Quotes - UW/Georgia

CHARLOTTE, NC - Here are quotes from Lorenzo Romar, Mark Fox, Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Venoy Overton, Terrence Ross, Aziz N'Diaye, Darnell Gant, Trey Thompkins, Dustin Ware, and Travis Leslie as Washington and Georgia prepared Thursday for their Friday encounter during the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement: "Well, we are obviously excited to be here. We've traveled quite a distance to get here, but it's definitely worth it. Anytime you're in the NCAA Tournament, consider it a privilege. Definitely not a right. So we're excited to be here."

Some people were surprised that Georgia got in the tournament, some people were surprised that they're a 10th seed. When you look at them, do you see a team that maybe you think doesn't belong here, or do you see a legitimate NCAA-type squad?:
"I definitely don't see a team that shouldn't be here. They're physical. In the paint they're more than capable of playing well and competing against any team. They're well coached. They have a system that you can see that they're disciplined in. They have great quickness, and they really do a good job ever defending. When you have those type of ingredients in your team, you have a chance to win ball games. So we know we have a tough opponent. That's for sure."

When you spoke a minute ago about the distance you guys traveled, I realize you cannot do all these different logistics without somebody having to take a real long trip. Do you find it remarkable that, you know, you literally be able have to fly as far a across the country as almost is possible to play a first round game? Is there anything can be done to get around that sort of thing?:
"I don't know. Usually I'm thinking during our season, if we take care of our business, we don't have to worry about that. But we've been inconsistent this year and as a result, we've flown across the country 2800 miles. Maybe we've done a little better job during our season, we wouldn't have had to go so far. So we kind of made our bed in that regard."

Coach, you talk about how physical Georgia can be in the paint. I know you guys were a little bit smaller in the PAC-10 Tournament. Are you going to go small again on the wings or can we see a little more…?:
"We've been thinking about that quite a bit. You go out and you play the game, and when you're actually out there on the floor you may make some adjustments out there. But I would say you can look at it two ways. If we remain to go small, maybe our quickness can benefit us as well. So we can look at it a number of different ways."

Coach, with regard to Isaiah could you talk to how the little man still has a place in major college basketball?:
"If you watched us play for three days, if you didn't believe it, you would now, because he not only scored, he assisted, he rebounded, he dove on the floor. He willed his team to a championship. And you look across the country at Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker, guys like that who are 6 feet or under. They're pretty good basketball players. When you get out there on the floor, you're playing basketball. When a guy can play, I think -- I think over the years, over the history of the game, the ones that can play, height doesn't matter."

Lorenzo, you're averaging in the 80s, they average in the 60s. Is it one of those games that's going to be who can make the game go the speed it wants it to go?:
"It could be that way. We've had -- we have teams in our league that play a similar style to Georgia. USC, although I think Georgia tries to push the ball a little more than they do, UCLA plays more of a deliberate style. So we've played against that in our league for sure.

Coach, along those lines, how do you think you guys improved? And it seemed like early in the year, you didn't want to play that slowdown style and later in the year you won games that slower tempo.:
"As the season has evolved, I think we've learned from our mistakes. We have better patience. I think our shot selection has improved. We actually as of late have turned some looks down that before we definitely would have taken. We've turned some looks down to get better looks, and I think that's one of the main reasons that we've been able to get things done when teams play at a slower pace.

"Earlier in the year we had some games where as a team, we just shot the lights out, and I wouldn't say it was fool's gold, but I don't know -- we told our team it wasn't realistic basketball. When it was time to play in league play, when it was time to play in the NCAA Tournament, those same opportunities might not be there, and when they weren't, we couldn't continue to take those shots that we were taking earlier when we were hot and everything was flowing.

"And sure enough it happened, but it took us, I think, dropping some games for us to really realize that you have to be able to adjust and play with a little more patience."

