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March 21, 2014

Desmond Haymon

Jacob Parker

Brad Underwood


SF Austin – 77
VCU – 75

THE MODERATOR:  Stephen F. Austin Coach Brad Underwood, student athletes Desmond Heymon and Jacob Parker, we will begin with an opening statement from Coach Underwood.
COACH UNDERWOOD:  Well, miracles truly do happen.  What a game!  What a game!  It's amazing the resiliency that this team and these two guys have shown all year.  Credit to Coach Smart they were deserving of being a 5 seed and obviously Shaka has that program at an elite level.  Didn't look good for a long time in that second half.  I thought we played really well the first half.  I thought we played at the tempo we needed to play with, we hung on the boards and were very efficient.  Then as the name havoc, it got to us, it bothered us, we went on a 5 to 6‑minute spurt there where we turned the ball over, they got on the offensive glass and we didn't guard them very well in terms of them dribble driving.
As this team has done all year we have stayed resilient and very matter‑of‑fact in the game in the game plan.  We hung in there and we made a couple of plays and I don't know how to describe the 4‑point play.  It was déjà vu for me.  Because Des did this exact same thing in a game early in the year at Marshall.  It wasn't a four‑point play but getting fouled with .7 on the clock.  Down 3, and he stepped up to the line and made all 3 ton send that game into overtime.  It was flashback, but I was proud of our guys.  We outrebounded them, that was a big key coming in and I thought we did a really nice job of keeping them off the foul line.  We made plays when we had to and this team has done that all year.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student athletes.

Q.  Desmond, what on earth happened with that 3‑pointer at the end of regulation.  Walk us through what you saw and what we ultimately saw.
DESMOND HAYMON:  Thomas was driving down the court and made a great move and the defense came in and I called his name and shot ready and with the God's grace shot went up and I shot it with confidence.

Q.  Drawing the foul, was that something that you were intentionally trying to do to make him kind of put the body on you so you could get the free throw?
DESMOND HAYMON:  I shot it with confidence.  He closed on me kinda hard and I stayed there with my follow‑through and he knocked me down.

Q.  Des, talk about the finish.  You kind of‑‑ you stuck on 3 points for a long time.  You had a big finish.  Talk about the shots you were getting the last 5 minutes of the game.
DESMOND HAYMON:  Going to the end of the game I knew that I was struggling throughout the game and I was in my mind, and I just said, this is my senior year I can't let my teammates down going out like this.  We came together and it was like we got too fight and find a way to win.  I was struggling shooting the ball, I knew in order to get it going I was going to have to continue to try and find it.  I guess I found that groove with the last shot.

Q.  Desmond, 3‑pointer is one thing and having to go to the bench and go back out and make that free throw, can you talk about, was that‑‑ did that seem like 20 minutes getting to the line and having to shoot that or were you confident?
DESMOND HAYMON:  All starts in practice.  At the end of practice, every practice we have to run 22's.  We don't like running and Coach put us in a situation that we had to be tough enough and stand up to the free throw line and make 'em, and I can't let my teammates down.

Q.  Jacob, I know that you told me this was a dream come true to be in the NCAA Tournament, what's it like to be part of the madness and pull off an upset?  I know you guys game in confident but can you describe what it's like?
JACOB PARKER:  Coach told us to dream big and that's been our motto.  We knew we could come out and win the game but we were going to go through a war.  Being able to go through it with the guys was just an unbelievable feeling.

Q.  How does it feel to be on this journey where you come from, you know, small town Mississippi to make your journey to a mid‑major school and whether you realize it or not you're going to be a national figure, a lot of people are going to be talking about you.  How does that feel?
DESMOND HAYMON:  I've been through so many things growing up, when I first got to SFA I lost my sister right before the season started and then I broke my wrist.  My family, you know, it was heart breaking for them so I had to be strong and continue to keep my faith in God knowing that good things come to those who wait.  It took me to my senior year to get to the tournament and to be a part of this team it feels good.  It's a blessing.

Q.  For both players, I know what you're going to say, that the game wasn't over yet but when you're down 4 and they're shooting free throws, I mean, it's got to be a miracle.  What was going through your mind at that point?
JACOB PARKER:  We've been in this situation before and like Coach said, we've always shown a great deal of resiliency, so I mean, we just never lose faith in ourselves and we got the job done.

