NCAA Reaction: Brook Lopez, Lawrence Hill

It was hard to imagine the Lopez Twins playing anywhere other than the Big Dance during March Madness, and Brook Lopez told us after Stanford's selection on Sunday he felt the same way. He also described the scene where he carried Trent Johnson around the locker room following the announcement. Sophomore Lawrence Hill talked about Stanford's threat, now that they are healthy - including his back.

Freshman forward/center Brook Lopez

So was Trent Johnson as light as a feather?

"At that moment he was, yeah. [laughs]"

Is that your first hug of your coach?

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure it is.  It was really surprising."

What was his reaction?

"I wasn't expecting him to react, honestly.  I expected him to just sit there."

What did he do?

"He turned around, and he was up and cheering with us, like a little kid almost.  I couldn't believe it until I saw him.  Then he was on top of me and Anthony [Goods]."

As a freshman how exciting is this for you and your brother?

"It was crazy, just waiting for our name to come up on the screen.  It came on the very last spot.  It was just ridiculous.  Like Fred [Washington] said, from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in a split second.  It was ridiculous."

Were you bracing to not be in the NCAAs?

"I couldn't really tell you.  I don't know if I was expecting it to be someone else.  Just a worst case scenario.  I was just hoping it was us."

How much bracket analysis were you and Robin [Lopez] talking about the last few days?

"None.  We were just hoping we were in.  I couldn't really tell you who else was in the Tournament.  It was either Stanford or just another team.  If it wasn't Stanford, it didn't matter."

How do you feel about the match-up with David Padgett?

"I really couldn't tell you.  I haven't seen him play too much."

You talked before the Pac-10 Tournament about having the killer instinct.  You did go up big early on USC and then let it slip away, so are you guys still searching for that?

"Yeah.  I don't think it will be a problem come Tournament time, though.  That killer instinct will be necessary throughout the whole thing.  We'll definitely see soon whether we have it or not.  I think we do, though."

Does it bother you at all to play a team from Kentucky in Kentucky?

"No, not really...  I went there for the adidas Derby Classic.  It was kind of like a mini-Louisville game.  We had all of the Kentucky people on my team, for some reason, and Louisville was on the opposing team.  So we played against [Edgar] Sosa and [Derrick] Caracter.  It was in Louisville.  Half the stadium was Louisville, and the other half was Kentucky.  It was intense.  It was exciting.  I'm sure we will get a much better environment because it is the Tournament in Kentucky playing Louisville.  It will be really exciting."

Can you remember the last time being this excited to get some news?

"I can't really compare it or think of anything right now.  Hopefully it will be lessened by comparison with what the future holds."

You were very highly recruited and came here with an expectation of winning, which goes hand in hand with the NCAA Tournament and trying to get to the Final Four.  What was going through your mind, thinking that you could be playing in the NIT your first year of college?

"I thought about it for just a second.  That's something you don't want to happen.  Just one second - after that, I was back to thinking that we were going to make the NCAA Tournament.  I'd do something if we didn't make it [laughs]; I just had to go."

When was that one second?

"It was today, about midway through.  I think halfway through, after they finished two of the brackets.  Yeah, there was one second where I thought we might be going to the NIT.  But I just got that out of my mind.  We're an NCAA team."

Sophomore forward Lawrence Hill

Was that one of the most agonizing 35 minutes you have ever had?

"Yeah.  I sat next to Carlton [Weatherby] on purpose, just to get that feeling of being with this guy for more reasons - this being his last [season].  I never lost hope, though.  As long as there was a blank spot on there for them to show, I was waiting for it."

What was it like for Anthony Goods?  He was as upset as we have seen him, after the USC game?

"That game had a lot of 'what if' things for a lot of us.  Taj [Finger] is wondering what if he could have affected Nick Young's shot more before regulation.  I thought what if I had produced more or helped out more.  A lot of us think that way.  But we were all just hoping our name would come up, really.  I think we are over that game, and we can look ahead."

Trent Johnson said this can be a dangerous team because of the different things Stanford can do.  How dangerous do you think you are?

"First, I think we are dangerous to ourselves.  We have done a lot of good things and a lot of bad things.  We have to find a way to make it count now, with each game coming up our last of the season if we lose."

Can you talk about the health factor and how dangerous this team is now that everybody is healthy again?

"We get to have our whole team here.  We should be able to work on that.  When a guy goes out, we have to be able to adjust and make changes.  Now we can be the team we were on paper and in everybody's eyes this year.  We're looking forward to a good practice."

How are you feeling?  We haven't talked to you since the USC game.  What happened to you on that fall, and how have you been since?

"I haven't seen the replay.  I don't remember, but my friends tell me I was knocked off my feet.  I fell on my back.  It's just a bruise, and things like that happen all the time.  You play through it to other spots on your body.  I'll be alright.  100 percent."

Can you remember the last time being this excited to get some news?

"Mine was probably getting into Stanford.  Getting into college was a really big deal.  The next thought on my mind after that was going to the Tournament because everybody tells you about the environment.  You never know what it's like until you go there.  Now I get to find out."

Do you think that Stanford is under pressure, finishing the way you did and carrying that label of a bubble team?

"Maybe, but we're not worried about that."


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