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March 19, 2014

Jordan Bachynski

Jahii Carson

Herb Sendek


THE MODERATOR:  Please welcome to the podium student-athletes, Jordan Bachynski and Jahii Carson.  Questions, please.

Q.  Jahii, it's always difficult for point guards, especially scoring point guards, to kind of figure out when to try to get everyone involved and when to take things over.  Just how difficult has that been lately for you, given the fact that you guys have kind of struggled offensively?
JAHII CARSON:  Now, you know, I just got to let the game come to me.  I got to be aggressive.  I think that helps my teammates get in their rhythm and get better shots.  When I'm aggressive, I think it's better for us offensively because we can get other players other shots as well, because the defense can't sit and help on me, they have to help my team.  They have to guard my teammates.  Being aggressive helps us.

Q.  Jahii, no matter how much basketball you played before this and how much play after, you'll never have the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.  Knowing that this is your first and only shot at it, your thoughts at how important it is for you to play in the tournament but also play well and even try to make some noise?
JAHII CARSON:  Yes, definitely.  You know, this is a dream come true.  As a kid growing up, I definitely watched all the NCAA Tournament games I could, and with this being my first time here, I definitely see it's a main goal for our team the make some noise.  We've played some good teams.  We can compete with anybody in the country.  It's going to be a big stage for us to finally show we can play with everybody.
THE MODERATOR:  Jordan, what do you see from Texas?
JORDAN BACHYNSKI:  They're a really good team.  I mean, they're really big on the inside, and it's going to be a great test for me and the test of our team.  I mean, we've got a game plan and we're going to stick to it.

Q.  Along those same lines, Jordan, how many teams have you played with not just the big front court, but as many bodies as they have there that they can throw at you?
JORDAN BACHYNSKI:  I think the only team that really kind of compares with them is Marquette.  They were really big and something different than we had faced all year up until then.  And I think we responded well as a team, and we figured out how to attack that, and I think we're going to do kind of the same thing.

Q.  What would you say about the job Herb has done this year in getting you guys back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009?
JAHII CARSON:  I think he's done a fantastic job of, you know, preparing us for this moment.  He's been talking to us about taking it one step at a time, one game at a time, and just being focused and connected as a team.  I think with him guiding us, that we followed his lead and he's never been scared of anything.  He's just always game by game and ready to lead us.  We follow his lead, and now we've been here, we're here now, and I just want to give my hat off to Coach Herb.  He's been a great coach to us all season and a great leader.

Q.  Jordan, much has been made about Herb's record when he has five or more days to prepare, he's six and one in the first round of NCAA Tournament games.  What do you attribute that to, that program-wide starting with the top at Herb?
JORDAN BACHYNSKI:  He's a great coach.  He knows what needs to be done to prepare.  He uses everyone around him.  He isn't the guy who just sits in a room and comes up with schemes of his own.  He really does include everyone in the coaching staff and we'll go at it in practice.  If something doesn't work, he's willing to change it to what best fits our team.  I think just taking advantage of everything around him is what makes him a great coach.

Q.  Jahii, their backcourt has not been a great shooting team all year.  Do you play much zone?  Do you sag off people or sort of press the action, extend the defense?
JAHII CARSON:  We keep our defense the same.  We're going to pressure the basketball, make it hard for them to get it to the post to finish.  We're going to stay in our gaps and make it also difficult for them to throw the ball inside.  The more pressure you have, I think it's the more difficult they have, and once they swing it, we'll jump in our gaps and make it that much harder to get it to the bigs.

Q.  How do you pace yourself, Jordan, both mentally and physically being the last game of the day?
JORDAN BACHYNSKI:  We've had a few games this past year that have been really late, and we like it.  I mean, you just got to kind of shorten the day a little bit and just treat it like any other game.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?