Q.  Desmond, how difficult was that, that first year with your sister's situation that you were dealing with?
DESMOND HAYMON:  It was very difficult.  I was far away from home.  My teammates had my back.  They're my brothers and my faith in God.  I know that everything happens for a reason and continue to just work hard every day knowing that she couldn't make it to one of my college games shell be looking down op me in the stands supporting me every step I go.  I wanted to do it for her and I have a little sister, 16, and I have to be the big brother for her and make her proud, let her know whatever come your way that you can't give up, that God has your back.

Q.  Jacob, as you're watching, you know, this whole sequence at the end of the regulation unfold, what are you thinking and what was that like to be a part of that moment?
JACOB PARKER:  It was unbelievable.  Like coach said earlier Des has been in that situation at the beginning of the year and when that shot went in I knew he was going to make the free‑throw, no doubt about it.

Q.  Jacob, as the game went on you saw their pressure which has bothered almost everybody they've played.  How did you deal with it as the game went on in seemed like the last 10 minutes of the game up handled it in that run pretty well?
JACOB PARKER:  We worked on it a ton in practice and it shows that practice pays off.  I would say that we kinda figured out the middle was open and if you break to the middle it was easier to break.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for the student athletes?  Thank you.  We will resume with Coach Underwood.

Q.  Coach, you handled the havoc so well in the first half and then it's almost like you hit a wall.  What happened in that 6‑minute stretch that was different than what had been going on?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  Well, they made a nice change and the one thing about our basketball team is we're really skilled.  We don't rely on just one ball handler.  Offensively we don't need a point guard to have to set up our offense to be able to run it.  Through scouting we found that their big kid, Juvonte Reddic didn't come up and Jacob could handle that and Thomas Walkup would be an integral part of that.  They made a nice change and changed their alignment and left one of our guys open that wasn't as good of a ball handler and we made a mistake.  I had a lineup in I wasn't real comfortable with at the time and then we made a big mistake and we went to the one place you can't go and that's the coffin corner. And they were very effective in putting hard traps on us, we turned the ball over, led to a couple of easy baskets.  I knew we would have a lapse, it's bound to happen, it's what happens.  I didn't know if it would be to start the game, when it would be.  We had to withstand that and I knew it would come and I knew we would have turnovers and I was doing back flips down the hallway with only five turnovers.

Q.  When you made the decision to come here, what went into it?  Why was this the opportunity, why was this the time?  Why was this the team.
COACH UNDERWOOD:  They won.  It was a winning program.  There is a great culture, and I'm wired, different than most.  I despised losing.  I can't stand it.  For me to‑‑ for my first head coaching job I didn't want to go to a bad job.  I was at a great spot with great people in a great situation, and when I walked into the interview and I saw the head of the board of trustees, I saw the president, Dr.Pattillo and I saw the athletic director, RobertHill and the associate A.D., John Branch there, I thought, wow, this is important.  They're taking their time to interview just a basketball coach and that had a huge impact on me.  This program as an unbelievably rich tradition.  Second winningest program in the state of Texas since the year 2000.  They won the league last year.  They won 27 games.
Those were all things that excited me about the possibility of continuing success.  You don't create culture over night, you don't create tradition over night.  Those were all the things that I was looking for and then you throw in a community, it's a college town, it's vibrant, it's energetic, it's alive!  You develop great relationships and great friendships that you don't necessarily have in other towns.  That's why.  Very simple.  For me.

Q.  When you were down 10, some of the players were saying that there was a lot of stuff guys were saying to each other, "we're not going to lose" and they drew upon that winning streak.  How much do you think the be habit of winning feeds on itself?
COACH UNDERWOOD:  There is no doubt.  There is no doubt.  It's incredible what that positive mental attitude has done and I can't say enough about Desmond.  Not only is he a good player and clutch player he's the best leader I've ever been around in my life.  He creates that vibe every single day in practice.  For these guys to never give in.  We've been in that same scenario on different occasions in our league play, and literally it's cliche but it's a never‑say‑die attitude and it doesn't bother them.  They're stoic in their emotions, we're an emotionless team for the most part except for their head ball coach and they're matter of fact and to the point.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for coach?  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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