Players Answer Press Questions

Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, Cedric Bozeman, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ryan Hollins answered questions from the media Friday, about their Regional Final game against Memphis...

Cedric Bozeman, Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ryan Hollins answered questions from the media Thursday.

Cedric or Jordan, who made the steal last night, still haven't been able to figure that out, Batista?

Farmar: "We were both trapping him and swiping for the ball.   I think Cedric knocked it loose.   I picked it up.   I found Luc under the basket.   Once and for all (smiling). " 

Jordan, the aftermath of last night's game, how long did it take you to calm down, what time did you get to bed?

Farmar: "It was a really good feeling.   I have a lot of family who traveled here, so I spent time with them.   They were enjoying it.   That was the best part for me, is to see them come together and really enjoy that experience. After I was done spending time with them, I just went to bed.   I mean, I was tired, exhausted.   It was an exhausting game.   It wasn't too hard to come down and go to sleep because I was drained, so... "

What did you do after the game, each of you?   Which of you has finals today or have any of you taken finals?

Afflalo: "I got a few of 'em to take a little bit later. As far as the game goes, pretty much went back to the hotel and relaxed a little bit."

Arron, what are the classes you have finals in tonight?

"Sociology and history."

Did you do any studying or this morning?

Afflalo: "No, not yet (smiling).   Probably be doing some studying when I get back from practice today."

Bozeman: "I mean, we sat in our rooms, talked about it for a little bit.   You know, it was an exciting game.   After that, you're so emotionally and physically drained, you just go to sleep. No finals for me, though.   I'm a fifth-year senior, done (smiling)."

Mbah a Moute: "It was the same for me, too.   Just tried to get into the room, walked down the hallway, talking to the other guys, see how they're doing.   Finally got settled and went to bed around 1:00.   That was it. "

Hollins: "No finals for me either.   Just got back, relaxed, talked to my friends and family, you know, embellished (sic) the moment, got some sleep.   I was drained like the rest of our guys."

Jordan and Luc, would you discuss what it may be like to be part of a play that will be discussed around UCLA for a long time?

Farmar: "It's a great feeling.   You know, anybody on the team should feel just as special, just as involved because without the entire team effort, that play never is possible to be as special as it was. It feels great.   I was just fortunate to be there.   Anybody on this team can say the same."

Mbah a Moute: "Just like he said, it feels good.   But at the same time it was everybody's effort, you know, just hustling from Ced making the steal to Jordan throwing me the ball.   Everybody, it was just a collective effort. I was just fortunate to put the ball in the basket."

Luc, the first time you played Memphis you were only a few games into your college career but played a lot of minutes.   What do you remember from that game?   How much do you feel like you've matured over the course of the year?   Where have you gotten better as a freshman player?

Mbah a Moute:  "I think I've gotten better in all aspects of the game, just like the way we approach it.   Memphis, it was definitely an experience for me.   I was very nervous during that game.   You could see in the first half, I don't think I played my best. It's going to be interesting to see tomorrow.   I'm very excited about that game.   I think I matured everything, you know, from playing hard to like doing just the little things I do on the court.   I'm excited about tomorrow."

The game with Memphis, do you almost feel like you're a whole different team from that first game?   Is it going to be like a rematch?

Farmar: "We're completely different.   I'm sure they are, as well.   Playing in November, everybody's fresh with one another, trying to get on the same page.   We've undergone so much growth and maturation throughout the season that it's not going to even be close from our end.   I'm not expecting it to be the same from their end either.   They've probably grown, changed, matured, just like we have. It's going to be a different match-up.   But I think playing them the first time helps us in the aspect that we got to sense and taste a little bit of their athleticism, the kind of style of play and players they have.   Other than that, I think it will be completely different."

Going back to that Memphis game, what do you remember about how it got away early, how much being on the same court with them in that game might help you prepare for this game?

Afflalo: "Yeah, definitely getting that experience always helps.   As far as the game goes, it was our first game away from home.   Our personnel's a little different.   We had a few guys out still.   We're a much different team.   We're more aggressive on both ends of the floor.   I think if you go back and watch that tape, you can see the passiveness in us, our instincts and our ability is not where it is today."

