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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: ST. LOUIS


March 20, 2014


Johnny Dawkins

Dwight Powell

Chasson Randle


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

THE MODERATOR:テつ Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell are with us and we'll go right into questions.

Q.テつ Dwight, this is more for you.テつ I am curious on film or just on the court, what you guys have seen this year that might be like Cameron Bairstow, anybody in the PAC‑12 that he reminds you of watching film?
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ Bairstow is a great player.テつ In watching the scout, he can shoot and is physical, great low‑post scorer.
As far as someone in the PAC‑12 that resembles him, he has a similar low‑post game to Tony Parker in ways, but he can also shoot the ball pretty well from midrange.テつ So he's an really good all‑around player.テつ It will be a good match‑up.

Q.テつ Are you anticipating getting the match‑up or with Kirk or is it going to be mixed up a little bit?
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ The way we play it will end up mixing up throughout the game.テつ I will be on him and Stef will be on him, we'll have different guys, depending on the five we have on the court.

Q.テつ This is a follow‑up to that question.テつ And that is, Dwight, you faced some physical people in the PAC‑12, the Bachynski brothers and Aaron Gordon, people like that.テつ I don't know if you faced a twosome that is as physical or a front court as physical as these guys.テつ How confident are you that you guys can match this team physically?テつ I mean, you're not a real strong bulky team like they are.
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ We have to be aware they are going to be going to the glass every time defensively, offensively.テつ They're going to fight for their position hard every possession.テつ Since they are bigger, since they are stronger, we have to make sure we are on point every single possession and use our speed and quickness and move our feet in order to get an advantage for our guys.

Q.テつ Dwight, talk about this is your fourth year you have been anxious to get here and you're finally here.テつ What do you need to do to make sure you are not too excited when you get out there?テつ Something you do to guard against that, make sure you are ready to play and not seeing stars because you are in the NCAA tournament finally.
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ I think definitely one of the focuses is staying in the moment.テつ That comes from staying with our guys.テつ We are going to be spending all of our time with each other in the hotel and are not going to really try to get too distracted by anything going on outside of our immediate group.テつ Just staying in the moment, staying present and being focused on the task at hand.テつ And the game we have coming up and now focus on the practice we have.

Q.テつ Is that something you are able to do easily?
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ Definitely.テつ The guys are always bringing the thoughts back to the task at hand and the goals we set for each other.テつ So we try to just keep focused on that.テつ So far we have been able to do that.

Q.テつ This is a question for both of you guys.テつ How prepared are you guys in terms of the schedule you guys face with the Michigans and the UConns?テつ It had you prepared for this moment for New Mexico in the NBA tournament.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Chasson, you first.
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ Definitely I think so.テつ We prepared this season very well for moments like this.テつ And we're all excited for the opportunity and, you know, it should be fun come tomorrow night, or evening.
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ Yeah, I think the coach has definitely put together a great schedule preseason for us.テつ And also playing in the PAC‑12 and in the PAC‑12 tournament has prepared us in a lot of ways for this venue, for this team, and we look forward to the competition.

Q.テつ For Chasson, playing this close to home, talk about what you have planned, what your family has planed for being here.
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ Well, I know I have, you know, about 30 people coming from home.
But as far as plans, I am not really sure.テつ I am just happy to be here, you know, and excited for the opportunity to have my family see me so close.

Q.テつ How does someone from Rock Island end up in Stanford?
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ A lot of hard work, both in the classroom and, you know, on the basketball court.

Q.テつ Chasson, first one for you.テつ And I will have a follow‑up for you, Dwight.テつ Chasson, could you talk about the guard play of you guys against looking at New Mexico, Kendall Williams and Hugh Greenwood?
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ We match up really good.テつ They are really good guards and control their team very well.テつ It will be a matter of us just locking in defensively and trying to keep them out of the paint.

