Gators’ NCAA Players Press Conference 3/15

Seniors Canyon Barry and Kasey Hill along with junior Devin Robinson answered questions for th media Wednesday as they prepare for their first round NCAA Tournament game with East Tennessee State.

 VIDEO COURTESY OF NCAA

Q. I'll start off with the two seniors and then maybe if Devin wants to chime in: As soon as the bracket was put up there, as you guys might know, right away the guy on CBS started calling it, "I'm calling this as my first upset of the bracket, East Tennessee over Florida." Did you guys hear about it later? Did you pay any attention to it? Did you put any credence to it? Put it out of your head? What's been the dynamic since then?

KASEY HILL: We just focused on getting better and the game plan and what Coach has ready for us, and that's about it.

CANYON BARRY: Yeah, we heard it. Kind of fuel, motivation. Like Kasey said, we're just locked in on controlling what we can control and listening to the coaches just to get better every game.

DEVIN ROBINSON: They said it all. We heard it. We can't focus on nothing like that. We've just got to focus on ourself and get better each day. Pay attention to the scouting report and just focus on what we have to do to make sure that doesn't happen.

Q. Question for Kasey: Being the only player with NCAA Tournament experience, Coach mentioned earlier in the week he's counting on you to lead. What have you tried to do to kind of help get the guys prepared?

KASEY HILL: Same thing we've been doing all year. Just having everybody stay together, listening to the coaches. They've played basketball before. They've been playing basketball all their life. They've just got to keep doing that, and we'll be fine.

Q. Kasey, when you were a freshman and the seniors helped you in the NCAA Tournament, what did they pass on to you that you're trying to pass on now to these younger guys about how different it is playing in the Tournament?

KASEY HILL: Just staying in the moment, always being ready to go. That was one thing that Scottie (Wilbekin) would always tell me, "Just stay ready, stay locked in." That was pretty much it.

Q. Kasey, to that same point, what do you remember about your first NCAA Tourney game?

KASEY HILL: I remember we were losing. We were the Number 1 overall seed, and we were losing going into halftime. Coach D was pretty mad at us, but we got it together at halftime, and we came out and won the game.

Q. Devin, can you guys talk about trying to get your mojo back? I mean, losing three out of the last four games.

DEVIN ROBINSON: We went back to the drawing board. We knew that right now we know coming in here, we have to pick everything back up. We know, and we understand it's win or go home. So we got our backs against the wall, and we can't worry about what happened in the past. Just move forward and get another winning streak going right now.

Q. Kasey, how do you view the guard matchup and dealing with Cromer, who can be a high-powered scorer, and their big guard as well?

KASEY HILL: They're both great players. Cromer can score, but we're a good defensive team but we'll be locked in and read ready to go.

Q. Canyon, I think when your dad was playing, it was the NIT was the big tournament to make. Has he given you any advice on postseason play, what to look forward to, what to focus your mind on?

CANYON BARRY: Not really. At the end of the day, we have to focus on the things we can control, stay together as a family and a team, like we've done all year. And I know we'll be playing our hardest. Just try to win games.

Q. Kasey, having not been there the last couple of years, do you have a better sense of appreciation for this event, being part of it, that you had to kind of wait to get back?

KASEY HILL: That was in the past. Honestly, I'm just focused on right now, and I'm glad we're here.

Q. How much have you been longing to play in this tournament again?

KASEY HILL: I've been trying to get in every year, and I'm happy we're here now.

Q. For Canyon, this is your first NCAA Tournament. I know you're a fifth-year guy, played a lot of years. What have the emotions been like, and how are you taking it all in?

CANYON BARRY: It's just exciting. Your goal, growing up as a kid when you're playing basketball and watching the Tournament, is to be there one day. Fortunate enough to get to play. Really happy that we could send the seniors out and get Florida back to the Tournament. I know they've had a couple seasons where they haven't made it, but like K said now, it just comes down to winning games. Excited here we are here, though.

