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March 21, 2014

Joe Callero

Chris Eversley

Kyle Odister


Wichita State – 64
Cal Poly - 37

THE MODERATOR:  The Mustangs of Cal Poly are with us.  Chris Eversley and Kyle Odister along with Head Coach Joe Callero.  At this time I ask Joe to start off with a statement and we will go to questions.
COACH CALLERO:  I thank everybody from St. Louis.  The hospitality, the organization from the NCAA, what a phenomenal experience.  What first‑class operation.  It epitomizes what's great about athletics, what's great about student‑athletes.  What is great about competition.
For a bunch of ordinary guys from the central coast of California to believe in each other and a program and be able to get to the big dance, and be in the first round and win a game and get to go to the second round with a bigger arena, more fans, more names, more schools.  It is a blessing and we count it and we hope we come back soon.  A little bit more rest, a little more preparation.
Hats off to Gregg's program and those kids.  I think you've got to be a well‑rested, a well‑prepared team to have a chance against them.  We were not a well‑rested or well‑prepared team tonight.
We could have made some adjustments tactically earlier than we did.  But at the end of the day you could see why they're undefeated, so hats off to them.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for all three gentlemen from Cal Poly.

Q.  Chris, you know, sometimes guys at the end of their careers say that they remember the losses more than they do the wins or the loss is what sticks with them later on.  This run for you and everything you've done up until now, considering the end until now, what will you remember most?
CHRIS EVERSLEY:  Just the camaraderie and the family atmosphere we convey to each other every night.  Come out here.
You know, ever since the beginning of the season we always saw each other as family and had each other's back no matter what.  The season's end is bittersweet.
Before the game Ozzie Smith came in and told us we had already won just from a mental standpoint because we prepared and we played our butts off and got here.
Like Coach said, from the central coast of California, nobody expected us to even be in this position.  It is a testament to the hard work we've put in and hopefully we can come back next year.

Q.  Chris, take us through their defense.  It looked like you wanted to be really patient, but then they didn't allow you to very good shots even late in the shot clock.  Is that what happened?
CHRIS EVERSLEY:  They have an interesting defense.  We knew coming into the game they are an interesting team in the fact as the shot clock goes down they get stronger.  And that's a staple of great defensive teams.  They are nationally ranked defensively, just like we are.
So, you know, they play well together.  They play well with each other's defensive strength and they were able to force us into bad shots.  And we had a couple of other shots that we also missed.
At the end of the day they rebounded, finished plays, and they show why they are a great team.

Q.  I'd be happy if any of you would answer this.  You guys played Arizona, Oregon, Pitt, Stanford.  I am interested how you think Wichita State stacks up relative to those teams?
KYLE ODISTER:  Wichita State is a very good team.  We played Arizona very early in the year and I think they really match up with them.  Arizona has Ashley out and Wichita State just playing with us, I see why they are 34‑0.  They are very physical, hit the outside shots.  I think they are going to make a good run in the tournament this year.
COACH CALLERO:  Well, I think that the difference between all of those teams is similar to what we experience, it is going to be the curveball of who might be healthier, who is in or out of the line‑up.  One or two guys make a dramatic difference in your depth.
Without Kyle Odister for bits of the year people say, Wow, it is the worst team to make the NCAA Tournament.  Well, when he is back in the line‑up it is a pretty darn good team and you can win three games in the tournament and go first round and win a game and come here.
And I think with any team you have to have all components.  So when Arizona loses a guy or Kansas loses a guy, I think it is just so much to what happens to a team to win six games in a row.  So I think it comes down to who has the great health.

Q.  I guess if you don't mind I am curious, do you think they look the part of the other teams, the power conference teams? Do you think after spending 40 minutes with Wichita they look the part of the power conference teams?
COACH CALLERO:  Every bit of it.  Every bit of it.  The thing about Wichita State is what we want to emulate most in our program is they very, very, very rarely take any plays off.  Their defensive attention and focus and offensive attention and focus is excellent.  As good as there is in basketball, college basketball.
They have very, very good players, but they are dialed in.  I think that's what separates them.

