Mark Gottfried Talks to the Press

Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried, the former UCLA assistant with the Bruins' 1995 championship team, talks about tomorrow's match-up with the Bruins in the second round of the NCAA Tournament...

Comments from Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried:

On the upcoming game against UCLA:

"We are oviously playing a great team that's got great tradition and heritage that I'm very familiar with. I think it's a great basketball team by the way they ended their season with their margin of victory in the last eight games, winning by 20 to 21 points and not having a close game in a month or month and a half. We understand that this would be a huge upset to have a chance to win, so we'll tip it up and play hard. We're not a good basketball team. We're just out here scrapping around and we're playing one of the best in the tournament. UCLA is very well-coached and fundamentally sound defensively. They don't make a lot of errors and play nine to 10 guys throughout a 40-minute game, so they're fresh. They are physical and strong. (Head Coach) Ben (Howland) has done a great job with the group of guys and I think he has offensive-minded players believing in the defensive game on the floor. If you look at the way (Cedric) Bozeman, (Arron) Afflalo and the post players defend, I think as a coach it's difficult to do, and he's done a great job doing that. Farmar is terrific and an excellent player. Defending against Farmar is key, but when you look at the rest of the team, you look at Afflalo – he reminds me of Kennedy Winston, who we had last year – he's a big-time player. Bozeman came in as a McDonald's All-American, but you just look at them and they're loaded. And it all starts from Farmar. When you look at that floor, there aren't many weaknesses."

On if he had stayed at UCLA and gotten the UCLA head coaching job:

"Things work out the way they were supposed to work out. I had a good run at Murray State, and was in a situation where the national media really didn't see all my mistakes, and that was good for me, and I do believe that coaches need that time. With my background with Alabama and my wife's background, we need to be where we're supposed to be."

On being the underdog:

"I don't know if there's a lot of differences. I think that when you say that your players enter with the attitude lke they have nothing to lose, I really don't think your players ever enter like that. They have to come in wanting to win, just like we went into the Wisconsin-Milwaukee game, wanting to win. You just have to go from there. I'm sure there are differences by the way people perceive the games or if you win or lose the game. If you lose the upset game, the magnitude is that much greater. But we're going to approach the game the same way we normally approach these games."

On winning a national championship with UCLA in 1995 as an assistant:

"1995 was a special year. As a coach or player, you want to re-create a year like that every year, and you're hoping that will happen again for you. We just had a phenomenal run, won 19 straight games that year and won the national championship with a great group of players and a great group of coaches. And I absolutely love UCLA; they are special to me and always will be. I had an opportunity to start coaching there, and that's where I got my start. That was then, this is now and you cherish those memories."

On senior forward Jean Felix:

"If he's open we want him to take the open shots. He is always good defensively every night and is a competent player that will take shots when we need him to. As for his future, Felix has a chance to play somewhere, and hopefully for him, he'll have a chance to play in the NBA. Every player wants that. If not, he's just a dedicated young player that will have a chance to play.professionally somewhere, and we hope that he does. He's going to graduate in May, so his degree will be done, and hopefully he'll have a career professionally."

Bruin Report Online Top Stories