Presser with Richard, Deron, Roger and Jack

Fighting Illini players talk about UW-Milwaukee basketball and what they need to do to advance to the next game. Read here at Illiniboard.com for the presser.

Q. You saw tapes of UW-Milwaukee; I'm sure you saw the tapes of their two wins. They got a lot of open looks. What are you guys going to do to try and stop that?

A. Deron: Maybe it was bad defense; I can't really tell you why they got open looks. We're going to come out here and pressure them. We rely on our defense to help us win games.

Q. Deron, you may be guarding Ed McCants. Without giving away the game plan, what do you think of his game and slowing him down? A. Deron: He's an explosive scorer; a great three-point shooter. You just have to get after him and pressure him, like I said, and try to limit his easy looks.

Q. Deron, what did you see on the film? Were they just a team that wanted more than the other two teams?

A. Deron: Yes, it looked that way definitely. They came out and a lot of people didn't know who they were. They sure made a name for themselves now; they beat two good teams. They beat up on them and controlled both of those games from start to finish.

Q. Is the key just to match their intensity or what?

A. Deron: Yes, definitely. We have to bring that energy to the game if not more and take care of the ball. Their press kind of forces you to play speed-up basketball and commit turnovers.

Q. Deron, what is your impression of their defense in those two games in Cleveland that made it so effective?

A. Deron: They're aggressive. They get after you and they press you the whole game. Once you break the press, they come from behind and swat the ball away. They play the entire game with that speed.

Q. This question is directed for any player: Bruce Pearl said that most teams don't see that 94 ft. press for the tournament and sometimes don't get ready for it. Can you guys address that - is this something that can give your team trouble?

A. Deron: For most teams. We do it everyday in practice so we're used to it. It's not a 2-2-1 or a zone press, but we face pressure every practice. I think we're used to that pressure, so it should be an easy transition for us.

Q. For Roger and Jack: The guards get a lot of the attention. Can you talk about the big fellas and how deep you guys go?

A. Roger: Last game Jack and James played well. Our team is full of weapons. It's hard to focus on one player. If you try to eliminate one player, the other side will step up. That's been the key to our team's success - we have so many weapons. It's hard to focus on one, but when the big guys step up the way they did the last game, it just makes us that much tougher to guard.

Q. This question is directed for any player: Dee has been struggling somewhat. Do you have a sense if he's feeling good?

A. Deron: Dee had 17 points first half of the first game. I don't know if you watched that game? I don't think Dee's struggling. He had some cramps last game and he said he wasn't feeling that well. That's the main reason; I think he's fine.

Q. Roger, people really didn't know UW before the tournament. Did you know of them?

A. Roger: I didn't know much about them, but now we do. We know they are going to compete. That's what the tournament is for a lot of teams that don't get a lot of publicity. But I think we're a real good team and we can compete as well. If we do the things we're suppose to do, we'll be fine.

Q. Jack, they like to go small a lot. If they do, do you think you can take advantage of that inside?

A. Oh, I think with them going small kind of helps them out with their pressure, but if they want to do that then we definitely have to take advantage of our size and pound it inside. Also, if we pound it inside that should help relieve some of the pressure out front.

Q. This question is directed for any player: Coach Pearl has a history with Illinois. I was wondering if you guys have heard from fans or alums or people like that?

A. Deron: I personally don't know much about the situation. Growing up in Texas, I really didn't watch Illinois basketball until they started to recruit me. So I really don't have much to say on the whole situation. Roger Powell added, "Same here."

Q. Roger, what is it like to play with good guards and how it frees up the inside game for the big guys?

A. It's a blessing. They're very, very good. They pass the ball really well. We get a lot of opportunities to score from them. Most people don't get the opportunity to play with three point guards.


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