Q.テつ And Dwight, the two‑headed monster of Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, is it the physical play that concerns you most?テつ If you looked at something about them, what would concern you most about that?
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ I wouldn't say necessarily concerns me most.テつ I would say more excites me is the challenge we are going to face with how physical they are and how relentless they are.テつ Using their bodies to get positions and rebounds and things of that nature.テつ And they run the floor pretty well for their size and pretty mobile.テつ It's going to be exciting.
We're looking forward to the challenge and are preparing all year for this type of game and hopefully will be able to come out successful.

Q.テつ Chasson, I am curious what you remember of Alex and Kendall from your summer experience in Colorado Springs.
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ Well, I remember them being very good players and, you know, we've been watching a lot of film on them.テつ And same thing, they had great years this year and they wouldn't be here if they‑‑the team wouldn't be here if they hadn't.テつ But they are great players.
Kendall is very good at getting in the paint, finding guys.テつ And he can also shoot the basketball and score in different ways.テつ And I remember Kirk inside just being really physical and tough.テつ So we're going to have to do a good job tomorrow.

Q.テつ For both of you guys.テつ All the talk about physical play and all that, the new rules are supposed to reduce physical play.テつ I am wondering how you've seen that‑‑how the games have been called this season for you guys over the course of the year.テつ Whether we have gotten back to a more traditionally physical game.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Dwight, you are first this time.
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ I wouldn't say necessarily that the game has changed too much as a result of the refereeing.テつ I mean, they obviously have a tough job and they show up every night like we do trying to do their best.テつ So I think it comes down to just players like training harder and more athletic players in the various leagues now.テつ And guys just competing harder, I guess, if that's where the physicalness is coming from I would say is that.
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ And I would just say all we can do is just focus on playing the basketball game and adjust to, you know, how the game is being called.テつ That's part of the game.

Q.テつ How important, since it's the first time for you both being in the NCAA tournament, is that first five minutes going to be and for your team to get the jitters out of the way and make sure that you guys are in there for the whole 40 minutes.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Chasson, lead us off on that one.
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ I think every single minute will be important.テつ Every single possession, especially being on this type of stage.
We are all excited for the opportunity.テつ The best thing is doing it for each other and talking to each other as much as we can to keep each other pumped up and calm and focused.
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ Yeah.テつ I mean, definitely it is going to be an exciting moment, but we are just going to try to enjoy together and stay in the moment together.テつ And like Chasson said, lean on each other.テつ If we get too riled up or anything in that nature, just look in each other's eyes and remember why we are here.

Q.テつ Just wondering, given the way this is situated, lots of fans from Kentucky, Wichita State, Kansas, Kansas State.テつ Does the fact that you traveled a longer distance help you focus at all without more of the kind of the fan outside attention that comes with this experience or is that a nonfactor?
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ I think for the most part it's relatively a nonfactor.テつ I mean, like I said before, we're kind of focused on each other and focused on the game.テつ Whether or not we have fans specifically dedicated to us here or not, I think our goals don't change and our attitudes don't change.

Q.テつ Unrelated follow‑up and then I am done.テつ The two head coaches in the match‑up went at it as college players.テつ I am wondering if any of that has been shared at all as far as their experiences?テつ Or is that just a storyline that people like us think about?
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ I think it is just a storyline you guys think about.テつ But we're definitely aware that Coach Dawkins and their coach played against each other.

Q.テつ Chasson, has Coach Dawkins talked to you about when he played in the NCAA tournament, not necessarily against their coach, but just his first experience sort of as you guys are about to have your first experience?
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ A little bit.テつ Just not too much.テつ I think he's really focused on us as a group and this being our first time.テつ And, you know, he's kind of linked on some of his past experiences, but not too much.

Q.テつ Question for both.テつ I know it's win or go home time.テつ The big focus is getting here to win.テつ How is this moment, this opportunity to play in the NCAA the first time?
THE MODERATOR:テつ Dwight you first, please.
DWIGHT POWELL:テつ Obviously it is a great opportunity and it feels great.テつ But like you said, it is win or go home.テつ And coach always tells us we want to evaluate our season and look at what we have done.テつ We're going to do that at the end.テつ Hopefully that end is not for awhile, but focusing on getting the win for sure.
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ For me it is exciting.テつ Like Dwight said, a great opportunity, but most of all I just want to be able to make some noise while we're here and win some games.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Anything else for the student‑athletes of Stanford?

