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March 14, 2013

Rick Barnes

Jonathan Holmes

Myck Kabongo


Kansas State – 66
Texas – 49

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined now by the Texas Longhorns, Coach Rick Barnes and student‑athletes Jonathan Holmes and Myck Kabongo.  Coach, we'll call on you first for your assessment of tonight's game.
COACH BARNES:  Kansas State's really good.  I mean, really, really good.  I love what they're made up of.  I love their makeup.  I love the way they do a lot of things.  They play extremely well together as a team.
They understand their roles.  They compete.  They get balls, they get their hands on balls, they come up with it.  And Rod McGruder is a tough, tough, hard‑nosed basketball player that I've really watched develop over his time, and he is really active and does a lot of things.
But they're really good.  They're really good.  And I thought we did some things early, but we helped them too much.  There's turnovers you can't have.  You can't‑‑ a team that's not going to beat themselves.  You can't fuel that fire.  We fueled the fire about what we did with some of the turnovers we had that just gave them easy baskets, put them on the foul line early.
We knew they would make some baskets against the zone.  But our zone was really good enough, other than I would like to have seen us rebound a little better out of it.
But the turnovers, again, you look at it, it's pretty simple.  They had 24points off turnovers.  And we still don't understand the game yet in terms of how valuable the ball is, how to execute when things aren't going well.
But, again, we got beat tonight by an outstanding basketball team.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Can you talk about the 3‑pointer by McGruder at the end of the shot clock, gave them a double‑digit lead for the first time?
JONATHAN HOLMES:  I mean, he hit an open shot.  And, I mean, that kind of changed the momentum.  But we still had to keep playing, try to come back from that.

Q.  Myck, you scored 24 against them last time.  They seemed to do a better job of helping out.  What was that like for you trying to get by them into the lane?
MYCK KABONGO:  They're a good basketball team.  They did a good job.  I still think we got a lot of shots we wanted.  We got in there and just not finishing plays, and just taking care of the ball and getting in there was another part of the game where I think if you take away those possessions, I think it's a different game.  But I think we did a good job as a team of taking the shots we wanted, just taking care of the ball.

Q.  Myck, did you individually feel like you were in sync and in rhythm tonight?  Or how would you assess how you played individually?
MYCK KABONGO:  I mean, we didn't win.  So it doesn't matter how you play as an individual.  We didn't win.  It's a collective thing.  We need everyone to play well, and that's what it takes to win, and we didn't do that.  So that's why we did not win.  So it's a team thing.

Q.  Both of you guys, if you can answer this, Texas had its struggles against K‑State in football, men's basketball, 3‑13 I believe since 2006 in those two sports.  When you guys see the Powercat, what comes to mind?  What do you think about?
JONATHAN HOLMES:  I mean, just seeing another team we need to beat.  We know they're going to be physical and tough just like the rest of the Big 12 teams are.  But they're physical, play good defense.  And there's no‑‑ we're going to be up for a battle that night.

Q.  Jonathan, even though you knew you were getting Myck back later in the season, was that string of losses at the beginning of the conference season pretty much too much to overcome for the team to be successful?
JONATHAN HOLMES:  I don't think so.  I think we still had some games at the end of the year we had to win and we needed to win.  But I think at the beginning we just were in some of those games.  We just never gave ourselves chances to win.
So I don't think that led to us playing bad down the stretch.  It's not an excuse.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  How big was that shot by McGruder and what did it do to your team?
COACH BARNES:  I don't know if I would say one shot in particular.  I mean, think about it.  We were down 11, and I'm telling you, if I were Bruce Weber and the three wide‑open 3s we got in succession, I would have been very upset.
We came down and we had three straight opportunities with guys that we wanted to shoot it, and we could say, well, maybe we need to take it to the ball, but I could never ask Javy (Felix) to turn down that shot.  I could never ask Sheldon to turn it down or Julien.
But our defense was good enough.  Our zone, they made, what, tonight, nine 3s.  We've had games where they made seven, eight, nine 3s against our man.  That's not what it was.
Again, I don't think that at all.  I think it was rebounding, where we had some chances.  And those plays and people look at them as not being big plays.  I mean, those huge plays because it gives them a little bit of room, they were‑‑ again, our zone defense in itself was good enough, if we would have finished them with some rebounding, but they're a strong team.  We've got to become a much stronger, more physical team.  There's no question about that.
But I don't know if I'd say any one play there.  It's just‑‑ offensively we still have guys that when things do go like that in that situation, the crowd gets into it, they don't settle in and understand that's where you've got to really be a team and you've got to really work.  And like I know Jon Holmes wants to win, but he comes down, puts his head down one time and goes in, misses a layup, Myck goes in, misses a layup, those type plays.
But you can't‑‑ you gotta play as a team.  And I know we got a group of guys that ‑‑ again, Kansas State, they don't need much help.  They're a good team.  I think they're the best team in the Big 12.  I do.  I think they're the best team in the Big 12.
Now, whether or not they ‑‑ if you go back and look, they tie up for the championship and can always go back to an Iowa State game there.  But we'll see.  They're going to have to‑‑ they're set up to win a tournament like this because they're tough, they're hard nosed.  They get their hands on a lot of balls.
And you can't help them.  You can't help them.  And we helped them a lot tonight.  We've helped them in three games.  I can go back and we made the same mistakes.  We talked to our guys about it.  Eliminate a few of these turnovers here or there, we can do that, and make sure we're going to get what we want on offense.
We will be okay.  But we didn't eliminate them.  Our guards, starting guards had nine turnovers.

