Coaches' Quotes - UW/UCONN

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Here are the coaches quotes from Lorenzo Romar, Cameron Dollar and Jim Calhoun after Connecticut pulled out a stunning 98-92 overtime win over Washington in the third round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Verizon Center.

Washington coaches:
Lorenzo Romar:
General comment: "I'm going to state the obvious, but that was a great college basketall game that was played. UCONN is great, great basketball team. They have been for many years. I am so proud of our guys and that they can't look back and say, 'If only I would have tried a little harder'. They did. They gave it everything that they had. My only regret is that these two seniors (Brandon Roy and Jamaal Williams) and Bobby Jones and Mike Jensen and Zane Potter were not able to advance to experience how awesome it is to participate in a Final Four. When guys have character like this and they give you all they have on a consistent basis, you want to see the best for them and you want to see them be rewarded for trying to do the right thing. And we came close, and it will be something they will always think about the rest of their lives, how close the game was. But I just wish they could have experienced it because they deserved it. But we didn't, and we hold our heads high and we will move on, even though it will be difficult knowing that this was these guys' last game.

On his comments after the game in the locker room: "We talked to our group about keeping their heads high because we had nothing to be ashamed of. We've talked from Day One, when you walk off the floor, you need to be able to answer; 'Did I do everything in my power to do the best job that I can do?' Whether you won the game or lost the game is irrelevant at that point. Today we lost the game but there's nothing that we could say because we laid it all out there. Yes, some mistake were made, and we had a great chance to win, but it didn't work out in our favor. You know, if I could just say this - We got...we've got a guy who was a first-team All-American, Brandon Roy. He's a Player of the Year in the Pac-10. He's earned the respect of the entire basketball sports world and the country and he comes out today, scores 20 points and says, 'Hey, I let my teammates down.' You have so many athletes today that want to point the finger and say, 'Well, they didn't get me the ball down the stretch, that's why we lost.' Or, 'Coach would not let me play my game.' Here is a guy who has done it all and says, 'I let my teammates down,' because of the technical foul. When we talk about Brandon as an all-around great player, he's all-around period. Great person, great character, a man of substance. He's just awesome. You can't replace guys like that."

On whether or not they wanted to foul Marcus Williams at the end of regulation: "No. We did not want to foul him. We wanted to try to keep him in front of us. He got to the rim and we put him on the line, he's 11-for-11 on the line. That was a big play. We were up four at that point and the game seemed like it was definitely going to go our way. You know, they cut it down to one. But even with that, we got it back up to three again. So we had our chances."

On what he learned today: "You know, I learned from Don Nelson, who I played for in the NBA, what team was all about. I learned from three guys when I was an assistant at UCLA (Ed O'Bannon, Tyus Edney and George Zidek) what great leadership was about. When you have leadership and you've got a team and you put it together, you can accomplish amazing things. John Wooden always says it's amazing what can happen when no one cares who gets the credit. What we have watched, and I've been able to watch for the last three years, is a group of guys, some of them were not with us tonight, they had already left; but a group of guys who repeatedly came out and then didn't really care who got the credit in terms of how they played. I'm sure they want the credit, but they were willing to sacrifice their personal glory for the sake of the team. I wouldn't say that I learned as much as have it confirmed that when you're really about team, you can raise a lot of eyebrows. You can accomplish a whole lot, lot of things that people would never think that you can accomplish."

On not being able to deliver the knockout punch against UCONN: "If they did go away, it would surprise me. They are too good of a basketball team. They have experienced too much success over the last decade. They have won too many battles. And teams like that just don't go away. They come into the game believing that they can win. I believe our team was like that, that we didn't go away. When you develop the type of tradition that UCONN has, they don't usually go away."

On what happened between Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay: "Well, I thought overall there was a period where we kind of lost our composure as a group. And during time-outs, we were talking about that, trying to maintain our composure. That was a stretch, you know, where the game, the momentum, kind of shifted. It wasn't just Brandon's technical. There were a lot of things. We started to get a little rattled as a group. It was an emotional game. There was a lot at stake. We were able to calm down, though. With Brandon and Bobby Jones on the bench, we were able to somehow rally together and keep the game close until those guys got back in and we still had a chance to win. Give our guys a lot of credit for when we lost our composure, we regained it and for coming back and not going away."

On the officiating: "You know, it's interesting about officiating. When you go to league meetings, I've been in three different leagues, and that's usually the main source of contention amongst the coaches - about how the officiating needs to get better. You get another coach and he...the calls that may have not gone our way, he didn't even notice them, but he notices the ones that did not go his way. If you want to create a lot of enemies, you can become an official. They are always right and they are always wrong. Somebody agrees, someone disagrees. I said all that to say I don't get into officiating when they make their calls. Half the time when they go back and look at the film, I have to say, doggone, they were right on that one. You're going to get calls, you're not going to get calls, that's part of the game. We had our chances."

