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March 21, 2014

Billy Donovan

Michael Frazier, II

Scottie Wilbekin

Patric Young


Q.  Michael, yesterday did you think it was Albany that took you out of the game, or did you think you kind of took you out of the game, and what makes you think tomorrow will be different for you?
MICHAEL FRAZIER II:¬† Well, I know their strategy was to try and take me and Scottie out of the game, so we saw a little bit of triangle‑and‑two, and they were kind of determined not to let us beat them, so it opened up things for other guys.

Q.  (No microphone)?
MICHAEL FRAZIER II:  Yeah, I mean, their defense is different, so they're probably going to throw something a little different at us defensively, so we'll have some open looks in other areas.

Q.  Patric, a little while ago Talib Zanna said, in praising you, said you were a dirty player, then he kind of qualified that later on and said he meant that in a good way, like himself.  I wonder what you think about that.  And overall what kind of physicality or what kind of game do you think it's going to be tomorrow down low?
PATRIC YOUNG:  I think he meant probably that we're both similar type of players, willing to do whatever it takes, the hustle plays, going in there for offensive rebounds, fighting.  I don't think he meant anything out of context as far as unsportsmanlike, taking cheap shots.  No one has ever said anything like that about me.  I've never purposely or intentionally done anything like that on the court.  I just know tomorrow because we're both very similar players, it's going to be a battle.  We're going to go out there and just try and wear their frontcourt out because they have a lot of depth, a lot of good talented guys, especially him.  I saw that he had a 19 and 21 game against Carolina or 21, 19, so I know it's going to be a battle up front.  I'm just excited for the opportunity to go against someone like that.

Q.¬† Just a follow‑up for any of the players, what makes them‑‑ I don't know how much you've studied them on film, but they've been a pretty good grind‑it‑out defensive team.¬† What makes them tough or challenging defensively, and how much do you expect this to be that kind of a game?
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:  I think they do a great job of rotating and helping each other out on defense.  They do a couple of different schemes of trapping the low post and different guys rotating up and having everybody else scramble, so it's a little bit different look than most teams.  I think like us, they do a good job of priding themselves on defense and they really work hard on that end.  There will be a lot of defense played tomorrow.

Q.  Scottie, yesterday seemed to be an aberration for you guys, the way you played, and the way you didn't come out with a lot of energy.  What do you have to do to make sure that doesn't happen again?
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:¬† Just make sure we're ready to go, put this last game behind us, and start worrying about Pitt and just how we need to play against them.¬† I don't think there's any‑‑ we just have to be ready to play.¬† That's the only way we can avoid something like that.¬† I think we'll be ready, though.¬† I think we've got this game out of our system, and we're ready to move forward and ready to play like we know we can.

Q.¬† They just mentioned that there was a TV back in the holding area.¬† Obviously it looks like you guys were watching the Duke‑Mercer game.¬† How much of a reminder is it about how easy it is to get overthrown in tournaments like this by teams with much lower rankings, and how do you move forward with that?
PATRIC YOUNG:  Well, I think in this tournament you have to be aware that every team is fighting for their life, and the goal is just to survive.  Seeding doesn't matter when it comes down to between the lines.  As you see, a 14 can beat a 3.  Fortunately a 16 has never beat a 1 and we were able to keep that going.  But moving forward we have to realize our next opponent is Pitt.  We have to make sure we do whatever it takes just to survive and every team is going to be trying to keep that same mindset of just moving on to the next round.  Hopefully we can keep it going, as well.
MICHAEL FRAZIER II:  Yeah, what Patric said.  At this point it's not about any other team, it's just about us and how we play to our standard, and you know just going into every game focused and prepared to stay in the moment and focused on the task at hand.

Q.  Scottie, how has Patric developed in his years at Florida, and what kind of guy is he?
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:¬† He's a great guy, fun to be around.¬† As far as his development, I think he's done a better job each year at getting better at his low‑post scoring, and he's always been a good defender, but he just‑‑ this year I think he's really done a good job of maybe improving his stamina so he can stay in the game for longer and play that top level of defense for longer periods of time and just his hustle plays this year have been more than any other year, so that's about it.

