What did the trio of Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello and Bryn Forbes say to the media?

Michigan State seniors Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello and Bryn Forbes spoke with the media following the Spartans win over Purdue to claim the Big Ten Tournament title.

Q. The first is for you, Bryn [Forbes].  What does it say about your maturation as a basketball player that you cannot have your best scoring the last three games but you still stay on the court because of your defense?

Bryn Forbes:  Yeah, when my shot wasn't falling, that's something I had to focus on because I know the first game of the tournament I struggled a little bit on the defensive end. I know since then I had to really lock in on that part of my game if the shots weren't going to fall.

Q. Colby [Wollenman] had a major day. He is overlooked as one of the four seniors. But when you needed him, he played like a monster. Would talk about all three of them and about Colby today?  

Denzel Valentine:  Colby is a big-time player. He's never scared.  It doesn't matter how big they are, how athletic they are, he's never scared. That's something I always like about Colby.

In practice, he's on the scout team. Going up against A.P., B.J. I mean, he has nothing to be scared about. He's going up against the best athletes every day in practice. So Colby is a big-time player.

BRYN FORBES:  I really think Colby is overlooked sometimes. He's so cerebral. He's helping everyone on the court from guards to bigs. It's just crazy. He's like another coach in a way. Even games he doesn't play, he plays such a big impact that it's like -- it's just good to have him around.

Matt Costello:  Honestly, he's always ready to play. He knows he may not get his chance sometimes if D.D. is playing well. But he came in today and really muscled A.J. and Isaac when he was facing them in the post and that saved us a lot of times. 

He got five boards today. He was all over the place. He got a put-back dunk. He never said that. But I'm happy for him.

Q. Matt, I know getting the -- you were talking about getting those blocks the other day. You got two today and you got the block record, especially one late after the missed free throw. What did that mean to you?  

And then I wanted to ask all three of you guys if there's any disappointment this didn't result in the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.

MATT COSTELLO:  I know I've been trying to get that block for four games now, and I still haven't been able to get it. Today I got a couple.  I had to make up for that missed free throw somehow, and it worked out that it was a block.

But as far as a one seed, man, it is what it is. That was out of our control. We took care of what we could take care of, and we know we got some goals ahead of us. So let's enjoy this win for a little bit, but we got some work to do.

BRYN FORBES:  I completely agree with Matt. I think we're just going to take it a step at a time. I think we're going to celebrate this one. And after that, it's one step at a time, one game at a time. I don't think we're really overly worried about that.

DENZEL VALENTINE:  I completely agree with Matt and Bryn. We can control what we can control. We've got a tournament championship. And it's up to the committee on who they seed so we have no control over that. We're just going to come out and play Michigan State basketball in the tournament.

Q. Denzel, you got 16 points out of your bench in the first half. You played 12 plays. Can you comment on that and what that means to you at this point in the season?

DENZEL VALENTINE:  I mean, it's a big bear off my back. When I'm out there, I know pretty much everybody on this -- that got in scored. So everybody played a big part in this win. And that's what's been so good about us throughout the year. We're so deep. Everybody can come in and contribute.

So knowing that, I can go out, I can take rests. I can play my game and feel it out and still come up with the win. If I don't have any best shooting performance or have my best game, I know that my team has my back. And they have all year.

Q. Denzel you were pretty demonstrative in the final seconds as you guys got closer to winning, and there was a moment when Bryn took the foul instead of passing it to Eron [Harris]. What did you say to him there? What were the conversations between you and Tum and the emotions of that moment?

DENZEL VALENTINE:  I was kind of dribbling the ball up the court, and I felt somebody trying to back-tip me so I just tried to give it up and tried to get it right back. But, I mean, they went to Bryn so quickly. And credit to Bryn. He went up there, and he knocked down the free throw. So, I mean, can't complain too much.

Q. What did you say to Bryn and Tum?

DENZEL VALENTINE:  I just went up to coach and said, I'll try to get it back or whatever. But coach understands that. He knows that -- he has full confidence in Bryn. So he wasn't really that mad anyway. He knows that I can make them. But he knows that Bryn can make them, too.

And then I just went up to Bryn and I said, Do it for Carter. Do it for his son. And once I said that, it kind of kicked in for him. And he knocked them down, and he gave me a little smile after two.

Q. All coaches of the best teams have had at least two to three guys from Michigan leaving their own mark. What sort of responsibility do you guys feel or sense of pride do you have -- because all three of you guys are from Michigan -- to leave your own legacy or chapter in establishing that?

MATT COSTELLO:  I mean, we talk about legacy all the time. Put your footprint in the sand. We've done it a couple times this year with some records we've broken. But right now we're just trying to win another championship. Again, like I said, before, happy we won today but we got bigger fish to fry.

BRYN FORBES:  Yeah, I've only been here for two years. I haven't done some of the things they've done or achieved some of the things they've achieved. But this is huge to me. Being from Michigan, being from East Lansing, it was all I saw when I was growing up. So to leave my own footprint would be huge, and I know the same for them.

DENZEL VALENTINE:  We're not done yet. We've got six more games. I'm trying to win a national championship. But this feels great, because it's two out of four years, two out of three championship games. So it feels great. But we got to win the national championship.

Q. Kind of off-shooting it, but you had tremendous season. Drawn a lot of comparisons in the media to the Splash Brothers here and there. I want to get your thoughts on that if that seems hyperbolic or extreme or if you watch Golden State, or if you're a big fan of those guys.  Bryn Curry?

BRYN FORBES:  I'm a fan of them absolutely. I don't know if I'm that the good. But it's just nice to be mentioned in the same breath as those two. They're very talented, best shooters in the world.

Q. Denzel, yesterday you talked about being at the free-throw line with the game on the line with 14 seconds, whatever. You hit the second two free throws. Today that off-balance shot with a 1:45 to go, you're kind of in the lane. Is it -- you just get in the zone and make big plays. You expect that from yourself, don't you? Could you just talk about that?

DENZEL VALENTINE:  I mean, yeah. When I've driven the ball up the court, I'm just thinking me and the driveway when I was little. In this moment, this is what I've been picturing all my life.

So, literally, I know you might think I'm crazy, but that's what I'm thinking about: Making those big-time shots in the driveway. Counting down.  So I live for those moments. I might not make every shot like that, but I'm going to try my best to get the best shot I can.

And on that play particularly, I came off the -- I came off the screen, snaked it. I did a little step-back, got some separation. But Raphael Davis, he's a good defender. He didn't quit on it. So he came, almost blocked my shot, and I kind of pump faked it a little bit and then just followed through and made the shot.

Q. Matt and Bryn, sadly in the media, when a player screws up off the court, a star player, that gets attention when really 99 out of 100 aren't that. Denzel is the best player in the country and may be the best off the court. Would the two of you please talk about his character and the kind of man he is away from basketball?

MATT COSTELLO:  I mean, that's why he's one of my best friends just because he is such a good guy. He would take care of all his business in the classroom and working in the community and keeping this team together. I mean, being a captain isn't just what you do on the court and leading guys that way but it's also what you do off the court, calling everybody over to watch day-to-day play one night or going to the movies, whatever, just hanging out. So give all the credit to him.

BRYN FORBES:  One thing I will say about Zel is he's probably best attribute would be is how well-rounded he really is. He's good at a lot of things, he balances a lot of things. And I think that speaks a lot about him to be able to you know, balance it on the court, off the court, help the team off the court, not just himself, you know? I think he's very unselfish. That's another attribute he has is -- you know, just made him successful this whole way.


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