Coach, speaking of tempo, it seems like Venoy Overton has a way of turning the tempo on defense. How big will it be to have him back in that regard and kind of keeping him out of that slowdown offense?:
"Venoy is on the floor, you can tell right away if he's going to have a bearing on the game. Usually he's on the ball, down low in the stands, moving his feet quickly. He's very aggressive, and then offensively he's pushing the basketball with a lot of intensity. When he's doing that, he's under control but yet pushing it really hard. He can help change the game with his defensive tenacity and his push on the offensive end. It really gets us going."

Coach, back to Isaiah, some scoring guards have had really good days against Georgia this year. How do you think Isaiah compares to those types of guards from Florida? How does he create mismatches for Georgia?:
"I think Isaiah is so good at getting in the lanes. In years past when he was younger, he would get in the lane and score. Sometimes maybe he wouldn't make the best decisions, but now he's still getting in the lane, but if you collapse on him he's dishing the ball out. So I don't know how many guys are out there that can score, get you 25 or 30 but can get you 12 assists also, and he's able to do that. I think the ones that can do that, they're just not that many, and I think Isaiah, that's what sets him apart from a lot of other guards. He's not just a scorer or passer. He can do both of those."

Lorenzo, do you know Mark Fox at all personally?:
"Oh, yeah."

What's your impressions of him as a person and also as a coach?:
"Very driven person. Mark is a great guy, but he's also kind of a no-nonsense guy. You can see that he approaches everything he does with a purpose, and he's a heck of a coach. He's done really well. He's come up through the ranks and did a great job at Nevada and now here at Georgia. You can see that he has them playing the right way. I'm really impressed with how Mark goes about handling his business."

"You decided to come down a day earlier than maybe usual. Is it too early to tell how that might have affected the people? Will we find out tomorrow night, or are you already seeing signs of whether that worked or not?:
"We went out on the practice floor yesterday and we had our legs. We were intense. If that was any indication, then I would say the extra day did help, because we still have today and we don't play until tomorrow night. So I think coming in an extra day, how we see it right now at there point, was definitely he beneficial. I hope it will prove to be beneficial in the game."

Trey Thompkins, when you had him on the select team, how did he play? What were your impressions of him as a player?:
"He was good. I remember him because I had not seen Trey play a lot, just a little bit, but was able to watch him play everyday, coach him a little bit and just loved his attitude, loved his mobility, his versatility. Just a nice stroke. Has great hands. Can step away from the basket and is totally comfortable that way, but yet you give it to him on the block and he can score there, too. He was impressed -- he was impressive when I saw him, and I was impressed with him as a player and a person. First thing I thought of when we -- when it said we're going to play Georgia, first person I thought of was him, because immediately okay, how in the world are we going to guard him? Because he's a really good basketball player."

The cross-country trip aside, were you gratified to see your game start late game as opposed to maybe the 12:15 in the afternoon?:
"I would always prefer to play later than earlier in these type of tournaments. The time we're starting is definitely late. That's for sure. But again, we had our choice, little earlier in the day would be great, but not too early. But, again, when you make the NCAA Tournament, you do what they ask you to do."

Coach, you mentioned Trey earlier. Is he the player for Georgia that you have to worry the most about, or is there another guy on Georgia's roster that you're going to have to scheme around?:
"There's no secret, you have to go out and do a good job defending Trey, but I think their inside play, very physical. Jeremy Price is a guy that with the ball in his hand can go out and make a play on the block as well. Travis Leslie is a phenomenal athlete. He's fun to watch when you watch him play. When he's getting up and down the floor, he's so smooth, runs like a gazelle. But I think their guard play is good as well. They really have good quickness out there on the perimeter. I think they have a real good blend to go out and do well. And again, because of the way they defend, it just gives them a chance with the talent that they have. But Trey is definitely a guy that you don't want to go off on you. They have some other players that can step up as well."

You've talked so much about matchups this week. Are you any closer to knowing who -- what five starters you're going to have out there?:
"Yeah, and as soon as they announce it, we'll all know."

Is there an advantage to not telling people?:
"I think our team is so versatile that we can go out there and could make a difference in how someone plans to play against us. I think when we went small in the PAC-10 Tournament, I don't know if anybody was preparing for that."

