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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: AUBURN HILLS


March 21, 2013


Tarik Black

Joe Jackson

Josh Pastner

D.J. Stephens


AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN

Memphis テや 54
St. Maryテや冱 テや 52


MODERATOR:テつ We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Pastner.
COACH PASTNER:テつ Great win.テつ We beat a very good basketball team in Saint Mary's.テつ Very well-coached basketball team.
I thought our guys defensively were terrific, absolutely terrific, and it was a heck of a ballgame.テつ That was a great one.テつ Personally I wanted that one so much for our young men, for our student-athletes to experience it.テつ Just for Tiger Nation, for the city.テつ It's important to me personally that our young men get experience all the great things due to their work ethic and obviously to the city.
I was very happy because when our athletic director, my boss, Tom Bowen, his first year on the job with us, he got to experience it.
And Courtney Morrison Archer from the league office back there who are the biggest for holding the sword for how great Conference USA, so that's a great one for USA, Courtney.
Other than that, this one's for the players.テつ It was a great win, like I said, against a very good basketball team.
MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student-athletes.

Q.テつ I know you're thrilled to get the win.テつ Are there some lessons to be learned?
TARIK BLACK:テつ We watch NCAA games each year as student-athletes, and we watch teams go down because of free throws.テつ We watch teams go down because of rebounding, and that's something that we're really going to focus on in, because free throws win the game.
We pulled one out, but we missed a lot of free throws and on the offensive glass, they got some offensive rebound.テつ There was some detrimental opportunities for them to get extra baskets and put this game and really have us upset in this game.
COACH PASTNER:テつ And just -- I mean look in the NCAA tournament, every game is a game of runs.テつ Everyone's good, and you know we missed some free throws, they hit a couple great threes.テつ Our goal defensively, we're a very good defensive team.テつ We've been a good defensive team through my time here and our whole identity is 50/50 balls on the defensive end.
We were top ten in the country last year defensively.テつ We were the best in the Conference USA defensively.テつ So us holding all our goal is to hold them 40 from the field and 30 percent from the three, which we did.
They did a great job on the glass, and they made -- you know, and we missed some free throws, but in the end all I know is when you wake up the next morning it's a W, and at this time of the year it's win, babe, win, survive and advance.

Q.テつ The game plan, the strategy with Dellavedova, Coach Bennett just talked about double teaming and making it hard for him.テつ Can you talk about that?
D.J. STEPHENS:テつ Well, going into this game, we knew that Dellavedova was the floor general for this team.テつ So Coach, the plan for the game was to pretty much keep the ball out of his hand as much as we could.テつ Make somebody else have to initiate the offense.
And we were pressing, making sure he couldn't get the ball and bring it up the floor, and it kind of threw them out of rhythm a little bit.テつ And that was pretty much our game plan.テつ Just pressure them, play our style of basketball, get out there, play good defense and come away with the win.
JOE JACKSON:テつ Well, it was just all in the game plan.テつ He makes over 90 percent of their plays for them.テつ He keep the ball in his hands a lot.テつ So we just want to, you know, make it hard for him because you can't just let a player like that that can see the floor so well just go one-on-one all the time, play pick and roll basketball, because things just start to open up.
And we just tried to do, you know, just make it hard for him, because he do so much for that team.テつ He get everybody open shots.テつ He get everybody involved.テつ So, I mean, by double teaming, it kind of threw him off.
TARIK BLACK:テつ Like the first two said, he's the floor general for them.
With him seeing the floor, for him it's kind of a slow game, but when he sees the floor, he sees players, he makes the perfect pass and the right decisions.テつ So like I said, when we try to double team him, it was just so that he couldn't see the floor as well.テつ So we had to use high hands, keep our hands up.
Every time he put our hands down, especially in the beginning of the game, they were definitely getting a lot of points on the backside because of the passing.テつ So that was our plan to keep our hands high, try to frustrate him a little bit, try to tire him out some, and try to make sure he couldn't see the floor as well so he could make the passes.

