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March 22, 2013

Shaka Smart

Darius Theus


MODERATOR:テつ We'll open up with questions for the student-athletes.

Q.テつ Darius, we'll start with you.テつ Big matchup here.テつ Can you talk about what you've seen of them and specifically Trey Burke and what you need to do to defend him?
DARIUS THEUS:テつ He's their leader.テつ And we just going to come out and just playing VCU basketball, you know.テつ Pressure the ball, deny the wings.テつ Do what we do.
As long as they're about it, it's just doing what Coach Smart has for us, and then we should be fine.テつ They got some real good players, though.

Q.テつ Could you guys talk maybe specifically about why they're so good with the ball, protecting the ball?
DARIUS THEUS:テつ We just got to cause havoc, I guess, be aggressive on the defensive end.テつ Try to speed them up.
They do a real good job of taking care of the ball, so we just can speed them up and just do havoc.テつ Then I think we can have pretty good success.

Q.テつ Are there things that Burke does that are different from other guards you've seen on film?
DARIUS THEUS:テつ No, I mean he's a good point guard.テつ Probably the best point guard in the country, some say.
We just got to do what we do.テつ You know, we can't make it a big deal about Trey Burke.テつ We just got to be VCU and just do the best we can to speed him up and play our type of basketball.
MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.テつ We'll begin with an opening statement by Coach Smart.
COACH SMART:テつ Thanks.
We're excited about the game tomorrow.テつ Great challenge in University of Michigan.テつ Coach Beilein is someone I've looked up to for a long, long time.テつ When I got my first opportunity at the Division I level, I was coordinator of basketball operations at University of Dayton under Oliver Purnell.テつ And at that time Coach Beilein was at Richmond.テつ They had just joined the Atlantic Ten.
Just gained a ton of respect for him and what he does back then, and followed him over the years, and just really impressed with the programs that he's built.テつ You know, now here at Michigan, he's got tremendous talent and, you know, guys that make a lot of plays.テつ So it will be a heck of a challenge for us tomorrow.
MODERATOR:テつ Questions.

Q.テつ Coach, can you talk about what makes Michigan so good at taking care of the basketball?テつ They turn it over less than anybody in the country.
COACH SMART:テつ Well, I think their system is one that emphasizes spacing.テつ So they always have terrific spacing on the floor.
But more so than that, it's about their personnel.テつ They've got great guards.テつ Trey Burke is, you know, a lot of people's pick for National Player of the Year.テつ I haven't seen a guard better than him.テつ But not only do they have Trey Burke, but they've got several other guards that are very savvy, very poised with the basketball, and they're guys that don't make a lot of mistakes and are hard to speed up.

Q.テつ Is there a worry that if you press too much that you're leaving lanes?テつ You're vulnerable on the backside for them to finish at the rim?
COACH SMART:テつ Well, it's always a risk/reward situation.テつ If you press, you're extending your defense past half court.テつ That's why most people don't press, because they want to get back and pack it in.
But that's not what we do.テつ You know, we press.テつ We extend our defense.テつ We try to make teams uncomfortable.テつ So in answer to your question, there's no doubt that, you know, you're putting yourself at risk sometimes for teams to break the press and get opportunities on the other end.
But, you know, with what we do, hopefully the reward outweighs the risk.

Q.テつ You were very complimentary of Coach Beilein last night and obviously a moment ago.テつ Would you mind talking about some of the specific things that you like about his coaching philosophy and methods?
COACH SMART:テつ Well, we had a guy on our staff, Mike Jones, for two years, my first two years of VCU, who worked for Coach Beilein.テつ So he let us in on some of the stuff on the inside that maybe people wouldn't know about if they hadn't been around him.
And then I've kind of watched him from the outside.テつ I think, first of all, he has a unique system and a unique way of doing things that -- most coaches just kind of follow each other.テつ There's kind of a herd mentality, whatever's working for other people, they're going to do.テつ But he's very unique.テつ He's different.
The way that his offense has worked over the years -- there's actually a screen that we call a Michigan screen because it's a specific type of action that he used way back when he was at Richmond.テつ He used it at West Virginia, and now they're very good at it now at Michigan.
Again, great spacing.テつ They're not so based on specific position.テつ This is our one, this is our two, this is our three, this is our four.テつ They've got a lot of interchangeable guys.テつ I think he's done a great job in recruiting over the years.テつ Certainly he has some very, very recognizable names now.テつ But he's won in previous years with some guys that, you know, most recruiting experts, you know, would never have said were high-level players.
He's someone who has a great eye for talent and a great eye for what's going to work in his system.

Q.テつ Kind of the book on Trey, since he got to Michigan was he was a poised guard, and your system is to shake somebody up.テつ Is this one of those really big tests to see if you could shake up a guy that hasn't been shook up by anybody to this point?
COACH SMART:テつ It certainly is.テつ Yes, I think it's a great test for our guys.テつ And you know, we've played against some terrific guards over the course of this year, but Trey Burke is as good or better than any of them.
It's a great challenge.テつ As my college coach once told me, it's too late to cancel.テつ You know, we're going to play the game and we're going to do everything we can to win the game, and we're looking forward to it.
MODERATOR:テつ Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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