Quotes - Selection Sunday

SEATTLE - Lorenzo Romar, Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Venoy Overton all spoke to Dawgman.com Sunday at the Don James Center after it was announced that Washington - the No. 7 seed in the East bracket - would play the No. 10-seed Georgia Bulldogs Friday in Charlotte, NC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It's the first meeting between the two teams.

Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement: "Made big shots…made big blocks…hard hard did Darnell Gant spike… (loud cheers) Again, we could go on and on, because there's no way… yup, C.J. Wilcox (applause). Again, we could go on and on (laughter)… T. Ross (loud cheers). Yup, T. Ross. He was good too (laughter). There was a lot of good things that happened. How about Isaiah's shot? (loud cheers). Only because you weren't there, I'll break down that shot. Only because you weren't there.

"They hit the three, to tie the game up, and I immediately looked at the clock, and it said that there were 20 seconds left. At that point they weren't pressing us - they were getting back on defense. Isaiah had the ball in his hand, and I was thinking, time out? Should we set something up? And it was as if he was reading my mind. He just looked at me and calmly…calmly said…(laughter)…I think what he said was, trust me coach. I've got this one (laughter). I have about 20 seconds left to play, because if it goes another overtime, I'm done. I've played over 100 minutes in three days…(applause)…let me end this.

"And so he did. And it was a lot of fun."

On Isaiah's game-winner: "He was able to get elevation and that shot is supposed to be short. For most, that shot is short, you just don't have anything left, but he's so strong, he was able to still elevate and concentrate enough to knock it down."

On his thoughts on being so far from home: "I wouldn't say disappointed, but our drothers would be to be closer to home, but when you are a seventh seed, you're at the mercy of the committee."

On USC getting in: "I think it's great and it's very deserving. They are a tough team. Believe me, we know (how tough they are)."

On possibly playing Carolina in Charlotte: "You have to be excited, but you don't look past that first opponent otherwise you're one and done. You don't let up at all. You have to come out firing with both barrels in that opener or you don't get a chance to play anymore. When we were in Maui, that question came up about Kentucky and my answer is the same answer I have – Kentucky, Michigan State was in that tournament, U-Conn was in that tournament – you want to have an opportunity to play against any of those teams that are storied programs like that, so you always want to play against the best."

On having to change the lineup: "Sometimes there's a renewed freshness sometimes if you change lineups."

On Wilcox and Ross having fresher legs: "They had fresh legs and they were bright-eyed and eager. You had Scott (Suggs), C.J. and Terrance on the floor, makes Isaiah's job a little easier, because you can't leave them. Those guys keep the defense honest. They can't just pack it in on us."

On Isaiah's last shot: "The simplest play is the higher-percentage play. If he has to shoot it over two taller guys, then the chances of that going in go down. So if he has a chance to kick it out to a guy who's absolutely wide open, that's a pretty good shooter, it's a lot like the option in football, so whichever decision you make from possession to possession it could be the right one or the wrong one."

On the rotation with Isaiah's performance: "The game will dictate that. What I think though, is he's not playing 40 minutes, maybe he's playing 33 minutes or whatever it is, he can really get after it on the defensive end and he can push it the entire time knowing he can take a rest."

On Overton possibly being rusty: "He's a veteran so we have a few days of practice. He'll be fine."

On the practice schedule this week: "We will just shoot and meet tomorrow and then we'll practice hard on Tuesday and Wednesday and then probably back it off Thursday. Three games in three days, with that type of intensity and the mental aspect of it, a lot of times your legs are fine, but you are mentally drained, so now you're not sharp. It's also finals week, so our guys are going to be spent, so we have to be easy on the overload of information."

Asked by a youngster if he was happy to be getting new players, something that elicited a ton of laughter: "Well young man…we're always excited to bring new players aboard, but we hate to see the old players leave." (big applause)

Final Statement: "We played in the Rose Garden in Portland in the NCAA Tournament…we've played in San Diego in the NCAA Tournament, we played in San Jose… we were in Maui this year…and we've been to the Pac-10 Tournament, and it's unbelievable the fan support that we get wherever we play. And even though most of you couldn't make it this time to the Pac-10 Tournament, we really, really appreciate your encouragement and sticking behind us and cheering for us to pull and move forward. Thanks for coming! (applause)
Isaiah Thomas:
On toughness: "Coach says the keys to the games are, always hustle, always get to the loose balls…and we've got drills for that if we don't do it in games. We don't want to ever get out-toughed. And the one thing about getting out-toughed is, you've got to get to loose balls first, you've got to be the more scrappier team. We did that this whole week, and I'm just proud of my teammates." (applause)

On how tired he is: "I'm good now (laughter). But I was dead (laughter). I got on the plane, went straight to sleep, got home, went straight to sleep…but I'm good now. I got a lot of rest, and I didn't wake up until about one (o'clock) today (laughter)."

On a potential second-round matchup with North Carolina: "I don't know. I'm worried about Georgia right now. It would be fun to play North Carolina in North Carolina. Right now we have to take one game at a time. I'm really focused on Georgia because they are a good team. Anybody can beat anybody in this NCAA Tournament."