On Thomas not having a play called for him at the end until the Arizona game:
"Michigan State. We called a clear-out for Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who got fouled. But the possession before that, that was for Isaiah. We called a play for him to get the ball on an inbounds play and take the shot. And there have been countless times down the stretch, we put the ball in his hands."

On going a different way at the end of games:
"You think of that sometimes. Maybe we did that with C.J. in that Texas A&M game…I'll tell you what…when Spencer (Hawes) was here, that's exactly what we did. We were playing USC there, and we put him in the corner and brought him off a double screen for the shot, because I knew Spencer could make the shot. So that was one of those where they'll think we're doing this, but…Brockman, Dentmon, one of those guys. Regardless, they would have thought Spencer going to the basket, not Spencer coming off for three. In C.J.'s case, I just felt like he could shoot, and if we could get him open, he could put it down. I wasn't trying to be overly clever or crafty, just the guy can shoot. I wonder if we wouldn't have done that, and if he made that shot here…

On trusting the team to let them go at the end of games:
"I'm sure that's important to them, but there's one thing you want. We always say that on defense you need to be very nervous. You need to be nervous that the coaches are looking over your shoulder, coach is upset…but offensively we don't want you to play nervous. We want you to play with all the confidence in the world. That's part of it. You trust someone to go out there and make a play."

On the starters for tomorrow:
"I know, but I'm going to keep that quiet so they can't game plan."

On doing anything out of the ordinary in preparation:
"Nothing out of the ordinary…days have gone by too fast, too quickly. But finals, guys have had study table. We've gone to dinner every night as a team, things like that."
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox:
Opening Statement: "It's good to be in Charlotte, really proud of our team for putting us into this position and excited to be in the NCAA Tournament to play a terrific Washington team and just really excited that our young men have this opportunity."

Mark, I know Sunday night you mentioned talking about the euphoria making the tournament on players and how important it was to go to be to get back down to earth pretty quickly. How is that process going in terms of going from the celebration back to business?:
"Can I tell you four minutes into the game tomorrow? I do think that, you know, our kids were really excited to get into the tournament, but I also think we've had some pretty solid preparation. I think one of the things that's probably helped us is that we're on spring break and, you know, they've had some time just to be by themselves and get grounded again, and so I think we've had solid preparation. Hopefully, we'll be able to avoid, you know, an issue with that -- with being overly excited as the game begins."

Mark, I guess everyone hasn't been here except Jeremy and Chris. Could you just quick rundown on how y'all prepared today? I guess a practice off-site and do you have any sort of emphasis on making sure that guys get acclimated, know this is about basketball, that kind thing?:
"Well, we have not yet practiced today. We'll practice here tonight and then have another practice off-site afterwards. Today has been a day where we forced them to leave the hotel and walk around downtown Charlotte for an hour and enjoy the atmosphere and try and get comfortable and get some of the jitteriness of being in the tournament behind us. I want them to enjoy the experience. The game is tomorrow and the preparation continues tonight, but earlier today we let them enjoy their trip for a few hours, and we've watched tape today and we'll go to work tonight on the floor and try and finish up our preparation."

I'm sure you've been asked by your local media, but could you talk a little bit about your time at Washington. And also, even though it's been awhile, do you see any sort of notable or fundamental differences between PAC-10 basketball and Southeastern Conference?:
"You know, I was just on the West Coast a couple years ago in the WAC and was able to watch a lot of PAC-10 basketball. I think both league are very comparable. I think they're -- where the game is played at a very high level. Each league is very athletic. Washington certainly has a terrific team that is probably the measuring stick for PAC-10 teams this year.

"You know, my time at Washington was nearly two decades ago, which seems strange to say that, but it was a time when I learned a lot about the profession and about college basketball and have fond memories of my experience."

