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


March 20, 2014


Antonio Barton

Cuonzo Martin

Jeronne Maymon

Jordan McRae

Josh Richardson

Jarnell Stokes


RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We're now ready to begin the Tennessee portion of the press conferences.  We have with us Josh Richardson, Antonio Barton, Jarnell Stokes, Jeronne Maymon, Jordan McRae.  

Q.  Antonio, for you, in a game like this when you're playing against a team that wants to run, wants to push pace and so forth, how much discipline does it take to try to keep things at your pace and to really utilize the advantages that you guys have in the half court?
ANTONIO BARTON:  It takes a lot of discipline.  We've got to keep two guys back at all times because they're a good team.  They like to get up and down.  We just got to stay within our course and try to slow them down.

Q.  For any player that wants to answer this, kind of when did you guys get in and what's been sort of the turnaround since last night's game?
JERONNE MAYMON:  We got in around 3:00.  We went straight to our room, probably laid down around like 4:00.

Q.  Jarnell, you had a strong game against UMass last year in Puerto Rico.  Any tendency, anything you can take from a game like that to use, or has it been too long?
JARNELL STOKES:  That was a long time ago.  I'm a completely different player since then.  They're a completely different team.  I can hope that they don't remember that game, but it was a long time ago.

Q.  You said you're a completely different player.  How have you developed and evolved since then?
JARNELL STOKES:¬† I'm a much faster player.¬† I'm a more all‑around basketball player.¬† I think I did a good job scoring that game, but I'm more of an all‑around player.

Q.  Jarnell, you said last night in previewing the game at UMass, they're a 6 seed, so people think they had a better season than you guys.  Is there something, a chip on the shoulder, your first chance to play a team seeded higher?  Does that give you guys a little bit of extra motivation?
JARNELL STOKES:  Well, you always have a lot of motivation coming into the tournament.  Every team is playing with a chip on their shoulder right now.
We understand that UMass is very long and they run the floor with the best of them.  So just personally, I have to do a good job of sitting down and getting back to help out Antonio and the guards.

Q.  Any player who wants to jump at this one, back in December, you played a Virginia team and you beat them by 35 points on your floor.  I'm willing to think that the last thing you expected was to show up at a regional and they're a 1 seed.  What does that say about college basketball and early expectations or early decisions on teams?
JOSH RICHARDSON:  I think we came out early in the season against Virginia and played good basketball.  And when guys are hitting shots on our team, it's tough for anybody in the nation to beat us.
So I congratulate them on a great season.  They picked it up when they needed to.  They play good ball.

Q.  For Jeronne and Jordy both, having played that game and got that under your belt last night, not only getting a win but the way you got it, do you think that helps?  You guys are a team feeling good about yourself right now coming into this game because of the way you handled last night?
JORDAN McRAE:  Just like you said, I think we fought last night.  I don't think we got a lead in that game until the last two or three minutes of the game.  That kind of game brings a lot of energy to the next one.
MODERATOR:  Jeronne, do you have anything to add?
JERONNE MAYMON:  No.
MODERATOR:¬† Are there any other questions for the student‑athletes?

Q.  Antonio and Josh, neither one of you guys had the kind of first half you would have liked to have had last night.  Talk about what that did for you to come back and play the way you did in the second half and contribute, both of you, the way you did to the way it turned out?
ANTONIO BARTON:  The biggest contribution to that was these guys right here.  As you saw, me and Josh did not have a strong first half, but they kept building our confidence, telling us it was going to come to us and keep shooting the ball.  That's why we came out the second half, had a strong half.
MODERATOR:  Josh, have anything to add?
JOSH RICHARDSON:  I just second what he said.  I think the guys did a good job of just keeping our heads up and told us to keep shooting and it will start falling.  We both kept shooting.  I feel like we did a good job of just keeping our heads up and playing ball.

Q.  Jordan, we asked Jarnell what he thought about last year's UMass game.  What about you?  What did you think about how you played them last season and will it help you?
JORDAN McRAE:  I don't remember much about that game.  But just kind of like Jarnell said, we knew they were a team that liked to push the ball and they do it really well.  So just knowing going into the game, a key for us is going to be to make sure we're getting back.
MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, thank you very much and good luck this weekend.
We are now ready to continue with the Tennessee press conference.  We have head coach Cuonzo Martin.

Q.  Coach, would you like to make an opening statement?
COACH MARTIN:  First and foremost, excited to be here to represent the University of Tennessee.  It's a great time for our guys and our program.
Came off a big win last night against Iowa, a team that played hard, played with a lot of energy and a lot of emotions.  So it was fun for our guys, fun for our program.
Now we're excited to move forward against a very talented UMass team.

Q.  Coach, are you concerned about the fatigue?  You played late last night and you traveled to all hours, and now you've got less than 24 hours to get ready for a brand new team?
COACH MARTIN:  Not really.  When you're talking about SEC play, tournament play, and also preseason tournaments, it's the same thing.  You have three days, three games.  That's where the conditioning comes in.  It starts in June and July to prepare your body and your mind to play games at that level.  So not at all.
I think for our guys, a day off is great for us as opposed to three straight days.

