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March 22, 2013

Davante Gardner

Trent Lockett

Chris Otule

Buzz Williams


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student-athletes.

Q.  How much do you think the team has changed, how much you've grown since that Maui experience with Butler?
TRENT LOCKETT:  How are you doing, Michael?  I think we've -- as any team, we've grown a lot throughout the year, but I think our team is special in that we don't really feel like we've reached our ceiling yet, even this deep into the season so that's something that we really look forward to.  But again, I think we've evolved as every team has throughout the year.

Q.  This is for Davante.  Take us through the emotions.  You guys have been on both sides of it, the Butler loss last second, compared to what you guys felt at Saint John's and last night, how everything completely changes by that one shot?
DAVANTE GARDNER:  The shot that he made was kind of a lucky shot by Rotnei.  He just threw it up and it just went in.  Against the last second shot at Saint John's, Buzz drew up a good play and I set the screen.  He was a good finisher around the basket.  That helped us out.

Q.  Last night?
DAVANTE GARDNER:  The same thing, I told Buzz, let us run the same play and where we get, everybody crash the boards.  It worked.

Q.  Trent, the rule that allowed you to transfer to Marquette, the NCAA obviously gives you an opportunity as a graduate student to make that decision.  How do you feel about kind of the NCAA allowing players to do that, because that's one of the things that's maybe a little controversial right now?
TRENT LOCKETT:  Yeah.  Turned out to be very beneficial for me, I can say that.  It helped me in my situation.  I think that if a player is able to graduate in three years or if they do finish their degree with one more year of eligibility, I think in most cases it's turned out to be beneficial.  That's all I can speak on, just firsthand having that experience it's really helped me.

Q.  Chris and Davante, if you look at the stat sheet for the first game in Maui, you two and Andrew Smith for Butler were both in foul trouble.  What do you guys remember from that game?  Do you remember any frustration about not -- I think both of you didn't play 20 minutes and what do you remember about going up against Smith?
CHRIS OTULE:  I remember that Smith was a real physical player.  I remember the most important thing that coaches were saying especially Coach Jerry Wainwright, you have to take the majority of his space when posting up on offense and defense.  You got to take up all the space.  All their bigs are really physical and the main thing we have to focus on is trying to defend without fouling and try to take up their space and make them foul you and get them in foul trouble, so hopefully we can stay out foul trouble this game.
DAVANTE GARDNER:  Same thing Chris just said, when we get in foul trouble, it changes the whole game, so we have to stay out of foul trouble and keep our heads up.

Q.  For each one of you, if you could go down the line.  How would you describe Buzz Williams's sideline antics?
TRENT LOCKETT:  You know, it's funny to watch the games afterwards because sometimes when you're in the game, you're so focused you don't quite see him jumping around or what he's doing on the sideline.  But I think that just is a tribute to how much he puts into each game.  When I see him sweating through his shirts and switching shirts at halftime, things like that and how hoarse he gets during the game, it shows how much this game means to him.
CHRIS OTULE:  To piggyback off of what Trent said.  When you're in the game, you don't really know what's going on until after you and you see all the videos and you see him doing splits in the air, kicking his leg up like the dancers in Vegas, and then something funny about it is he also wears one of those Dri-Fits under his suit because he sweats so much.  At the end of the game his Dry-Fit is like he actually played in the game, it's so sweaty.  He's just a really energetic person.  Honor to play for him.
DAVANTE GARDNER:  Really funny sometimes when I'm in the court, peek over and look at Buzz, see what he's doing.  Also brings us energy to the team.  It's good.

Q.  For all the players.  You know a little bit about Butler, but what do you think, what will they bring to the Big East?  And for all of you, looking ahead, what's the Big East going to look like over the next few years?
CHRIS OTULE:  I think Butler, they play -- the thing about them is they play extremely hard.  When you play in the Big East, each team plays extremely hard.  You're capable of losing to any team, whether it's DePaul, South Florida, any team is capable of beating you on any given night.  I think Butler brings that extreme toughness to the team.  They'll fit in well.
THE MODERATOR:  Either of you have anything to add?
TRENT LOCKETT:  I think in the last four, five years, Butler has obviously proven they're a top tier program and a program that demands respect.  So I think it will bring a lot to the Big East just having a name like Butler come to the conference.
THE MODERATOR:  Davante, anything?  Okay.