Q.  Scottie, Michael, I was wondering, how much of your offense is generated by the pressure you have on defense, and how much faith do you guys have in your pressure that eventually it's going to wear the other team down and you're going to start getting turnovers and all that stuff?
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:¬† I think we try to let our defense create some offense for us, but if the other team does a good job of taking care of the ball, then there's not too much of that.¬† But we try to‑‑ our motto is to try to wear teams down with the press and try to eventually grind them down with our depth and just the pressure that we put on them.
PATRIC YOUNG:¬† Yeah, I ditto what Scottie said.¬† We want to try to wear teams out, and if they're doing a good job of holding the ball, taking care of the ball, we're just going to try and set our own tempo, just run the ball up‑and‑down the floor, making them have to handle the full court without fouling, and I think we do a pretty good job of that, just trying to stay focused on that when we're locked in and focused.

Q.  Patric, when Michael is in rhythm and when he hits three or four in a row, can you talk about the energy that gives your team and what it's like when he's hitting from all over the court?
PATRIC YOUNG:¬† When he's open, it opens up a lot of us, as well, because now those guys have to really account for him.¬† But when we can find him knocking them down with confidence, balls going down, we feel as though it gives us energy for all facets of the court, offensive side, defensive side, because we know that they are going to have to make extra rotations trying to look out for this guy, so it opens up so many other opportunities, driving lanes, close‑out situations, offensive rebounding for us because they get two guys running at Michael Frazier on the three, he misses and we have numbers on the offensive rebounding standpoint.¬† It just really helps us a lot when he is able to get fired up.

Q.  For all three of you guys, Pitt only had three turnovers yesterday against Colorado.  What can you guys see in them that you can maybe force some more and try and make them make mistakes?
MICHAEL FRAZIER II:  Well, they're a really good offensive team as far as passing the ball, getting in the lane, playing off of two feet, so we're just going to have to stay solid on the defensive end and not try and gamble for any steals and things like that, just try and wear them down and just stay in the moment each and every possession and try not to get out of ourselves defensively and just stay to the grind the whole game.
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:  Yeah, like Mike said, they're a great passing team, and there's nothing specific that we've talked about that we can do to specifically force turnovers, but we'll play our style and try to run and gun in the press and just see what happens.
PATRIC YOUNG:¬† Yeah, they have one of the best assist‑to‑turnover ratios in the country.¬† We're just going to have to do a good job of deflecting balls and disrupting their flow, style of play, same type of deal we've always been trying to do, just to be disruptive and junkyard dogs out there on the defensive side.

Q.  Talk a little bit about your defensive game.  Do you think you've grown into it, and has it evolved since you arrived in Gainesville?
MICHAEL FRAZIER II:  Definitely.  But I think it's just a result of me staying in the moment every day in practice and just understanding what I had to get better when I came in and watching a lot of film, listening to the coaches and my teammates, older guys, just helping me and continuing to learn and grow every day.  And I think I've come a long way, but I still have a long way to go.

Q.  How would you describe how Coach was in practice today coming off the effort yesterday?  It seemed like he was obviously a little upset in the postgame interview.  Did that carry over into today or was there a sense of urgency?
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:  We haven't practiced yet.  I'm sure he's going to be on us.

Q.  How quickly were you able to compartmentalize last night and then clear your minds and focus on Pitt?
PATRIC YOUNG:  Well, you have to.  You can't linger on in this tournament, let the last game affect you, especially if you get another opportunity to play 40 minutes again.  We just learned from the past, regrouped as a team, and going to go out and practice, make sure we know scouting pretty well and move forward and make sure that we're ready to go, make sure we have a lot of energy and passion into the next game and not let the last one affect us.

Q.  Billy, so much of this season has been about your seniors and their contributions.  Could you talk about Mike Frazier as kind of the X factor for your team, how far he's come in a year for you?
BILLY DONOVAN:¬† You know, coming into the year I was a little bit concerned about him, nothing more from the fact that we had two really, really big‑time scorers in Rosario and Boynton and Eric Murphy, and Michael kind of came off the bench as a guy probably on a lot of people's scouting report not highly thought of, and he had a lot of wide‑open looks, shot a very, very high percentage for us from three.¬† Now you lose both those backcourt players and he's got to move into a starting role.¬† He's had a great year, and I think he has benefitted from our seniors.¬† I think Patric and Scottie, Prather, Yeguete, they've all helped him, so he's kind of the one underclassman in our starting lineup and the other four guys are seniors, and I think that's helped Michael in his growth and development taking the next step from where he was a year ago.