Q.テつ Chasson, you talked about coming from this general area out to Stanford, a lot of hard work.テつ Growing up, where did you think about going?テつ What schools were you, you know, considering?
CHASSON RANDLE:テつ I cut my list down to Illinois, Purdue, and Stanford.テつ So obviously it was either going to be really close to home or, you know, far away on the West Coast.テつ And I chose to be out on the farm.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time and best of luck.
And we welcome the head coach of the Cardinals, Johnny Dawkins.テつ We'll ask him to start off with a statement about his team being here in St. Louis and then will go to questions.
COACH DAWKINS:テつ Well, I am excited to be here, of course.テつ Excited to still be playing.テつ I look at our seniors who've ' had an incredible journey to get here with the expectations that they had.テつ I am thinking of Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis, John Gage, Robbie Lemons, all those guys that started with me and see the journey end with them having an opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament is a moment that I think will last them for the rest of their lives.

Q.テつ Coach, when you watched Cameron Bairstow on tape, what jumped out at you about his style of play?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ I think he is one of the best big men we have seen all year.テつ He's a great player.テつ Tremendous improvement over the course of his career, which means he's a hard worker.テつ What jumps out is his versatility with his size.テつ Not only is he a very physical low‑post player, but a very capable shooter on the perimeter from 15 to 17 feet as well.テつ So he's a very good player and like I said, very physical player.

Q.テつ What do you think would be the biggest challenge you guys will face against Bairstow and Kirk as far as the front court goes?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ Of course his size and physicality is something that they have and they use very well throughout the season.テつ The games I've watched the guys in the post do well in there.テつ And not to sell Williams short, who is also a great player on the perimeter for them, the Player of the Year and First Team All‑Conference several years.テつ And a very good team.テつ A very confident team and those big guys are very talented.

Q.テつ Coach, I know you guys make fewer than six three‑pointers a game.テつ The Lobos rank fourth in the country in 2‑point defense.テつ They pack it in with those big guys.テつ I am curious, their defense, have you seen anything quite like it this season that you can compare it to?テつ What do you do to combat their strength which is 2‑point field goal defense?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ With that size and girth and size there's not much room in the paint oftentimes because of the way they play.テつ They do a really good job of playing back line defense.テつ They shrink the floor and make it difficult to get to the basket and we have to find ways to execute through all of that.テつ That is part of what we have to do this week is figure out a way to be successful versus that defense.

Q.テつ Coach, what do you remember about your playing days against Coach Neal?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ That is a long time ago.テつ What I remember about Craig, he is a free spirit on the court.テつ You could tell he really loved the game.テつ He played it with joy.テつ If you watched him play you can see a young man having fun doing what he is doing out there and I always liked that about any player.テつ I think it's the best game in the world.テつ For me, I'd like to see athletes enjoying it.テつ And he was one of those guys that exemplified that.

Q.テつ Coach, in this match‑up what are your keys?テつ What does your team have to do to be successful?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ I mean our keys are pretty straightforward, you know.テつ We have to defend well.テつ I mean we have to defend‑‑I mean their ability to score in the low post.テつ You know, we also need to make sure that we compliment that defense with good offensive execution.テつ I don't think we can have our offense hurting our defense.テつ And those are the couple of things that we have to do.

Q.テつ I know you mentioned Kendall Williams a little bit earlier.テつ I am curious when you have a two‑post kind of team like the Lobos have, how much of the focus, does it in any way kind of go away from the guard play and what Kendall Williams is capable of?テつ How hard is it to balance your defensive focus when they have a front inside‑out game?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ It is very difficult.テつ They are a talented team.テつ They are strong.テつ They have several strengths.テつ Kendall is a great guard, one of the best guards in our country.テつ And of course their front line is very good, one of the best in the country as well.テつ And that's a great balance.テつ When you have that, you usually have a very successful team, and that's why they are having the season that they are having.
We just have to find a way to just continue to defend the way we have most of the season.テつ Our team is very good defensively for the most part and we have to make sure that we lock in on the guys that can, you know, cause the most problems.テつ And we've done that fairly well this season and we have to turn it up even a level versus this team because the threats are so dangerous, both inside and out.

