PC: Xavier Players Talk NC State

DAYTON, OH -- Several Xavier players met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against NC State.

Matt, can you tell us how you're feeling with your knee and can you explain what that cryogenic tank was that you were in the other day?
Yeah, I'm good to go, feeling okay, and I'll be all right for the game.

The cryo tank we got in, it was a nitrogen-based-- what it is, it pumped nitrogen in to drop the temperature down to negative 300 degrees for 180seconds, so three minutes, and it gives you the same effect of like an ice bath for 15 to 20 minutes except it does a little better for-- sort of shocks your system, so it helps it out that way. And it was something to help heal and just refresh your legs.

What was that like?
It was really, really cold. It was tough. The first two minutes weren't too bad. The last 60seconds definitely were tough.

Matt, Chris said yesterday he thought you would be better than you were for the Marquette game physically. Can you just talk about comparing to how it feels now today?
Yeah, I feel a ton better. Dave Fluker and Matt Jennings have done a great job making sure I've used all the resources that are available to me. And we've continued to run on the treadmill, the AlterG, try to stay in shape. And the cryo spa we used, that was really cool.

I think I've had a lot of time-- a little more time than I did maybe to get my legs back and feel a ton better.

So, yeah, definitely I'd say I'm a lot better off than I was ready for the Marquette game.

If you could each talk about what it's like to play here at the UD Arena and be in the NCAA Tournament. Isaiah?
We played Dayton last year, so we're kind of familiar with the arena, when it comes to shooting and the background and everything, when it comes to the atmosphere.

So, I mean, I'm really excited to be in the tournament. It's my first time, first go-around. And we're looking to make some noise.

SEMAJ CHRISTON: I feel pretty much the same way. Like Isaiah said, we played here last year. The arena is crazy when a lot of people are in the gym. So just ready to play them. Ready to shock the world.

DEE DAVIS: I agree with both my teammates, but, I mean, in the tournament it doesn't matter where you play at, doesn't matter where we play at, I just want to play.

JUSTIN MARTIN: I'm just ready. MATT STAINBROOK: I never played here before. I came and watched these guys play last year. I'm just excited to have an opportunity to be in the NCAA Tournament, and I know our guys are really excited and that one thing that won't be lacking in the game tomorrow is definitely energy.

Matt, how much of your decision to transfer here was the chance the play in the NCAA Tournament?
A lot of it. That was a big appeal for coming to Xavier University. They had the track record that showed they're getting to the tournament over and over again.

That's something I wanted to do. Now that we have the opportunity to do it, it's kind of surreal. You get in here and you're just like, wow, looking around, kind of just sightseeing. But we know we have to be locked in for tomorrow.

I know you've answered it before, but not when I was around. How much have you changed your body and changed as a player in two years since you were last seen?
A ton. A lot of credit to Xavier University for doing that. I've lost a lot of weight. I've matured a little bit. Still have a little more maturing to do.

But overall it's just been a drastic change for me from the things I eat to how I work out. And definitely the cast around me. So it's all benefitting me in a great way.

Isaiah, we talked to you about 24 hours ago. Can you talk about what you guys have been doing in the last 24 hours and what kind of crash course you've gotten on NC State?
In the last 24 hours, you know, we had walk-throughs, shootaround and practice, watched some film to get more familiar with NC State.

You know, when you find out you're going to play on a Tuesday on a Sunday, the only thing you can do is really get in the gym and try to get ready for your opponent.

When it comes to NC State, they're more of a driving team than a shooting team like Creighton. So that's good for us, because it didn't turn out well against Creighton.

Other than that, we were just getting ready to play.

You guys talked about the building itself. But what do you expect from the crowd tomorrow night? It's not going to be as hostile as when you played Dayton here, but do you think the neutral fans will get behind NC State, or do you think you'll have a lot of blue up here as well?
I think we're going to have a lot of blue, but the neutral fans around here are probably going to be on NC State's side. So, I mean, we have away games like that, so it shouldn't really affect us.

SEMAJ CHRISTON: I feel the same way. We have a lot of Xavier fans here, but I know a couple of Dayton fans will be here yelling at us. It is what it is.

DEE DAVIS: Yeah, playing in the Dayton game, you expect that from the Dayton fans if you play Xavier. But I'm more so looking forward to the Xavier support.

JUSTIN MARTIN: I don't know who is going to be here, but I know these guys and the rest of the people in the locker room, we're going to be ready to play.

