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March 23, 2011

Billy Donovan

Vernon Macklin

Chandler Parsons

Alex Tyus


Q. Chandler, could you talk about the expectations and how they weighed on you all when you came here following the '06 and '07 national championships? And the second part, what were the toughest adjustments when you got here?
CHANDLER PARSONS: I think coach made it pretty clear that we weren't going to have an expectations when we came in here because we came in here after arguably one of the best teams ever in college basketball, so he made it clear that we're our own identity and we're our own team. But at the same time, you feel pressured coming in after those guys, how good they were. I think it was just a learning process for us. We came in here young, a lot of freshmen were playing big minutes and had big roles, and I think it was just different for us, and I think we really learned from that. I by the biggest adjustment that I had to do from high school to college was probably strength, shots that are open in high school aren't open in college. Guys are stronger, more physical and I think things like that.
ALEX TYUS: Yeah, back then I felt like we didn't have an older group of guys to lead us and guide us into knowing how to win, and I think that was the key coming in was just thinking that everything would be easy when we were freshmen.

Q. I want to find out what stands out in your mind from last year's game, each of you, and how you're going to stop Jimmer or limit Jimmer tomorrow?
VERNON MACKLIN: We pretty much put that game in the past. Coach Donovan told us it happened last year, and it was a great game. Jimmer played well and the rest of the guys played well. I think we're just going to try to go out there and play defense because it's a great team, it's not just him, there's four other guys on the floor and they way well around him. We're going to put that game in the past and play Thursday.
CHANDLER PARSONS: We had so many careless turnovers where it led to easy baskets for them. People always underestimate everyone on their team. And I think we've got a good understanding going in there how good they are from playing them last year. And it's just not Jimmer Fredette, the other guys are very good players and they understand their role, and they don't get a lot of credit, but we're not just focused on Jimmer, we're focused on their entire team.
ALEX TYUS: Yeah, I think that a lot of people lose sight of how good the other guys are playing off of Jimmer, and I feel like the key to doing a good job on them is to stop the other guys, too.

Q. Vernon, you may have touched on this, but since this match-up was announced I kept hearing Florida is looking for revenge from last year. Is the revenge factor being overblown or is there something to that?
VERNON MACKLIN: No, there's no revenge. It's just a regular game for us. And for them, also. I mean, the game happened last year was a great game. We lost first round of the tournament; they went on and won. But it's no revenge, we just want to go out there and play against anybody and it happens to be BYU and they're ready to play and we're ready to play.
CHANDLER PARSONS: Yeah, I think us going into the game, we're just worried about their team this year. We can't be worried about what we did good last year, what we did bad last year new team. We've just got to come it. We have a new team; they have a new team, new personnel. So it's just going to be us against them. We're playing them right now, so that's all we can worry about. We can't worry about the past or the future.
ALEX TYUS: We're just excited to play tomorrow. No revenge. It could have been anybody we were going to play against, and we're just ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Alex and Chandler, can you talk about the journey and when you guys were first going to sign here, your coach left for four days or however long it was, and then you had to go through the NIT experiences and all, and just to get to this point?
ALEX TYUS: It's been a long haul, but really excited about how everything played out and how things are right now. But back then I felt like there was different journeys that came along. I think me and Chandler really did a good job of just moving forward, handling different challenges since we got here since our freshman year.
CHANDLER PARSONS: Yeah, I think going in with that whole thing with Coach Donovan going to the Magic, that was definitely crazy because when you commit to a school you're also committing to the coach. So that was definitely shocking. He calls you one day and says he's going, and the next day he says he's coming back. So it was just exciting. It was a difficult and weird time.
But I think when we came in here, everything we've been through together as a team, and me and Alex going through that whole process has really helped us grow and humbled us and has made us the players and the team that we are today.

Q. Chandler, how shocked were you when you found out that BYU had kicked one of its best players off the team for having premarital sex, and how many Gators would be left on the team if you had that rule?
CHANDLER PARSONS: I mean, rules are rules, so he knew what he was doing. I mean, it's something that we can't worry about really because he's not playing in the game tomorrow and that's really none of my business. Yeah, that's it. (Laughter).

Q. Alex, Billy talked the other day about how much you've sacrificed this year, personally, points-wise and maybe as your role on the team. How hard was that for you to do, and does it now seem so much more worth it based on where you are? And if Chandler and Vernon could address how much Alex really has sacrificed this year.
ALEX TYUS: I wouldn't think of it really as much of a sacrifice because those different things of helping the team win, I feel like they're easy. I feel like trying to get offensive rebounds and trying to do well on defense and trying to bring energy is something that kind of comes natural for me and I look forward to doing and I feel like it's kind of easy to do. I feel like it helped a lot to get us to this point, and a lot of the guys have been doing well, helping me out or whatever, as far as just telling me, we need you and things like that. But I feel like we've been doing great, and I'm really happy about it.
VERNON MACKLIN: I think I'm happy for him because if you look at it, in the SEC a lot of the great players are actually the power forward spots, like Trey Thompkins and those guys, and Tobias Harris, and Terrence Jones. Alex did a great job on those guys and helped us out, helped us win games because he did a great job guarding those guys and also him getting rebounds and being there when other guys double-teamed me and getting offensive rebounds. So Alex has done a great job right now for us and we love the way he's playing, brings a lot of energy from the tip until the end of the game. I don't think no one on our team worries about numbers. I think Alex is doing a great job and everybody else is doing a great job also backing him up.
CHANDLER PARSONS: I think he's all about winning. I don't think numbers matter to any of us. I think he's really brought into the system and what he needs to do. He's done a great job and he brings energy to every game, good defense, and we wouldn't be here without him.