Q.¬† First of all, Cuonzo, what was the trip like down here?¬† That was a really happy locker room last night.¬† The second part, I know you probably didn't really want to go to Dayton, you would have rather been straight into the bracket.¬† But in retrospect, not only that you won the game, maybe got the‑‑ judging from the start, got the butterflies out or whatever, but the way you won it, could this be a good thing, your team feeling good about themselves, the way they came back and won the game?
COACH MARTIN:  It's a great thing for our guys.  First, I'll answer the travel.  We got in about 1:30 last night.  We landed 2:30, 3:00.  We had brunch around noon today and then we had lunch at 3:30, 4:00 and then we came over here.
But as far as the game, I thought it was great for our guys to play a game like that, a physical game.  I think it helps to get a game under your belt because I thought we got out the gates, we had nerves.  I wouldn't say nervous, but we had the nerves.  Played tight out the gates against Iowa.
Once we started to settle down in the first half and second half, we played well.  Did a tremendous job in defending those guys, a team that scores 82 points a game, to hold them to 65 in an overtime game.  I thought we relaxed and played well.  I think it will help us because now you have a game under your belt and it's just basketball.

Q.¬† Follow‑up, winning a tight game, that's something you all had trouble doing.
COACH MARTIN:  I think it was great for our guys to be down less than four minutes in a game and to find a way to win the game, to send the game in overtime and really play extremely well in overtime.  I thought it was great for our guys because in most cases in these settings, that's what it comes down to, the last minute or two of ball games.

Q.  Coach, is Iowa a team who likes to push pace?  Was that a pretty good preparation game for UMass, given you don't have a ton of time to install a game plan for this one?
COACH MARTIN:¬† I think so.¬† I think so because of the way they push.¬† And I think both teams are very similar.¬† They both have length.¬† They have size.¬† They get out and press a little bit, do different things defensively.¬† Zones, matchup, 1‑3‑1s.¬† Very similar.¬† The prep time, I think, will help us.
Obviously got to watch a lot of film and Chaz Williams, a very quick guy, fast with the ball, but he's also tough as nails.  He makes plays.  He's good off the bounce.  He makes big shots, does a tremendous job in probing a defense and continues to make plays.  You think he has the ball, you think you have him stopped, he continues to find the guy.  They play well together and that's the reason why they're here.

Q.  As you looked at the bracket Sunday night, any thoughts about UMass's seeding as a number 6?  And the other part, you know, you guys are 11 playing a 6.  Do you use that as some kind of motivation?
COACH MARTIN:  Well, I think for our guys, it's just playing the way we're capable of playing.  We're a very talented team and our guys know and understand those seeds are really just numbers.  They're a very talented team.  They earned a 6 seed because of the work they've done throughout the season.  So you have to give credit where it was due.  I don't think we were an 11 seed, but that's the seed we were dealt.  So you've got to make it work.  Again, once the ball is tipped, it's just basketball.

Q.  Cuonzo, back in December, you played a Virginia team and beat them by 35 points.  You show up here in Raleigh and they're a 1 seed.  What does that mean for college basketball about teams improving or persevering or whatever?
COACH MARTIN:¬† That night we played well.¬† It obviously showed what they've done since that point.¬† They've played extremely well as a team.¬† They have great parts.¬† They do a great job sharing the basketball on both ends of the floor.¬† They do a great job of helping each other defensively.¬† Just a well‑coached team, a well‑oiled machine, so to speak.¬† For us, it's just a team that's gotten better.
We had some bumps in the road through the course of the season.  We won seven out of the last nine, so we're playing well.

Q.  I guess you guys did a pretty good job on the boards last night, looked at the stats.  Is that something you think you can, I don't know, take advantage of, I guess, against UMass, or does it help with dealing with a team that wants to push the tempo if you can really hit the glass?
COACH MARTIN:  I don't know if necessarily take advantage, because they have big guys.  They have length.  This is what we do; we crash offensive glass.  It's just a matter of the team being able to stop those guys.  We really got two guys that do a great job in crashing the offensive glass.  We'll continue to do that.
We do a good job boxing out as a team.  But I don't necessarily taking advantage, because they crash the glass as well and have length, they have size, and they'll do the same thing.

Q.  Cuonzo, you'd been in the NCAA tournament as a player, as an assistant coach.  What was the experience like or what is the experience like as a head coach and what did it mean to you to win that first game as a head coach?
A.It was great.¬† It's just great to‑‑ I don't know necessarily for me, but it was great to get our guys back to this situation and get to this point in the NCAA tournament, because I think every school starts out, we want to be an NCAA tournament team.¬† The ultimate goal is to one day be the last team standing.¬† But to get to this point, that means you've done a solid job as a program.¬† That's validation as a program.
For me, it was more about our guys, our seniors, Jeronne and Jordan‑‑ excuse me, Jeronne and Jordan McRae, two seniors.¬† They played ‑‑ Jeronne was a transfer when he came and Jordan was a true freshman.¬† Even those guys were on a NCAA tournament team, they weren't a part or didn't have an impact on the game.¬† And now these guys got us back to that point as basketball players.¬† I'm happy for those guys to get us to that point.¬† That's what it means for me more than anything and for our fans and our student body and the University.¬† That's a big deal to me.
MODERATOR:  Any other questions?  Coach, thank you very much.  Good luck this weekend.
COACH MARTIN:  Thank you. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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