Cameron Dollar:
On potentially moving on to another coaching opportunity: "On and off the court, he (Romar) has been a walking example of how to live, how to coach. Being able to be around that, to soak that up...is unmeasureable. Frankly it's not easy to leave that. He leaves you wanting to learn more, wanting to be better. You're always listening, but it would have to be something truly special to pull me away from here. This is only the beginning of what we want to do. We want to get one of those rings. We have closed the gap to four games. Now we've got to win game four, game three, game two and game one. We've got to get there. That's our goal. We want to get there and stay there. We've been blessed. We've been able to do things in Washington basketball that have never been done before. And we've just scratched the surface.

On if he has any meetings or interviews set up with other schools: "No, I don't."
Connecticut coaches:
Jim Calhoun:
General statement: "Well, 1100 basketball games I've been fortunate enough to be involved with, I've never been quite involved with something like that. First, I want to congratulate Washington. I'm sure my congratulations isn't the thing they want to be taking back; they want to be playing on Sunday. But no team has disrupted us as much on offense, in the halfcourt set, in the full-court set, as Washington. They had to play at times as we did, without some of the key players, particularly (Brandon) Roy, yet they hung in there. (Jamaal) Williams was brilliant. They made big shot after big shot after big shot and they are really, really a credit to any basketball team in America. They could get to a Final Four with their effort. Their effort was extraordinary. Their game plan by Lorenzo to disrupt us that much was brilliant. I really thought no one's done quite what they did to us. They kept taking the ball out of our ball handler's hands and they denied our big guys. I thought they did an incredible, incredible job. As far as our kids are concerned, we turned the ball over 26 times, yet I think our heart was shown on enough occasions. When you're down 10 points or down seven points, you need to call upon the reserves. There's something inside you that won't let you lose. I can still hear the words of Denham Brown saying, 'We have plenty of time, there's a minute seven seconds on the clock and we're down five.' He really believed it, and so did Marcus and Rashad, one of the biggest shots we've had in an awful long time. It just was an incredible game fought by two teams who gave it everything they possibly had. And I don't know if the teams couold have gone another minute. I truly believe that. I thought it was an incredible display of what competition is all about, and I guess I'm proud to be, quite frankly, happy to be going forward, but proud to be involved with that game and the effort that every single kid that played gave it on both sides."

On how this win compares to his other big wins: "It's so miraculous, in a sense. It almost reminds me of Tate George's shot in the sense, I'm really talking of getting into overtime. Really, as the kids said, we made every possible bad play we possibly could and that had to do with Washington, please, trust me. What they did is every time - we're a pick-and-roll team. They double the pick-and-roll and our big guys weren't coming back to the basketball. If they did, you know we do lack ballhandling - we said that before - and they really basically made either Denham, Rashad or Rudy our point guard so they took that out of us. And so with all that said, the Clemson game, everybody forgets that we were up 16 and then went down by one, and people wrote that for a long time and I really thought about that for a long time, except for Scott Burrell and Tate George. In the same sense, I think just the aspect that we would find every way, even the pass by Rudy, which eventually Rashad doesn't meet, and then on the next ensuing play, the great interception by Marcus which didn't put the game away really in all essence, it was just the kind of stuff that would have to happen to you in order to be moving on. The more I was watching before this game began - the Villanova/BC game - the same kind of things were happening there. Villanova couldn't score and then BC couldn't score. This tournament has become so tough, so perilous for everybody, that when you feel that win tonight and we'll be up late getting ready because it's late already - we're going to play tomorrow, correct? It's going to be nice playing an away game too, I'm looking forward to that (laughs). I think that part of the system is really working out to protect the 1's, right? I believe it is. But the point being, it was one of the more amazing games I've been involved with, the swings, the plays, everything. Everybody seemed to make big plays at different times, including them and they made some incredible plays and we did too. Points were being scored, guys...I've never seen, I don't recall a game that I've coached where it was so toughly fought, yet people came up with incredible plays. Rudy came up with a jumpshot that I still don't know how he made and I can say the same thing about them, it was that kind of game. It was one that certainly I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. I just think it's one of the great wins we've ever had, given the fact how we did not handle the great things they threw at us."