Jordan and Cedric, you both mentioned being the draining experience last night.   How much is left in your tank for tomorrow's game?

Farmar: "We'll be fine.   It was last night.   That's over.   Got a good night's rest.   Go through practice and get a good rest for tomorrow's game, as well.   It wasn't that draining.   It was just draining for the time being.   It was an exhilarating experience.   It just took a lot out of you."

Bozeman: "Same, I mean.   No time to be tired now.   This is it, you know.   You lose, you go home.   We don't want to go home.   Like I said, we'll be ready."

Going to the November game, they're certain parallels.   If not that game, when do you think you forged the personality that you showed last night, resiliency to look at a 17-point deficit and still do it?

Farmar:  "I don't know when it was.   What sticks out in my mind was losing to our crosstown rivals USC.   That sparked something special and a different attitude and mentality around the program.   The next practice we had after that was our best practice of the year.   We really got into competing and playing as hard as we possibly could.   It's just carried through throughout the rest of the season. I think we have a totally different attitude after that game.   No matter what kind of adversity has been thrown at us, whether it's an injury, foul trouble, halftime deficit, whatever you want to put in front of us, we've been able to overcome it by fighting, staying together and playing hard."

Jordan and Arron, can you talk about Cedric and Ryan's senior leadership this year?

Farmar: "They do a great job.   Cedric is our glue.   I mean, he does all the things necessary to keep this team together, to help us win ballgames, whether it's guard the other team's best player, be an extra ball handler on a press break, getting in a rebound.   Whatever it is, he does it.

"Ryan is doing a great job on the inside giving us some kind of presence.   He's really improved on his decision making.   He's really finishing plays and doing a great job knocking down foul shots in clutch situations.   I couldn't say enough about both of those guys. "

Afflalo: "Same here.   Their experience and their composure is the most valuable thing to this team right now.   They're talented, as well.   They both have grown a lot throughout the season.   Their games have definitely developed.   They're getting better and better still as seniors.   That's very important to us."

Jordan and Arron, one of the things Memphis has done well is they've been able to make runs and pull away from teams.   After what happened with Gonzaga last night, talk about your confidence in those situations.

Afflalo: "Well, we're confident in our defense, just as they are in their offense, their ability to pull away from teams. We feel we're capable of doing the exact same thing, but on the other end of the floor through creating turnovers and good ball pressure and things of that nature. If those circumstances did come up where they were pulling away, we're still confident we could stay in the game because we know we play defense for at least 40 minutes."

Farmar:  "Same thing.   We've done a great job staying composed, staying together in tough situations.   Last night was a perfect example of that and a good test for us to know that if we do get down or if teams do make a run, it's not the end of the world.   We just have to stay calm and make sure we get the stops.   That's been our staple all year, the defense.   As long as we continue to play at that end of the floor, we'll have a chance to win at the end of the game."

Jordan and Cedric, would you talk about Luc's impact on the team this year.   Was he kind of the last piece of the puzzle?

Farmar:  "I really think so.   I mean, I said Cedric is our glue, but Luc is right there with him.   He does pretty much the same things.   I mean, whether it's guard the best player, get every rebound.   I mean, he's everywhere on the court when it comes to understand rebounding.   Be a high-post catcher against zones, in the toughest spots to catch the ball, make plays for his teammates, be an extra ball handler on press breaks.   Anything that's asked of him, he does.   And never complains about everything, just always gives his best effort.   Without those kind of performances, we're not where we are today. "

Bozeman: "He's a man that goes about his business.   I watch him sometimes from the bench grab some rebounds that, I mean, you'd be amazed the rebounds he grabs. He does a lot of great things on the floor and I'm proud of him."

Cedric and Ryan, does the way last night's game ended give you the feeling that maybe this is a team of destiny, there's something meant to happen here?   Does it bring back memories of the layup in '95?   Have you thought or talked about that?

Bozeman:  "I mean, we just hoping all the positives are on our side.   Hopefully somebody up above is on our side pulling us to win. You know, we definitely can't take anything for granted.   We got to come out and play hard and try to get a victory."