Mark, they average 83 a game, you average 69. Is this one of those whoever gets the game to go the way it likes wins the game?:
"They're a very explosive offensive team. Usually when you look at a team, you're trying to find their offensive strength. And some teams are inside scoring teams, and Washington has a great inside scorer. Some teams are three-point shooting teams and Washington has good three-point shooters. Some teams are driven by guard penetration and they have a guard that creates offense for himself and everybody else. They have a terrific offensive team. Because they have so many weapons, they can play a style and a tempo that allows a lot of possessions and for them to score. And certainly we have to find a way to slow that a little bit, but we've always tried to play as fast as we can play well, and we'll have to find that balance tomorrow that really works, you know, in a way that we can be successful and somewhat efficient."

Mark, can you go back to your time in Seattle? How did you meet your wife, and can you explain a little bit more about what you learned coaching on that particular staff?:
"I met my wife -- Trent Johnson, who is now the head coach at LSU, introduced me to my wife. There were a lot of young people in the department. We were friends first and we all just, you know, spent a lot of time together, and so that's how we met. And, you know, this is a business in which -- it's a profession and it's a trade, much like you in the media experience.

"When I was at Washington there's probably a far greater importance and emphasis on basketball at UW than there was when I was there. They've redone the facility. They've made a lot of necessary adjustments to commit to basketball, and Lorenzo has done a great job. And when I was there, you know, we didn't win a lot of games, and it was certainly a time where we were able to see -- you know, I was able to see, you know, some of the struggles in the profession. I have fond memories of beating the number two Arizona team but really learning a lot about the trade of coaching and how to manage a team and certainly how to, you know, how a program should operate."

Mark, any concern -- I don't think y'all played this late yet. Any concern about playing at almost 10:00?:
"As I said the other day, I'm not concerned about our players playing at 10:00. They're usually awake them. I'm more worried about myself, you know. So I forced myself to stay up late last night so I'll get used to it. I don't think so. This is a special stage and hopefully that will have no impact."
Isaiah Thomas:
Isaiah, I know since McNeese State you guys have been saying they all feel the same, you try to approach them the same way. How does the NCAA Tournament feel different? And even the tournament last week in the big stage, you really did seem to move it up a notch.:
"Feels a lot different. I mean, you know, it's win or go home now, one or done, or win six in a row and win the National Championship. It's a lot different. I mean, guys got to know that every possession counts, everything that we do counts in practice, and just be ready because the bright lights are on now."

Isaiah, have you had a chance to watch any of the games? Did you see any of the buzzer beaters? How many times have you watched the replay of yours on the PAC-10 and have you changed your ring tone yet?:
"I've seen a couple buzzer beaters, but I watched mine probably a thousand times, something like that. No. No, I haven't changed my ring tone, but I've watched mine a few times and yes, I've seen the buzzer beaters today."

Isaiah, someone was asking Roy William a question about Kyrie Irving, and Roy said that he thought that Kyrie was the closest thing he had seen to Isaiah Thomas and then he said, "I don't mean the one from Washington, I mean the other one." I was kind of curious, when your name is as similar to that prolific a player, is it a mixed blessing of any sort?:
"Yes, it's a blessing. I mean, if I don't play well, people think like why is his name Isaiah Thomas. When I play well it's pretty cool, people compare us even though we're kind of totally two different players, but it's pretty cool just to have the name and to be known for the name is pretty cool."

Isaiah, with Venoy here you certainly don't need to play 40 minutes tomorrow. Is that a good thing, or did you like the idea of knowing that when the game was going on, you were going to be part of it?:
"I'd love to play 40 minutes again. It makes it so much easier for me, especially when I'm tired, he just -- he can take care of the ball and I can go off the ball and he can come in for me and I can get a breather. He makes the game a lot easier for me, so I'm just happy he's back."

On who he might know on Georgia's team:
"I know of Trey Thompkins. I played AAU against him in some camps, but I don't know any of those guys personally."

On how many minutes he expects to play:
"I'm ready for 40, so hopefully I play 40, but whatever coach wants me to do, that's what I'll do."

  On having Venoy Overton back:
"It helps a lot. It takes a lot off of me. I don't always have to guard the ball. He's a point guard himself, so he takes a lot of pressure off of me and allows me to rest, so it's things like that."

