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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: PHILADELPHIA


March 24, 2013


Steve Fisher

Jamaal Franklin

James Rahon

Chase Tapley


PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

Florida Gulf Coast 81
San Diego State 71


COACH FISHER: Florida State is a very, very good team, and they played terrific. I want to tell you what I told our team. I told our team, and I went through the three seniors and our senior walk‑on and told them how proud I was of what they've done to grow the footprint and the brand of San Diego State basketball. Chase is the only player in the history of the school that's gone to four straight NCAA tournaments. He's done it with dignity, he's done it with class, and he's done it the way a parent and a coach would want.
I told James Rahon the same thing, that I wish that I'd had him on the court for four years. I wish that we were able to travel with his family to Texas, but we're not. That doesn't take away from what he's brought to the program.
And I talked to DeShawn along those same lines.
So when it ends, it ends dramatically. It ends with a train wreck and it ends‑‑ it's never fun. And there are tears, and there should be. But the pride through the tears is what I will remember. This is a team that stayed as a team.
Jamaal is here. He's our junior. And I told Jamaal, I've coached for over 40 years. I've never had a guy with the spirit, with the commitment, with the will to win more so than him. And this is what we do. And I also told him, and my final comment was, this is still your program. You are still part of this program. When you leave, you are still part of this program. Know that. Be proud of that; wherever you go, we want you back. And that's the beauty of what we've been able to do in 14 years; guys come back because they appreciate what happened and they reflect on the successes we've had.
So it's over and it's tough, and we'll move on like everybody that's not going to be playing next week. But I'm proud of our team.

Q. Jamaal, after the game was over you stayed on the court to watch what was going on. I was wondering if you could describe for us what was going through your head at that moment. And then secondly, your thoughts on the point guard, Comer.
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: Basically if we ever lost when teams celebrate like that I always stay on the court and watch because at the end of the day that's motivation for me. I'm always going to be in the gym working out, and stuff like that needs to be in my mind so I can motivate myself to get better and motivate my teammates, so stuff like that always stays with me, never goes away.

Q. You're right in the game, it's a two‑point game and they go 17‑0. What happened there and what's it like, the feeling as that's happening?
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: We've been prepared to play on the road. You see that we went to a lot of good places, UNLV, New Mexico, we even played Arizona and Hawai'i and they had good sections. The fans don't bother us, we just made some mistakes and got to get back to the drawing board for the next time we get ready to play next year. They're a good team, and we just got to look at where we messed up and get ready.

Q. Jamaal, I saw you guys try to huddle up with three or four minutes to go and say something to them. You looked agitated like you were jumping up and down. What was it like to face this phenomenon? This is a 15 seed and you just kind of happened to a maelstrom here.
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: I said before, seeding doesn't mean anything come March Madness. The seeding is pretty much just a number it says next to you in the bracket. I just huddled my teammates up and I told them don't give up, we've got a lot of time left, let's fight until the end don't starting nonchalant and let them win. Play 110 percent until it goes 0:00 and you hear that horn and they gave that to me and we went hard. We made the lead that they had dropped for a little bit, but at the end of the day they got the victory and shout out to them for being a good team and staying composed and winning the game, and I wish them the best going to the Sweet 16.

Q. What did they do specifically that made it difficult for you guys to score? It seemed like they were causing turnovers, forcing tough shots. What did you see out there that caused so many problems?
CHASE TAPLEY: They just ran the floor like they did the last game, and that's what we preached on, and they just made plays toward the end of the game.
JAMES RAHON: Like Chase said, they made plays. We weren't able to counter their runs, and that ended up being the difference.

Q. It looked like you and Sherwood Brown talked a little bit at the end. I was wondering what you said to him.
CHASE TAPLEY: I just told him, don't stop now, keep going. We were in that same position two years ago, so just keep it rolling. That's all I said. I said good luck.
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: I just told him just keep being the leader that he is, make sure the ball is in his hands, make sure he does what he has to do to keep his team rolling. And just make sure they stay together because those guys we played against right now are just like us, they all love each other and they all play together. They just want to win. And you can see at the end of the game, a lot of teams win games and just leave the court, but they embraced it. They embraced it together, not just one another.

