Full Transcript: Players on Saturday

The full transcript from the Duke Saturday press conference, featuring Quinn Cook, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, Matt Jones, and Jahlil Okafor, courtesy of ASAP Sports.

THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by Duke student-athletes Quinn Cook, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, Matt Jones, and Jahlil Okafor.

Q. Quinn, Gonzaga has built quite a program. We've all seen them play in the NCAA Tournament year after year. What are your memories of Gonzaga watching them grow up and what's your impression this year?

QUINN COOK: Growing up watching Adam Morrison, being a big-time player, you know, him always, you know, being compared to J.J. Redick, I remember that year, you know, they having a heart-breaking loss at UCLA in the tournament, and this team this year, they're outstanding, experienced, and, you know, they have a lot to prove. They're very confident, they feel that they're a championship level team, and we have to prepare the same way we've been doing all year because, you know, we'll have our hands full tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Justise, we talked a lot about you being here in front of your hometown, but to be able to play another game, kind of the success in Houston. How has it been watching everything play out?

JUSTISE WINSLOW: It's been a very good experience, just being home with my teammates, with the coaching staff, being able to see my family. Like I always said, it's been a business trip and so we got the first game, we got a good win at Utah, so now we're just preparing to play a great Gonzaga team. So, right now my focus is on the game tomorrow, again, prepare for practice and getting to know the Gonzaga players and what they like to do. So, I'm glad to be home, but we have more business to take care of.

Q. Tyus, we've made a lot about your performances in big games, your ability to make some big shots late. When was the last time, though, that you really remember being, you know, nervous or even like petrified of maybe shooting late free throws in a game, just going back to high school or AAU or anything like that?

TYUS JONES: I can't remember the last time, you know, being nervous, I -- I guess could you say. Obviously I get butterflies like any other competitor does. You play the game because you love it, and you live for, you know, moments, and you just -- you visualize yourself as a kid, you know, getting the ball in your hands and having to make a play and, you know -- so I credit my teammates because they have all the confidence in the world in me and they really give me the confidence to make a play if that's what I have to do.

Q. Quinn, when you look at what they do, what do you see from Kevin Pangos and how he runs that offense and also his ability to shoot the 3s?

QUINN COOK: He's the heart and soul of their team, four-year starter. He's had a great career and he makes those guys go. Him and Wiltjer work the screen and roll well. He pushes the ball, and if you pay a lot of attention to Wiltjer and Karnowski and guys like that, he can find seams and get open 3s. Playing defense on him is going to be a big part of our game and because he makes those guys go and they follow him.

Q. What are you impressed most by Sabonis and Karnowski, Jahlil?

JAHLIL OKAFOR: They have really good big men. Karnowski is an outstanding player and so is Sabonis. I'm looking forward to playing them. They're two big guys and mentally ready for a physical battle and should be a lot of fun tomorrow.

Q. Justise, still talking about Gonzaga's big men. You've thrived as a small 4. Any sort of different challenge that their more physical front line might present for you?

JUSTISE WINSLOW: Really just Wiltjer's ability to spread the court and shoot the 3. I mean, he's an outstanding shooter. He really has deep range. That's going to be a really big challenge for us, but, you know, luckily I'm going to have four other guys with me and be a collective issue to put him off the three-point line. He can also post up. He's great in the post. He's going to be a tough match for us tomorrow, but I think we'll be ready, but he's an outstanding player.

Q. Quinn, you guys were able to have success last night defensively against Utah when you had a long time to prepare. You also played well defensively against San Diego State last Sunday when you had a short time to prepare. What is today like to turn around so quickly?

QUINN COOK: Coach does a great job of scheduling games during the year where we're forced to prepare in a quick timeframe. It's tough, you know, because you kind of want to celebrate the win and get some rest, but it's always on to the next game. And so we've been in situations where we've had big win and then come back and prepare for another team. So, you know, we're fighting for our lives right now. I think the way we prepare, you know, if we prepare the right way, we play well. We got our hands full tomorrow, all those guys are great and they're hungry. It will be a great game tomorrow.

Q. Quinn, the way Wiltjer shoots the ball, would he be a good fit in you guys' system, the way you've viewed stretch 4s over the year? Can you see him thriving?

QUINN COOK: Yeah. He reminds me of Sean Kelly. We played those guys or we played him when he was at Kentucky two years ago, and they have very similar games. So, you know, he's a great player and he's been to a Final Four, he won a National Championship. I know he wants to get back there. A big part of tomorrow will be controlling him and not let him get early confidence.

Q. This is for Tyus and Jahlil, I think I've read that the week after you guys announced your commitment, you really tried to recruit Justise hard to join you guys. I was curious if you remember what your sales pitch was to him, like kind of daily texts or something special that kind of helped persuade him?

TYUS JONES: We did reach out to Justise, that we had talked, you know, amongst the three of us, you know, prior to committing, just about going to school together. And so after we committed, we did reach out to him, but it was never, you know, pressuring him or trying to convince him. We just told him we supported him with whatever decision he made, and obviously we would have liked for him to join us and luckily he did that, and so that made us happy.

JAHLIL OKAFOR: Pretty much what Tyus said. We talked to Justise prior to us committing, our final three schools, we knew if he went to Duke that would give us an opportunity to play with Justise, that was kind of a plan we mentioned freshman and sophomore year. After we committed, we didn't try to pressure Justise or anything like that. We did reach out to him, wished him the best of luck. Told him to make the best decision for he and his family. We would love to play with him in college. Made my dad's day when he did. I was constantly looking at my laptop in practice. It was on on-line streaming, but when he had the Duke hat on, I was ecstatic.

THE MODERATOR: Next question for the student-athletes.

Q. Justise, I was just wondering, being your father's son and then the baby of the family, do you feel like this is kind of finally your spotlight and your time to shine, your time to prove to your family who you've become?

JUSTISE WINSLOW: No, not really. I think it's more of Duke's moment. You know, this group no one has been to a Final Four, and that's something that we've been striving to accomplish all year. I never thought of this as my moment, you know, to show my family who I am or anything like that. It's Duke's moment, it's our moment to do something special, and so that's what we really want to do here in Houston is get another win and hopefully get to Indianapolis.

Q. Will any of you guys, I'm wondering, just wondering if you guys could reflect on kind of what it's like to shoot in a big arena like this.

THE MODERATOR: Matt, you start.

MATT JONES: It's different with a big arena like this. It's something that you don't get to play in every day, but with this team we were able to play in a gym like Syracuse and we got a feel. We were able to use our prior knowledge of that gym to bring in this gym. We all have confident guys on this team. We really don't make excuses for ourselves, and being in a big arena, we've been in a lot of big games this year. We try to take these games and take them to the next games.


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