  On what it's been like since he hit "the shot":
"It's been crazy. Twitter. My phone blowing up; new friends have come along and things like that, but it's a blessing for sure. It has been crazy though."

  On Gus Johnson's call of the game:
"The best ever. It's like he predicted it. It seemed like he knew what I was going to do and knew it was going in."

On not having a play called for him yet this year:
"I auditioned for it, so hopefully it changes a little bit, but hopefully we're not in a situation like that again, but if we are, hopefully coach has enough faith in me."

On that shot being his biggest shot:
"Nothing's been that big. I've hit some game-winners, but those were just regular season games. I haven't hit anything that big."
Justin Holiday:
For the two seniors, obviously you're hoping you got several games left in your career. Has it crossed your mind that every given game now could be the finale?:
"Yeah. I mean, of course it's going to cross a senior's mind. The last few games going down the stretch and, you know, it being the NCAA Tournament, it's even more of a big deal. So we want to make sure we can extend our season a little bit and hopefully do well in the tournament."
Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
For the two seniors, obviously you're hoping you got several games left in your career. Has it crossed your mind that every given game now could be the finale?:
"Everybody sort of said the same thing. We got to concentrate. We know everything is on the line right now and we can't let any play mess us up. Right now we're just trying to pay attention to every single detail, because blowing opportunities could make it your last game possible."
Venoy Overton:
On his role right now:
"Just trying to set a role model for these young dudes. Just want to let them know to embrace every moment that comes to you and just play your best."

How do you feel:
"I'm just ready to get on the court. I can't even explain how I am feeling. The feeling is so good that I can't even wait to get on the floor."

How much fun it is:
"It's very fun when you're winning. So, hopefully we just get the win and it will be even more fun. It's not fun when you lose and I just know how fun the experience can be when you're winning games."

Being on the bench:
"You see things that the coaches point out to you while you're in the game and you kind of see little stuff people do on the court. Like coach always talks about standing around and I think I definitely got my coaches skills up from watching and I just know I'd rather be on the court than watch."
Terrence Ross:
On being comfortable in Pac-10 tournament:
"I was pretty comfortable. We played the teams before, so we knew what to expect and you kind of know what's going on and what's going to happen. So, it felt good."

On having an inside game:
"It kind of opens up the rest of my game and it kinds of easier to create plays and find points rather than sitting on a three all day."

On playing with C.J. Wilcox:
"Knowing that there is two shooters on the court, teams are going to have to pay more attention to us. So, they always have to leave at least one of us open. So if I'm open, he'll drive, if he is open, I'll drive. So it kinds of helps each other out getting to the basket."

On preparing with Pac-10 tournament:
"It's like a demo of what this tournament is going to be, so I have a good feeling about it."
Aziz N'diaye:
On the difference between the Pac 10 tourney and the NCAA tourney:
"I see it's a big tournament. The NCAA tournament, that's a big deal. We just came here, it's a different environment from the west coast. It's been fun; we've been hanging out and have more time to spend together, but at the same time focusing on our game tomorrow."

On the plane ride:
"I think Scott (Suggs) was sleeping the whole way and Justin (Holiday) and guys were joking around. Me, I was just hanging out and watching movies."

On seeing Isaiah Thomas' buzzer-beater:
"I've seen in like seven or eight times. He made an amazing shot, so I was happy for him. He made the right play. He's a good player. Coming in here, I feel like he'll play like that (in Charlotte)."

On his experience so far:
"It's definitely been a life experience. Coming from far away from here, coming all the way here to the NCAA tournament, I know people don't have this opportunity so I'm going to take advantage of it."
Darnell Gant:
On what's clicked for him lately:
"I don't know. Just trying to go out there and play, do what helps - be somebody that can go out there and do everything. I try to help out in every aspect."