Q.テつ Question for Joe and for coach.テつ How do you guys feel with all of the pressure in Memphis, how does it finally feel to get the win?
JOE JACKSON:テつ It just feels great to win.テつ It's not about the pressure.テつ It feels good because we put in a lot of work this whole summer as a team.
And just to win and see ourselves successful as a team, that's really what it's about this time of the year.
We went through some downfalls as underclassmen, but we're getting older and mature.テつ So we expect to go in there and win games and just do it in a good fashion.
COACH PASTNER:テつ You know, like I said, I think a lot of the people talked about the monkey and the pressure and this and that.テつ I still say let's not forget all the wins we've had for -- you know, I mean I was obviously the head coach before these guys came in their freshman year, but these guys have won a lot of games.
Through our time here, in my four years, we've won over 100 games, which is more than anyone ever in the history of Memphis Tiger basketball, and that's because we've had good players.
In these last three years, these guys have won, you know, they won 25, 26, and 31 and had an opportunity to move that up.テつ So that's a lot of wins.
And that's because we have good players who get the job done.テつ This is a player's game.テつ Players make plays, and tonight players made plays.テつ So I'm really happy for these young men and I'm happy for Tiger Nation.テつ Because I know how important it is for Tiger Nation.
And I want to say one thing on the question about the game plan.テつ The guys executed the game plan because the players make plays, and our staff, not me, the assistant coaches, prepared the game.テつ Damon Stoudamire was responsible for the scouting, but everybody was involved, Coach Collins, Coach Williams, everybody.テつ Those staff members, those assistant coaches did an amazing job.テつ It wasn't me.テつ So it was the assistant coaches and the players that put it all in and then these guys executed it.

Q.テつ Joe, you were able to knock down some pretty big shots today.テつ Can you talk a little bit about what was working for you today, particularly about the pass that you had to D. J. for the dunk in the first half?
JOE JACKSON:テつ In a game like this I was just trying to come out and be aggressive, not play on my heels and just trying to get my teammates involved.テつ I was telling Ferrakohn just come out in the first four or five minutes and big men the ball so they can got their game going.
Things just start opening up, and I was just trying to deliver passes and be precise with decision making.テつ I knew shots were going to come if other guys was getting points.

Q.テつ D. J., first of all, what happened with your hand there at the end?テつ Secondly, how much do you guys know about Michigan State going into Saturday?
D.J. STEPHENS:テつ Well, what happened in the game was I had an awkward fall and I put my hand down to try to brace myself, and I landed funny and my hand went numb.テつ I just told coach my hand was numb, but he had confidence in me to still shoot the free throws.テつ I made the first one, missed the second one.
Michigan State, they're a great basketball team.テつ We know they're great at rebounding the basketball.テつ So we know we'll have our handful, but I'm pretty sure our coaches are going to scout them and we'll be ready for the game on Saturday.

Q.テつ Joe, what do you know about Keith Appling and Gary Harris?テつ What do you like about your chances in that matchup?
JOE JACKSON:テつ Well, I don't know much about Gary.テつ That's the freshman you're talking about, right?
I expect both of them to play hard.テつ They play for a great coach; they play for Tom Izzo.テつ They just got a lot of tradition at the school, so I expect them to play hard.テつ But Keith, I'm real cool with Keith Appling.テつ We played together in the USA games overseas.テつ I mean, I kind of know what he can do good and what he can do bad.
It's going to be a good game and he's going to play hard.テつ He's going to try to help his team win.テつ I'm going to try to help mine.

Q.テつ Tarik, you're about as aggressive offensively than we've seen in a long, long time.テつ Was there something that you saw that you can exploit in their defense?
TARIK BLACK:テつ Coming into the game, coach told me I was going to have a major tournament.テつ He told me that as soon as we got on the plane, as soon as we boarded.テつ Coming into this game, I really -- it's not just something that I saw them doing that I was like where I can just exploit it, but it was just the fact that my teammates sitting right behind me, and like I said, Coach told me and everybody's been telling me, Tarik, you are going to have a great tournament.テつ Just play with the confidence you've had in the past, play like the Tarik you've always been and everything will turn out all right.テつ That's what I came out and did there today and that's what I plan to do for the rest tournament.

Q.テつ DJ, eight blocks today.テつ That's a career high for you.テつ What made you rise above?
D.J. STEPHENS:テつ Just a lot of the time my teammates, they know I jump high, but a lot of times I like to help my teammates out.テつ If they get beat, I like to come from the weak side and block shots.
Usually that's where I get my blocked shots from, I come from the weak side, but from time to time I get caught behind when I'm trying to front a bigger guy, but I just try to keep a hand in between, keep a little bit of space and as soon as he puts the ball in there, I try to block it.
I mean, for me to be able to block eight shots, that's amazing.テつ That's a blessing, but I'm just out there trying to help my teammates win games.

Q.テつ Joe, just talk about getting your big guy going.
JOE JACKSON:テつ I've been playing with Tarik for a while.テつ I know how good he is.テつ Tarik went through a little adversity earlier in the year, but I still know that he's a force down there.
Guys, they have the respect of him in the paint because he's so big and he can finish around the rim, and Tarik's, like, a 60 percent field goal shooter, so I just wanted to get him the ball in the situations where he can just put it in basically.テつ And I mean, I've got incredible teammates.テつ They really can play and I just try to go out and get everybody involved.
MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, guys.テつ Coach Pastner is now available by himself.
COACH PASTNER:テつ I got cut off because I told them I might want to go for senate or Congress one day and I'd be a heck of a filibuster guy.
(Laughter) we could be running mates together.