On Georgia: "I haven't seen them play, but they have a good player in Trey Thompkins. I played against him in AAU, and seen him play in some camps this last summer, and he's a great player. That's the only thing I know about them. They are in the NCAA Tournament, so they must have some type of talent (laughter)…that's not a bad thing…(laughter)…they're a real good team (more laughter). It just came out wrong! I'm not answering any more questions! (laughter)

On the last 20 seconds: "I saw him, and I thought he was going to call a timeout, so I tried to get him before he did. He's been in this situation before as a player…you dream about doing things like that. At the beginning of the week I wanted to put the team on my shoulders and do whatever it took to win. I made a pretty good play, and the ball went in the hoop, and it was all she wrote after that."
Justin Holiday:
On explaining the NCAA environment to the younger players: "The environment is kind of similar to the Pac-10 Tournament in that you're playing games that count. When you lose, you're out. Our younger guys kind of understand what's going on…you saw how they stepped up and played for us in the Pac-10 Tournament. I don't think we need to tell them much. They understand that we want to win, and as of right now, I'm not going to say anything to 'em (laughter)."

On this go-around feeling different: "Yes, it does. Really, when you lose, it's the last one for me, ever. It's really special, especially how my teammates stepped up like they did once again. Because you never know when it can be your last. My teammates - you know, the freshmen stepping up, Matthew playing hard, Aziz playing hard, Darnell coming in and doing what he does, and Isaiah playing well - I don't know when my last game could have been. I'm real excited that we can get to this tournament with the teammates that I have, and hopefully we go as far as possible."

On traveling cross-country: "I like traveling, but it would be good to be back on the west coast to have a crowd. But it's the NCAA Tournament, so it can be fun playing in that atmosphere, playing with everyone against you. That's how we've been most of the year, so I think we'll be comfortable in that environment."

On how many times the team watched Thomas' final shot on the way home: "I guess Isaiah didn't, because he was sleeping (laughter). I'd say we watched it at least ten times. At least ten, probably more. But at least ten."

On confidence level going into the tournament: "I personally think our confidence hasn't changed. We always play with confidence. Of course we're feeling good now that we have some wins going into the tournament - that's exactly what we wanted to have. But if we didn't have confidence after the USC game, who knows how we would have played in the Pac-10 Tournament. So our confidence is doing well, and hopefully we can keep on winning."
Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
On if this year's Pac 10 title being sweeter than last year's: "Overcome a lot of doubt in people's minds and being able to overcome a lot of that. A lot of people's thoughts was that we weren't a mentally tough team and to show what we went through throughout the season after, obviously, (Abdul) Gaddy going down, all the off-court incidents, but now it's March and everybody knows that regardless of what happened during the year, it's all about winning games now."

On always bringing his ‘A' game defensively when it wasn't always working offensively: "It's hard to get in a rhythm offensively with some of the foul trouble I've had over the past week, but Darnell (Gant) was able to piggy-back off some of the stuff I did earlier in the year. I talked to him a lot where in my early years if I wasn't scoring, I also wasn't rebounding and I wasn't doing this or that on the court, but it showed this year when I'd have six points I would still have 11, 12, 13 rebounds, so I contributed a lot more on the boards."

On being the focus of opposing defenses: "I think they know our team, our makeup, obviously myself being the second-leading scorer on the team and one of the main offensive weapons in the post, it would be a lot more difficult for us to win if they took me out of the game. I just take it as a compliment."

On Washington's first round opponent – Georgia: "It's a tough bracket. Georgia's in the SEC and they've played some big games and won some big games in the conference and knowing they can play with anybody in the country and us believing we can play with anybody in the country, it should be a great matchup on Friday night."

On enjoying the ‘Road Warrior' mentality: "Something myself and coach (Lorenzo) Romar were talking about a month ago was having a win at home against somebody or going to someone else's gym and shutting their crowd up and keeping them quiet and as a player that's probably the best atmosphere you can have – where everyone is against you and it's just you, your 12 teammates and your coaching staff – just knowing that if you go in and take care of business you can shut everyone else up."
Venoy Overton:
On having to watch his team play in the Pac 10 tournament: "Real tough. It's especially tough, in that environment – the Staples Center – you just want to play, but I was antsy because I just wish I could yell at the guys to ‘stop this'. I was yelling as loud as I could on the sidelines and I had to work on my coaching skills during those games."

On the team demeanor during the tournament: "Certain people, I saw Darnell and I saw confidence, but I saw Matt, he was having an off tournament, but he made some big buckets at the end, but one thing I learned from Matt is that when he's not scoring he's doing other things like rebounding and defense, and Isaiah (Thomas) seeing him put everything out and it got us that win."

On Isaiah's final shot: "I saw him coming down and I was like ‘okay, what is he going to do?' and everybody wants to get that Michael Jordan jump shot and once he did the move, somebody got in front of me so I couldn't see him, but I looked at the hoop and saw it go in and I got all excited and almost lost my phone and my shoes almost came off."


Scott Eklund helped with putting this story together.


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