UNC-GU: Hoyas Press Conference Quotes

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --- Georgetown coach John Thompson III and players Jeff Green, Jessie Sapp, Dajuan Summers and Jonathan Wallace spoke to reporters after the game.

Opening remarks -

JOHN THOMPSON III: We're extremely fortunate, you know. That's not just a terrific team that we were fortunate enough to beat, but a terrific program. You look at, you know, when you think of Carolina basketball, there's a lot there to emulate and imitate. So we're just extremely fortunate to come away with a win here tonight, and we're extremely happy to be moving on.

Jessie, New York kid. Nice to come home and get this win?

JESSIE SAPP: Yes, it's always nice to come home, you know, play in front of your family and friends, you know, and get the win. You know, I just wanted -- North Carolina is a great team. They played hard. We stuck together through the hard times so, you know, with my family as my teammates and my family from home, it is always good to play and win at home.

Could you talk about the 14-0 run to start overtime?

JEFF GREEN: We just tried to get an early start on it, you know. If we let them get an early start, they would have had the momentum coming in. We got lucky, you know. In overtime, they had a lot of open looks. They didn't fall. You know, we got the rebound and we just kept going to our offense and getting good looks. We had players knock them down. You know, we were fortunate enough that they missed their shots, we got stops on the defensive end to go on that 14-0 run. We had to keep going on offense. We made shots and they didn't.

DAJUAN SUMMERS: Yeah, it was just a good team effort, like everybody just stuck together. We knew starting overtime that if we stuck together and continued to do the things we were doing, it would look up for us. We got some tough stops. I made some good offensive plays and stuff with our offense. Things just worked out for us.

Jonathan and Jeff, the Carolina players said defending your offense was incredibly difficult because the precision with which you guys ran it. Why is it so effective to the point where the Carolina players actually called it "perfection?"

JONATHAN WALLACE: With our offense, we just wanted to stay patient. I guess a lot of teams associate that with being very effective. But, you know, a lot of teams, you know, with North Carolina, they have a lot of firepower. They want the ball early to get out on transition. We just try to stick with our stuff and be as patient as we could and get the best shot that we can get.

JEFF GREEN: Yeah, like Jon said, we just stuck with our stuff. We had legs out there that were kind of fresh but, you know, we had guys that kept going hard, you know. That's one thing to do in this offense, is just keep cutting hard, you know, and go through your offense hard. That's what we did for the whole 45 minutes of this whole game.

We just went out there, tried to run it to perfection as we could. Like Jon said, North Carolina has a lot of firepower. If we kept running our offense, we would have got good looks and that's what we did.

Can you just talk about the way you guys rebounded, particularly defensively down the stretch, the last seven minutes in overtime? Seemed like that helped you get back in the game.

JEFF GREEN: Yeah, that was one of the things that, you know, coming into this game, that we had to do well. You know, watching a lot of tape from North Carolina' previous games, that's one thing they did, go to the offensive boards. That's one thing we went into this game wanting to do well, rebound. Not let them get second-chance points.

Doing that, you know, we limited them to a lot of second-chance points, a lot of offensive rebounds they didn't get. Just having heart, wanting to get the ball. That was one thing we had to do and we had to focus on.

ROY HIBBERT: I mean, they're an extremely good team, you know. They rebound extremely well. They got bouncing players. We had to put a body on them as soon as the shot went up. was adamant about boxing out and getting the rebound and limiting them to one shot. We tried to do that as much as we can. I think that's what helped us out in the long run, limiting them to one shot.

Jessie, the guys have already spoken about the fact that you just kept trying to run your stuff and everything. You're down ten. It's the middle of the second half. You're not making shots. It's losing now, you go home. How much talking was there between you guys about, Listen, we have to keep running it?

JESSIE SAPP: Basically, every possession we was talking. We wanted to stick with our stuff because we knew it worked. We didn't want to go into anything different because it's been working all year. Just every huddle, every time-out, we told each other we was gonna stick with it. was calling plays out, they was working to perfection after that.

For Jonathan, the shot that tied it in regulation, they had just missed. It looked like you got a screen. What was the plan? Did you kind of improvise? Can you talk us through that a little bit, how that happened?

JONATHAN WALLACE: No, that shot came, you know, within rhythm of our offense. We spun out and assessed that side of the floor and, you know, Lawson, he went underneath the screen. My teammate found him, knocked the shot down. Everything was in sequence of the play. Nothing different. We were able to get a good shot.

Jeff, can you talk about when they're up 75-65, you start coming back, the building seemed to absolutely blow up those last five or six minutes. Could you feel that?

JEFF GREEN: No, I couldn't. I was, you know, in one of those zones where you just hear your teammates and your es. I couldn't really listen to what the fans were doing, or I didn't want to get into all that because it was just about the five guys on my team and, you know, North Carolina that we were going against. I wasn't worried about what the fans were doing. You know, it was loud. You know, it was a mixture of, you know, North Carolina fans and our fans. I was just in one of those zones where I had to focus and just keep running our offense to perfection.