Q. For a couple of the guys, Coach White was involved in one of the more memorable 4-13 games, on the wrong end of it. Did he talk about that experience, the Valpo game? Has he brought it up to you guys or used it as an example?

CANYON BARRY: I don't think so. He probably wants to forget it, honestly. Never said anything about that.

Q. Canyon, what can you do or what can your teammates do to help you get to the line a little more frequently than you have been? Is in any way the offensive stagnation have anything to do with not having big John?

CANYON BARRY: I don't think so. There's been games where I've gotten to the line a lot and games where I haven't. I just have to stay aggressive. My teammates keep telling me, "Keep looking to score and just play your game."

Like you said, just follow the coaches' game plan and running our offense like we've been doing all year, and I think good things are going to happen.

Q. When you guys were trying to make it closer toward the end of that Vanderbilt game, you guys went to that the press. How important was it to set the defensive tempo early?

DEVIN ROBINSON: It's really important. When you start off playing intensive defense, that messes with the offense's head. Once you get the defense going and make it hard for them from the beginning, they tend to get frustrated throughout the game and it makes it harder to make shots later on the game.

I feel like, if we get started earlier and play defense earlier, it will work out later on.

KASEY HILL: I'm just happy we can get back to playing our normal defense. If I don't have to guard Vandy and switch 1 through 5, I think we'll do all right.

CANYON BARRY: No, I think they got it all.

Q. I just wanted to ask Canyon, do you think you could have taught Brockway to shoot better than 3-of-10 if you'd have taught him underhand?

CANYON BARRY: I don't know. After seeing him shoot, I don't think there's any hope for him honestly. It was pretty bad.

Q. Devin, what's this week been like coming off the early exit in the conference tournament? Did you guys have a meeting? How have you regrouped?

DEVIN ROBINSON: We had a meeting as the team and the staff to basically get everything out, put everything on the table like we have when we lost two games in a row and just knew we had to recollect as a team and get to the root of what was going on and figure out that, if we're going to keep playing like this, we're going to end our season short.

We got back into the gym, and practice has been really well. Regroup, and hopefully we got ourselves together and ready to play.

Q. What was the main takeaway from that meeting, and how was it similar to the one you had a month and a half, two months ago?

CANYON BARRY: It's been similar and different. I think the main thing for us is staying focused. When we played Vandy, we didn't play our best basketball. We didn't follow the scouting report, made too many defensive mistakes. Just simple things we've been working on all year, we just seemed to refuse to do against that team.

Like Devin said, we've had a couple of great practices. We're getting our edge back, and I think we'll be ready to play.

Q. Devin, I'm wondering whether Jason Williams had any words of wisdom for you earlier today?

DEVIN ROBINSON: He just told us to enjoy the moment. He told us he wasn't able to play in an NCAA Tournament when he played. "Just enjoy every moment and play every game like it's your last and leave it out there on the court." We took that in, and we appreciated him coming out to our practice today.

He was very humble about it, and he enjoyed it. We enjoyed his company, too. So I think it was good for us.

Q. A couple of you guys, if you could answer this. You're in Central Florida, so you're fairly close to campus. But as you well know as players, this is Gator country. Can you talk about the hometown crowd?

CANYON BARRY: All year we've had great fans in the O Dome and traveling earlier in the year when the construction on the O Dome was being done. We're really excited to see Gator Nation out in full force tomorrow. Can't thank them enough for all their support. Just tell them to get loud tomorrow.

KASEY HILL: I'm excited they're coming, but I don't want it to be a thing where we're comfortable and think we can depend on them. We've got to go out there and execute and be ready to play.

DEVIN ROBINSON: I'm glad we're in Orlando. It's two hours away. It's going to be nice to play in front of a home team, home crowd, but like Kasey said, we can't depend on the crowd to help us get it. We've got to come out here and get ready to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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