Q.  Kyle, I know last week, a little more than a week ago, you were dropping off your application for grad school and the team was the No. 7 seed coming into the Big West Conference Tournament.  Can you put into context what it feels like personally and from a team standpoint what it feels like to jump onto the stage nationally so quickly and get kind of a whirlwind tour of the country?
KYLE ODISTER:  Definitely it was a fast transition.  We went into the Big West Conference 7 seed, and beat No. 1 seed and 2 seed and we beat Northridge in the championship and then we beat our play‑in game.
It has been a lot of runs and everybody has been saying congratulations just despite we just got here.  It is a big step for Cal Poly.  And hopefully over the years we can keep getting better.
As far as the next point, it is my fifth year.  I have been here from the start.  When I first got here we were 10‑19 record and I have seen the program elevate every year.  And now we made it to the tournament as a senior.  And I left my stamp at Cal Poly and I feel proud.

Q.  Coach, what does this mean for your program?  And then unrelated follow‑up, give us your view of having played Stanford and what they will face against Kansas.
COACH CALLERO:  What it means for our program is that we have guys that buy in and build, and they are going to pass the baton on to the next one.  The last two years we were semifinalists in the conference championship.  Lost last year at the buzzer.  This year we get to the championship, win a championship.  We get to the tournament, we win a first‑round game.  We get to the next game and now we are on the national stage playing against nationally‑ ranked prominent big‑name programs.
When it comes to the recruiting world, we have guys that have done that, all three seniors will graduate in the spring.  Kyle is filling out applications and so we're about leveraging you to be a professional.
At Cal Poly we develop pros.  You may be a pro basketball player, you may be a professional graduate student or a professional in another arena.  That is what a pro is, preparing you for life afterwards.
Cal Poly is now not just a great bunch of engineers, architects, business schools, viticulture, it is also a basketball program and you can do both.  And I think all of the great institutions have great academics and can have great athletics both.
That's what it means for us, because we will attract more people that have that balance and that understanding.
THE MODERATOR:  And as far as Stanford versus Kansas?
COACH CALLERO:  Well, we have never played Kansas.  I can tell you one thing about Stanford, when we played them up there, they're as long as anybody we've ever played.  Stanford has the length of Arizona.  And that's a difficult thing to adjust to.
One of the best things that happened to us in the preseason was that we got to play against the high majors because we're going against Irvine has the tallest player in the nation at 7'6".  And that helps you.
The biggest thing for those teams, they are more comfortable length on length.  I think when a team has that consistent high major schedule they are more prepared.
I couldn't give you more insight about who does what because we haven't gone against Kansas.