Q.  Kasey Hill had a really good game, his first NCAA Tournament game ever, he's got the toe injury.  How has his foot responded from playing yesterday?
BILLY DONOVAN:¬† He seems to be fine.¬† Yesterday at shoot‑around we were going to probably try to gauge where he was at health‑wise.¬† He was moving pretty well and said he could play, and there was no restrictions on me from the bench in terms of limiting his minutes.¬† So we just put him out there.¬† I thought he gave us some really, really good minutes and really helped us a great deal.

Q.  How about his foot today?
BILLY DONOVAN:  He seems fine.  We have practice after this, and he's cleared to practice and will practice today.

Q.¬† Obviously anybody who's watched this team all year knows that yesterday was a bit of an aberration energy‑wise.¬† What do you do to energize this team, either today in practice or before tomorrow?
BILLY DONOVAN:  You know, I think one of the things, these guys have gotten a lot, a lot of attention, and I think rightfully so what they've done.  They've accomplished a lot of different things, and I think sometimes as a coach I feel like it's my responsibility in a lot of ways to keep them somewhat grounded and to be truthful and honest in areas of improvement and growth and development that we need to make as a team.
I think coming into the game, they did not‑‑ they wanted to play very, very well in the game, there's no question about that.¬† They've been that all year long.¬† But I think what was open in the game for us was a little bit maybe unconventional of what's been open for us in other games.¬† We prepared for triangle‑and‑two and box‑and‑one and obviously they tried to take some risks, some chances in terms of leaving some guys open, and it really helped Hill and Dorian Finney‑Smith have really good games.¬† We shot 51 percent from the field.¬† That's about six percentage points up from where we were at.¬† But it was a little bit of uncharacteristic, uncommon game for our team in terms of the way the game went, but I still felt like our guys battled and fought.
I think the greatest sign of respect for me as a coach is when somebody says to a player, we're going to take that player out of the game, and it was a game where because of the way they guarded Frazier, because of the way they guarded Wilbekin, there were a lot of other things open, especially inside and around the basket that I thought we took advantage of.
Again, I think there was a quick turnaround for Albany.  Certainly they had the much more difficult challenge with their travel to come back and play, but we really only had a day, too, to prepare for them, so we're trying to condense a lot in a short period of time against a team that we're trying to get them familiar with.
So hopefully, again, we've got an opportunity, and I think our guys are excited for it, and I think they're looking forward to playing tomorrow.

Q.  Since stepping foot in this building, has it crept into your mind that you potentially would have been the head coach of the Magic in this building, and if not has it ever crept in your mind what if since 2007 if you were still in the NBA?
BILLY DONOVAN:  I guess being in this building they love to keep bringing that up here.  I got that the other day, too.  Was it your colleague that asked it?  No?  For me it seems like a long time ago.  Great organization, it's a great place.  You know, but for me, like I said, it was just something internally I felt like this was where I needed to be.  Who knows where I'd be right now.  I don't know.  Maybe TV, maybe sitting on a beach somewhere.  I don't know.  I'm excited that I'm still at Florida and still having a chance to coach, and I'm happy that making that decision there's been a lot of things that I've had a chance to experience in my personal life, my professional life that I really wouldn't trade anything for.

Q.¬† Pitt is a low‑turnover team.¬† Is their philosophy impressing that if they're not getting turnovers it's not impressive or are there other things you're trying to do with your press?
BILLY DONOVAN:  No, I think Pittsburgh is an outstanding passing team.  They really do a great job.  We've played other teams this year that have been very, very good passing teams.  I thought Albany did a very, very good job against our press in terms of clearing half court and getting into offense.  But there's a lot of things.  It's disruptive, it's something you have to deal with every single possession.  I think there's other things you can get out of the press.  It's our style of play.  It's kind of what we do.
There are times we change and we don't trap as much, we play full‑court man‑to‑man, and sometimes we pick up, we'll play one‑three‑one zone, we'll play 2‑3 zone, we'll do a lot of things defensively.¬† Pressing for us is a part of it.
But ideally, yeah, you'd want to turn teams over a lot.  But if you don't, I still think for us we're getting nine players in the game.  We're able to deal and manage with some foul difficulties, and then a lot of times teams are playing with a shorter shot clock.  By the time they get it across and regroup.
I think Pittsburgh, they do a terrific job attacking the press.  They're going to try to attack the score.  They're very good at that.  So our rotations and what we do in our press will be important because they really do a terrific job in the middle of the floor passing and making decisions and attacking the basket.