Q.  Buzz said yesterday he's seen Rotnei Clarke's shot on all the ESPN commercials and everything.  I'm sure you guys have seen that.  Butler said earlier they've kind of moved past it.  But for you guys, has that -- I'm sure that's probably stuck with you guys the whole year and over the last -- since the Davidson game, it's probably been a bit more emphasized in your minds.
TRENT LOCKETT:  That's definitely my least favorite commercial throughout the year because it always brings you back to that moment where that shot went in.  But they played a great game.  Looking back on the tape, that was a really good game and looking forward to the game tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR:  Anyone else?  All right.  Next question for the student-athletes for Marquette.  All right.  That's it?  Thank you, fellas, and good luck.
Ladies and gentlemen, Marquette Coach, Buzz Williams.  First question right over here.

Q.  Brad Stevens mentioned that he thought that the best thing that you guys got out of Maui was that you lost that gut wrenching game to his team and then you came out with two blowouts.  Would you agree with that?  And the second thing is, how much do you think Butler has changed and your team has changed since that game?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Well, I appreciate Coach Stevens saying that.  I don't know if that was the best thing or not.  You want to try to win every game that you play.  I thought our response to that loss said a lot about our kids.  I don't know, Michael, that you can -- maybe foundationally you can say, okay, this is what a team is in Game 3.  Obviously they played several more games than we have.  They didn't have any canceled games due to weather and they advanced in their conference tournament so they've played a few more games than we have.
Brad Stevens is not 12-4 in the NCAA Tournament because he has this -- he coaches the same team in March that he coaches in November.  I think schematically overall there's a lot of similarities, but they've made tweaks, they've made adjustments.  I followed them throughout the year, not in depth but I've kept with them, like do you like any other team you play.  You got to follow how they do.
So, I think they're different.  Our team is different.  We didn't know who we were at Maui, and I think that we know who we are, just like every other team that's still playing, but I think that we've improved since Maui as well.

Q.  Buzz, yesterday you mentioned how happy you were that Trent came to Marquette this year and has helped you in various ways.  When you're recruiting a kid who is available because of obviously unfortunate family circumstances, is it a different recruiting approach?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Yes.  I don't know -- you would have to do research.  I don't know how many BCS basketball players over the last five years since that rule has been in place have transferred, that have graduated that have went on.  You know more football players, I would say, than you know basketball players that have been in that situation.
I did not know Trent, I never heard of him, didn't know he was from Minnesota, didn't know how good a player he was.  A guy that I met when I was first hired at Marquette told me about Trent, and that's what started his brief recruiting.
I met Trent and his mom at Mayo, that was the first time I ever met his mom she's here now, which is a blessing, but, you know, whether you have one year or two years, I've been criticized throughout my career specifically at Marquette for signing transfers.  I'm normally criticized in November and December for signing them, but they're praised when it gets to February and March.
So, for whatever reason, transfers, regardless of how many years they have left, have always been good for us, and no matter the situation, you want to find guys that contribute more than they consume, and transfers, in my opinion, are that way for whatever reason.
Trent has one year left, Trent had never played in the post season, Trent is closer to his mom.  Trent's lens on life has changed because of his mom.  He knows he's got 31 games given to him.  So, he's going to contribute more than he consumes for the same reason I like JUCO guys.  They're going to contribute more than they consume.  I look at all transfers the same way.

Q.  You went to the Mayo Clinic with him or to meet him there, can you explain how that happened?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I just wanted to meet him, you know.  I needed to meet him.  He was at home for spring break.  And so this was after -- I guess it would have been the week after the Sweet 16 or maybe it was the week after the Final Four of last year.  Maybe wasn't even at home for spring break.  Maybe it was Easter.  He went home to see his mom.  I wanted to meet him and I wanted to meet his mom, and it just -- that's kind how it all worked out.
THE MODERATOR:  Any more questions for Coach Buzz Williams?

Q.  Buzz, do you think the resiliency your team has shown all year, bouncing back from losses and even in games like yesterday's, might have started in Maui we when you had when you had to come back and play two games after the Butler loss?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Yes.  You know, I don't think we beat Davidson because of what we did yesterday, and you could maybe look through several games this year and through several games throughout our tenure.  I don't think that you win games that day or exclusively in the preparation for that game.  It's the daily accountability and what you do every day, every day during the season, every day during the preseason, every day during the off-season.  Champions are everyday guys.  Winners are everyday people.  Sometimes it shows on the biggest stage and sometimes it doesn't.
Just because of how we operate and what our culture is, the guys that quit, they're not resilient, and the guys that last, they will be resilient.  That doesn't mean they're a talented basketball player, but it does mean they are resilient.  And because I'm immature, I'm more concerned with the resiliency than I am their talent.

