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How much does it help that this group of players was in the Final Four last season?
"I think for the players, you are more aware of the pageantry of it, how big it is. I think being there does help you be aware of that. But still, you've got to play the game. And I've played at North Dakota State, I've played at the Palestra [and] I've played at the Superdome in New Orleans… and the gym itself, from 6,000 to 70,000, to me makes no difference. But the pageantry and the extravaganza of the whole Final Four production – I think being there before does [help]. That experience that, ‘Hey guys, this is what it's going to be and tell Larry [Drew], Ed [Davis], Tyler [Zeller] and Justin [Watts].' So that does help, I think. But again, you've still got to play the game on the court."
What's the difference in having Lawson in the lineup versus not?
"The way we like to play. My whole philosophy is to play as fast as you possibly can play. With him, you've got the guy in my opinion that pushes the ball better than anybody in college basketball. So it's just the way I want to play. And not having him, we can't play necessarily the way I want to play."
On Lawson, Green and Ellington pulling out of the NBA Draft:
"There's no question that it was a factor, but I keep trying to emphasize it was not the biggest factor. They had a great option, and that great option was trying to come back and win as many games as they could possibly win and have another chance. After the decision was made for those personal reasons, they did collectively embrace the idea that ... 'Let's see if we can do better this year.'"
How are emotions this time around?
"I'm not really sure. We're extremely excited and I know I'm really happy to get back. One thing is that it's my senior year and I'm glad to have another chance at going and playing at the Final Four again."
How much of an advantage will it be having already played at Ford Field?
"We played really well [in December], but I'm not sure that was because of the court or whatever. I'm not really sure if that is an extra benefit in playing on the court before. I wish it did. But we're still going to look at it as any other game. We've played there and we know the building a little bit, but I'm not sure if that helps."
What's the feeling going to be like if you don't win the national championship?
"I don't want to think about that. I don't want to go into Final Four weekend thinking that we might lose, so I'm not going to answer that."
Can you talk about your knowledge of Villanova, seeing as how you are from Philadelphia?
"I know a lot of guys – a majority of the guys, actually. Whether it's AAU or playing against them in Philly back home and just working out, I know a lot of guys and I know a lot of their games, so it will be fun."
What was the secret in working through your slump?
"Just shoot. There's no big secret to it. Just shoot. Get in the gym and keep shooting. That's what shooters do, they keep shooting. Just don't lose confidence in yourself, because once you do that, that's when you stop playing your game."
How is this team different than last year's team?
"We're definitely more experienced. We have a little bit of a chip on our shoulders, something to prove in getting back [after] the way last year's Final Four ended. And we're definitely more than excited to be able to go back there and redeem ourselves."
Was the heartache of last year helpful in educating this current squad?
"Yeah, it's great that our team has some experience in the Final Four. As much as it hurts that we lost that game last year, we're back again thankfully and hopefully we can use it to our advantage."
How's the foot? Could you get out there and play if you weren't red-shirting?
"I'm definitely back to getting out there on the court and back to full practice. I've been feeling great. There are some days that I don't feel as good as others, but I could definitely play."
Do you pay any attention to all of the NBA buzz surrounding you?
"I really don't. I'm just focused on our next game with Villanova. That's all I'm focused on right now."