Q.  Can you talk about their frontcourt and do you expect a physical game up front?
BILLY DONOVAN:¬† I definitely think it's going to be a physical game.¬† Zanna, I've got a lot of respect for him.¬† He's a high‑motor, high‑energy guy, great, great rebounder, great runner, a great defender in pick‑and‑roll.¬† He's a great help defender.¬† They've gotten a lot of productivity out of their front court.
I would imagine it will be a physical game.  You know, it's interesting because both teams trap the low post.  They do a really good job trapping the low post.  We try to do the same thing.  So how effective each team's frontcourt is scoring is going to be interesting because of the way both teams play post defense in the frontcourt.

Q.  You've been at Florida almost 20 years now, but you're only 48.  Do you consider yourself a lifer at Florida or do you think the allure of the NBA might come again?
BILLY DONOVAN:¬† I've always said this:¬† To me the NBA part of it for me is‑‑ it's all basketball.¬† I got into coaching because of the basketball piece of it, and there is an intrigue as it relates to that.¬† One of the things that I think I've learned, when you try to project where your future is, where you're going to be, and you don't know because I don't have a crystal ball, all I can say is I am happy here at Florida.¬† I love being here.
The NBA part of it, the intrigue part of it for me is just the fact that it's basketball 24 hours a day.  That's all you're dealing with is basketball.  That's all you do is basketball.
For me the college part of it is whenever the season comes to an end for us, I really don't see these guys again in terms of basketball stuff until August, September, and that's hard sometimes.  Now, the NCAA has changed some rules and we can do some different things with our guys, but there's a lot more that goes into a college coaching job other than the coaching part of it.  There's a lot of other things that you have to do.
My offseasons actually are probably a lot more busier than my in‑seasons, and I think most college coaches would say that.¬† But when you say a lifer, that means to me I'm never, every going to go anywhere and be there.¬† Who knows?¬† They may get sick of me at Florida and want me to move on.¬† But I don't like coming out making bold predictions or statements.¬† I would say right now I'm extremely happy with my life right now at the University of Florida.

Q.  Are you still a Knicks fan?
BILLY DONOVAN:  Yes, I love the Knicks.  I grew up buying $5 tickets in Madison Square Garden and sneaking my way down as close as I could to the court.

Q.  A lot has been made about Pitt's frontcourt.  They've got some solid backcourt players, James Robinson.  Could you talk about him from a defensive standpoint and what he brings?
BILLY DONOVAN:  I had a chance to coach James the last two years with the USA team.  He is a winner.  He is a guy that makes big plays, big shots.  He comes up with loose basketballs, steals.  He's got a great IQ for the game, a really, really solid point guard and a great kid.  I really enjoyed being around him for the two summers I was with him.
They're a very, very good team.  I think one of the things I always look at, when you look at their OER, DER, they're one of the top teams in the country on both ends of the floor, and certainly their front court is outstanding, but I think with Wright, Patterson, Robinson on the perimeter, they've got a full and complete team.

Q.¬† I don't believe you've ever coached against Jamie Dixon, but you talk about your relationship with him, how well you know him‑‑
BILLY DONOVAN:  We've never coached against each other, our teams have never played against each other.  I've known Jamie for a long time.  We have a clinic every summer on our campus.  Jamie has been there several times to speak.  It's been great having him there and being a part of it.
Also got obviously a chance to know him through the USA Basketball.  He was out there a couple summers helping pick the team.  James Robinson, coaching him, there was some connection there.
Got a lot of respect for Jamie as a coach and more respect for him as a man just based on the relationship that we've been able to develop over the years.