Q. Did any of the players from the '06, '07 team, Joakim Noah or Lee, did they ever take you aside and say you guys need to do this, or did they ever come back to the program at all?
ALEX TYUS: We talked to Al Horford before the SEC championship game and he gave us some good words of advice. I think those guys look out. I think they've been watching us play through our journey.
CHANDLER PARSONS: Those guys, they're great. They'll stay in touch, they send text messages or through Twitter just stay in touch with us and let us know how they're playing or how they think we're doing, mostly just being supportive.

Q. Jimmer said you got to know him a little bit over the summer. What stood out to him? And also defensively for you guys, what is harder if he's trying to shoot from long distance or if he's trying to shoot the ball?
CHANDLER PARSONS: He's a really good kid. I've known him since 15 years old and we played against them in AAU. He played on Albany City Rocks with Talor Battle and Mark Lyons. And I played on the team for us and we were always going at it in the AAU circuit. This summer he was at LeBron camp with me and Vernon. I think he's a really good player. He's just a really good player, he's tough, he's smart, he's got crazy range on his jump shot, and I just think when you're guarding him you can't let him get a lot of easy baskets, not give him any easy looks and really just try to contain him because he's been doing this all year long basically for the last two years against everybody, so he's a great player and a great scorer, so we've just got to do our best to try to contain him.
COACH DONOVAN: We're excited to be here in New Orleans, and I think it's an exciting time for any team that can move on and advance in this tournament. We're playing against a team tomorrow that there is a level of familiarity with, just from having the opportunity to play against them last year. They've got obviously a terrific player, arguably the best player in college basketball, in Jimmer Fredette. I think he's done some terrific things for the game and for young kids, just the kind of kid he is, his work ethic and what he's been able to do, and he gets a lot of publicity and a lot of exposure and deservedly so. But I also think they've got a terrific team. They've got players that I think when you get to this point in time of the season, certainly you've got to be good players, and he gets a lot of attention, but they've got other very, very good players.
They're a terrific three-point shooting team with Emery and Hartsock, and Abouo has played very, very well for them. They've gotten great minutes off their bench from Rogers and different players, and they're a better team than when we played them a year ago.
And we realize going into the game that we're going to have to play a lot better than we did a year ago, and in the game we played a year ago, we didn't win. I think coming out of that game we can probably at least have a feel of size, athleticism. There's a little bit of familiarity in terms of style of play, and I do think at this time in the NCAA Tournament where a lot of times there's not a lot of familiarity because you're seeing opponents that maybe you see on TV and don't know a lot about. So we're playing against a terrific team. We're excited about the opportunity to play and advance to this point in time, and we're playing against a team that you win 30-plus games in this day and age in college basketball, they're very good.
I'd be happy to take any questions.

Q. Can you give us an update on how much Kenny Boynton has practiced and how he's looked defensively in those practices?
COACH DONOVAN: He was in a position to practice yesterday, and the trainer wanted to hold him out and rest him another day. He went through practice yesterday without any contact. All the running drills, moving drills, shooting drills, he did all those things.
Today he was full go. He was in full contact. He appeared to be moving well, has not said or given me any indication he's having any issues or any problems with his ankle. We expect him to be fine tomorrow night and to be able to play. But probably more of the trainer precautionary holding him out yesterday in practice than anything else, he probably could have gone yesterday, but they just wanted to give him that extra time to at least get back in the flow, move, shoot, cut and then see if there was any kind of lasting effect from the injury, and there didn't seem to be.

Q. His mobility?
COACH DONOVAN: I didn't notice anything differently with him favoring it, trying to protect himself at all today in practice. He did everything that everybody else did and was in there the whole entire time.

Q. Does Jimmer remind you anything of you when you were at Providence?
COACH DONOVAN: He's a lot better than I was, I'll tell you that. He is -- I think the one comparison between he and I that I could maybe see was just -- last year finding out a little bit more about him because he started to kind of get the kind of attention he's gotten this year was I've always admired his work ethic and I've admired his love and passion for the game. He's a better player this year than he was a year ago. And I think it's so hard for young people when they have a high level of success, individual success and team success, to be able to come back the next year and understand the importance of what the off-season means in terms of his improvement.
And just hearing the story about his brother and the drive between those two and how he's pushed him and just his focus and his commitment, I mean, I've got great respect and admiration, and I think he's a great story for a lot of young kids for all the right reasons because here's a kid that really put the time and the work in, and I think the one thing you can say about him is every year he's been in college he's gotten better. I would say I was probably somebody that loved the game just like he loved the game. Problem for me was I just wasn't as good as he was.

