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March 21, 2014
THE MODERATOR:¬† Please welcome to the stage Texas student-athletes, Isaiah Taylor, Javan Felix, and Jonathan Holmes.¬† Thank you for joining us and questions, please, for the student-athletes.
Q.¬† Johnathan, they've been playing a little bit smaller all year with Mitch McGary out.¬† Do you think you guys can take advantage of that inside tomorrow?
JONATHAN HOLMES:¬† Definitely a point of emphasis going into the game.¬† Just getting the ball inside and attacking off the glass, trying to take advantage of that.¬† We know they're going to try to take advantage of our size, make that a negative thing on them when they go on offense.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Maybe Isaiah and Javan, just talk about what you've seen today as you prepare for Michigan.
JAVAN FELIX:¬† Michigan is not really a traditional team in transition because they have four guys that can push it and whichever one of those guys gets the rebound, you know, takes it.¬† And so it's a point of emphasis for us to get back on defense and try to get set and get matched up as quickly as possible so that, you know, we can stop the advantage.
ISAIAH TAYLOR:¬† We know that Michigan is an athletic team, you know, from their two to their four, they can shoot the ball, and anybody can lead the break.¬† We know we have to get back, and they're a team that likes to get a lot of fast break points and penetrate and dish it for the open three.¬† We got to watch out for that.
Q.¬† How do you describe the emotional high of last night and how you rein that in and get back to preparation mode and look ahead?
JAVAN FELIX:¬† Definitely felt good, you know, to get that win and especially the way in which we got it.¬† Definitely a big thing for Cam going into this game.¬† We know we're going to need him a lot.¬† We know his confidence level is there.¬† It's something we can't be too happy about.¬† We got to be hungry for more.¬† And I feel like me as well as my teammates, we all feel that way and we just trying to get ready for it.
Q.¬† Isaiah, continuing, it's probably safe to say a lot of folks would say you stopped being a freshman a long time ago.¬† Has it dawned on you or does it seem kind of special to you for you and Walton to be going up against each other tomorrow and the fact that there's so many young guys on the floor on both sides?
ISAIAH TAYLOR:¬† It's the first time I played against another freshman point guard in a long time.¬† But just going against another freshman point guard, just a great opportunity for me, and we know that Michigan is going to come out tough tomorrow.¬† And, I mean, I have my guys behind me.¬† So, we're looking to get the win.
Q.¬† Johnathan, you guys have been asked a lot about the difference in the atmosphere on the team between this year and last year. ¬†One thing that Coach Barnes talked about the other day is how much more welcoming the returning players were to the freshman like Isaiah and some of the other guys.¬† Why is that so important to you and why did you guys really make an effort to turn that particular part of the atmosphere around?
JONATHAN HOLMES:¬† I think by doing that you build relationships and you build trust with one another.¬† And that's a key thing with building a successful team, knowing that your teammate has your back and knowing that you can trust your teammate.¬† And the thing about doing that, we've gotten really close, the whole team.
Q.¬† Guys, Arizona State was able to be effective on the perimeter, they made four threes.¬† What do y'all want to do differently against Michigan knowing they live and die by the three?
ISAIAH TAYLOR:¬† I think we just want to play the pick and roll better, getting over or under the screens, how we play it and just stay in front of the ball and not let the guards and the wings, that they have an opportunity to kick it out for people to hit shots.
Q.¬† Lot of games in a short amount time.¬† Does last night's win, very emotional, does that give you more energy going forward instead of blowing out a team like Arizona State?
JONATHAN HOLMES:¬† I mean, I think just getting a win in the tournament provides energy for you.¬† I mean, going back to last night, I mean, it was a good way to start the tournament off.¬† It was a good win for us.¬† We got to put that behind us.¬† We got to -- we've got a tough Michigan team we're playing tomorrow.¬† That's the focus, that's where our minds are at.
Q.¬† Javan, you were asked quite a bit about the quote/unquote shooting slump or whatever.¬† Come out last night, you knocked down two shots real quick and, of course, the foul difficulty happens.¬† The difficulty of the fouls when it looked like you had your shot falling early?¬† How do you deal with that?
JAVAN FELIX:¬† It's definitely difficult to sit there and watch for a long time, especially as long as I did last night and starting off on a bit of a rhythm and, you know, it's tough.¬† But like I've been saying all along, my job is to take open shots and be aggressive.¬† And I knew when I came in the game, I had to do that and I was able to do it.¬† And actually John, he helped me out on one of them at the end and I count that as an assist (laughter).
Q.¬† Jonathan, we talked a little bit about the size advantage you guys have inside.¬† They have banger kind of similar to you guys in Jordan Morgan.¬† What do you see when you see him, watch him on film?
