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November 27, 2002

Matt Bonner

Billy Donovan

Matt Walsh


Q. Stanford is a team that continues to exceed expectations. Are they better than people think they are?

COACH DONOVAN: Well, they didn't exceed my expectations. I knew they were a very good basketball team just watching them play on film. I liken them to last year's Arizona, not as far as the personnel being similar, but going into the season where Arizona lost a couple of guys to the NBA Draft. Expectations were not there, people did not think Arizona was going to be very good and we had a chance to play Arizona last year and they beat us and they also beat Maryland. I liken Stanford's team in a very similar fashion. They are a great, great basketball team. They have got, I think, the ingredients to have a great, great season. They are big, strong and physical up front and they have terrific perimeter shooting. I think they will probably develop a little bit deeper of a bench, but they are a very good team.

Q. With the way Anthony had been shooting, were you comfortable with him taking that final shot?

COACH DONOVAN: He drove down the lane, one of those things where Stanford is a very, very good defensive team. What we try to do is attack them quickly before their defense could set up or before they could really -- you call a time-out in that situation, you really allow them to get organized. Anthony got down the lane, I'll have to watch it on the tape, but I thought tonight we took ill-advised shots. I thought some shots were open. I thought our basketball team on the perimeter really, really struggled making the extra pass to find the open man, and I just think we did not shoot the ball particularly well at all. We were 8-for-28 from the 3-point line and we only scored, whatever it was, 60-something points which was disappointing. But that's basically -- we lost because we could not control their front court, and then I think we lost because we just could not score enough points in the game.

Q. Are you surprised they played as much zone? Were you expecting they would do that?

COACH DONOVAN: I thought they would play the whole game zone going into it, just watching them play Xavier. I was pretty pleased with the way we attacked the zone. We did not shoot a high percentage. The looks were there for us. I thought at times guys made poor decisions as far as when to shoot, when to drive and when to ball-fake. For me I think this is a great experience because I hope it humbles our basketball team a little bit. Now I think the big thing for Matt Walsh and Anthony and Rashid, and our young guys, they had a taste of success for the first few weeks of the season, everybody was talking them and now they would not play as well as they would have liked to. And now you find out what type of guys you have in your program. Their run the last three games was not going to last and they have to be able to bounce back and find ways to do other things in the game to attack it. I thought Anthony Roberson, tonight, he got mentally taken out of the game because he was not taking shots and I think that affected other parts of his game, and he has to learn with his athleticism that if he is not making shots to do other things to help the team.

Q. Along those lines, obviously Matt had some stand-up moments in the tournaments, and maybe some freshman mistakes. Is he playing to your expectations so far?

COACH DONOVAN: I would not trade any of our freshmen in an for anybody. I love him as a player. He is a terrific student of the game. He really understands the game very well for a kid as young as he is. He's going to have some ups-and-downs, and this is the first time that he's gone against this level of competition. I thought he played pretty well, at times, his turnovers were very, very loud. Outside of turnovers, he got in there and he rebounded. He made some really, really good plays and he shot the ball fairly decent. You know, did he exceed my expectations? Not really because I knew he was a good player. I think the thing that's impressed me is he physically has been able to compete and play all the way throughout practice and right up to this point in time. But I think one of the things that he's going to have to deal with as is Roberson with the amount of minutes they are getting is sometimes they tire and defensively, we get to about the eight-minute mark and we are up by eight points and we could not stop them. They ran off four straight baskets and tied the game; that hurt us. Then we didn't have scoring and then we had to go small, but Matt, I think has played exceptional. I think he's played very, very well. The biggest thing he's got to cure right now because he's had games with four, or five seven turnovers if he could just take care of that. The rest of his game he's doing a good job with.

Q. Games you've won coming in here, the lop-sided margins, is that the best way to get ready for a tournament?

COACH DONOVAN: I told them after the Coastal Carolina game because we shot the ball so well from the perimeter that your mainstay has got to be defense and rebounding because you are not going to always have those type of shooting nights. It's kind of ironic, Anthony goes from scoring 26 points on Sunday night to going 1 for 13, how quickly things change in a short period of time. That's why I think that any time you're a basketball player and you focus on offense and you focus on scoring, chances are, you are not going to have a very good night because your mindset is not in the right place. But if you focus on things that impact winning, rebounding, playing unselfishly, making the extra pass and those things, then what happens is you've taken the pressure off yourself offensively to score. Obviously, Anthony goes from one extreme to the next, but that's part of being a freshman and learning and growing, and that's something that he and Matt are going to have to go through playing as many minutes as they play. The thing that I'm upset about in a game is -- just in a game like, this we should not be allowed to play again for a week. We need to -- these guys need practice and we have not practiced enough leading into this situation. We just haven't, you know what I mean? Again, we have a day in between right now, but they need -- the NCAA needs to uplift that 20-hour rule. They need to be in the gym practicing.

Q. Matt Walsh, obviously you made yourself really at home back in Gainesville. Can you talk about this experience playing in the garden first game on the road?

MATT WALSH: It's a lot different playing at home. We are not going to have that extra element bringing excitement and giving us a boost, just our team, us, bringing energy. It was definitely a lot different. We didn't have that. And that's pretty much it.

Q. After that first game, your big college debut on ESPN in front of the whole nation, how much pressure do you feel now going into the game, or maybe you don't?

MATT WALSH: No, definitely not. I was nervous the first game, but now -- the guys around me make it a lot easier, and everyone keeps giving me all this credit but I don't deserve it as much as I'm getting. The guys around me are making me look good and I'm just feeding off of them.

Q. With so many close losses in the past few years, how do you prepare yourself for that during practices?

COACH DONOVAN: It's really, really hard. These guys have got to go through these experiences right now. I thought that Stanford was obviously more of a veteran team than we were in certain areas. But we have to go through it. We have five freshmen out there. We have Brett Nelson for a limited time, it was his first game back. You know, it's the first time they have played in a neutral site and this type of venue. We have got to find ways just to get better. I really thought that we lost the game because defensively coming down the stretch we could not stop them. And we had a tough time scoring -- but really we were not scoring, they scored four straight times down the floor and in a matter of like ten or 12 seconds and that really, really hurt us and we came up empty-handed the whole entire time; and we switched and went into some zone and got us back in the game and we got down by four but we have to find ways to overcome that -- Roberson, even David Lee plays 27 minutes tonight, it's the first time he's been in coming down the stretch the game. Just got a lot of new guys going through this. Outside of Matt and Justin Hamilton, you have three guys on the floor that have never been through this before. But, I think that they are a team that wants to learn and get better, so I think that they will be able to do that.

Q. How is Nelson feeling?

COACH DONOVAN: He wanted to play more minutes but I would not play him. They told me between 18 and -- I see he got 19, he wanted to play more, but Chris was basically telling me from the sideline how many minutes he had played. And so I'm not going to go against what the doctor wanted me to do or what's best for him health-wise. So we kept him in there 18-minute range and we'll see how he feels tomorrow and how he feels fried.

Q. Matt Bonner, are you disappointed with the way you guys handled Davis and Little on the board?

MATT BONNER: Definitely. I mean, we've got to learn how to be physical when we play front courts who are physically bigger than us. We have to learn to not be timid down there and not be afraid to hit someone physically. Like Coach Donovan said, we have to learn that through practice. I'm sure we'll work on that.

End of FastScripts...

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