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March 23, 2013

Solomon Hill

Mark Lyons

Jordin Mayes

Sean Miller


Arizona テや 74
Harvard テや 51

THE MODERATOR:テつ We have the University of Arizona representatives on the stage.テつ Joining us are Mark Lyons, Jordin Mayes and Solomon Hill.テつ We will start with a brief opening statement from Coach Miller.
COACH MILLER:テつ Well, obviously we're thrilled to be advancing to the Sweet 16.テつ The history of Arizona speaks for itself, and I really feel like when we enter the NCAA Tournament and this time of year we not only represent ourselves, but we represent all the great players and teams of the past.
Coach Olson and everything, he built us and put us in the position that we're in today, and it's that incredible tradition that we're always reminded of as we take the court and being in the Sweet 16.テつ We begin to build our own tradition or continue it in a very, very positive way.
These three guys up here were the heart and soul of today's win.テつ Everybody talks about trying to be a true team, always be ready.テつ Jordin Mayes' performance today with a couple of guys who got injured, Kevin fouling out, we needed him to play his best and he's stepped up the last month.
But today he played a really strong game on offense and defense; and the other two guys here, two seniors have been through it all.テつ It's their time of year and for them to take our team to the Sweet 16 and have 27 wins, I think says a lot not only about their ability as a player, but who they are as people, too.

Q.テつ You guys had back‑to‑back possessions in the first half where Solomon you set up a back screen, and Mark you got the lob and I think, Jordin, you threw the passes.テつ Can you talk about those plays and what made you think those things would work?
COACH MILLER:テつ Don't say the name of the play.
SOLOMON HILL: テつJust to stall the defense.テつ They stayed on the ball.テつ They didn't attack the gaps, so when Mark made the pass I saw an open possession to screen his guy and my guy didn't help and we got the lob.

Q.テつ Mark, two fantastic games here.テつ How much did you take it upon yourself to step up and be the leader for this team in that spot as the lead guard and really push this team on to the Sweet 16?
MARK LYONS:テつ Honestly, you know, today my teammates got me great shots.テつ It wasn't individual plays that got me shots and things like that.テつ It was drive and kicks, back screens, like he said, back screen lobs, and Jordin throwing the pass and great screens from Solomon.テつ My teammates got me the ball in the right position, and I was able to make shots today.

Q.テつ Solomon, when we talked to you yesterday you seemed to know quite a bit about the Harvard team.テつ What did you see from the match‑up that you liked or were hoping to exploit early on in the game?
SOLOMON HILL:テつ The same thing kind of like New Mexico, Alex Kirk had a great game, most field goal attempts he's taken in a game.テつ So getting the ball down low is something we wanted to do and controlling the boards.テつ I think we had a bigger team, so controlling the boards and limiting them on second shots really controlled the game.

Q.テつ Being the seniors of this group, to what extent was what happened to Georgetown yesterday a cautionary tale.テつ You guys were aware of Harvard and what they were capable of doing.テつ How much did that play in your mind as you took the court not wanting to be that team?
SOLOMON HILL:テつ It's MarchMadness.テつ Anybody can win and that's the mind‑set.テつ Our coaches do a great job of preparing us for the team we're going to play, and we play defense.テつ It doesn't matter the name on the jersey.テつ It's more about what we want to do on defense.テつ You can't take anybody lightly; any game can go any way and that's the way we look at it.
MARK LYONS:テつ Like he said, Harvard beat a good team two days ago and we knew they were capable of beating anybody.テつ It's not the name on the jersey.テつ We went out there and played them like any other team we have to face.

Q.テつ Mark you came to Arizona for opportunities like these.テつ Can you explain the significance of advancing to this point now and realizing this opportunity?
MARK LYONS:テつ You know, it's a great feeling.テつ I'm playing for my original coach who recruited me, playing with a bunch of guys who believe in me and got faith in me; we've been coming together as a team.テつ It's great to be back in the Sweet 16 and trying to advance.

Q.テつ Solomon, Coach Miller talked about wanting this postseason to be for the seniors and the ride you guys have had together.テつ I wondered if you could revisit when you decided to come to Arizona.テつ Was there a little bit of nervousness about what was ahead because there was so much new to what was happening?
SOLOMON HILL:テつ Not really nervousness, excitement because of what Coach Miller did at Xavier, the amount of tournaments that he played in.テつ I was ready and anxious to get to practice and get with the group of guys that were recruited and a couple of older guys.
It's been a long, bumpy ride.テつ But it's paid off.テつ To get Mark here was a big accomplishment.テつ To get the freshmen going, they're playing great basketball and the coaching staff prepared the players to come out and execute.テつ The guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Q.テつ Jordin, could you describe how the defense picked up the last three weeks or so.テつ How that came about?テつ How you have carried it on?
JORDIN MAYES:テつ Well, Coach has been preaching in practice when he's talking to us about defense, and it's just us going out there and stepping up to the challenge and making sure we go out there and play hard every possession.