Q.  Jordan, one more.  Given Texas's ability to rebound the basketball, how important is your role going to be in the game tomorrow, especially when it comes to staying out of foul trouble?  You have to be on the floor.
JORDAN BACHYNSKI:  Yeah.  I think it's not only my job to rebound, but in order for us to be successful, yes, I do need to rebound, but it needs to be everybody on the floor.  They don't send one guy, two guys to the backboards.  They send everyone on the team.  Unless we have everyone on our team boxing out and going after rebounds, that's what we need to be successful.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else?  Gentlemen, thank you.  Good luck.  Herb Sendek has been the coach at Arizona State since 2006.  Counting his time at Miami and Ohio and North Carolina State, this is his eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament, his second with the Sun Devils.  Coach, congratulations on the season so far and welcome to Milwaukee.  Say a few words before we take some questions.
COACH HERB SENDEK:  Well, thank you very much for the introduction.  Obviously our team is very excited to be here, to be part of March Madness.
Two of the guys on Selection Sunday when we paused for just a second to catch our breath after the announcement that this experience certainly will be something they can treasure and cherish the rest of their lives.

Q.  Herb, talked to you a little bit about this, but Rick was talking earlier about the Providence days and how you like to work 17, 18 hours days.  When you think back to those times, what do you remember most?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  They really were the best of times.  I was so fortunate as a young coach to have tremendous mentors and teachers, to be afforded opportunities, and certainly included would be my experience with Coach Barnes.
He was a young coach at the time, had already done a miraculous job at George Mason.  Came into Providence and helped continue the great tradition that that school has in men's basketball and, you know, just -- it just always was a great reminder being around him that, you know, you could stay grounded and be an ultimate gentleman.
I've said it over and over, he's the kind of guy that if you have a son who plays basketball, you want him to play for Coach Barnes because he's that good a person, and when you look at his track record at Texas, it's absolutely remarkable what he's done.

Q.  He dated your guys first meeting back to 1978.  He was really crystal clear about it to 1978 Pittsburgh basketball camp.  Do you remember the same thing?  Any idea of like how you -- why that was -- that particular thing was so memorable to him?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  Back in that day it was kind of preclub basketball.  And so camps were huge, and so all the coaches spent the summer working at camps.  And if you were an aspiring coach, if you were in college, you worked as a counselor.  If you were a player, you maybe picked a camp or two to go to in the summer.  And the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh at that time, dear friend, great mentor, Tim Grgurich, had a fantastic basketball camp called Play Basketball Day Camp.  And he also had Coach Shae, Coach Maloney, two great coaches that I'm very close with, working together with him.
Coach Barnes, even though he was from North Carolina, came up and would work the camp.  And that's when I first had an opportunity to meet Coach.

Q.  He also raved about you.  He said obviously even more than basketball coach, he said you were a better person.  What's your reaction when you hear something like that from someone obviously you respect a lot?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  Obviously I'm humbled and flattered by it, but really as a young coach with an opportunity to work for him, you know, he showed me a lot.  He taught me a lot, and he was just somebody -- he just always thoughtful, always kind and considerate.  I think it's best summed up by what I said a second ago.  You know, as much as this time of year, anytime of year, for that matter, in sports people focus on winning.  If you win, did you win enough?  I mean, he's just the ultimate gentleman.  He's a good person, and I think he sees his vocation as stretching beyond winning a basketball game.  He realizes, you know, that he has a greater mission as a teacher and a leader.  And there's some guys who talk that way, but they don't fulfill it.  He does on a daily basis, and that's what I take away from Coach as much as anything.

Q.  Herb, six and one all time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Your record with five or more days to prepare is especially outstanding.  What have you found works for you and why have you been successful in those scenarios?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  I don't think there's any rationale or logic.  If you turned it on us and said, why has your team gotten off to such a slow start the last three games, I'd be like, I don't know.  How could I possibly be mystical enough to tell you why?
You know, I think things just happen sometimes and it's hard to have a reason or an explanation.  Sometimes, you know, if you're fortunate, you can put together a statement like you did that maybe puts us in a positive light and -- you don't have to look very hard to put a similar statement together that would make us look, you know, far less deserving of a compliment.

Q.  Herb, just looking over your roster, so many of the guys started their college careers elsewhere.  How did this come together as a team, what were the challenges, and did it happen right away or a process for you?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  It really is a unique group, to your point.  Maybe more so than any team we've ever had.  Because we do have so many new players that have come together to form this year's team and they've come from so many different paths.  And so we didn't have a lot of time, you know, to come together as a team.  It's not like this group has been together for years.  But we have a high character team, good guys who I think generally like each other, and I think that has helped tremendously.