Jonathan, can you talk about what it's like making a shot like that in a moment like that?

JONATHAN WALLACE: It feels good, you know (smiling). We were trying to get a stop on the defensive end. To get a shot like that to go down for us felt pretty good. We knew if we could stay with most of their runs for the latter part of the game, hopefully we could make a strong push of our own towards the end and that lead us to overtime. Gave us confidence going into the overtime period and we were able to pull it out.

Very shortly after the end of the game, a lot of you and maybe all of you went over to the press table and gave Thompson's dad a hug. How did that come about? What does he mean to you, the program, and what happened today?

JONATHAN WALLACE: Thompson means a lot, you know, to the program. You know, just him being around the program, you know, day in and day out. Just keeping little things in our head, you know, so that we, you know, kind of execute those things going to the floor. With the win, we had to go and give thanks to him, you know, so...

JEFF GREEN: We love him to death.

JESSIE SAPP: The dude is a legend. When you think about the whole Georgetown thing, you know, you think of John Thompson Junior. He's been through a lot and, you know, he's brung this program through a lot. For us to do this and him still be around to watch us play is an honor, you know, to have him court side to see us play.

JEFF GREEN: We had to show respect to the guy who ed the teams that paved the way for us. You know, it was just, you know, giving him respect for letting us get a chance just to put on the Georgetown jersey because he has a lot of say around Georgetown. Just showing respect.

ROY HIBBERT: Just I have a lot of respect for Georgetown and what Thompson has done in the past and what he's doing right now, he gives little tidbits of information to help us out and we're thankful. We're just gonna keep moving on from there.

DAJUAN SUMMERS: He's just a major part of our success, just like everyone up here said. He helps us a lot on and off the court, giving us tips, things to do to become better people and better basketball players. Just go over there, give him a hug, show him we appreciate him, it meant a lot.

This is for Jeff. So many teams right now have just abandoned even running any kind of stuff. They'll just spread it and try to work a guy off the dribble. You guys are so structured. How is that received by people you know, other players? Do they comment on your offense, how different it is?

JEFF GREEN: Yeah, like we said earlier, North Carolina did it, they commented on how well disciplined and structured we was. Like you said, a lot of teams are known for taking guys off the dribble. When it comes down to it, it's kind of tough for them to do it because other teams scout that very well throughout the game and it's easy to stop that. When you do it the way we do the whole game, five guys working with each other, it's kind of hard to defend. We give different looks all the time. We stick together like we did, the previous games and today, we can beat a lot of teams. We just got to keep doing that.

Probably see a lot of films of him this week, what do you know of Greg Oden, what have you seen of him?

ROY HIBBERT: He's a terrific player. You know, he's a force down low and we're going to have to contain him and keep him off the boards. We're gonna watch tape and is gonna discuss ways to limit his touches and keep him off the boards.

But right now, you know, we're feeling this win right now. We're gonna handle our business, take one step at a time next week, next weekend.

Yesterday both you guys and the Carolina guys fielded a lot of questions about the game 25 years ago and what a classic game it was. Do you feel like you just played in a game people will be talking about years from now?

JEFF GREEN: Hopefully, you know. It was a great game between two competitive teams trying to make it to the next step. It was a very physical game. A lot of talent on that floor, you know. The key guys stepped up at the right point. So hopefully down the road, you know, everybody will look back at this game and say it was a classic game.

JONATHAN WALLACE: I think so. Like Jeff said, battle between two story programs. The game was hard-fought throughout the whole game, went into overtime. Just heavy competing. I guess that is what constitutes as kind of a historical game. Hopefully this game will be remembered.

There was allusion to the rebounding in the second half being better. What were you thinking? What was said at the half? Shooting 59%, they were killing you on the boards.

JOHN THOMPSON III: It was one of those situations, it was clear, you know, that North Carolina was getting out in transition. Ty was penetrating and dropping it off to the big guys for easy shots, then they were getting second shots.

From the offensive end throughout the game, we felt comfortable that we could get what we wanted. We just had to find a way to stop their easy looks. And coming down at the end, we were just fortunate I think that a lot of shots the team has made all year just bounced our way in the latter stages of the game.

For all the talk of the system and the program, sticking with it till the end, with about seven minutes to go you did spread the floor and started breaking them down player for player. You did lock it in on the defensive end. The game changed at that point, don't you agree? You pretty much put them on the defensive even though they had the ten-point lead and it stayed that way until the end of overtime.

JOHN THOMPSON III: I think it was at that point that we were able to slow down their transition a little bit, and we were able to stay in front of them so that they had to get -- we were able to, you know, make them make tough, contested shots. That's kind of what changed.

I mean, Carrill floating around here somewhere, back in the locker room. Talk about the system, the way we play, right, it allows you to do everything. So there is room for one-on-one, there's room for postups. It's a free way to play. It's not a restrictive way to play. That, coming down at the latter stages, was what we started to look for. We were fortunate to utilize that aspect of our game to get some better baskets.

In a regular-season game, would you have put Roy back in the game with two fouls and seven minutes to go in the first half? Can you talk about how he played with foul trouble?

