Ivey: Chalmers Is 'Catalyst' For Musketeers

<B>Brandon Mouton</B>, <B>Royal Ivey</B>, <B>Jason Klotz</B>, <B>Brad Buckman</B> and <B>James Thomas</B> faced the media Thursday afternoon in Atlanta before their final practice heading into their Sweet Sixteen contest with recently high-flying Xavier.

Senior guard Brandon Mouton

On his nickname of Grandpa ...

"I just roll with it. That's fine. We all have nicknames for each other and I'll be grandpa, that's cool, but I also think it might have to do with maturity level."

On the change in perception of the Texas program ...

"Coming in as freshman, we had a goal, and that was to put Texas basketball on the map and in order to do that, you gotta win games, and that's something as a goal that we had and we took it very serious and personal. We go out, we compete not only to win but we compete for one another. That's what makes this team so special and I think what makes the chemistry very good as well and I think it's also going to help recruiting for this program in the future."

Much contact with T.J.? ...

"Yeah, he does. It goes back to the relationship that we all have and even though he's gone, he still keeps in contact, especially with Royal. We keep in contact to see how we're doing and to keep up with each other."

Why the post-season success last two years? ...

"I definitely focus more on the games. This time of year, my life is nothing but basketball. I know that my team needs that from me and I'm going to go out and just play my role. I'm not going to do something I can't do out there, I'm just going to bring to the table everything I do well and that's Brandon Mouton this time of the year."

On his season statistics being down this year ...

"It has been a little harder this year because teams are more aware of me, but I know that I don't have to do everything for our team to win."

Senior guard Royal Ivey

On calling Mouton Grandpa ...

I think James Thomas came up with that name because Mouton's hairline is receding already and he looks like he's about 35 or 40 but he's actually only 20-something so, we were just joking around and decided to name him grandpa and it's going to stay.

On the change in perception of Texas program ...

As freshmen, we wanted to put people in the seats, and people came out sparingly but not enough, and then sophomore year when T.J. came along, people started coming out and really supporting us. They knew all along that we had it but we had to show 'em that we could do it and we could get it done and I think we got a lot of respect from people from Texas and people across the nation that we're no longer just a football school. We're well rounded so that's a great feeling.

On going against Chalmers ...

He's a great guard. He's averaging 28 points in the post-season. He's a scorer, he can handle the ball great, he hits the open threes and he's the catalyst for their team so my job is just to contain him and do my best on him.

Much contact with T.J.? ...

T.J.'s like my little brother. I used to look after him when he was here. We talk to each other a lot, about life, not just about basketball and see how he's doing and how life's treating him because he's in the limelight now. He just asks about all the players and how the coaches are doing and he really misses us more than we miss him right now [laughing]. You know, he's a great guy and we miss him and I wish the best for him.

Has Texas flown under the radar with T.J. gone? ...

T.J. brought a lot to this program. He was a great slasher, he got the ball to people in some strange places. He did a lot for this team and he was a great leader and I guess the seniors just had to step up into that role and we've taken on that challenge as being leaders and doing the extra things we need to do to win so we miss him but we've got to play on without him. We found that out earlier when we had some tough games and these seniors contributed well. Brandon hitting buzzer beaters, Boddicker hitting clutch shots, everybody doing their part and that's what we need.

On the transition from Queens to Texas ...

It was different. I'm from the city, so everything is real high strung. I came to Texas and everything is laid back and everybody's friendly and I'm used to a lot of rude people stepping on your feet and bogarting you so Texas is a great feeling because when you see people walking towards you that they weren't going to bump you and not say anything and they were going to be courteous and I enjoy that and the fans down there bleed Burnt Orange and they love you and it's a great feeling. I don't think I'm going to leave Texas.

On the identity of the Texas program ...

"We are a hard nosed defensive and rebounding team. We have shooters, scorers and we have role players. We feel that we have all the talent that we need to win."

Sophomore forward Brad Buckman

On Texas becoming a basketball power ...

"It's great to be here during this run, we have gone from being just a place on the map to playing teams like North Carolina and Duke. It's great for recruiting and the program in general. We are truly becoming a national program. It's now our job to keep that going. I am very fortunate to be here during this run and it will be fun to look back on this one day when my time here is done."

On the emergence of junior center Jason Klotz ...

"I knew it was coming. Early on he fought it a little bit, but we could see it coming in practice. He has gone from not playing much, to coming off the bench and contributing, to becoming one of our go-to players. I wish the best for him, he works so hard and he deserves everything he gets. I have learned a lot from him and I am very happy for his success."

Junior forward Jason Klotz

On the competition and the team's depth helping in practice ...

"It helps us so much that we have so many guys that can play. Playing against these guys in practice only makes us better. If we let up one day in practice, someone is there to step up and take our spot. It keeps us working hard every minute of every day."

On Coach Barnes ...

"I think this is easily the best job coach has done since I have been here. When I was a freshman and made a mistake, he would jerk me out. Now he has more patience in us. Of course he will still get in our faces when we take a bad shot, but now he shows more confidence in us and we know that just because we make a mistake, it does not mean we are headed to the bench. He lets us play through it. It really helps the guys on the floor to see the confidence coach has in our abilities."

Senior Center James Thomas

On what it will take to be successful against Xavier and advance ...

"We will have to play a complete game. I think we will be able to use our size and depth to our advantage and we will have to use our inside-outside game to be successful. If we use our balance and everyone steps up we will be OK. At this level in the tournament everyone is good, and deep, and talented, so we are just going to have to play together and be tough."


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