Q.  I know what a focused guy you are.  Bear with me just a second here.  Those of us who followed Marquette basketball over the years understand the tradition going back to Coach McGuire and Creighton and now yourself.  I know you've got a game right up against you.  Can you appreciate as a fan of the game, maybe ten years from now, where the Big East will be with programs like Marquette and Butler?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Maybe I'll try the best that I can.  I go to work every day in a building that's named after Coach McGuire.  There's a statue in the building as soon as you walk in that's life size of Coach McGuire.  We play on the Al McGuire Court at the Bradley Center.  There's a Coach Al sticker on all four different colored uniforms that we wear.  When you think about all the coaches at Marquette, whether you go in ascending or descending order, all of them have contributed in some form or another, and if you think about all of the ADs that hired those coaches, you know, who was the AD that hired Al McGuire?  Who was the AD that hired Kevin O'Neill when -- what was Marquette when KO was hired and what was Marquette when he left five years later?
I think that the tradition, all of the things -- it's a basketball-only school, and I think the support of the city of Milwaukee, the support in the state, the support in the region, it's a known commodity, it's a known brand.  And you probably think of when -- when you think of Al McGuire, you think ever Marquette.  I don't know that it's vice versa.  If you think about Marquette, you think of Al McGuire.
So I'm just a turtle on the fence post.  I don't belong in any of those categories, and I don't view myself in those categories.  What is it going to be ten years from now?  I don't know.  I hope I'm alive in ten years.

Q.  Buzz, just to follow up on that, what does Butler bring to the Big East?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I think all of those -- number one, Coach Stevens is a Hall of Fame Coach.  He's just not old enough for you to call him that yet.  You could probably say -- I mean, Coach McDermott has done an incredible job at Creighton.  Chris Mack, he's been to three Sweet 16s in his short tenure.  I think all of those teams bring something to the league.  I think it changes the ambiance of the league for sure.

Q.  In that Butler game, I know it's a long time ago in Maui, but before Clarke's shot, they went to the basket three straight times.  What was the growth process from there with those three possessions going forward?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I think the last eight minutes, I don't think either team missed a shot.  I watched it last night, I watched it since we played them in November, but the problem wasn't our offense which is -- there's been a lot written about that since that game, the problem was our defense.  We couldn't get a stop and they couldn't get a stop, and the team that had the ball the last possession is the team that won.  And that's typically not the story that you would see about a game that early in November.
But we need to get consecutive stops.  We need to get turkeys.  That was we call offensive turkeys, "heat."  That was our highest heat game in non-conference.  We were really good, but it was because the last eight minutes we scored every possession.
The thing that I'm concerned with, Michael, is so much attention is given to Rotnei Clarke and rightfully so.  Their front court abused us.  They just whipped us, and they won the game because of 21, 23, and 44, just doing work on our guys.
That was the last game Jamil Wilson started.  Everybody says, well, Jamil should start.  You should go back to the last game he started and watch that tape because he got whipped.  And so the thing that I'm concerned with now is 40 percent of their missed shots they get an offensive rebound.  Their turnover percentage rate is one of the lowest in the country.  When you give them extra possessions on the glass, it's a back-breaker for your team because they're so efficient in what they do, you can't give them extra possessions.

Q.  Your players were talking about your, I guess, sideline emotions that they're not aware of it during the games.  But after the games, when you had a chance to go back and look at some of the tapes of yourself, do you kind of look and think, man, I can't believe I acted like that?  And if you can, comment about the whole Dri-Fit thing.  Trent said that's kind of saved a few suits for you.
COACH WILLIAMS:  I just sweat through all my clothes.  That's why I take my jacket off, just so I can maybe have that suit again next year, if I don't balloon 40 pounds.
I don't know, Gary, you would probably have to trace my background and trace where I'm from and trace my path to this point in time, but how I coach is how I live, how I talk is how I raise my kids.  I'm not saying anything to you because you work for the AP that I wouldn't say in front of our team or that I wouldn't say on national TV.  I am who I am.  I have a pretty good feel for what that is.  I understand that at times it's abrasive.  I understand that it's emotional most of the time, but so much of what we do is based on energy, and I don't think that you can have great energy without great emotion.
And so, you know, somebody said something last night that I seemed very calm throughout the game even though we were down.  I think my best talent as a coach is I have a pulse for my players, and that's because of the relationship that I have with them, the love that we share, the trust that we share.  I have a pretty good feel for whether I need to act like a fool or not, whether that's during a timeout or during halftime.
So, that's also why -- what's the Big East going to be in ten years?  I hope I'm alive in ten years, because this is a hard -- it's a short shelf life for any coach in the BCS, but it's definitely a short shelf life when you operate the way that we do.

