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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: SAN DIEGO


March 20, 2014


Sam Dower, Jr.

Mark Few

Kevin Pangos

David Stockton


SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR:テつ The Gonzaga student athletes, Sam Dower, Junior, Kevin Pangos and David Stockton.

Q.テつ David, could you talk about the journey that you have had this year, a little bit of what has been good or bad about your season and your strength and weaknesses?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ We have had a bit of an up and down season, we have played with injuries, a lot of people have had to step up at different times and I think overall that's got us stronger and helped to prepare us for this tournament.

Q.テつ Sam, you guys have a big size advantage in this match‑up.テつ Is that something that will be a focus for you guys to take advantage of?
SAM DOWER:テつ I wouldn't say it would be a focus.テつ It's definitely a strength.テつ I would say our focus is our defense.テつ We have been playing good defense in the past few games especially in the West Coast Conference, and our defense we are looking to continue to play well there.

Q.テつ Gonzaga has gotten the name of the underdog and continually overachieving.テつ Where are those expectations now and are they hard to lived up to?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ I don't know, we're just trying to win every game we play.テつ It's a new season and anything can happen from here on out and expectations I have no idea but in our locker room I know what it is and that's to win.

Q.テつ How guys handle a power player like Marcus Smart?テつ Any of you?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ He's definitely a tough guy to guard, one of the best in the country, but what we will try to do is rather than leaving a guy on an island, we want him to see a lot of eyes and rather than having one person guard him having more of a team effort.テつ I'm not saying that will stop him but it will definitely help slow him down.

Q.テつ Kevin and David can you talk about Marcus' strengths, what you see in him?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ He likes to get to the basket, all‑around a good basketball player and you can expect him to do anything at any time and he's kind of what makes their team go.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ I would say the same thing, overall great basketball player, physical specimen, tall guard, jump shot has improved, so he's looking good.

Q.テつ Sam, earlier in your career there were questions about your motives.テつ How have you changed in terms of your work ethic over the last couple of years?
SAM DOWER:テつ I have learned from the guys that played ahead of me, Kelly and others, and they showed me how to have a motor.テつ This past summer I took it to heart and before that I didn't take it seriously about getting better.テつ I didn't really take it to heard the but this past season I focused on making myself better every day and that helped with my conditioning.テつ That was a big part of that as well, a big factor in my motive but those were the things that helped with my motives.

Q.テつ Kevin, how is your toe and ankle doing, and do you think it will affect your game play tomorrow?テつ How will you play any different?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ I was waiting for that question.テつ It's a lot better!テつ It's been a tough season for me trying to manage it, but the toe is fine, the foot is fine, you're never going to be 100% this point in the year so we're going to play through it and not think about it.

Q.テつ Kevin, how much different is this tournament for you all compared to last year, obviously the No. 1 seed last year, with the buzz around that, how different is it being an 8 seed?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ People may say it's not different, but it is.テつ Last year we were being talked about like Wichita State is this year.テつ People were criticizing us and praising us, and there was a lot of talk, and this year we're floating under the radar, which is fine by us.テつ No. 8 seed, nothing guaranteed, and we're just trying to take care of business.テつ We learned last year that at this time anything is possible, but it is a little bit of a different feeling.

Q.テつ David, could you talk about your process and progress this season?テつ What are the things that you think you improved on and how big has the progress been just in the last month or so and what has it meant to your outlook and confidence?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ I think I've been playing with more confidence, feeding the guys, being what this team needs, whether it's passing or whatever and playing with these guys and off of these guys and making ourselves a better team is what we have tried to do.

Q.テつ Was it a long wait for you to get to where you are now?テつ How do you handle all this time building up to being maybe frustrated by not getting more time or opportunity?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ Could you say that again?

Q.テつ Sure.テつ How do you handle before this season finally getting playing time and getting a lot of opportunity?テつ What was it like for you in the first few years of not having that same chance and how do you deal with that, given your own expectations?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ It's just, you know, willing to fight every day in practice, and Kevin here, you know, we go at it, you try to work your hardest as you can in practice and hopefully that gets you playing time at the end of the day.
You can't control what coaches think for the most part.テつ You just play your game and control the things you can control, which is your effort and how you play.

Q.テつ Guys, welcome to San Diego!テつ What would you say as far as the respect factor?テつ You're playing on the west coast, you've beaten this team five times, nobody is talking about you.テつ Are you playing with a chip on your shoulder?テつ Are you surprised at the lack of attention you guys are getting in this match‑up?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ No.テつ This team is a high‑caliber team, they're ranked top‑5 or top‑10 during the year and they have an electric player in Marcus Smart and obviously we're going to get overlooked a little bit and that's how we started, that's how Gonzaga started, and it's fine with us.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ We don't pay attention to what happens in the locker room and we don't hear that much except for when we're here talking to you guys.テつ So like he said, we have been looked past before, and we take care of business on the court and do what we have to do.

Q.テつ For Sam, not the biggest inside but they trap well, and how do you deal with a team like that that's always sending an extra guy to defend post players like you?
DAVID STOCKTON:テつ This wouldn't be the first time guys are helping out and stuff like that and that opens up shots for our shooters like Kevin, Gary and Drew, our 3‑point shooters, that would be something I would be look to, our shooters, when they try to double us.
The biggest thing is not to play faster than what I normally do, that will force turnovers, and just play as well as I can in there and be don't forcing turnovers.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for the student athletes?テつ Thank you, guys.
Gonzaga head Coach, Mark Few.テつ Opening comments?
COACH FEW:テつ Like every year it's an honor for our program to make it to 16 straight of these is probably one of the things we're most proud of at Gonzaga.テつ I give this team and this group of guys a lot of credit.テつ We lost a lot off of last year's team, couple of guys to the NBA, defensive player of the year.
Never, ever, as long as I have been a head coach been part of a team that has been so decimated by injuries and had so many guys miss games.テつ To win 28 games, win a conference championship, and a conference tournament, was incredible, and it's been a great year so far for our guys.