Q.¬† There's been a lot of talk forever that Florida‑‑ people just look at Florida like it's a football school.¬† Is that frustrating to you as a coach and how does your team feel when people keep saying that?
BILLY DONOVAN:  I'll kind of go on a dissertation on this.  In the South, okay, football is the passion.  It's never changing.  It's just the way it is.  Okay, and I've done nothing since I've been at Florida but try to embrace that because I really believe in the fall there's not a greater place to be than on our campus when there's a football game going on.
That being said, I do think that there is an incredible affinity in the state and nationally for the University of Florida, and I always look at, right now, one, the support administratively, the support by fans, what our building is like, what the commitment has been, and I think our commitment and our support has been as good as anywhere in the country, and I think there's a lot of people that are involved with that.
The whole football piece of it for me, that's just the way it is, and I remember coming in here to Florida where maybe a lot of coaches in the state of Florida got wrapped up in that, talked about it, complained about it.  I've never really gotten into that.  I have no control over that.  All's I know is that when we line up and play in our arena, we've had incredible environments, incredible crowds, and it's been an incredible place to play.

Q.  You had a chance to coach James Robinson a little bit.  Your impressions of him and what kind of player he is?
BILLY DONOVAN:  Yeah, I love James.  Great kid, great player, winner, total team guy, unselfish, comes up with a lot of big plays for their team.  Really had a lot to do with our team the last two summers winning gold medals.  He was a big part of that, and he's obviously doing great for Jamie here at Pitt.

Q.¬† You've had a lot of teams very reliant on the three‑point shot.¬† Do you feel like this team finds a lot of other ways to win?¬† And how much momentum when you guys are hitting threes does that kind of give you?
BILLY DONOVAN:¬† Yeah, you know, we were, I think, a team there for a while where we weren't really taking a lot of threes and then we had some games coming down the stretch where I think we shot 47 percent from the three‑point line in the SEC Tournament.¬† I think one of the things that helped our three‑point shooting was when Dorian kind of went through that stretch there for a long period of time where he wasn't really making anything, he was 0 for 18.¬† He's gotten into a rhythm making shots for us, which has been good.¬† Frazier shot it well.¬† We've gotten good shooting from DeVon Walker, Wilbekin.¬† That's kind of helped us.¬† But I really believe what you've got to do offensively is you've got to take what the defense gives you, and sometimes it's been games where we've had a lot of threes to take and other times it's been putting the ball on the floor, posting up or attacking the rim, getting out in transition.
I think you've got to be a team that can look to score in a variety of different ways, and that's what we've tried to be offensively over the course of the season.

Q.  Reflecting on previous seasons, do you feel like you did have some teams, though, that maybe really relied on the three almost overly?
BILLY DONOVAN:¬† Probably had to.¬† You know, probably had to on some teams.¬† When we had Beal and Eric Murphy and those guys, we weren't really a physical front court team.¬† I mean, Patric was, but outside of Patric, most of our team was more perimeter‑oriented team where we'd put four three‑point shooters on the floor.¬† Sometimes we have one, sometimes two, sometimes three three‑point shooters.¬† Some of the other teams have been built more around the line.¬† Eric Murphy, as great as he was, I think he had a hard time sometimes scoring it around the basket.¬† He struggled with that at times, whereas Patric was the main post presence over the last several years.
The team in 2000 could really shoot, but I thought we were physical, too, when we had Haslem and Harvey across the front line, and then we had Dupay and we had Kenyan Weaks, we had Mike Miller, we had some really good shooting teams, and I think the two national championships were good shooting teams, but a lot of it had to do with Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green.  Those were the main guys for us.

Q.  Dorian has gotten some huge rebounds at the end of games.  Can you talk about his ability to get to the ball and how important he'll be against Pittsburgh?
BILLY DONOVAN:  He's always been a good rebounder.  I think the one thing he gets into the game is his rebounding.  He does a good job with that.  I think he's been pretty reliable.  He makes an effort.  I think part of being a good rebounder, certainly is the flight of the ball, having a knack for it, and then you've got to be able to pursue the ball, you have got to be able to chase the ball, and I think that's something you've got to be able to get up the floor quickly.  Certain guys just have a great knack for it, and I think Dorian is one of those guys that the gift, the talent he has is to rebound.

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