On playing possessed:
"My favorite player is Kevin Garnett. I've been watching him years. He plays with so much passion…my skill set it not like KG's…he's an excellent player. But the intensity…that's what I need to play with. Isaiah (Thomas) and I, we talk before games…we talked in the beginning of the month, and he was telling me that I need to play like KG; not even thinking about nothing, but just go out and play - snatch every rebound, try and get every blocked shot, be in the right positions like I always am, and just help out in any kind of way."

On Romar letting the team play in crunch time:
"The guys that are on the floor are guys, for the most part, that have been in that situation before. I knew when he told coach not to call time out, I had a feeling he was going to hit the shot. I had the most confidence in him and he has a lot of confidence in me. We have a lot of confidence in him. When he shot the shot, I just saw the ball go in."

On seeing Thomas shake Romar off:
"I saw it! I was walking up the court. I saw coach Romar, he was about to call time out, and Isaiah went 'no'. He told us all go on the baseline, four low, and just give him room to clear out and go. And he made a big play. I was like, 'he was about to hit this shot'. I was going hard for the rebound. I was watching the ball, and when I got by the rim I saw it go through, and then I ran to him."

On after the game:
"It was crazy. I couldn't believe it. It was an exciting feeling, and then a long trip back, a long couple of days. And you all almost ran me over! Y'all going to fast, you're going to injure somebody! But I got to talk to my family after, and we got another Pac-10 ring. It was an incredible feeling. We want to try and go deep in this tournament, no matter who is in front of us."

On the road trip:
"It was long. I didn't really sleep the first night, but luckily we didn't really any serious things except practice the next day. But we didn't have practice until 5, so I was able to adjust to the time. But it was kind of hard at first."
Trey Thompkins:
Trey, Lorenzo Romar just said a lot of nice things about you. Is he telling the truth, or are you not that good a player and not that good a guy?:
"Well, this summer I got a chance to work with Coach Romar and I enjoyed every second of it. He's a great guy. And to be honest with you, I hope he's saying the right stuff. If you ask me, I think he is and I appreciate the stuff that he says."

Trey, I think Coach Fox on Sunday night was talking about how excited everyone was about making the tournament but that it would be important to get off cloud nine pretty fast. How -- is that something that kinds of happened naturally, or has the team had to make a point of getting over the celebration and back to business?:
"First of all, it's a grand opportunity to be at this point and still be playing. I feel like our team is mature enough and we've handled the fact that we're in the tournament very well. Coach Fox is doing a great job of keeping us focused and worried about the task at hand and worrying about Washington, not looking forward, not looking back."

Trey, I was wondering, in Southeastern Conference country how much y'all even know about the PAC-10, if there's any sort of reputation that the league has down here?:
"We really don't get much games from the PAC-10, but the ones that we do catch, we notice that they're really fast-paced and everybody is getting up and down and scoring points, and we appreciate the style of play that they play. They're a tough league. We know them for their great teams and the great teams they've had in the past."

Did any of y'all watch the Washington/Arizona final in the PAC-10 last Saturday? If so, what did you think?:
"I watched some of it. It showed the level of toughness they have in their league between two great teams in Arizona and Washington."

Did you see the last shot?:
"Yeah, I did, I saw the last shot."
Dustin Ware:
Dustin, does this -- back in your freshman season, pretty tumultuous year you went through, would this have been be believable, then, that two years later you would be in the tournament and does this feel like sort of a reward for that?:
"I guess in a way it's a reward for that. But I think the bigger thing, it's a reward for our hard work all season long."

Back from two years ago, was your confidence shaken by what you went through? Did you see a future like this at that point?:
"I guess it was definitely hard to see but something that we always, you know, strive for. You know, day in day out we always dreamed about getting to this point, just working hard and believing one day we could get here, and now that we're here, we're just excited and ready to go play hard."
Travis Leslie:
Travis, who in the SEC reminds you of Washington, the games you've seen of them?:
"I can't really think of a team that reminds me of Washington right now, but they're a great team, fast-paced team. Good rebounders. They got great players overall, and I think it's going to be a good game tomorrow."


Scott Eklund and Chris Wells contributed to this story.


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