Hollins: "Definitely just a tribute to everything this team has gone through, through injuries, Ced going down, pretty much 90% of our team being hurt, just sticking together, drawing our guys closer together, even more close-knit as the season went on.   A win like that just feels good, something that was well-deserved.   Coach has always told us, we deserve this, this is our moment.   We played hard, we worked too hard to give something up like that.   A win like last night was definitely big in that sense."

If you could address the fact that Memphis knows that having won that first game, it's very hard to beat a good team two times in a row, especially in a tournament situation.   Who has the upper hand going into this game?

Afflalo: "Personally I really don't try to look back on games too much.   We've had situations where we've played teams two, three times this year.   That's the worst thing to do, is to get caught up in the way things went last game.   I mean, for one, you can't look back on it and learn from that experience. Those emotions, everything you put into that last game is gone.   That was months ago.   This is a brand-new game with probably two brand-new teams.   In my mind, this is the first game for us. "

Arron and Jordan, any other team you've played close to Memphis' athleticism?

Afflalo: "I don't think from an overall standpoint.   We've played some teams with some pretty athletic big guys or some athletic guards.   You know, this team is pretty complete.   They're long, wiry, athletic all around.   We're probably going to have to do our best job of the season of keeping them off the glass, limiting them to one shot, probably stopping their break a little bit."

Farmar: "Same thing.   I mean, I don't think anybody that we've played compares overall.   Alabama, we just played last week, has a lot of great athletes.   That's probably the closest thing to an overall team full of athletes to Memphis. They're a team full of a bunch of great players.   Like Arron said, we have to do our best job in transition, negating some of the things they get on the break, really rebound the basketball.   It's going to be the responsibility of the guards to get in there and help, Luc, Ryan and Ced, because of their athletic ability."

Jordan, what do you remember about your match-up with Darius Washington?   How is your wrist and thumb?

Farmar: "My wrist and thumb are just fine.   It's not even a problem at all.

"You know, like we say, we don't think about individual match-ups at all.   That's not in my mind, nor does it matter at all.   It's the UCLA Bruins versus the Memphis Tigers.   It's not Farmar/Washington or Afflalo/Carney.   It's us as a collective unit trying to beat them.   That's the only way we go about it."

Luc, you helped create that jump ball at the end there.   Do you practice anything like that in practice where coach rolls the ball out and guys have to dive at it?   Anything that equates to that in practice?

Mbah a Moute:  "I mean, yeah, early in the year, yeah, we always do practice every time there's a loose ball, coach get on us for people that don't dive for the ball.   That's something that became instinct.   That's what you got to do.   A good team have to make plays like that in order to win. It was just instinct what happened during the game.   I just dove on the ball and got it."

Have you watched the Memphis film?   If not, will you?   What things do you have to stop from Memphis to make it maybe a little better than you did last time?

Afflalo: "We'll probably get to watch some film probably today.   Today's our preparation day.   But before even watching the film, offhand I can tell you we need to stop their transition offense, take care of the ball offensively, probably limit them to one shot.   Just watching highlights on TV, you can see them getting three, four attempts every time down the floor, tip-dunks, things of that nature.   If we want to win, we're definitely going to have to eliminate that."

Arron, last night you banged around with Morrison.   Today you have finals.   Tomorrow you have a conference Player of the Year waiting for you in Carney.   How do you get through this weekend?

Afflalo: "Oh, that's no problem.   You take everything at hand what's ahead of you.   Last night came, now it's gone.   Time spent on school is spent on school.   When you're on the floor, you focus on the floor.   Same way for school.   I'll focus on my finals tonight.   That will be behind me.   Then I have a new task at hand tomorrow. Just approach everything one thing at a time."

Cedric and Arron, could you comment on what Jordan brings to this team, the reason that you feel good about him doing the things that he does.

Bozeman: "I mean, personally, this has been my first year actually like really playing with him a whole season.   Last year, I was out.   I mean, just to watch him from the bench even last year, he's a guy that has the ability to make plays at all times.   I mean, he has a lot of confidence.   We have a lot of confidence in him.   He's our quarterback.   We're going to ride him till the wheels fall off."

Afflalo: "Same two words, confidence and leadership.   Those two things combined is the makeup of a good point guard."

 

 


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