Q.  The description of the defense getting stronger as the shot clock goes down.  Can you expand on Wichita State's defense.
COACH CALLERO:  One of the things we looked at on film, and it hurt us tonight, we took a gamble, thought one of the chances we had to take was take the best shot early in the shot clock or middle of the shot clock.  We would typically like to work it, reverse it, go inside‑out.
But as the clock goes under 10, they don't gamble, they are going to keep you in position.  They are going to contain you and are going to contest.
When we watched them against other teams, you don't get a good shot at the end of the clock.  So we said, hey, if you have a 3‑ or 15‑footer or 18‑footer, you have to take those and make some of them.
We showed the videotape of how we played against UCLA when we upset them at Poly Pavilion.  We were down by 16 or 18 points with 8 minutes to go and had to push a little bit, shoot a little quicker, because that was simply the best shot we could get.
So we went into the game shooting a little earlier in the clock, doing some things we weren't traditionally doing, because we were playing to win.  And I thought if we just milk the clock and were hesitant and didn't play to win, that we would have been playing afraid and they would just get strong at the end.
We said no, we're not going to do that, we're going to take shots early or middle or late, but we have to take shots.
And you look at our stats, we had only six turnovers.  We only had six‑‑five assists, but you have to make shots to have assists.  So I thought we had five or six really good shots that didn't go in, but the rest of them were very well contested and you have to have a great night.
You have to be more fresh, and obviously we're not too fresh flying around the nation and hopping back and forth on‑‑I do appreciate the charter jets though, that was pretty cool.  [Laughing.]
But still, it is fatigue.  And we played five games in eight days.  And these guys have‑‑and on top of it, Kyle to the right, and I think it's a story out there, he played with a broken foot.  He has a stress fracture in his foot.  He rested for four or five weeks.  He would take a day or two to practice and play ten minutes, but he saved the entire six weeks so he could be here at this moment.  And he's earned that.  He paid full price.
These guys paid full price.  They can do anything they want in our program.  And I told them you walk in my locker room any time.  In my office any time.  In the house any time.  You are family for life.
When they put their soul out there and sacrifice their body, they are family for life.  And not many people understand that.  That is why it is nice to get 50, 100 text messages not from fans, family, I have that many family I could get that many, but you get them from former players.  There is nothing more special than when you get that from former players.

Q.  Chris, coach mentioned a couple of times being rested or not so well rested.  As an athlete can you talk about or describe the physical and then also mental toll it takes playing five games in eight days and traveling halfway across the country.
CHRIS EVERSLEY:  It plays a part, but again, we are not a program to make excuses.
We travel a lot in the preseason and going from coast‑to‑coast basically around the holiday season and dealing with it then was tough.  And going to Pit, and Delaware.
Five games in eight days going from California to Dayton to here, physically it does take a toll on you.  And our guys did our best job tonight staying in the game mentally.  When you don't have the physical capacity to keep going, it is all mental.
And you guys have to realize that you have to play together or play off of each other.  Because if you are not all at 100%, we all have to get together or work towards 100% as a machine.
And you know, I thought the guys did a great job of that tonight.  The group that finished the game, finished with great high points, rebounding, scoring.  Joel Awich, Maliik Love, Zach Gordon, I thought they handled the business towards the end of the game and gave you a preview of what to expect for next year.

Q.  Not anything to do with the outcome of the game but you guys are wearing black jerseys all year, why did you go back to green?
COACH CALLERO:  There was a slight technicality in the numbering of the jerseys and Nike was generous enough to send us back a new set that pops a little better on the television and reflects better.
It is great to have green on, it is a primary color for Cal Poly, so it worked out great.

Q.  Chris talked about it a little bit, but coach and Kyle, if you could talk about the meeting with Ozzie Smith.
KYLE ODISTER:  Definitely it was great to meet a legend.  I talked to him just how it was back in Cal Poly, and he said that we just put Cal Poly on the map just as far as just making it here.  He said we already won before the game even started.
And it was just an honor just to meet him.  To meet a Hall of Fame legend in St. Louis.  And I got an autograph with him, a picture with him.  Something I will remember the rest of my life.  My first time being in the NCAA Tournament and meeting Ozzie Smith, it's something I really can't beat.  It would have been nice if we got a win though.
COACH CALLERO:  Well, he is a first‑class person and the way he reached out.  We reached out and he responds to it.  And comes in, and great words of wisdom for the team.  Camaraderie, came in and hey, I want to be here to support you and congratulate you.  And we said‑‑and he said hey, let me get out of your hair.  And we said you can stick around a little bit, you know.
We had another 15, 18 minutes before the game started.  So he signed things and hung out and talked and visited.  And it's cool because I think that tells people that their alumni, one of the goals next is to get John Madden to come in the locker room, get him to come in the locker room.  And a teammate, get Weird Al Yankovic to come back here as well.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for the Mustangs of Cal Poly?  All right, gentlemen, thank you very much.  And congratulations on your season.

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