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October 16, 2013

Lamar Patterson

Talib Zanna


JEFF FISCHEL:  Glad to be welcoming in another new school to the ACC, Pitt.
Guys, there are going to be questions about joining the new conference.  Lamar, what is it like joining the ACC?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  It's great.  Looking forward to a great year.  This conference is shaping up to be one of the best ever.  We're hoping to make sure we perform in it.
TALIB ZANNA:  It's great playing a lot of good schools in this conference.  It's going to be a fun year.
JEFF FISCHEL:  It's a new conference.  How do you set goals?  How do you know how you're going to fit into the conference?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  Our goals are high.  That's where we're going to set them.  That's where they've always been set at.  We just have to, I guess, adjust our style a little bit, tweak it, just go out there and play basketball.  That's what you have to do at the end of the day.
JEFF FISCHEL:  What does that mean, to tweak your style, Talib?
TALIB ZANNA:  Play an up‑tempo game.  ACC is up‑and‑down.  It's going to be fun.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Pitt is known for grinding.  You want to get up‑tempo?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  If we have to.  We'll grind.  We'll get up‑tempo.  At the end of the game we'll grind, wear people out.  That's what we're used to doing.  That's what we have to keep doing.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Questions.

Q.  Talk about joining the new conference with Syracuse and Notre Dame.  Do you feel a little bit you can't get away from Syracuse?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  It's great to come with familiar faces.  Those are two teams we're used to playing.  Nothing will change there.  We'll go back to a Big East style when we play them.
It's good to have also new faces to go along with the old faces.  Change is good.  I'm looking forward to a great year.
TALIB ZANNA:  I think the change is good.  Probably we'll try new things.  New conference, playing schools like North Carolina, Maryland, NC State.  It's going to be fun.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Lamar, you started 66 straight games.  A lot of knowledge acquired over all that time.  Give me a sense of how you've grown as a player.
LAMAR PATTERSON:  I've grown as soon as I stepped on campus watching guys ahead of me, like Brad Wannamaker, Gil Brown, guys like those to look after.  They showed me the way pretty much.
Once I got out there playing my own minutes, I just learned as the game went on.  Like you said, 66 is a lot, but it's just something that happened over the course of time I was there.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Talib, you averaged 10 points a game, leading rebounder.  What are goals for you this season?
TALIB ZANNA:  Win a lot of games.  Just go far in the ACC tournament, win the ACC.  Just have a wonderful year.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Obviously coach has talked about that as well.  For people that don't know, describe Jamie Dixon for us.
LAMAR PATTERSON:  Coach is a hard worker.  He wants everything to be perfect.  He won't have it any other way.  He's going to make sure that we know what is expected out of us.  He's going to get it, I tell you that.  He's going to get it.
He built this program around toughness, defense, unselfishness.  That trend will continue no matter what.
JEFF FISCHEL:  He's been averaging 26 wins a year.  He's kept it going and built on the program.
Talib, what is coach like?
TALIB ZANNA:  He's positive about what he do.  He's serious.  He get his job done.  He make sure once you step on the court, it's business time.
He just push you hard every day, just get the best out of you.

Q.  For years depending on who you would ask, there would be some debate about whether the Big East or the ACC was the premiere conference in college basketball.  In your opinion, is there any doubt now with the influx of you three that the ACC is the premiere league?
TALIB ZANNA:  I think Big East is better, just how physical it is, the fans, the teams.
I know ACC has a lot of schools that win a lot of games, make a lot of history and championships.
Being in the ACC, we have been looking up to since they announced we was in the ACC.  They announced about it in July.  We happy about it.  As basketball, we just have to go in and play the game.
LAMAR PATTERSON:  It's definitely the ACC.  With us coming in, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Louisville next year, it's kind of hard not to say it's the best conference when you add to the teams that are already there.
Now we just have to live up to it as a whole, get as many teams in the tournament as possible, just win as many games.
JEFF FISCHEL:  How is the team different without Trey and Steve?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  He was a leader.  Me and Talib have to fill that void.  Steve was a big, big body in the paint.  He was huge, a hard worker.  Whenever he was on the court, you know you had to work hard.  You knew if he didn't, he was going to kick your butt because he was working hard.
I'm definitely going to miss those guys.  That's college.  Guys come and go.  Just want to finish this year out and then it will be my time to go.
TALIB ZANNA:  We miss Trey and Steve.  You forgot about Dante, too.  We came in together with Dante.  Trey being there, he's a good leader.  He led us every day.  Being a senior, fifth‑year, he have a lot of experience.  He tell us what we have to do just because he's been there for a long time.
Steve is just somebody who was tall, strong.  I bothered Steve every day in practice.  It was really tough for me.  We really miss those guys, so...

Q.  I was struck by the fact that you both said you need to change the way Pitt plays basketball coming into a new league rather than making the teams adjust to you guys.  Is that what coach is saying?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  I didn't necessarily say change completely.  Tweak it a little bit, getting up and down.  That's what we've been working on.
Like you said, teams will have to adjust to us also.  I'm sure our team is not going to want to be being pushed around.  When we do our block‑out drills, that's all we do, push each other around.  It's good to go out there and play against other people for once.
Like you said, they're going to have to adjust to us also.  But we're going to have to do a little bit of adjusting, get up‑tempo a little bit so we're not getting out‑ran, stuff like that.

Q.  What is the one thing about Pitt basketball that ACC fans don't know yet?
TALIB ZANNA:  Just being physical.  We don't take stuff for granted.  We come in, take care of business.  Just how physical and tough we are.
LAMAR PATTERSON:  Just being able to grind stuff out.  When it comes to the end of the game, you think there's no fight left, we've been a team that has consistently shown we have a little bit of fight.  We're going to fight until the horn sounds.  Like Talib said, just the toughness and physicality of the game.  That's something that Dixon instills in us from day one.

Q.  Duke and Carolina have been the powerhouses of the ACC for so many years.  Do you think you guys, Syracuse, Louisville next year, can come in and hang with the big boys of the ACC?
LAMAR PATTERSON:  Yeah, definitely, definitely.  I think that's what the move was about.  I think it was make the league as competitive as it can be.
I think moving us, Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame, all them schools, it's definitely going to give those two schools, the powerhouses, a run for their money for years now to come.
I think the ACC is definitely going to be a special conference.
TALIB ZANNA:  Don't get me wrong, I think we big boys, too (smiling).  I think they should worry about us coming into the conference, too.
LAMAR PATTERSON:  You learn we're pretty much all the same people, like the same things.  We all just are competitors and like to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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