Q. Sherwood was the primary draw on Otto Porter, Jr. In the last game, a guy who's going to the NBA and Sherwood is hoping to play a little bit and he had a nice game again today. Talk about a guy like that ought to deserve a future in basketball.
CHASE TAPLEY: You're talking about Otto Porter, Jr.?

Q. Sherwood Brown. Sherwood went up against Porter on Friday.
CHASE TAPLEY: Man, he's a confident player. He probably comes in the game, he doesn't care about who's going to the NBA. He's a senior guard, he's been through it, and this is the biggest stage, and it's when you make your name, and that's what he's doing.
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: I can relate to that, but at the same time I'm not an NBA scout, I can't tell if he's going to go to the NBA. But if he stays grinding and stays with the confidence he has and keeps working, he definitely can because the best thing about this basketball thing is you've just got to have confidence and confidence can take you a long way.

Q. This is for any of the players: You guys got kind of a crash course in this team, you saw the film of them playing Georgetown. Did anything they did surprise you or was it different actually playing against them as opposed to seeing them and breaking them down on film?
JAMES RAHON: Well, one of our keys was to stop their transition, and we knew that they were a good running team and they made plays in transition, and we weren't able to stop them and counter their runs. That was the game.
CHASE TAPLEY: Just like what James said, their transition, you're watching film on a team, you really don't get to go through it until you're out there on the floor, and towards the end of the game they just killed us in transition and we didn't get back. We didn't counter on their runs. They're just a good team that do what their coaches says and what Jamaal said, just embrace each other and feed off each other and care about who's getting the most points. They just want to win, and that's what they did.

Q. If you could further also delve into what their offense was that made them so effective.
COACH FISHER: They're a good basketball team. They have proved that all season long, and obviously they proved that again today. We put keys to the game, and I told them the No.1 key to the game is runs. That's been a theme of ours all year. If you can control the runs of your opponent and if you can get runs yourself, and we've put 8‑0 with our keys, 8‑0 or greater, we want to have at least one and we don't want our opponent to have any.
Obviously they went on an 18 or 19‑0 run on us when it was 54‑52 or something like that. We contributed a little bit to it, but they did it. They ran on us and I thought we got anxious, gambled a little bit, and that added to them running downhill. But they are to be complimented for how they played and for the momentum that they will carry into the Sweet 16.

Q. I was going to follow up with that, it seemed like it just kind of got away from you, sort of like what happened on Friday when they beat Georgetown. Did it just get away from you that quickly?
COACH FISHER: The game that we play, it can happen. You miss two or three shots in a row and give them two or three straight baskets and then the feel, the flavor, the whole way you approach it, if you're not careful, can cause you to not be quite as thoughtful in how you play, give them angles to drive, gamble a little bit, and every time we did that they took advantage of it.
You know, we had several times that looked like we had a chance to get a basket that turned into turnovers and lay‑ups or dunks for them going the other way.