Q.テつ Coach, talk about the end there, the inbounds play and I guess the Dellavedova three, and what was going through your mind?
COACH PASTNER:テつ I was at peace with everything.テつ You know what, the way I looked at it, you know what, we missed some free throws.テつ They hit some great shots.
Shots that hit off the backboard.テつ So I was at peace about it all, and he came off and I knew once it left it was long.テつ So it was good and it was just a good win, and it's the NCAA tournament.テつ Things like that happen.テつ But we just missed some free throws down the stretch and they made some great threes.
But I was totally at peace.テつ You might not believe me, but I was.テつ I really was at peace.テつ I really was at peace.

Q.テつ I know you're going to run for office one day?
COACH PASTNER:テつ If I want to get a higher office in the Tennessee, I got to win some more games though.

Q.テつ You had a huge weight on your shoulder with this program.テつ Don't you feel at ease, relieved, it's over?
COACH PASTNER:テつ Well, you know, everyone keeps bringing that up.
How about when I took over the program and we had about five scholarship players and the expectation -- I'm replacing a guy that it was the greatest run in the history of college basketball.テつ Think about that.テつ The four years that I came in, the prior four years is the greatest run in the history of college basketball.テつ John Wooden never did.テつ Dean Smith, Bobby, no one's ever done that and here I am at 31 years of age and they say, here, here's the head coaching job, just go.テつ And you're having about five scholarship guys and you got to keep the program together.テつ The responsibility of that, to try to keep the ticket sales to make sure that -- because we are the most important thing to making sure financially, for the athletic department, to keep that going.テつ I mean, there was a lot.テつ Talk about pressure and responsibility.
And it easily could have tumbled the other direction.テつ Easily.テつ And we could have taken five, six, seven years to kind of get it back and maybe make the one tournament.テつ It's not that easy.テつ So I was fortunate because the reason, able to have that happen is because I hire great coaches and the fans got us through the tough stretch.テつ It was the fans.テつ Tiger Nation, their support.
That's why these guys up here, they came to play at Memphis, because of the fans.テつ The fans got us through the tough stretch, and that's why I always say we've got the best fan base in the country.テつ So the way I look at this, this is more for the fans because I want to keep winning for the fans.テつ Because they helped us -- you know, we were drowning.テつ When I took over, I usually want to stay above water and just hope you get to a buoy to stay above.テつ That's all you wanted to do.テつ And the reason we were able to get through that and stay above water and not drown is because of the fan base and what the fans did to help us push us through that.テつ So God bless the Tiger Nation fan base.テつ We're very, very thankful and grateful for them.

Q.テつ What is this about your team's toughness?テつ They had to tough out this game today as well?
COACH PASTNER:テつ Well, we get tested every time we step on the floor, Doc.テつ I mean, Saturday, double overtime win.テつ Come here and we had to tough it out.
I told our guys when we came to that huddle after regulation and Southern Miss hit that shot, I said, Guys, this is great for us.
Now, everyone here knows I believe in positive energy.テつ I can't stand negative energy.テつ I believe in positive energy.テつ I believe the whole life is about positive energy.テつ Our guys were a little down and I said, Guys, this is going to be great for us this.テつ This is so important.テつ This is going to help us next week.テつ We don't have to play another five minutes.テつ We get to play another five minutes.テつ We get to.
On top of that, it's going to be great for TV ratings, and they kind of smiled and laughed, but I did say in that first thing, We're going to have to get through this with the NCAA tournament and this is actually going to help us in the long run, and it did.

Q.テつ Talk about Black.テつ Talk about the talk you had with him.
COACH PASTNER:テつ Tarik's been -- he started the year -- mid point of the year he was really good.テつ Maybe not -- a little up and down as of late, but I told him again, I wanted him to have positive energy.
I know people are telling him this or that or trying to say negative things.テつ I said, Hey, man, think positive, have confidence.テつ I want you to have great positive energy.テつ Believe in yourself.テつ I believe in you.テつ It's all a matter of attitude.テつ It's all a matter of energy.
As you know -- as I told Tarik all year long, to be on the caravan, you got to be positive.テつ If you're not positive, the caravan's moving forward.テつ I said, You're on the caravan and we're surrounding you and radiating positive energy your way.テつ So it's contagious.テつ Soak it in and play with a smile and enjoy yourself and have fun.