Q.テつ Coach, TALKED to Sam Dower, people questioned his motor in the last few years.テつ How has that changed?
COACH FEW:テつ Part of that is his demeanor, it must go with the name "Sam", it's Sam Perkins‑like, and his game is different.テつ I'm not going to deny that I have been one of those guys frustrated with Sam in the past just with‑‑ but then going into this year I think we both accepted Sam can really score the ball and he can score it in different ways than you probably envision your 6‑9 guy doing.テつ We were able to adjust the offense to find what we call his "wheelhouse" more and to his credit he has became a much better rebounder than he was in years past, because he has great hands.
His defense is better and it's as good as it's been in his career, it's still not probably his forte, but, you know, it's better.テつ He's had a heck of a senior year, especially this rundown the stretch.テつ The guy is clutch!テつ He's got ice water in his veins, to have a big like that shoot free‑throws, at one point in the conference tournament he was 23 out of 23 and to have that touch at the 3 and to shoot mid‑range jumpers like he does so prolifically, as he does.

Q.テつ Mark, couple of questions about Stockton.テつ Your perspective on watching him lived with that last name and the legacy, and then secondly, this season how you look at how he's progress to do a point now where he's become a pretty key element for you guys.
COACH FEW:テつ The first part of that is, you know, I've sat back and been amazed.テつ Never had any expectations, not one ioda of entitlement.テつ In fact, you would have thought his dad was a bricklayer from, you know, a little town in eastern Washington with the chip that he plays with on his shoulder.テつ Ferocious competitor.テつ He will go down in history as one of the‑‑ we have had some great ones, but maybe one of the best competitors come through the program.
He's incredibly durable.テつ You look at him and he looks so slight but I can't think of a practice he's ever missed and yet when we do our old Michigan State rebounding drills, "War" he's in on every rep and doing as much hitting as anybody.
As far as his progress as a player, you know, I think he's more comfortable offensively and picking his spots a little bit better.テつ He's always been an off‑the‑charts ball screen guy and I don't know if that's just in the genes or watching his dad but he's always been brilliant with the ball screen and he's had to make adjustments.テつ This year's team doesn't have the agile bigs to throw pocket passes to so he's had to adjust his game there but much better defender than he was as a youngster and a much better leader, especially down the stretch now, with the last month, he's really kind of stepped up his leadership.

Q.テつ Coach, could you talk a little bit about Gary Bell and how you think he can help in tomorrow's game with Marcus Smart and that team playing defense?
COACH FEW:テつ Gary is a huge part of who we are.テつ He's kind of the unsung hero.テつ So many times he doesn't get chosen to come up here but, I mean, we count on him for so many things.テつ Obviously it starts on the defensive end, as soon as the match‑up popped up we knew Gary was going to spend a lot of time on Marcus Smart and he will have to spend time on brown and obviously that's what he does.
I call him "Big Shot Gary" after "Big Shot Bob" in the NBA playoffs.テつ He takes the big shots; we count on him for scoring and his defense.テつ The remarkable thing about Gary is he's really, really consistent with both those.

Q.テつ This is a program that America fell in love with by overachieving in the tournament as a double digit seed.テつ Thins then you guys have become a national power, expectations have risen.テつ Given those, do you feel this team has underachieved in the past few years in the tournament?
COACH FEW:テつ I guess if you looked‑‑ obviously we were a No. 1 seed last year, so if you looked at it like that, we didn't advance as far as other people had it.テつ If you watched it before, and banging three's the way they were and some guys hadn't hit more than two all year and we ran into a buzz saw.テつ That's what so compelling about this tournament.テつ You don't have to be playing good all year, on that particular night you have to play really, really good.テつ So we've also been stuck, you know, kind of in this 8‑9 region a lot, 7‑10, and we have had some tough match‑ups in that second deal.
Somebody gave me a stat that we have been pretty successful on the first night out, five straight years we might be the only one that's done it or something and that‑‑ I mean, that's‑‑ something to be said for that.テつ I wouldn't say disappointing, I would say definitely in a competitive world.

Q.テつ David mentioned Gonzaga, that's how they started off, not with the expectations.テつ Oklahoma State is getting the attention.テつ Is there any comfort in being the "overlooked" team?
COACH FEW:テつ It's different than it was last year.テつ That was an interesting dynamic last year.テつ I mean, to feel like the crowd is turning on, and everybody is pulling against you.テつ Gonzaga is not used to that, unless we're in league play.テつ We're very used to it in league play, but I don't know that any of us were expecting that, especially in Salt Lake last year.テつ From my perspective, through the whole media crush, it's been refreshing this year.テつ We have felony under the radar and haven't had a bunch of cameras following us around wherever we are and I think, like I told our guys, we're in a good spot right now so we need to take advantage of it.

Q.テつ Mark, on paper you guys have a big size advantage down low.テつ How beneficial or how much of a focus will that be in the game?
COACH FEW:テつ Well, you know, on paper, yeah.テつ But they're athletic, they're aggressive and, you know, they work really hard.テつ They have been dealing with that for a while since Cobbins went down, so they have been working on that for quite a while.
It's also kinda who we are.テつ Once we got Sam back from his injury, you know, we became more of an inside/out team and running a lot of high/low and things in there and search and play off.テつ When we are at our best we are probably most efficient on offense when we're throwing high/low and at least getting that look or putting foul pressure on you and playing off that with our guards.
THE MODERATOR: テつThank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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