JOHN THOMPSON III: I'm not one that goes by the manual, you know. There have been a lot of games this year where guys have picked up two fouls and I haven't put them back in, then there have been games where I have. So I kind of on instincts, I think, as opposed to a set rule as to how to go about it.

If it were a regular-season game that felt like, in my gut, that we needed to get him back in there, then I would have put him back in.

You took the podium and could have said anything you wanted to your fans. You chose to do the, "We are Georgetown." Why? What does that phrase mean to you?

JOHN THOMPSON III: It's growing up, you know, coming to the games, growing up with the program. That's just a cheer. That's my favorite cheer. There's no other way to put it. That's something that is special to me. So I just probably shouldn't have done it, but just led them in that cheer.

Can you walk me through the last possession of regulation. Was Jonathan the person that you were looking to get the shot there?

JOHN THOMPSON III: The full-court shot?

Three-pointer that tied it, I think.

JOHN THOMPSON III: Oh, yeah, we wanted that. We put him on the side. We had Jeff post him. But, you know, I thought we knew we were gonna get the shot at the top for Jon. That's what we were looking for. We were fortunate that our guys executed, we were fortunate that the ball went in. Jon has been making those shots for three years now. So we put the person that we wanted to get the shot where we wanted, and we're fortunate that it went in.

On your way over to see your father, you stopped to have a conversation with Carrill. Can you share what was said during that moment?

JOHN THOMPSON III: You know, is such a part of my consciousness, you know. I said there's not too many decisions on the floor and off the floor where I don't have 's voice in my head. You talk about the Princeton offense. You talk about Pete Carrill, that's who you're talking about. He's taught me how to think and how to see the game. So he's, you know -- we're in constant contact. In many ways, he is a part of what we're doing. He is a big part of what I'm doing. So I just wanted to go over and give him a hug.

This is the third game in a row you guys have been behind and come back to win. How proud does that make you as a , that you have a team that's that poised that no matter what the score or the clock says, they just kind of keep playing?

JOHN THOMPSON III: I've said this after the last couple of games, that's who we are. That's what we've grown into. That's what we've developed into, you know. We're a team that -- a lot of unselfish guys that believe in each other and believe in what we're doing and believe in how we're doing it.

There have been very few - if any games - and very few possessions of games coming down the latter part of the season here, even the loss, the Syracuse loss, but there's been very few times where we haven't felt good about where we are and felt that we knew what we could do collectively to figure out how to win.

It's just a testament to the understanding that this group has. It's a testament that the caring this group has for each other.

I asked you on Thursday how it would feel to be in the Final Four. Now you're in. How does it feel?

JOHN THOMPSON III: (Laughing) It feels pretty good, I'll tell you that. It feels pretty good. I'm so proud of these guys. I'm so proud of these guys. They've kind of played this year out in many ways as I thought it would. I knew we'd get better as the year went on. I knew it would. I knew we had a chance to be very good by the time this time of year rolled around. It's kind of the same answer to what I just said, they believe in us. That's special.

Can you just talk about how special it is to the tradition of this program to have you and Pat Ewing's son both involved in this? This is something very rare and very special, I think.

JOHN THOMPSON III: You know, I think that the big-picture significance of that, I'll let you guys out there draw that up and paint that picture. As the of Georgetown University right now I'm extremely happy that Patrick Junior is on the team. I'm extremely happy he's part of the group we have. I'm extremely happy to bring his intensity, his intelligence, his caring to our team. And so, you know, overall, big picture, I'll let you guys paint that. It's special to me to have him on our team right now.

Was there any moment during the overtime, as the score is mounting, the moment on the bench you're saying to your assistants or them to you, "Can you believe this?"

JOHN THOMPSON III: No, it didn't -- no, no. I thought the clock was moving real slow (smiling). You know, it was five seconds left, I think, when I realized, "Okay, I think we're gonna win this thing." That's, you know, a special moment. This is a special time. You know, you work so hard, and you have to have so many things fall in place, and you have to be so lucky to get to this point. You know, then no matter who you're playing against, from a start of the summer, the very first game, you're playing against good teams, very well-ed teams. We come in tonight. We're playing against -- let's give credit where credit is due. Williams is one of the best in the business. That's a terrific team that's won a lot of games. For us to figure out how to hold on and pull away with a win, against that team, against that team is special.

Toughness shows itself in a lot of different ways. You've heard your players asked on numerous occasions about the perception of your father's teams in the '80s being tough and them being more precision. When a team is down ten, eight minutes to go in a game like this, comes back to win, is this the last time we should ask if these guys are tough?

JOHN THOMPSON III: It won't be. So whether you should or not... But we haven't let others define who we are. That's an extremely -- you've heard me say it. Maybe I haven't used the word "tough," I've used resilient. It's the same thing. They're a tough group of kids. Tough-minded group of kids. Their toughness comes from competing every day and from believing in each other. You know, the comparisons to Pop's teams, much like the talk about Big Pat, Little Pat, Big John, Little John, you guys can do that. We're here playing, trying to figure out how to win games.

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