman year, where as his coach, and most of our job‑‑ most of our job is teaching.テつ And most of our job is preparing these young men for life after school.
And as his coach, I know that he is prepared to leave Georgetown with his degree and head off into the world.

Q.テつ About your team this year, why do you think‑‑
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Do you remember that game in'89?

Q.テつ I do.テつ Why do you think you guys have been so good on defense this year, any metric you choose, you guys have been one of the best in the country at defending?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ It's probably a couple of things.テつ Hopefully we'll be good tomorrow.テつ We have a willing group.テつ We have willing defenders.テつ We have a group of guys that take pride in their defense and care about defense.テつ It's not just a period of time that you spend before we get back to offense.テつ And sometimes people look at it like that.
But that coupled with the personnel that we have and the God‑given abilities that the guys have and as Jason or one of the kids said, depending on the speed, the length, we're able to be flexible, different guys can be put in certain situations and not be beat.

Q. テつThere's a lot of talk about Georgetown tradition and history in 1989 and everything.テつ Is it fun for you to have your dad here doing television and being able to be a part of this, or is it just par for the course?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Both.テつ It definitely is par for the course.テつ But at the same time I'm extremely fortunate and happy.テつ It is fun to have him here.
I'm lucky that he is that voice behind the curtain in every aspect of my life.テつ And I welcome that voice behind the curtain.

Q.テつ Greg's development this year, how significant has that been for you guys to‑‑ at both ends of the floor‑‑ to be able to get to where you are right now?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ It's been important.テつ And Greg has developed as the year has progressed.テつ And I think the one thing that we're going to see is he hasn't even used the phrase just started to scratch the surface, he hasn't got to the surface yet.テつ We're going to put a lot of responsibility on him as time goes on, and I think he'll be able to answer the call.
But he's someone coming into college‑‑ it's really funny‑‑ I think Greg is a very important part of our defense, man and zone.テつ I think Greg has a chance to be a special, a special defender, because he can guard probably everybody, literally every position on the court, centers, true centers to a lesser degree, but every other position on the court.
It's something coming into college he had no idea that he could do that or that that was important.テつ But he's quickly embraced it.テつ So I think he's going to have a pretty good career.

Q.テつ You say that he basically didn't have any clue that he could do that or that it was important.テつ How rare is it that a guy is in that situation and quickly embraces it as much as he has then?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Well, high school Greg got'em up.テつ He got his shots up.テつ Got his attempts up.テつ I don't know whether he knew what the word defense meant.テつ That quickly changed.
I don't know that it happened‑‑ I don't know the answer to that question.テつ I mean, I haven't seen it as much with someone that comes in with no appreciation to embracing it as he has, and not just embracing it.テつ Some people embrace it but they don't have the success he's had.テつ And that's a credit to him.

Q.テつ My coworker asked this of Jason earlier, I don't know if you heard, but I'm curious your point of view.テつ It was about kind of the upshot of the incident in China.テつ And the question was in terms of building camaraderie, trust, mutual trust among your team, was there anything about that episode that escalated that process and had a bonding effect for your guys, do you think?
COACH THOMPSON III:テつ Absolutely.テつ I think that this group quickly learned that for us to have success, we're going to have to protect each other for us to have success we're going to have to be ready, willing and able to fight for each other.テつ Now, hopefully unlike then it's more figuratively than literally.
For us to have success, we're going to have to have each other's back.テつ And so that was something that‑‑ and as a coach, you know, there's no way on God's green earth that I would have wanted that to happen nor would I want that to happen again.
But having gone through it, it without a doubt brought this group together and the realization that everybody's piece is important, that everyone, for us to have success, for us to succeed, for us to get out of here alive, everyone has to do their part.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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