Q.テつ Coach, there was a lot of talk here today about the physical nature of New Mexico.テつ And I am wondering with the new rules supposedly reducing physical play, have you seen the game sort of evolve back to the way it had been traditionally?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ You know what?テつ I haven't really paid as much attention to that.テつ I mean it's something where‑‑everyone has a style of play.テつ I mean they are a physical team, they are a big team.テつ That's what makes our game so beautiful.テつ There are teams that are quick and undersized.テつ And I think you have to allow teams to play the way they play within reason.テつ And they do a very good job of using their big guys.テつ It is a strength of theirs, and they should.
For us we play a slightly different game and I hope we are allowed to play the way we are able to play.テつ So I think the refs have done a fairly good job this year in our conference in watching games, how they have been called.テつ And I don't see that changing in the NCAA Tournament.

Q.テつ And just as a follow, is the NCAA Tournament because it's all on the line now, does it lend itself more to a half‑court kind of game?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ I think it may lend itself more to a half‑court game not because of refereeing.テつ But I think people probably value possessions even a little more.テつ During the regular season and preseason I think some guys, you know, may settle for good possessions and not great possessions.テつ I think when you get to the tournament it becomes more great possessions.

Q.テつ I wondered if you could talk to people here about what Chasson has meant to your team this year and the fact that he's able to play on this stage, relatively close to home?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ You know I'm so proud of Chasson.テつ I think he's had a great year and I think deserving of First Team All PAC‑12 recognition.テつ And I am more proud of him because of how he responded after last season.テつ You know, he had a difficult sophomore year and it really kind of shows who you are, you know, the following season.テつ And I thought he made the adjustments necessary.テつ He grew his game.テつ And now he has had a fantastic year for us.テつ And now we wouldn't be here if Chasson Randle had not played the way he played this season for us.
THE MODERATOR:テつ And regarding him playing so close to home, good thing?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ Regarding close to home, I think it is a great thing.テつ His family doesn't get to see him play as much because we are out west.テつ It gives his family an opportunity to come and see and support him and I think that's good for us.

Q.テつ Trying to draw a comparison from Cameron Bairstow, anybody you played this year or in year's past.テつ Does Cameron Bairstow compare to anybody you have seen before?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ In comparison, I mean, you know, some of the big players in our conference, Tony Parker from UCLA.テつ The Wear twins from UCLA.テつ Combination of those type players, looking at one of our most recent games, I think he is a combination because of the size and physicality of a guy like Tony Parker.テつ But his ability to step out like the Wear twins from UCLA.テつ He's a combo player and I haven't seen anyone quite like him in any one guy, but a combination of a few players in our conference.

Q.テつ Just as a follow‑up, he's the guy that averaged 9 points a game a year ago and now he's over 20.テつ He has kind of jumped on to this national stage.テつ Do you think from what you have seen on film that he is worthy of All‑America type status?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ Having watched the amount of tape that I watched ‑‑ that's what I do ‑‑ he's a terrific player.テつ I haven't seen players at his size that are any better than he is.テつ So he's worthy of any accolades that he receives.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Anything else for the head coach?

Q.テつ Hi, coach.テつ Could you talk a little bit about Dwight Powell and his‑‑where you see him moving on into the NBA.テつ How do you see him matching up at the NBA?テつ He's a slender guy with a lot of talent.テつ How do you think he can play in the NBA?
COACH DAWKINS:テつ Well I think Dwight Powell will have a long NBA career.テつ I think his skill set is suitable for that level of play.テつ I think his versatility.テつ He is 6'10", 235.テつ The way the NBA moved to more small ball I think a lot of forwards are forwards similar to him.テつ Guys that are more versatile, can step out, put the ball on the floor and pass.テつ I think he fits especially the way the NBA has transitioned into a little more small ball.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right, thank you very much.テつ And best of luck.
COACH DAWKINS:テつ Thanks guys, take care.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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