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March 22, 2014

Gary Bell, Jr.

Sam Dower, Jr.

Mark Few

Kevin Pangos


THE MODERATOR:テつ Student athletes from Gonzaga, Gary Bell, Sam Dower and Kevin Pangos and raise your hand and we'll find you and let the questions begin.

Q.テつ Kevin, can you talk about facing Nick Johnson, defensively and offensively?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ He's a great player, offensively, and we're going to have to do a great job as a team controlling him and defensively we can't get lazy with the basketball, definitely quick and athletic so we have to do what we can.

Q.テつ How is your defensive game plan different than it was for the cowboys?
SAM DOWER:テつ Our defense has been pretty good, we're playing really good team defense.テつ How it's different, you know, they have a bunch of guys on this team that need to be stopped, Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Tarczewski as well so we're definitely gonna have our work cut out for us, we're gonna have to have a lot of effort, we have to match their intensity and be confident out there.

Q.テつ Can you talk each of you a little bit about Arizona's transition game and how that's maybe a little different from Oklahoma State and really from some of the teams you saw in the WCC this year?テつ How fast they are back down the court?
GARY BELL:テつ From what I've seen, I feel like Oklahoma State and this team feasts off of turnovers and if we turn the ball over it's going to lead to dunks and layups and stuff so that gets them going.テつ We have to be strong with the ball just like we were yesterday and we will be fine.
SAM DOWER:テつ As G.B. said they're all athletic, from the point guard to the post, and they get offensive rebounds so we have to try to slow them down with rebounding.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Same thing.

Q.テつ Gonzaga basketball, is it on campus, you don't have football.テつ What's it like being the big men on campus where the basketball program is top dog?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ It's pretty cool, the whole community is buzzing, whether it's the first game or last in March.テつ It's pretty cool.テつ Everyone is supportive and people in the community are caring about us, not just as basketball players but as people as well, so ‑‑ come up to us, shake your hands that sort of thing, it's nice and I don't know what to compare it to because we don't have a football team but I know it's in the community and it's great.
GARY BELL:テつ Pretty much what he said, we don't have a football team or a professional team and everybody is like, wow, there's the basketball team and it's nice to get that recognition from people around Spokane.

Q.テつ Follow‑up, Kevin and Gary, you guys have a practice facility that opened fairly recently.テつ How much do you use how much of a factor is that development as players.
GARY BELL:テつ The Rudolph Center is for all the students I usually stay in the McCarthy center and shoot because it's open 24/7 for us, we slide our card and we can go in anytime of day so I use the McCarthy center to shoot.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ The 24/7 access was something I never had growing up so getting to Gonzaga and having that opportunity it's pretty nice.テつ You can get in there at 1, 2 in the morning if you feel like it so it's pretty cool and a lot of the guys on our team take advantage of.

Q.テつ We're one year removed from the 1 seed you guys had last year.テつ Does it feel like thereabouts not as much pressure going in and do you think that Arizona is now feeling that pressure that you guys may have felt last year?
SAM DOWER:テつ There isn't as much pressure and I wouldn't say we are looser.テつ We are more aggressive.テつ We have to be that Wichita state team last year and we have to go out there on the floor and prove that we can be one of the best teams in the country.

Q.テつ Do you think that Arizona runs the risk of overlooking Gonzaga?
GARY BELL:テつ I don't think they're overlooking us.テつ Two years ago we played 'em and beat 'em so I think they're definitely going to be ready for us.テつ Pretty much have, you know, me and Kevin and Sam all played in that game so they definitely have their eyes open for us.テつ We're aggressive and we're going to come out and play hard tomorrow.

Q.テつ Kevin, you mentioned that the practice facility gives you the opportunity to shoot at these odd hours.テつ Do you ever do that?テつ Do you ever go in there midnight, 1:00 in the morning and take shots?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, I've done that before, obviously sleep is important, too, so I don't do it too often, but it's nice to have that access.テつ I find it relaxing to get in the gym, sometimes if I've got a lot on my mind, schoolwork is a lot, I will go in, get some shots up, put some music on, relax.

Q.テつ Arizona's a lot bigger than Oklahoma State and great rebounders.テつ How do you attack them offensively now that you don't have as much as of a height advantage?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ I would say we have to attack them as a team.テつ It's not one thing that we can do specifically and that's what our team is really good at, I think, is each game someone else steps up.テつ Each game it's going to be someone different so I don't think we can rely on one aspect of our game, we have to have it from the guards to the big men off the bench, it's got to be a team effort.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for the student athletes?