Q. What makes him a good shooter?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I think, like any great shooter, he's probably taken thousands and thousands of shots, and he's got great confidence and belief in himself. I think a lot of it has to do with the coaching staff and with Coach Rose, having that kind of confidence in him. I think as a young player you need a coach to give you confidence as a shooter.
I think the other thing is he's got the ability. You know, there's certain guys that have an ability to put the ball in the basket, and he's got the ability to put the ball in the basket in a lot of different ways: runners, off balance shots, fade aways, post-up, drives to the basket, deep, deep threes. He has a knack for putting the ball in the basket, and he can do it at a very, very high level.
But with all that being said with him, there again, they're getting over 80 points a game. Eighty points a game would lead the SEC in scoring, and it's because of the other guys around him, and that's what makes them such a great team is you may look at the scoring differential, but in a lot of ways they're balanced.
And I'd say the other part of him that nobody talks about is I think he's a terrific passer. He's the kind of guy that can get eight, nine, ten assists in a game because he's playing with good players, he can get Hartsock, he can get Emery wide open shots, and when those guys are open they make shots. Same thing with Abouo, those guys make shots. Rogers comes in they make shots, and a lot of times you get caught watching him on helping on him and he gets those other guys great looks. He's really a complete player.

Q. You had mentioned earlier that you think BYU is a better team now than they were last year. Are they doing anything differently this year as opposed to what you scouted last year?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I think there are certain characteristics of any team that are going to reflect the head coach. I'm sure there are some things that Coach Rose looks at with us and there's carryover. I think the same thing can be said about Dave's team, there's going to be some carryover. I think they're better because Fredette is better, Emery is better, Hartsock is better, Abouo is better.
They add Collinsworth as a freshman who's a hard, tough, physical player. They are a physical team. They're a very aggressive team. They're a great steal team. They got a big taste of it last year doing what they did. They got a win last year in the tournament, and I just think that when you do what they did this year, when you go from whatever their record was now to having 31 wins and four losses and you're in the Sweet 16, they're a better team than they were a year ago, and I think our players realize that.
We're not playing the same team we played a year ago; we're playing a team that's better than they were a year ago. So for us, and I've said to people, unless they're going to take points from the last time we played them or rebounds or assists, that game has nothing to do with this game tomorrow. What we can take from the game is having a familiarity in terms of their personnel.

Q. In that sense, Jimmer seems like a guy you can easily underestimate if you've never seen him in the flesh, so the fact that they've had that experience of covering him, do you think that that gives you an edge this time around?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, I don't know if it gives us an edge because I would say this: The last time we saw him he is drastically better now. That's the thing that's impressive is that he's a better player now.
And I think our guys understand that he can score in a variety of different ways. We've seen that. I actually thought last year we did a pretty decent job for the first 40 minutes of the game when the game went into overtime, he had 23 points. But we turned the ball over a little bit too much, too many people scored for them, Lloyd came off the bench, had a great game. But I think he's better than he was a year ago, and just watch him, he's stronger, certainly he's seen every possible imaginable defense against him, he's seen box and ones, triangle twos, trapping him, running at him, he's seen it all. So there's nothing he hasn't seen up to this point in time. But he's better. But his style of game, I think there may be an understanding of what he likes to do.

Q. How hard would it be to recruit to Florida if you had to tell your recruits you can't have premarital sex if you come to Florida?
COACH DONOVAN: I'm not going to get into that. I mean, I don't know. First of all, I don't really talk about any of that stuff, either. I'll pass on that one.

Q. Could you talk about for Alex and Chandler, the journey they've had, they come in, sign with you, you leave, you have to call them and tell me you're leaving, they go through that mentally, the NIT was almost like a scarlet letter for them after what happened, and to get to this point, what they've been able to do?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I'm really proud of those guys. I think the one thing you want to see as a coach is you want to see guys get better. They have individually gotten better and our team has gotten better and they've been a big part of that. But really I think it's been an incredible ride for those four guys because I don't know if you can really enjoy the good times unless you've had some difficult times. And I think if you look at our freshman class right now, them coming in, Patrick Young, Casey Prather, Wilbekin, Willie Yeguete. Look what they've experienced, they've experienced an SEC championship regular season, they've experienced playing an SEC championship game, they've experienced a Sweet 16. They really haven't had a whole lot of adversity in their career. I give those guys credit, Chandler and Alex, they battled through the adversity that they had to learn and they had to go through. And they probably have a much higher level of appreciation for winning right now because of what they went through, and I think the other thing that can be a great confidence builder for them not only playing the game but in life is they've learned a great lesson about perseverance and resiliency and battling through difficult times, and that if you stay the course and you have a belief in what you're doing, however long it may take, there can be some positive results that may come from it. And I think that they really hopefully through this experience with their four years here, they've learned a lot that they can carry on into their life.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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