Wash St. Wednesday PC Quotes

Inside Carolina's Wednesday press conference coverage includes quotes from Washington State head coach Tony Bennett, Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie, who spoke to the media at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena as they prepare to face top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday.


Opening remarks:
"I haven't been here before, so I'm not used to giving general comments. We're happy to be here, great opportunity for our program. Last year we beat Oral Roberts in the first round and lost a heart breaker to Vanderbilt and this was a significant goal for our program to try and get past that. Good thing happened beating Notre Dame, excited to be here but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"I understand, I played for the Hornets, I lived in Charlotte for three years in the mid-'90s, and I know this is a pro Carolina crowd, and we're playing the No. 1 seed. It's a great challenge for our system, what we believe in, going against a team of this talent and I think it's what our guys wanted and we'll find out tomorrow if they're ready."

What have you picked up from your father?
"I think you always look at your personnel and you say, what can we do? Offensively we do a few things differently, maybe some more sets, but it's predominantly the same system. It's what I grew up on. I got to coach under Bo Ryan at Wisconsin, and I don't want to say it's good Midwest basketball because there are different ways to do it, but it's just what I learned. It's what I watched Knight do. It's predominantly solid.

"Our upperclassmen, when they were freshman and sophomores there were certain things they couldn't do, and now they have a little more freedom, and that comes with maturity and experience, and it's mostly the same. But because they're older we've done a few different things."

On his memories playing for the Charlotte Hornets:
"Obviously the shot that Alonzo hit, and we jumped on him and all rolled around on the court. Coming from Green Bay, my dream was to be part of the NBA and at that time I can remember the crowds in Charlotte and I thought when the brackets came out we were going to play in The Hive, the Coliseum, and they said that's wasn't there, that was taken care of a year ago.

"But the memories night in night out, playing in that crowd, getting to know Dell, Alonzo, Larry, being part of an up and coming team it was real special.

"The one thing that my father instilled in me, he said good basketball knows no divisions or limits and I didn't have the pedigree or the background of these players in the NBA, maybe our Washington State team doesn't have the tradition of the schools that are in the Tournament, but the thing we sell our guys on and that I believed as a player back then is if you do things the right way, play good basketball, it doesn't matter, you're going to have a chance to compete and advance. You'll get where you want to get to as a player and as a team, and that's real important.

"My days in Charlotte taught me that. I played my 12 to 14 minutes per game, but I was part of it, and it didn't matter that I came from Green Bay. It's not a hot spot but I played against Jordan and some of the better players in the game and it formed my thoughts about what matters right now.

"And I have to say first and foremost I met my wife here. That's the best thing about coming to Charlotte. She's not from here but we met here, and enjoying the community and the town and everybody tells me that was a special time with Hornet basketball and I'll cherish those forever. I wasn't healthy enough to go on but great memories, especially Alonzo hit that go shot."

Is your dad here this week?
"Yep, he's here. He may be on the golf course right now, but he did come and this has been special for him to see these young kids develop that he brought in."


On playing in Charlotte:
"I don't know how much of an advantage it is. It's good for them to be able to play in front of their home crowd, but I think our road record this year is better than our home record, so in that sense it's probably better off for us as well, so I don't know."

What was your perception of North Carolina growing up in Australia?
"Back home, Carolina is one of the only college basketball teams that you really hear about. That's kinda what college basketball is back in Australia. So the east coast biases were seen in Australia as well. So I definitely knew more about North Carolina than the other states. Prestigious program, real solid basketball."


On this season's results:
"I think it's the personnel that we have. Once the lights were on and started playing the game, it wasn't that we then started playing hard. We were in the work-outs in the off-season, running hills, doing weights, whatever, holding each other accountable, knowing that we had success. And it was fun and we wanted to get back to this point and further it, and see how far we could go. When you have a good group of guys pushing each other to get better all season, you're going to have great results."

On how Bennett has helped him reach his potential:
"I think throughout his career he pushed his limits, and got to the best of his abilities, and I think that's what he tries to do with his players and this program. You know, he pushes our limits and to see how far we can go and exceed expectations. He's got that underdog mentality and that's a big reason why a lot of the players are on this team and they came to Washington State, because they believe in being the underdog and wanting more than they might be given."

Inside Carolina Top Stories