Q.  I think Myck had five of those.  How would you evaluate how he played tonight?
COACH BARNES:  The turnovers.  It's always tough, because the one thing we want to do is, again, we had a couple of turnovers that honestly I'm like looking at the coaches and all of a sudden, Are you kidding me?  I mean, after playing this many games, I just don't understand it when we talk about rebounding, talk about taking care of the ball, and we just throw the ball in areas that we don't‑‑ again, I can't answer that.
Just some of those turnovers, they're baffling, I'll just say that.

Q.  (Indiscernible) came out early in the second half after I think K‑State scored.  What did he do there?
COACH BARNES:  Well, you watched the game, right?  We were in zone the whole time, right?  Didn't change anything.  He came out second half, just ran down the floor.  And I took him out because we didn't understand what he was doing.
And he said, I thought we were in man.  I said, What would make you think that?  And he said somebody said it.  But we wanted to stay in zone.  And anytime‑‑ when he's in that lineup with Papy (Papapetrou), Myck drives the ball.  He has to get back.  He has to get back.  And he kept just staying in the corner and didn't move back in transition.  And you think about some of those run‑outs, he has to get back on those situations.

Q.  Obviously K‑State has a lot of veterans, but the difference from‑‑ I know you're on the outside looking in, but the difference Angel Rodriguez has made from last year as a freshman to this year as a sophomore?
COACH BARNES:  I think he's terrific.  And I think he's going to have to learn how to play without fouling away from bounds because it drive Bruce nuts because he's so competitive.  You think about some of the fouls he picked up, he has to stay away from those.
Angel, I don't think there's a coach in the country that wouldn't like to have him on their team, because he got a great demeanor.  I love the way he plays, I do.  We told Javan Felix, that's who he needs to play like, especially defensively.  He needs to disrupt things and get down and play like that.
I hope Javan will make that kind of a jump like Angel has.  I hope he makes that adjustment and that jump like he did from one year to the next.

Q.  I believe you faced an opponent‑‑ the same opponent three times in a single season probably 10 times in 15years in your career.  So it doesn't happen a whole lot.  But just what are your thoughts?  Do you just write this off, or do you simmer with frustration maybe heading into the offseason?
COACH BARNES:  I'm not sure what you're asking me.  What are you asking me?

Q.  Losing to Kansas State three times in a single season and this might be the last loss of the season.  What's going through your mind right now?
COACH BARNES:  We've gotta get better.  We've gotta get stronger.  We've gotta get tougher.  We've got to continue to work harder.  We've gotta.  Whether it's Kansas State or‑‑ Kansas State, like I said, big champions.
I would like to have seen the team we had from the beginning of the year, but we never did.  We never got things going because of the situation that we dealt with.
But I'm disappointed.  I think that when you have high expectations in anything you're going to be disappointed.  I'm disappointed.  I'm disappointed we didn't win today.  I think we could have won this game today.  I think we could have won this tournament, but we didn't because we again made the same mistakes that we made in two other games with them.
We helped them out.  And they don't need any help.  They're too good a team to help.  And I'm not going to take away from them because I think they're an outstanding basketball team.
But I think we're better and should be better, but we still haven't‑‑ again, we played how many games?  I can't even think.  32, what, 33 games?  It's the same mistakes.  One stat jumps at me:  They have 24points off turnovers.  You go back to the other game, same thing, second‑chance points.
Those are things you've got to figure out along the way that you can't continue to keep doing.  And we did.  And that's why we got beat by them three times.  But they had a lot to do with it.
So, again, as a coach you always think‑‑ if you ever think you can't win every game, if you ever start thinking, making excuses, you can't win.  And I just know that we've all gotta do better.  We've gotta get‑‑ and I don't like when people say we're young, this‑‑ I don't buy that.  I don't buy that.  I know we've gotta get tougher.  I know we've gotta get stronger.
And we work hard, but we've gotta learn and understand what goes into the game of basketball in terms of winning.

Q.  For 14 straight years on Selection Sunday you have heard the Texas Longhorns name called.  How do you put that in perspective to where you are now?
COACH BARNES:  Well, I've always said that's something we've never taken for granted.  I certainly haven't.  I think people act like it's easy to get to.  I don't think it's easy to get there.
And we've had some times where we knew we were in.  Other times we had to sweat it out.  Other times we had to play it out.  I've always said that's gotta be the goal.  You gotta get there to have a chance to play for a national championship.
But I've never taken it for granted.  Am I disappointed?  I'm disappointed.  But we are who we are.  We weren't good enough.  We weren't good enough to make the NCAA Tournament this year.  And so with that said, it is what it is.
But we weren't good enough, because if we were good enough, we would be in it.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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