MATT STAINBROOK: Yeah, I'm not sure whether we'll have big-- a lot of red fans out there, but I think Xavier Nation will do a good job coming out. And, regardless, we have a team full of warriors. When you challenge a warrior, a warrior responds.

Dee, given the standard that was set here and now making the tournament last year, how satisfying is it to be back?
It could have been a lot more satisfying if we didn't have to play the first game, but just being in the tournament is great. We're excited as a team, and we're doing as much as we can to prepare for this game.

Semaj, you know T.J. from your time at Brewster. What did you get out of Brewster? How did you improve on and off the court?
I improved. I improved in a lot of things, just growing up and knowing that you're not always going to be the best player on the court.

We had five or six players that can do-- score whenever they want to score. You have to play a role and be happy with winning. We was winning all the time, so I couldn't complain.

I think coming from Brewster, that was the biggest thing for me is just knowing you're not going to be the best all the time; you just work as hard as you can trying to do what you can.

The question for everyone, excluding Matt: What's the transition been like switching over from the A-10 all the way over to the Big East now?
Well, the Big East has-- I mean, the transition, there's competition everywhere. But obviously when you're going to the Big East, you expect a little bit of tougher teams physically, you know, more athletic teams.

That's really what I would say the biggest thing is. Because the A-10, the fans are just as wild as the Big East fans. So I would definitely just say more physical and the athleticism.

SEMAJ CHRISTON: I say you have a big game every night. Every night it's going to be a show. So you don't know what's going to happen. Just gotta come out there and play.

DEE DAVIS: Like Semaj said, every game is a big game. It's going to be competitive, but if you look at the A-10, they have a lot of teams in the tournament as well. College basketball has been great this year.

JUSTIN MARTIN: I kind of don't like when people ask that question because I feel basketball is basketball. No matter where you play at or who you're playing against, it's still basketball. They tie their shoes up just like us. So we just gotta come and compete.

Dee, how much were the last couple of days beneficial to you in terms of healing a little bit? You seemed pretty banged up in the Marquette game.
Very beneficial. It's quick turnaround, so I'm doing everything I can, like Matt, to get ready.

Did you do the cryo tank?

DEE DAVIS: I did get in the cryo tank. I'm not a big fan of cold. My three minutes were a lot longer than his three minutes.

T.J. Warren is one of the great scorers in college basketball. I'm sure you've seen videos of him. What are your impressions of him and what's going to be your defensive approach?
He's a player that can score in bunches from anywhere. So basically just try to contain him as much as we can. We can't allow it to be a one-on-one matchup. It has to be a one-on-five. You have to limit him from driving to the paint and shooting his floaters or jump shots, stepbacks, anything like that.

SEMAJ CHRISTON: He pretty much can do anything. He scores the ball in different ways. But it's not just going to be one-on-one. It's going to be five of us. So at the end of the day it's going to be one-on-five. He'll have to score-- he'll have to beat all of us; it's not just going to be one guy.

DEE DAVIS: Very much agree. We've played players in the past-- Doug McDermott, for example. He's a one-man show, but he's got people around him that's helping him out. So we just try to crowd the floor as much as we can and make it tough.


MATT STAINBROOK: Like all these guys reiterated, you just try to crowd the floor for him. You know he's going to get shots up and score points, too. You just try to limit them as much as possible.

One other question, what happened at the end of the season? You lost three of the last four. Was it just who you played and when you played them, or was it you or was it them? What was it?
Had a very tough schedule. We were banged up a little bit. We played some very good teams in Villanova and Creighton. Faltered a little bit Seton Hall, too.

But overall we're not looking to the past anymore; looking more to the future. And we're excited about the game tomorrow.

JUSTIN MARTIN: It was just a tough schedule. No excuses or explanations, but we just gotta be able to get stops. Anytime we're able to get stops down the stretch, we are usually good at closing out games. And we weren't able to do that those couple of games. So anytime we can do that, we'll be all right.

DEE DAVIS: I believe we did enough to get here to where we're at now, and I think we're just moving forward. That was the goal at the beginning of the year, make it to the NCAA Tournament, and that's where we're at.

SEMAJ CHRISTON: Like Matt said, it's a new season. Tomorrow starts something new for us. So I don't really think we're thinking about how we finished out the season. Tomorrow starts a new day.

ISAIAH PHILMORE: I agree with my teammates. You know, it doesn't matter what we did the last five games, doesn't matter if we lost all five games because it's a new season and we're going to come out tomorrow ready to play and ready to give it all we have, leave it all out on the court.

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