Q. You've been around this game a long time, and what I think is crazy about this occurrence is so often kids are what‑‑ they adopt what they're told they are. If they're low major players they act like low major players. These guys didn't act like low major players. They had such confidence. Have you ever seen anything like that where guys were so much more confident than everyone told them they should be?
COACH FISHER: They play with a swagger, and they have a right to do that. You can have that look and feel, but you have to compete and play to earn your spurs, and they've done that. They play extremely hard. They play tremendous together, and they feed off Comer. He had 14 assists tonight. He finds people, and others know if they run, they're going to get an alley‑oop and they're going to get a chance to look good themselves.
I said yesterday, if we had shirts and skins and put all 64 teams in a room, you wouldn't consider them anything other than right in the mix with the upper tier of the people that we're out playing, and they've played that way, and they believe that they're good, and that's a huge part to winning.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that run that kind of separated them, and do you think your guys kind of ran out of legs at the end there?
COACH FISHER: I don't think so. I don't think so. We have been a team all year that we've been inconsistent with our perimeter shooting. I thought we had some great looks that we didn't get down, but when that happens, you have to say what is our staple, what are we known for, and we take great pride in how we guard. When you have a team that's laying it in, dunking it in, you're not doing what you need to do yourself.
Now, they have a lot to do with that. They ran. They ran hard, they ran consistent, and they ran effectively. They're playing with a kind of momentum that they have earned. I was coaching when Hank Gathers died, and we played Loyola Marymount in the second game of the tournament in 1990. We had a lot of guys back from a team that had won a national championship the year before, and they ran us off the floor. They had a momentum and a flow that captivated not only a community but the country.
And Florida Gulf Coast is getting that right now. How far that will take them, who knows. But I know that they're not going to be afraid when they make that trip to Arlington to play in the Sweet 16.

Q. Are they the best 15 seed that we've seen in the tournament, and maybe should they have been a higher seed?
COACH FISHER: They're a good team. They are a good team. And Jamaal made a comment that you come in, and in today's world, a flow and a momentum and how you're playing when you come in here can have everything to do with how you play when you're in the tournament. They are a very, very good basketball team, period.

Q. I asked this question knowing that you're very proud of this team, that you just had the second best year in program history, but I feel like a lot of people had very high expectations for this team this year. People were waiting, whether it was the conference play or the conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament for things to really click and come together, and it doesn't seem like it ever really did. Can you comment on that and just the way you performed versus maybe how people expected you to?
COACH FISHER: When I first came to San Diego State, we won five games. We were 0‑14 in the league. We did not win a road game for almost two years. After every loss, the booster fan base and general public would say, that's okay, that's okay, don't think about leaving us, we're going to be okay, we're going to be okay.
When you have a measure of success, and we've had that, we have captivated a community. We had to beg people to come. This year we sold out every game. That raises everyone's expectations, starting with our team and permeating through every graduate, every fan, every student, everybody that follows our team.
We wanted to win the league. We didn't. We wanted to win the conference tournament. We didn't. We wanted to make the NCAA Tournament. We did. We won a game. Only the second time we've done that. But it's not enough for anybody, including me. We want more, and we talked about that. We will continue to talk about it.
But I think that's what happens when you grow a program. You raise expectations, and I'm proud of the fact that we do have a program now.

Q. Obviously you coached a couple teams that became national phenomenons in the off week there or the off time in between rounds here. How difficult is it going to be for them this week to focus on basketball when so many other elements are going to be pulling at their time, Florida Gulf Coast?
COACH FISHER: I think that they will embrace what they've done. It appears as if that's what their coaches have told them to do. Don't shy away from it. You have to know when it's time to work and when it's time to bask in the adulation that's there for them.
Some people never‑‑ most people never, ever get to experience what they're going through now, and I told our team that. My greatest disappointment is we're not going on to have the feel of what it would be like to play in that next round. They're going to have that. So you can't lock your door and not answer your phone, but you've got to know when enough is enough. They've done a good job with it leading into this, and I think that their coaches have done a great job as to how they've allowed them to embrace it but know when they had to go to work. And I can't think that that would change now.

Q. As a coach, how difficult is it to trust a team to play the offensive style that they do, the kind of very open, up‑and‑down style as opposed to forcing them into more conservative, slower offenses? As a coach, how much do you have to trust your team and philosophically how do you make that choice?
COACH FISHER: Good players need to have freedom to play. They need to be‑‑ there needs to be framework; there is that. But they have freedom to make decisions and make plays, and the trust that they can tell that their coaches have in them is very evident. They're unafraid. You can't be afraid to make a mistake, and they have shown that from what I've seen and the film I've watched on them. They have proven that there is freedom, there's structure but there's freedom, and they play with that kind of success now that allows everything about what they do to grow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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