On when people will see what Connecticut is capable of: "Next year, we get another point guard. I've told you that all year, but you don't want to believe me. No one wants to believe we play with one guard. Our security guard at times is Rudy Gay. Rashad is a great shooter and Denham Brown. So when is he going to get here? You got anything on the wire right now? And I don't want anyboby else, I want my team. I don't want to change one iota. A.J. Price, he's not playing with us, we thought we would be a different team, but we are 30-3, so I hope it doesn't get here, as a matter of fact. Someone said to me today, Lorenzo Romar, in a conversation in the ball, 'What's everybody asking what's wrong with you? Aren't you 29-3?' I said, 'Well, we're not a pretty 29-3, I guess.' We're 30-3 now and you want us to find a real person, I know your question is when are we going to see a smooth-running machine. Well, Lorenzo chose to put that kind of defensive pressure on us, that's as good as you can see, you had kids sacrificing their bodies, etc...I'm not chastising you, but I've said all year - we play with one point guard. When we do not expose our weaknesses, which Washington did tonight, we're terrific. When you expose some of our weaknesses, we have the ability to turn the ball over. Not as much tonight, to be honest with you, tonight was an exception, and for Marcus to say - and himself included - boneheaded plays, he was 100 percent accurate. We did. But regardless, we're not a typical team. Yet at times we are an incredibly powerful team, who can do an awful lot of good things. We're a unique team, it's one of my favorite teams I've ever coached, but we have to keep...we're making adjustments on the fly all the time just because of that lack of another guy. We used Craig Austrie at times to help Marcus and Marcus by the end could not have gone two or three more minutes. I thought once again, we are what we are, and I think it's good enough to win. But we'll have a tough time obviously on Sunday and we don't have that much time - or tomorrow (looking at watch) and we just hope we have time to recover to get ready for that. Once again, it was a great basketball game and we're very fortunate, obviously, and very happy and worthy in many ways of going to a Final 8."

On his technical and the Roy technical foul: "The official told me to throw the ball to the official. I did. And then he turned to me and said, 'No, you're throwing it to me.' So I guess he felt I threw it to the wrong official. That was the...I'm not complaining. He said throw the ball to the official. I was having a discussion with him, animated discussion, and I threw to John Higgins - who a thousand times - threw the ball to him and then the technical. The other one was both kids got in each other's faces and he said that was a technical. My honest belief, I don't think they did - well, I'm not going to have a fine come back to UCONN. But the bottom line is that, I let the kids play on, kids are going to get emotional in a game like that and I don't think that Brandon or Rudy were trying to do anything more. It was such an incredibly intense game, they just kind of got into each other a little bit because they banged. They were not doing anything. I think in a game like that, in fairness to them, you need to be careful it doesn't explode because it was a very physical game. A lot of stuff went both ways and you have to be very careful. Once again, I trust John Higgins would have called it and then it has to be the right call because he's a very good official."

On this team being an exasperating team: "I think that anybody with a passion for the game that I have, hopefully, and also, we're striving for excellence; I can't stand when the kids say when we make boneheaded plays. I understand some of our limitations but tonight we made some really awful, awful plays with the basketball. And that exasperates me. But they always, being 30-3, they have always come back to respond. We blew a 18-point lead against Notre Dame at home. Came back, Marcus got a tip-in late, came back and won by six in overtime. This team has got an incredible heart. They are easy kids to coach. We have some pieces missing, yet we have some strengths obviously too. So they have been a great group of kids to be with. Some of these kids, four of these kids were on our National Championship team and have been...I'm incredibly close to this team. I love this team, I really do. They are wonderful kids to coach. I think what you see, and rightfully so, and it's pretty obvious because of who I am and I wear my emotions on my sleeve, pretty simple; you see sometimes the things I feel I know we can do, or feel like we can do and sometimes we can't even do some of those things at times. It's sometimes me more than them but I really, really care a great deal about this team. We're 30-3. We're in the Final 8 and I don't think we have to apologize for who we are and what we are."

On the turnovers from Marcus Williams in the first half: "But what you need to understand, at least I think that you have to understand is there's another team out there. Any time you get the ball, they double-team you. And some of the guys didn't come to meet the ball, which we thought we could have done. We knew it was coming and we could have...how you get, how you alleviate some of the problems that you have. Kentucky pressed us. We got three out of four layups and they stopped pressing us. Tonight, the exact opposite happened. They put pressure on us, took the ball out of Marcus' hands and we got the ball across halfcourt and then even struggled a little bit to get it back to Marcus and then they took 15 seconds off the shot clock, so they were going to stay with that all night. We need to run that much better so it wasn't just Marcus, trust me. It was all of us involved, and that's why I said we made some plays we don't normally make. Yeah, I was frustrated. From us that is one thing, but staying with it to win the game is another and we stayed with it. We had some opportunities down ten, late, down seven, down five, a minute-something to go and we didn't stop playing and we won a tremendous, tremendous basketball game against a tremendous opponent."


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