USC Post-Game Quotes: Brook Lopez

This job is its most enjoyable when we can talk with ecstatic kids after memorable wins and performances. 18-year-old Brook Lopez on Thursday night recorded one of the all-time amazing performances with a triple-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds and 12 blocked shots against USC. He wore a huge grin and talked excitedly about his game, his jubilation, his brother Robin, his improvement and more.

Trent Johnson talked about this being a good match-up for you.  When did you start to feel tonight that you could have this kind of game?

"It was just on help-side D.  Robin [Lopez] and I were getting really into it.  It was a contest at first, honestly.  We were just going after blocks.  We came in at halftime, and Mitch [Johnson] and Lawrence [Hill] were saying, 'Alright, now they know you're going to come block it, so they're going to pump fake.'  That never really happened, so I just kept going at them."

Were you surprised that they kept bringing it at you?

"Definitely.  I was really surprised.  I didn't expect it at all."

How do you feel?  Could you imagine a game like this?

"Good.  I can't really express it.  We just came in trying to work on my defensive intensity after Washington[Jon] Brockman kind of manhandled me.  We came into practice doing a lot of post defense, lifting a lot - just trying to get stronger and more solid defensively."

Trent Johnson mentioned that he had seen you this week do some things explosively you hadn't been able to do earlier.  How much did the physical side help you tonight?

"Yeah, this whole week my legs have felt so much better.  I really couldn't explain why.  I guess I'm just getting back in shape.  I came out this week and felt a lot more ready to go.  In practice I felt it looked that way, and apparently coach thinks so, I guess.  I just came out tonight hoping to come out the same way I do in practice."

Do you get in a rhythm blocking shots?

"Yeah, after you get one or two, it's timing, I guess.  I guess I learned it from Robin in high school because he was always the better shotblocker.  I still think my record is in trouble because of Robin, so we'll see how that happens.  But it's kind of like volleyball, honestly."

You have talked, and we have talked, about how much Robin has improved as an offensive player.  He was the defender and you were the offensive player in high school.  But how about your improvement as a defensive player relative to a year ago?

"I think it's just astounding how much of a difference it is.  Hopefully I'll continue to get better through practice and keep pushing it.  We'll go out and play UCLA on Sunday, and we'll see how much better I get from the next days of practice.  Hopefully I'll just keep getting better."

I know the stats are the most important thing to you, but were you at any time during the game cognizant of what you were doing with the blocks or the triple-double?

"Robin and Will Paul were constantly reminding me that I needed a couple more blocks to get a triple double.  I would say of all these stats, I've been really working on rebounding from the beginning of the season until now.  I've been trying to crash the boards."

Were you aware of Stanford's blocks record before tonight?

"Robin's six.  What did I have - 12 or so?"

Yeah, you doubled it...

"We'll see if Robin doubles it again, though."

Earlier in the year, you were picking up a lot of fouls trying to defend and block shots...

"Yeah.  Yeah."

... You had only two fouls until very deep into the game, against a zillion blocked shots and altered shots.  What are you improving mentally or physically, or what are the coaches helping you to more smartly block shots?

"We've been just going up and down a lot, and I feel that way I can get in the flow of the game.  I felt really stagnant the first few games I came back, just out of rhythm.  I came into this game just trying to get back into the flow, and I feel I did that today.  I felt like I could sense everything - well, not sense, but pretty close to it - when they were coming to attack the basket, where they were going to try to put the ball in."

When you have a game like this, do you have any words with the guy you are matching up against?  Did you say anything to Taj Gibson?

"I didn't say anything to him, no."

What were you seeing in his face?

"I thought he was frustrated.  I don't know if he was, but I felt like he was getting frustrated down there.  Robin and I were just constantly barraging him."

What is your excitement as a team right now?  Was this the best defensive performance of the year for Stanford?

"I couldn't tell you.  As a team, we have had some pretty good defensive performances.  It might be.  I think we're definitely going to have a couple more.  We're coming into UCLA hoping to prove something."

Was that pretty fun out there?

"Oh, man, that was one of the best feelings of my life."

How about climbing up into the Sixth Man section after the game?

"Whoa.  That's something I've always wanted to do since I was little, going to games.  Like when Nick Robinson made that three, and the Sixth Man just charged the floor.  That's something I've always dreamed of, so that was nice."

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