Q.テつ Gary, you have a lot of pride playing with this team, this program, but can you talk about your family pride now with your new addition and if that's any different in your mind set, anything different this year than years past with a little one and that stuff on your mind?
GARY BELL:テつ I don't know.テつ We're having a baby, I'm pretty much doing the same thing.テつ Basketball‑‑ I'm here to play basketball so my girlfriend, she knows that, so she knows I'm here to play and I'm going to keep doing the same things I've been doing, work hard and help this team win.

Q.テつ Gary, I don't know if you guys pay attention to KenPom or not but this is the first time this team had been in top 30 for adjusted defensive efficiency.テつ What's changed from last year to this year with this defensive university you have now?
GARY BELL:テつ I got recruited by Coach Giacoletti and he definitely made it a defensive parity at Gonzaga.テつ Him being here my first two years, defensive priority, so we keep that instilled with us every game, we want to try to keep our opponent under 30% or in the 30% field goal percentage so we pride ours with defense.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for the student athletes?テつ Thank you, guys.テつ We are joined by Mark Few and he will begin with an opening statement.
COACH FEW:テつ We're happy to still be playing, still together as a team and, you know, looking forward to battling the Cats.テつ We have tremendous respect for them, I think it's been the two premiere programs out wet for a handful of years now.テつ It's been Yoe‑Yoeing back and forth.テつ Just so impressed with the job that Sean has done this year and navigating his way through the number one ranking for so long and dealing with the significant injury to Ashley and still staying on top.テつ We know we got our work cutout for us but, you know, my guys are battlers.

Q.テつ For the first time you guys are top third in adjusted defensive efficiency.テつ What's changed from this year to the Gonzaga defense we're seeing this season?
COACH FEW:テつ Well, you know, I wouldn't‑‑ I don't know that his stuff is the Bible.テつ It's one way to analyze defense.テつ We have had some darn good defenses, last year's team was a good defensive team and was probably hurt by so many blowouts that we had.テつ When I had my best guys in there we were a very good defensive team and Pargo and Day were very good, we held guys to 38% defensive field goal percentage, and this team has done a nice job.
I think as the years have progressed, Przemek has done a nice job of protecting the rim, as far as it's been called, as far as the rules and he's a smart player.テつ And then, you know, having experienced guards, understanding, getting in the gaps and making plays in the gaps, you know, doing a good job of making guys hopefully shoot over the top of us as much as we can.テつ We have been stressing that.テつ So I would say probably those three things.

Q.テつ A follow‑up.テつ This season obviously Sam Dower we talked about him and he struggled a bit the other day but in terms of tomorrow and playing that big frontcourt what do you need from him and Prezemek and what do they understood to do to help y'all win?
COACH FEW:テつ They need to play very, very good, that's pretty simple but the funny thing about Sam, Myron, is he just kind of plays.テつ He falls into shots and the moment that I start trying to‑‑ I've learned it took me probably four and a third years but I've learned to just kind of let him play.テつ He will find his 15‑footers, 18‑footers, a pick and pop here, a drive here, occasional post up but when I start trying to direct him may be in the post and duck in to things like that it doesn't suit him as well.テつ Last night he had a couple of those in his wheelhouse and he didn't knock 'em down like he's been knocking 'em down.テつ Prezemek is in a good place.テつ It will be a tough match‑up, because I don't know that we've faced this size, you know, in bulk and strength and athleticism, yet this year.テつ I'm trying to think, but I don't know that they've faced somebody like Prezemek, either, he's a big man.テつ It will be a battle.テつ Arizona likes to double the post a lot so I don't know statistically how it will play out, but hopefully we can play off those guys, too, and hopefully generate some offense by throwing it into him and inviting a double and seeing if we can play off that, too.テつ But those are four really, really good bigs if you ask me in college basketball.テつ And, you know, hopefully same will‑‑ like we were talking as a staff, Sam rarely has back‑to‑back days where he doesn't play well.