Q.  So follow up that point, the Butler players were saying yesterday when they got down to Bucknell that when they see Brad very calm, it sort of put them at ease during their comeback.  At what point when you get a new team each season, do you read the situation of how you need to be with a different group and how they'll react to your demeanor, whether it's in practice or games?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I think that's the case at all times in every team.  I'm not near the coach that Coach Stevens is, and so how I process things, I'm not as calm, I'm not -- our kids are not going to make a shot and my reaction is going to be the way his is.
But I have great respect and admiration that he can operate like that.  But that's not been my path.  You know, I wouldn't have been admitted to the institution that he graduated from.  I wouldn't have been hired by the accounting firm that hired him.  That's not -- it's just not who I am.  But I'm very respectful of who he is, but I do think that all coaches have a feel for the ebb and flow of the emotion that's are involved by all parties on your team, whether that's players, whether that's assistants, officials.
These guys aren't going to talk to you in the NCAA Tournament.  They're trying to advance in the same manner the teams are.  Hollering and screaming like you do at the guys in the Big East, you're not going see these guys again, and so I think every coach has an ebb and flow to that.

Q.  Your players did say that for them they react off your energy?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I think so.

Q.  For Butler maybe they need calming.  What point do you also read what is necessary?  Because at the end of the Saint John's game, were you completely calm on that last second shot.
COACH WILLIAMS:  Here is what's surprising, though, Andy, I know you texted me that.  That was never said.  You know what I'm saying?  Here is why:  Because perception in so many ways is reality.  And the perception of me is I'm this emotionally high-strung savant.  Okay, that's fine.  There's parts of that that are true, but when Vander Blue hit the shot last night, when he hit the shot against Saint John's, all I did was walk down the street and shake the coach's hand.  That was it.  Nobody said that.
That's because the perception of me is not that.  You know what I mean?  I do think that at times I do act like a clown, but sometimes I'm a little smarter than I act and I know how to play possum better than you do.  I know when to be quiet and when to speak and when to act stupid and when to act calm.  I think our team, like Gary was asking, you know, they don't even pay attention to you.  They don't pay attention to me because there's an ebb and flow to practice, just like there's an ebb and flow to a game.
You look at teams in the first two media timeouts of the first NCAA Tournament game.  What's the shooting percentage?  Extremely low, because everybody is amped up, everybody is excited.  Well, if I add my emotion to that, as poor as we shoot it, we may not ever make a shot.
There has to be an ebb and flow.  Vander was saying last night, I've never told our kids what to say to the media, he's saying, you know, Coach Buzz is smiling and we're down 7.  I am, because that's the face they needed to see and that's the voice they needed to hear, and if I would have told them what I really wanted to tell them, we would have got beat by 16, you know what I mean?

Q.  Coach, it seems like one of the big differences from the game in Maui was guys like Jamil, Trent and Chris kind of the supporting cast, because at that point Vander was kind of becoming your go-to guy.  Against a team like Butler, how necessary is it for supporting role guys like that to be playing well?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Well, we won't win.  We won't win unless those support guys -- and the same manner we wouldn't have won last night without Chris having 11 and 11.  We wouldn't have won without Trent having 11 rebounds.  Everybody is going the talk about Vander's shot an Jamil's shot.  I concur with that.  It's the things that led up to those shots.
When they set a ball screen for Rotnei Clarke, you better guard the ball screener or he's going to shoot it.  Just as important as it is for the two guys on the ball screen to guard it right way, if the other three guys, support guys, aren't doing what they need to do, somebody else is going to get an uncontested shot, and so when you're playing and there's only 32 teams left, it's not going to just be one guy or two guys, it's got to be those other guys.
Junior Cadougan gets his third foul in the first three minutes in the second half against Florida last year, game over, game over.  Not because DJ and Jay couldn't make a shot.  DJ and Jay aren't going to make a shot unless Junior is creating a shot for them.  Make sense?  So I think those support guys, if that's the appropriate word, are critical.

Q.  Buzz, if you don't mind to go back to the issue with Trent Lockett.  What do you think of that rule that allows guys after they've graduated to have a free pass?  I know it drives some coaches nuts.
COACH WILLIAMS:  Some coaches are upset by it.  As I said, I've never been -- I've never recruited or coached a player in that situation, and I would say that the NCAA put that rule in effect because how can you penalize a kid like Trent Lockett for graduating in three years, his mom being diagnosed with cancer and him wanting to come closer to home?
Now, I think that the reason why there's some angst amongst the coaches that disagree is because there's probably been some kids or families or coaches that have maybe twisted the rule a little bit, and that's why there's probably this year more need for proper documentation to prove why you need to leave.
So, in the instance that I know, it's 1,000 percent the right thing to do.  If my children -- if my children were in the exact same situation Trent had, just because they played basketball, I wouldn't want them to be penalized they couldn't get closer to their mom.
THE MODERATOR:  Time for one or two more.  Anyone else?  All right.  Thank you all.  Thank you Coach and good luck.

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