Q.テつ How do you think D.J.'s performance tonight, weakside help defense can help you neutralize Michigan State's big men and what did you think of his performance?
COACH PASTNER:テつ I have no idea why Tom Izzo isn't in the hall of fame right now, and I'm being serious.テつ He should be in the hall of fame.テつ He's not only one of the great coaches of all time; he's one of the great guys of all time.テつ And Coach Izzo is one of the great guys of all time.テつ He's been good to coaches all throughout and he should be in the hall of fame already.
Michigan State's a great basketball team.テつ They've got a lot of good players.テつ They do a great job, and we're going to need all of our guys to play well on Saturday.
As I told our team, let's not forget, we are the 15th ranked team in the poll.テつ We have won 31 games.テつ I mean, this isn't a Cinderella story.テつ I mean, we are a good basketball team, and, you know, we want to advance.テつ So we know we got to play great on Saturday and we know it's going to be a home game for Michigan State.
But at one time this year, we had the nation's longest true road win streak in the country, and we're a very good road team.テつ I know we'll be ready to go.テつ We know we're playing a great basketball team, and I think it's going to be a great game on Saturday.

Q.テつ What about D.J.?
COACH PASTNER:テつ D.J., look, the guy was a zero star recruit.テつ Nobody recruited him.テつ I took him sight unseen because I had five scholarship players, I needed to get a player, and I got an e-mail.テつ Somebody e-mailed me on a mass e-mail chain saying, Hey, he's only got Division II offers.テつ Does anyone want him?テつ Seven days before school started.テつ I said I'll take him.テつ What can he do?テつ He said he can jump.テつ I said great.テつ He came to the campus first day.テつ When I told D.J. he had a scholarship, he started crying because he was so happy that he got a chance to play Division I basketball.
Well, when I watched him play the first day of workouts, I started crying because he couldn't dribble up the court.テつ I was like, What did I do?テつ (Laughter)テつ He stinks.テつ And then luckily through time, through that first year, he helped us win games because he made winning energy plays, second year winning energy plays, third year and fourth year.
And there's no question in my mind he's an NBA prospect.テつ Should be picked in the second round somewhere, because, you know what, he doesn't just make energy plays; he makes winning energy plays, and that's how you win games.テつ God bless D.J. Stephens, and he's a phenomenal young man too graduating in the spring.

Q.テつ After last season's NCAA tournament appearance, you said I thought I talked to them too much about St. Louis.テつ If I had to do it over, I wouldn't have done it.テつ So this year you were going to take a different tactic.テつ Explain how that affected your team.
COACH PASTNER:テつ Great memory.テつ Great memory, because did I say that.テつ And I really look back at our loss for St. Louis.テつ We had five or six days to prepare, and I felt I overanalyzed.テつ Paralysis through analysis.テつ You know, we just heard -- I just had the team hear about St. Louis for five, six straight days.テつ And, again, you got to give St. Louis credit.テつ They're a great team.テつ They beat us, and everyone sees how good they are, especially for this year.テつ So not taking anything away from St. Louis because they're a great team.
I looked at that.テつ I went into this year and, you know what, again, anyone that knows me, I look at the glass as overflowing.テつ When everyone came out and we had to play a game where there's the winner, I said, man, that's awesome.テつ Absolutely awesome.テつ Because it's less time to prepare, less time to overanalyze, less time to paralysis for analysis.テつ And we got to focus on Memphis on Monday, Tuesday.テつ Had a quick -- put in a little quick game plan on Wednesday and went and played Thursday.テつ I actually thought it worked to our advantage.
If I could do it over again in the future, I'll do the same thing.テつ Let's focus on us.テつ We got to play how we play.テつ Yeah, you're going to have some adjustments here and there, but you got to do what's got us to this point.

Q.テつ Coach, the last inbound play was at a timeout.テつ They sort of got a free one because the officials went over to check the monitor.テつ Was that frustrating for you or does it actually give you guys a chance to reset your defense?
COACH PASTNER:テつ No.テつ You know, it was part of the game.
I thought the officials did a great job.テつ Thought it was an extremely well-called game.テつ So you got to give the officials credit.テつ And you know what, they wanted to make -- they didn't check the time; they checked to see if the shot the kid hit was a three or a two.テつ So I can understand that.テつ They wanted to check that, and that's okay and that happens.
You know, anyone that knows Roger Ayers, the referee, you know, he was a fireman who was in a building, a burning building, put his life on the line and there was a fire and he was trapped and he barely got out alive.テつ And he was so thankful and grateful for the extra breath that he got to live.テつ So, you know, he's a true hero, first responder, true hero.
MODERATOR:テつ Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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