Q.  Are you worried that Steve Patterson is giving a scouting report and the inside story to Rick?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  I am.  I'm certain they've had some late night strategy sessions.  Obviously Steve worked at Arizona before taking the job at the University of Texas.  And, as you may know, he has a long background in basketball, so given all our top secrets away.

Q.  Coach, Coach Barnes was asked about being able to draw experiences from the League, the Big 12, obviously one of the top leagues in the country.  Pac-12 is another top league in the country.  What can you draw from your league play, taking it into this game?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  I think both teams played in outstanding leagues.  We both have just finished a gauntlet of a schedule.  Doug told me recently that I think our last 16 games were against teams who finished in the top 100 of the RPI.  I'm sure Texas has a similar type of schedule coming from the Big 12.
Obviously when you have a lot of those kinds of experiences, you know, it requires you to get better and requires you to improve.  Sometimes it brings out the best in you and other times it does get the best of you.
But I think by this time of the year, not just the players on our team or Texas, everybody has been through rigorous schedules.  And just occurred to me as the names were going up on sun afternoon, that almost regardless of what bracket you were in, no matter who were you matched up, as a coach you wouldn't look at the team sitting across from you and say, boy, we got a good draw.  They all in their own way present great challenges.  There's just so many good quality teams.

Q.  Herb, I wanted to ask you about Jahii Carson.  He's been such a special talent.  At the end of the day, this will be his first and only crack at the NCAA Tournament.  I want to get your thoughts on how nice it would be to see him not only get opportunity to play on the stage but perform well and maybe even advance along the way?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  Sure.  I think the first step for our team came Sunday when we actually earned a bid to a NCAA Tournament, our guys were filled with joy.  That was something that they really worked hard to accomplish.  And, you know, to have this opportunity I know means a great deal to them.
Now that we're here, you know, I think they're intent on playing their best and everybody wants to advance.  To do that, you got to be at a really high level.  But it's great that Jahii, who has certainly brought a great deal of attention to our program, gets this opportunity to perform on this kind of stage, you know, like any other in college basketball.
You know, I would dovetail and say the same thing for the other guys on our team, especially our seniors.

Q.  Herb, when you see Texas's front court, what do you see and how do you mitigate any advantage they might have there?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  I've been tremendously impressed with their front court, obviously.  Cameron Ridley to me has a very, very bright future in basketball.  He's one of the best college front court players that we've seen in some time.  You know, he's got great size.  His hands are unbelievable.  He seems to me to catch everything.  He finishes around the basket.  He has a presence on defense blocking shots.  He moves well when he defends ball screens.  He just really is impressive, and there's no way to simulate what he brings when you try to prepare for Texas.
Jonathan Holmes, the young man we tried to recruit a little bit, we didn't get very far, we're equally impressed with his versatility.  At 6' 8", 230, he scores inside, he scores outside.  He can shoot the three, he can post up.  He puts the ball on the floor.  Both of those guys do a terrific job rebounding the ball.
So, we have tremendous respect for their front court, and I know it's going to be a great challenge for our team.
THE MODERATOR:  With all your previous tournament experience, what have you learned about what makes the difference in tournament time, winning and losing?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  Yeah.  There's a lot of variables.  I don't know if there's any one special ingredient.  I think it always serves you well to have good battles, to have a team that can win in different ways.  Obviously at the end of the day, whether we think back to Bill Walton's great performance, Jack "Goose" Givens, so many wonderful memories through the years.  Players step up and do amazing things this time of year.  And that's really what it comes down to, you know, just talented guys playing at a high level, and if you can get in a groove and maybe get a break or two, who knows.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for Coach?

Q.  The fact that you lost three in a row, Texas lost five out of eight, does that kind of mean anything?
COACH HERB SENDEK:  I don't think it means anything at all, because both of us sit here because we played a whole season.  You know, just, not the make an excuse or to diminish the point that you make, but like four of our last six were on the row at really tough places to play.
So, sometimes those numbers indicate, you know, something that's there and sometimes it can just be, if you dig a little deeper, and they lost, look who they lost to, look where the games were.
You know, very few teams maybe other than Wichita, right, have had some ups and downs by this time of the year.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else?  Coach, thank you.  Good luck.
COACH HERB SENDEK:  Thank you Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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