Listen to Audio (18:32)
How you allowed yourself to think about how special an opportunity Friday is?
"I've been excited about it since the very first day we made the decision. And the more we talked about it, the more excited I got. And as it's gotten closer here, I'm just hoping the weather cooperates – [that's] the only thing right now. It is exciting to me. I've said it this way, and I really truly believe that I'm going to be able to do this, but at the tip-off and until the final buzzer, I'm going to be concerned absolutely about the basketball game. But every moment up until then and every moment immediately afterwards, I just hope that I focus on the smiles that perhaps we'll see on the faces of our military personnel.
"To me, it's a way of honoring our military. That's what it boils down to. It's those people, and not just the wounded warriors – of course, we want to give them a special place in our heart – but just the people that serve our country and make the rest of us, everybody in here, be able to do what we do. So I'm looking at it from that standpoint more than anything."
On the contingency plan in case of bad weather:
"Well, it rained like the dickens last Friday, so I hope it takes this Friday off. But we're supposed to go underneath and still play the game down there. But I really hope that we can play it outside."
How is Kendall's back?
"Better. He went through a little less than 50 percent of practice yesterday and didn't appear any worse for the wear afterward. I haven't seen him today, so hopefully he'll be able to do a little more today."
On what the team has discussed leading up to the game:
"We've talked about the significance of playing in front our military and trying to honor them and saying thank you to them… We're going to be excited to get a little 45-minute tour when we get there tomorrow night."
Listen to Audio (7:41)
Have you played in a game with more uncertainty based on weather and where you might actually play?
"Not really. Growing up, I really didn't play a lot outside, so it will be interesting just from that aspect of it. But then again, it's our first game of the year and usually you have a few teams to warm up with and get the jitters out, but this year you go straight into Michigan State. It's something where you've got to be even more prepared coming into the first game."
On getting prepared for playing on a ship:
"It's nice that we're leaving [on Wednesday], so it will be nice to be able to get out there. We get to see the ship and then we get to see the stadium, so we'll see it all before. It'll be nice to be able to see what we're playing in so that we can get mentally prepared for it, but it is something that none of us have ever experienced. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also a little nervous about it."
On playing in front of the military:
"Just from doing a lot of interviews has shown me how many military personnel are around. I've always been very appreciative and I've always said I couldn't do what they do, so I have a lot of respect for them. It will be fun to be able to give back to them and be able to play a game in front of them."
Listen to Audio (8:07)
On his back injury:
"I went to the doctor and I had an X-ray on my back. It came back negative. They found out I was just having some pain. We had practice Thursday and at the end of practice, it happened. Friday we were off. Saturday I came back and I wanted to practice. Coach only let me do dummy offense and things like that with no contact. Yesterday, he only planned on letting me do less than 50 percent, but I ended up being out there the whole time. I told him I felt great. I feel 100 percent."
Have you have back problems before?
"Just growing pains in my lower back and my knees have always hurt. I think that's almost every athlete out there that's had that. But that was the first time that I've felt a spasm of that sort. It was a little scary at the time, but when I woke up the next day, it felt three times as good, and then the more time I took off and rested, it got back to normal."