JONATHAN HOLMES:¬† Kind of similar to Cam.¬† He's a load in the paint and pretty much dominates the paint.¬† It's going to be a good matchup for the big guys, especially Cam tomorrow, to go against another really dominant post player.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Any other questions for the student-athletes?¬† Thank you.¬† Good luck.¬† Please welcome Texas Coach, Rick Barnes.¬† Keeping in mind.¬† Coach, I guess first of all, just the emotional high of last night and then getting back to work today on Michigan.
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† Well, it was, as we talked last night, we were fortunate to win a great, great college basketball game.
We got back late, had a meal, and I'm sure our guys had their time with their social media.¬† But got up today and debriefed a little bit about our game last night, what we did well and didn't do well, and turned our focus to Michigan and know that we've got an opponent that you look at them, they do a lot of great things.¬† We know it's going to take an effort from everyone to play the way that we need to play.
THE MODERATOR:¬† What specifically concerns you the most?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† Transition.¬† They're not a traditional-type transition team where they will, say, run the same guy to the rim all the time.¬† They run to different spots.¬† Different guys can bring the ball down the floor.¬† So we have to really work hard in transition to get back and get our defense set.¬† And then from there, they run a lot of different things and they flow extremely well.¬† And we know we're going to have to handle a lot of ball screen situations where they -- again, the floor can be balanced, could be an empty side, locality of different things that they do, but it's got to start with having really good transition defense.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions for Coach.
Q.¬† Rick, obviously as you noted, it's going to take a team effort to beat Michigan.¬† How important will Cam be tomorrow, given that matchup inside?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† Well, everyone is talking about that we could have a size advantage inside.¬† John Beilein has coached a long time.¬† He's played in a league where there's a lot of big people as well, and we've always tried to play in through Cam.¬† We have.¬† We need to do that.¬† We've always want to play inside/out and Cam was terrific last night and he's been good.¬† He's been good all year, really.¬† But for us to do that, we've got to -- we really have to get everybody, the timing and all that and, you know, Michigan will -- we know they're going to play some 1-3-1 a couple times a game, which we played that this year and handled it pretty well.¬† They could play a little two, three zone.¬† Their man, they play more of a contain-type defense.¬† We know all that.¬† For us to do what we need to do, we need to have all five guys in sync the moving and timing has to be there.¬† Cam has to really fight hard for his space as well.
Q.¬† Rick, a couple of the major upsets today were a case of a major team with a lot of the top level one-and-done type of recruits versus a smaller league team where they've got three or four-year players.¬† As the head of a major program, how do you balance recruiting in terms of the top players that you may only have for a year or two versus the guys you could have for three, four years in your system and how important is that this time of year?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† Well, I think you see where older teams have been around play well and can handle a lot of different things.¬† Our first win of the year was against Mercer, and we knew as a coaching staff that it was going to be maybe as hard an opener as we could possibly play with this group at the time because of the youth that we had and the fact that they had so much success the year before.¬† But when you talk about one-and-done guys, there's not a coach in the country that's not going to recruit the best and most talented players that he can.
But we also know that experience and time, especially when you get a group of guys that played a lot of games together, it's -- I can't even begin to tell you how valuable that is when you get a group like that.
I think you look at Florida.¬† I mean, they've had so much success because you look at their experience.
With that said, I do think there's a balance, and the way you get that balance is that you try to keep an older program where you're going to have seniors and juniors as opposed to those one-and-done guys being on a team where there's no experience that can really teach them what you're really up against.
Q.¬† Rick, is there a benefit to playing such a tight game like you did last night and getting through it with this group, given their experience level?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† We played a lot of tight games this year.¬† We've been in a lot of games decided by less than six, seven points, and we've been in a lot decided by two, three and we've won a bunch of them and -- but I think the experience of being in this tournament and getting the feel for it, if you look back, like Jon made the comment to the coaches, "Freshman did great.¬† One guy had the experience and I didn't play so well."
So we always try to analyze the experience, but the fact is like three, four of our games so far, we've seen a lot of different things.¬† They guys handle themselves pretty well in close games.
Q.¬† Rick, you mentioned the size disadvantage for Michigan.¬† They also have a banger of their own in Jordan Morgan, got a double-double in the first game.¬† He seems sort of similar in style of your players.¬† What kind of challenge do you think he presents for your guys?
COACH BARNES:¬† When you look at a team like Michigan, if you think you're going to concentrate on one guy, you can't because they're not where they are, we're not where we are because of one guy.
You go back and look, even with our team, I can -- I don't think Herb Sendek probably thought that a guy like Martez Walker could come in and have the impact that he did, and this happened to us throughout the year.
We've had -- played against a team, and when we go through a scouting report, we take their team very seriously, not just the guys we know that we need to really focus and game plan for, but you've got to be so aware of the guys that are the impact players and how they can affect the outcome of the game.