Q.テつ Mark, in reference to your comment about you and Arizona Yoe‑Yoeing in the west, do you and Sean's paths cross often in Apriland July?
COACH FEW:テつ You know, a little bit.テつ A little bit.テつ I think he's just done an unbelievable job from where that thing was when it opened up and he took the job.テつ You know, to where it is now.テつ And they do a great job out there recruiting.テつ They're pretty relentless and‑‑ but yet, you know, they do it the right way so I have a ton of respect for them in that regard.テつ We've had some battles, but usually they're‑‑ you know, they pick their guys early and do a nice job of closing it down early.

Q.テつ Based on the success you have had, a lot of people don't consider Gonzaga to be a mid‑major but when you look at air and when they have what's the difference in terms of resources that Sean Miller might have access to compared to what you have at Gonzaga?
COACH FEW:テつ I don't know that there is any difference in the resources.テつ Especially when it comes to recruiting.テつ I think they're able to draw, you know, off the traditions maybe of the national championship and Final Fours and the pro players that they have had.テつ They've done a nice job with that.テつ And obviously sometimes league affiliation.テつ Comes into play but we fight like crazy to dispel that and try to get guys to look at the program as a whole.テつ Resource wise, more seats in their building but not a big deal, everything else is probably pretty close.

Q.テつ This being the 15th anniversary of the team that went to the elite 8 and‑‑
COACH FEW:テつ I didn't know that, is that silver or gold?

Q.テつ Not one of my landmarks.テつ You're obviously a much better known and more established program than you were and not having made a run quite that deep into the tournament again, is it fair that programs get judged by that or is it just the randomness of the tournament sometimes?
COACH FEW:テつ You know, this tournament is tough, if you watch the last couple of years this weekend, and I think these seasons need to be judged as a whole and not just in a one‑game loser out deal.テつ Certainly that's the team that got it going for us and, you know, we had a heck of a lot of fun that year and surprisingly our regular season really wasn't even close to being on par with many of these other regular seasons we've had and I'm not even sure if we won our conference tournament, if we did we probably wouldn't have got in.テつ So‑‑ we caught some breaks that year, the Minnesota scandal happened like the night before our game, and that was probably the last time we got a good hop from the selection committee, we were a 10 and played until Seattle against a 7 which probably wasn't too fair.テつ But that group was resilient and we made the most of it.テつ We played Stanford, which was a big game and we had the incredible tip‑in by Casey Cavalry after the travel by Billy's squad.テつ We've made our name in the tournament and other years it's came back and haunted us here and there.

Q.テつ Coach, since we're looking back, 11 years ago if tomorrow's game is anything like the one that was played in 2003‑‑
COACH FEW:テつ That was a heck of a game.

Q.テつ Can you talk about that game?
COACH FEW:テつ That was‑‑ that was one of those games where both teams I thought played great and it was an epic college game.テつ We have a still picture I think out of "Sports Illustrated" maybe, I don't know why we have it hanging in our office, it's kind of a sad moment, but probably one of the best players we've ever had at Gonzaga, Blake Steps squared up for an 8‑footer that would have won the game and I think he could make in his sleep but he didn't know whether to bank‑‑ he stepped through on, gosh, the lefty good shooter, stepped through on him and had about an 8‑footer with 2 seconds left that would have won it and it's the still frame of that.テつ We get to see that quite often but that was a game where the players were exhausted and helping each other up afterwards because they had so much respect for the battle that had just played out.テつ The other irony and I don't want to bore you too much but two or three weeks, Sean texted me in the middle of the night he was watching on some replay, maybe ESPY Classic, the Zag/Arizona game so we were texting back and forth laughing about that.テつ And he said yesterday I think we jinxed each other by doing that, we ended up playing each other again.

Q.テつ In terms of style of play is there any take away whatsoever since you have faced Sean's brother in Dayton already, Archie?
COACH FEW:テつ No, I don't think so.テつ Two different teams and styles and run totally different sets.テつ There is a couple of similarities there, not really.テつ Archie is doing a great job.テつ We knew when we played 'em they were an NCAA Tournament team and they did a nice job of rallying at the end to get it going.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions?テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ Free throws, Arizona has struggled with them this season.テつ Does that make you more sort of your game plan more likely to sort of go at them more defensively and be physical with them?
COACH FEW:テつ No, we don't have enough depth inside to be doing that.テつ We gotta manage our fouls closely, especially against a team like that because I don't know how much time we can spend playing small.テつ So‑‑ we had some issues at the free‑throw line, too, we could have closed that thing down earlier if we would have stepped up and banged in some free‑throws, but we'll see.

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