Q.テつ For Solomon and Jordin, two years ago you had the chance to play in Anaheim in the Sweet 16, now you go to LA.テつ Can you talk about that, with a large crowd backing behind you?
SOLOMON HILL:テつ It's always great to play close to Tucson.テつ It's a place where our fans can travel and it's LA, so people will want to go out there.テつ I think when we played in Anaheim it was a great feeling; it felt like McKale, and hopefully we can do the same thing in LA.
JORDIN MAYES:テつ We have a great fan base in LA playing in front of our friends and family and the fans coming out, traveling.テつ LA is a good site, so it's a great place to have our fans there cheering for us.

Q.テつ Mark, you guys were well aware of Laurent Rivard and his ability to shoot the 3‑pointer.テつ Did it fall to Nick to lock in on him, or was it something that‑‑ was it shared, a shared responsibility?
MARK LYONS:テつ Honestly, it was Nick and Jordin.テつ That's one of the coach's strategies going into the game.テつ A lot of people guarded him with their 4 man, and that pick and pop was killing.テつ So, you know, Jordin and Nick, we put them on there.テつ Every time he set a screen we switched and the did the things we were supposed to do.テつ Coach's philosophy, we followed it and it worked out for us.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, gentlemen.テつ Questions for Coach Miller?

Q.テつ Sean, was your strategy on Rivard a lot different than New Mexico's then?
COACH MILLER:テつ It was.テつ New Mexico treated him more as a frontcourt player, a 4 man and a lot of teams did.テつ But it's hard to compare one team's game plan to another because it's about who you have on your team, and our personnel is much different than New Mexico.テつ They play two really true frontcourt players, so how they game plan and how we game plan may be different.
I mentioned Arizona State as an example and we defended Arizona State putting a perimeter player on Jonathan Gilling, some teams do that, some don't, because of what he can do from 3, and we played Carrick Felix with a 4 man and sometimes you put your 4 man at risk.
Looking at our game plan today, I thought we did a really good job of keeping quickness and a perimeter player on Rivard.テつ If you watched Harvard against Cal at Cal or against New Mexico, you see when he has big nights from the three.テつ To me it enhances their offense.
So that was the starting point, and then other ball screens and just what they do offensively, we played it very conventional, played it as a team.テつ That was also a big part of our success.テつ We did that well, too.
Our guys on the quick turn around really executed what we wanted to do, and I thought early in the game Harvard had a couple of good looks.テつ We broke down, and they missed them.テつ Sometimes when you get off to a slow start, it's like you're playing catch‑up the entire game, and I think that had something to do with our defense as well.

Q.テつ I was asking Solomon about the beginning.テつ What was that time like for you after you game to Arizona and the recruiting starts?テつ How challenging is that in the scheme of things for you?
COACH MILLER:テつ It's a blur, you know, with each season that has passed by it seems like a decade ago, but those were some hard months.テつ From our staff's perspective, how hard we worked forming relationships and knowing that we had to sign nine or ten players before we ever coached a game.テつ We were fortunate you look at a guy like Solomon; he's been a rock for us, there from the very beginning all the way through.
I've never been prouder of a kid.テつ He has grown and matured off the court every bit as much as he has on the court and I really believe he's going to play in the NBA.テつ He reminds me of a guy that I coached a long time ago when I was an assistant coach, Damien Wilkins.テつ They have that same fire burning inside of them, a competitive spirit and a will that they're not going to be denied, and I believe that's what Solomon is headed.テつ He's been a real, real part of our success when you consider him being on all four of our teams.テつ He's actually the first guy that said he was coming to Arizona while we were a new staff.

Q.テつ Mark Lyons has played well back‑to‑back.テつ What did you like about the way he played today?
COACH MILLER:テつ Mark is filled with confidence and when he gets his confidence going it's contagious on our entire team.テつ He's been in the tournament; there is no game he hasn't really played in other than an Elite Eight or Final Four.
But I don't know if you guys realize this, he's been on four teams that have touched the Sweet 16.テつ My last year at Xavier he was a partial qualifier.テつ He practiced every day and that team made the Sweet 16.テつ He didn't play in the games.テつ Obviously, he played in two others at Xavier and now when you think about this it's four times he's been in the next round.テつ I think it's remarkable, really, it shows you how talented he is and it also shows you the bigger the game, to me, can really bring out the best in him.

Q.テつ Sean, this is your fourth Sweet 16 in six appearances.テつ Any thought about what this does for your resume or legacy?
COACH MILLER:テつ Maybe keeps the pressure off me, I don't know.テつ I'm excited to be in the Sweet 16, I really am.テつ Every one of them are different.テつ This one is different because the experience we had in LA‑‑ we fought so hard against both Colorado and UCLA, and we had a mind‑set of going to that conference tournament and winning.
When we didn't do it, I believe there is a silver lining in it, because we had an extra day of rest, and we came into this tournament, cornered, hungry and ready to do something.テつ Once in a while you win that conference tournament you come into the same tournament feeling so good about yourselves that you're sent home almost before you realize it.テつ I'm really proud of our team.
We have a great group of guys, seniors who have been through a lot, but we have some talented freshmen that have contributed and have done everything we have asked them to do.テつ I'm really excited, and I think the big part for us is hopefully we can continue to play, take advantage of being in the west and playing our very best.
I do believe coming into our tournament we were playing very well and that was misrepresented some because we haven't won all these games, but we started to play our best, I believe, on the LA trip, second half against UCLA, and I think we're still playing at that level.

Q.テつ I wanted to follow up with one more on Mark.テつ Is there more trust on your behalf with him, responsibility given now as opposed to Novemberand December?テつ Obviously, there were reasons you recruited him and you speak so highly of him, but from a coaching perspective, game plan perspective, more on his plate now orif you gave him the keys, so to speak, the entire season and seen what he's been able to do?
COACH MILLER:テつ No, not really.テつ The analogy I've used to describe Mark Lyons is he's a running quarterback, if you use the football analogy.テつ If you have a running quarterback, it's twofold.テつ You try to do things to take advantage of that talent, and at the same time you ask him to maybe get better at some things that he's not as comfortable with.
That's what we've tried to do day‑in, day‑out.テつ There are times when he's a flat‑out combo guard.テつ There are times when it doesn't look the same as a team who has maybe a true point guard.テつ But I wouldn't trade him.テつ When the chips are down, end of games, big games, he's ready.テつ He doesn't give you that nervous energy; he gives you just the opposite, a confidence that I believe has become contagious on our team.テつ We jetted out to a 14‑0 start because of that confidence, and then we hit bumps in the road which sometimes happens over the long course of the season.テつ But we're feeding off his positive energy and his confidence right now.テつ I think Solomon is right there with him.

Q.テつ What was the defensive game plan against Wesley Saunders, and how were you able to shut him down?
COACH MILLER:テつ We're lucky because Solomon Hill sometimes plays the power forward for us, and he's more of a perimeter player than a post player and did a great job.テつ And our freshmen, Brandon Ashley and Kevin Parrom, we asked him to do that, as well, and that's one of the reasons Brandon fouled out.テつ Wesley, so good at getting to the foul line.
We just tried to play his drive and have a guy who was responsible on him and understand that Webster and Rivard were excellent 3‑point shooters and not letting them get open looks.

Q.テつ Sean, you were talking about tradition in Arizona and pressure.テつ What's it like coming to Arizona trying to live up to that?
COACH MILLER:テつ I don't try to do that.テつ Pressure is something that we put on ourselves. テつI can't imagine putting anymore pressure on what we do than wealready ‑‑ we have high expectations as a team and as a program.テつ That's why you want to be at Arizona because you have everything you need to be the most successful you can be.
We have as great of fans as there is in college basketball.テつ If you've been to McKale for our home games, it's a great place to play at.テつ If you think about the legacy and the tradition, whether it be players or teams, the pressure, that's why you want to be at Arizona, both as a player and as a coach so that you can go for it all, and knowing that sometimes you're not going to win every game; and when you don't, you keep moving forward.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the timeout that you took early in the second half after Webster hit the 3‑pointer to cut it to 15?
COACH MILLER:テつ There are times through our long season where when we have had leads at half, we haven't come out with the same concentration and effort level.テつ We had it pact at halftime, and that pact was we wanted to approach the second half the same way as we approached the beginning of the game, and we didn't do that.
A lot of times it's not a team.テつ It only takes one player, and when that one player lets down, sure enough, they get a three and they get going.テつ So, I know our team well, and I wasn't going to let another second tick.
I really believe that once we came out of that timeout we regained our composurea little bit, not that we were rattled, but we regained that hard play and concentration on defense, and that's what we need to keep advancing.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

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