On every team you're going to have somebody that maybe doesn't get the attention that you know as a coach this guy is a really key guy.¬† When you watch the Michigan team, they've got a couple guys like that that I think that do a lot of really good things for them.¬† And as you mentioned, they've got a big guy that can bang and he's not afraid to go in there and use his strength.¬† And so we have to -- we have to deal with that ourselves.¬† We got hurt last night in the post.
We got -- our post guys will tell you that they were a little bit surprised probably by how playing against a 7-foot-2 guy, how hard that was and the post up he got and his agility.
So this time of year when you haven't played against some of these guys, the game just started, just like Prince Ibeh told me, "Hey, I was surprised a little bit."¬† I don't know what we should be thinking, but we weren't thinking the right thing.¬† That's why we hope our players have the mindset that every guy is a person that we have to be on the edge with.
Q.¬† Last night you joked in the news conference about how the winning play was drawn up and they executed it the way it was drawn up.¬† There's been a couple of situations like that this year, the Kansas State game when Jon hits the game winner and comes after you inbound again when Javan was open on the baseline early and got it back to Jon who hit the game winner that time.¬† Does it say something about your guys that they're still able to find a way to get through it, even when it isn't properly executed the way it's called or drawn up?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† Well, we've always told our guys, our players, this is a players' game and players have to make plays and we all -- obviously we're excited when Cam made that layup.¬† When you go back and really look at the tape, Javan Felix made the play.¬† We were actually going to work a set we never got into, but he was down on the baseline where he isn't a lot and that ball was really pretty much in the hands of two Arizona State players and he reached in and broke it loose where Cam was able to pick it up.¬† Those are kind of the plays that players make.¬† And so with that said, I do think that we have struggled -- they did a great job obviously keeping us off the glass.
We had one offensive rebound.¬† We shot a high percentage in the first half, too, but when we were really struggling, we kind of went back and Javan hit a three off an offensive rebound and then off that last play, John made another great three-point play off an offensive rebound.¬† And that's kind of how we've played a lot this year where we just found a way to go get it and make something happen and -- but last night was an example of that.
Q.¬† Can you talk about the contributions that Martez has given you and how he's helped with your depth and given you another scoring guard?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† We knew that with Martez, he's a player that's very competitive.¬† He's a player that when you take him out of the game, he looks at you like, why are you taking me out?¬† Then while he's on the bench, he maybe is not in the game, he's looking at you, here I am, I'm ready.
But what he is, he's very somewhat unorthodox in his style, but he's a player that has continued to improve.¬† When he first came in, he didn't -- he didn't have very much of an idea about the concepts of defense.¬† He knew what to do with the ball, and it was, if you score on me, I'm going the try to score on you.¬† But he's grown so much and he's really grown in the last month a lot.¬† I think our players and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him.¬† Because the one thing they know is that he's fearless and he'll play, he'll go play and it doesn't matter where.¬† He just wants to be out there playing.
Q.¬† As a follow-up from Martez, can you take us through how you came upon him originally?
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† We knew that we wanted to add some things to our program, obviously.¬† And so my assistants had heard about him, and couple years ago we had the same situation had come up late in the year, you don't ever stop looking for players, and someone had called us about someone from Detroit and Greg Kampe, coach at Oakland, called me back then asked me were we going to recruit this young man.¬† I really don't remember who it was.
I said, "I don't know.¬† We haven't really evaluated it yet."¬† But I asked him, "what do you think?"
And he said, "I don't know if this guy can play for you.¬† We like him, but we don't know.¬† I'm not sure he can play for you."
So, we evaluated him, decided not to do it.¬† Same thing happened with Martez.¬† Coach Kampe called me and said, "are you guys going to offer Martez Walker a scholarship?
I said, "well, you know, Coach Lanier is coming up this week to look at him and see what we think.¬† I'm going to ask you what I asked you a couple years, should we?"
He said, "well, I don't want to tell you, but I'd love to have him."¬† I think they had already signed a point guard off the team.¬† He said, "I don't know what it takes to play at your level because I hear all these people saying there's a difference between your level and my level, which this tournament proves there's not a lot of difference.
You got to have a body that's already made.¬† He doesn't have that.¬† But he is one of the toughest kids I've ever seen.¬† And if you need a shot, he'll find a way to get it done.
And he says, "I hope you don't like him, but I can't tell you anything, but the kid is a player that I can understand why you would like him."
Rob saw him and did like him and liked the program he came out of.¬† And he came in on his visit.¬† Immediately the players would tell you that, just from their time with him, "Coach, we don't have anybody like this, and we need somebody that's got his swagger and his attitude."
And like all freshmen coming in, you know, they're going to have to work at certain things.¬† He's changed his body a lot, and he's just getting started in terms of how good a basketball player that we think he can be.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Anything else for Coach?¬† Thank you.¬† Good luck.
COACH RICK BARNES:¬† Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports