Quotes - Washington

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Here are quotes taken from Wednesday afternoon media session with Washington players Quincy Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas and Justin Holiday, as well as Huskies Head Coach Lorenzo Romar at the HP Pavilion of San Jose. The Huskies take on Marquette at 4:20 PST Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Q. I'm curious, couple of weeks with the three games and a quick turnaround to get ready for Marquette. How has the whole experience been and how rested do you guys feel?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: We're really rested. It's the NCAA Tournament. We don't have time to be tired. Our guys are excited to play these games. We're ready to take on Marquette.

ISAIAH THOMAS: Same thing he said. No time to rest. Everybody else is beat up like we are and a little tired. There are no excuses. You just got to be ready. The lights is on, you gotta perform.

Q. Justin, Lorenzo was saying they've never quite seen a team like this. What are the implications from the defensive point of view of dealing with a team where all five guys on the floor are comfortable from behind the arch?

JUSTIN HOLIDAY: It means everybody has to be solid. If every man can keep their man in front of them, I think we'll be okay. Having a team with a bunch of shooters, we're going to have to take 'em off the 3-point line, which I think we're going to be able to do. With everybody in front of us, I think we're going to be fine.

Q. I asked the Marquette players earlier, now that they had a chance to watch game film what they learned about you guys. What have you learned about Marquette, and what's the thing that jumps out to you guys on film?

ISAIAH THOMAS: Probably just that they shoot a lot of three's. We haven't played a team like that that has that many guys that can shoot the ball as good as they can. Best team we played is Cal, and they got three of 'em, but this team has everybody on the floor on this team can shoot the 3. We've got to be dialed in on the defensive end and be able to keep our man in front.

Q. Quincy, talk about the unsung -- you guys are sort of deep, you go 10, 11 deep, talk about the unsung guys on this team that do the things down on the bench that don't get the recognition that you three guys get.

QUINCY PONDEXTER: I would say Elston Turner and Scott Suggs they have emerged in the Pac 10 play as being deep threats for our team as well as Tyreese and Darnell, they all contribute great parts to this team. When Scott and Elston are hitting shots is makes it easier on us. When Tyreese and Darnell are getting rebounds and defending the way that they do, it makes us really hard to beat.

Q. Isaiah, Coach Williams talked about their advantage in the way they think they can win is by making you guys play their style or if you guys are able to impose your will and play your style he doesn't like their chances as much. Have you guys broken down the film to understand what it is going to take for you guys to win?

ISAIAH THOMAS: We've got to play defense and take them off the 3-point line because that's what they love to do. If they can't hit the 3-pointer, they like to drive and hit so you help a little too much that man is open for the 3-pointer. So like Justin said earlier, we've got to be down and in and take them off the 3 and keep the man in front, and I think if we do that we'll be just fine, we play hard, play smart, and play together. We'll be good, we have to play Husky basketball.

Q. Isaiah, how is your hand doing?

ISAIAH THOMAS: Same 'ol, same 'ol, not any better. But it's tourney time. I ain't worried about it.

Q. Did you find anything to wear on it?

ISAIAH THOMAS: Yeah, I got one. I got one.

Q. Quincy, is it any help to you guys being on the west coast? Were you glad to see you were heading to San Jose?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: It helps a little bit. We've been the barrier a couple of times this season and it gives us a comfort level our families don't have to travel too far to come watch us play and it's great to have your family and fans able to fly and see you play.

But at the end of the day it's tourney time, and no matter where we are we're going to have to have the same mind-set and not just because we're a little closer to home think it's an advantage. It's still going to be a battle tomorrow.

Q. Guys, just watching Coach Williams and Marquette in the shootaround, he was shooting baskets with them, they seem loose, I know that's also your persona, Coach Romar is a loose coach and you guys have fun with it. Can you talk about the relationships you've developed with him?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: I believe we all feel comfortable with Coach Romar. He creates an environment that it's like he's one of us. He's like a player. So it's fun to play for him and I know our guys -- we all love it because he can relate to us so much because he's played at a high level and he knows what we go through. It's great to have him.

JUSTIN HOLIDAY: I also think it's a good thing to have a coach like Coach Romar because he not only understands the experience we have on the court he understands the experiences we have off the court also, which can help us in basketball and life.

He's not just coaching us in basketball, he's trying to help coach us in life, also, and that's a good thing. He does for all of us. He makes us all comfortable playing for him.

Q. Is there any unusual anecdotes, during the season, something he's done to lighten the mood or get you guys on the right foot during a game or anything?

JUSTIN HOLIDAY: Every now and then sometimes during the games maybe if we're up or if it's a close game he makes us feel comfortable in the game saying something like -- let's say in the Cal game they made a run, and he told us in the time-out okay they got the run, everything is going to be okay. Like saying he's got confidence in everything we're doing, we can make mistakes and he doesn't take you down.

He gives you confidence so you can get the next one. It's not anything specific, but he does that every now and then to make sure everybody feels good.
Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Q. Coach, you've talked over the season about how games end up being about match-ups. Can you breakdown the match-ups you see in this game?

COACH ROMAR: We mirror them in some respects. We're not a very tall team, either. We've got some smaller guards. They have some smaller guards. Their leading scorer is a senior that is a multiple talented guy in Hayward. We've got Quincy Pondexter.

So I think there are some similarities there. The one difference is they shoot the three-ball a lot better than we do.

Q. Coach, you won seven in a row down the stretch, and I wonder how you get that back here at the Tournament, or do you forget about it and it's a new ball game, or did you want that feeling?

COACH ROMAR: First of all, it is a new ball game. Whatever we've done in the past, yesterday, last week is out of the window except for the fact that we're probably a little more confident going into that game than we were, say, two months ago going on the road.

How do you get it back? You have to go out on the floor with the mindset that we're going to be extremely focused and play to the best of our ability, that's the plan. Hopefully, as a result of that you come out and you can do well.

Q. Are the first five minutes crucial for this game?

COACH ROMAR: In every game it is. NCAA Tournament play, if you can, you don't want to start off the game behind. Making it an uphill battle from the beginning. We did that in the Pac 10 Tournament against Oregon State, first game, it was an uphill battle, if you had your druthers, you would not do that, but Marquette has the same idea.

Q. With MBA (Matthew Bryan-Amaning), who I presume is starting tomorrow, being the only big, big on the floor for a lot of tomorrow, I guess, is that kind of in his wheelhouse, or is that an extra challenge for him with some other smaller players scooting around?

COACH ROMAR: It's interesting. Marquette is smaller, but they are scrappy. I would say -- we haven't been on the floor with them yet, but from what we've seen the scrappiest, mentally tough team we would have had on our schedule.

We've watched and they've played against some big front lines, great basketball players with great presence in the paint, and they've done pretty good. So can't let their size fool us at all, and it's not going to fool our guys. These guys may be smaller, but they're not going to give you one inch.

So even somebody that may be a little taller, have more size than their guys is going to go out there and try to be effective, it's not going to be easy, you're going to have to earn it.

Q. You've been here five years at Washington, how are you better prepared as a coach in this Tournament after all the experiences you've gone through?

COACH ROMAR: I think after being in the NCAA Tournament, a number of times a lot of things you're doing prior to getting here is what's important, the rest you're getting, what your schedule is like, the type of mindset you come in here with, those things are important and over the years you kinda learn those things.

Q. Lorenzo, what does Elston Turner bring to you guys off the bench?

COACH ROMAR: First of all, Elston plays like he's done this before, like 100 times. He's very mature as a basketball player. He's been around basketball at the highest level all of his life and it reflects in his play.

So the one thing he brings to the table is in general just good 'ol "know-how" and savvy he brings. But also he stretches the defense whenever he checks into the game you've got to make sure someone is around Elston Turner, and that opens it up for everyone else.

We played in the NCAA Tournament second round last year, and we played Elston a lot in the second half and it opened up a lot of driving lanes for Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter that weren't there in the first half when he didn't play as much. Just his presence opens things up a little bit out there.

He's also a guy that not only can he knock the shot down, but he can make plays for others. He's smart. He knows the post. He has great timing, guys coming off screens when to deliver the basketball.

Q. Coach, Marquette is known for their close wins down the stretch here. You guys had so many blowouts at home, do you feel like you've learned something about how well you can win close games in the end?

COACH ROMAR: I think we've been able to get a few down the stretch here. It was a great game against Cal and that was definitely a close game with 22 lead changes, we were able to come out on top. I think our guys are confident in a game like that. The thing with Marquette is it's hard for them to go away because they're so mentally tough, and they shoot the ball so well. When you've got five gaze on the floor that can knock down three's at any time from any position they're always in the game. They're always four possessions away from going on a 12-0 run just like that. It will be an interesting game. But, again, we're not playing for the blowout, we're playing if we can win by half a point we'll be excited.

Q. Coach, obviously you've got enough to worry about representing Washington, but the Pac 10 was a little bit down taking heat nationally, only two teams got in. Do you feel like you're representing the Pac 10 here? Do you feel like you're playing for the Conference a little bit also?

COACH ROMAR: Whether we like it or not, I think that's what it is. I think every team that's in this field is representing their Conference and playing for their Conference. But, again, that is probably not the thing that we're going out thinking, the reason we have to win this game is for that. I think we have to concentrate on us being the best team we can be when we go out on the floor and everything else hopefully can take care of itself.
Additional Washington Quotes:
Quincy Pondexter:
On helping the younger guys out like Abdul Gaddy - "Just tell him not to think too much about it. It's going to be a great experience for him. I told him not to let the pressure of playing on the stage get to you. He just has to go out and do what got him here and enjoy it and savor it."

On Hayward and him saying nice things about QPon - "He's a good person. Me and him, we were really close friends and he's just as good of a person. He's a great person."

On having played against him - "I know his tendencies, but I don't know how much we're going to individually match up with each other. It's more of a team thing. I give our guys pointers about how he plays, but at the end of the day he's a tremendous player. It's going to be really hard to stop him, even if I knew everything about him or didn't. I'm really looking forward to playing against my buddy."

On feeling better coming off the flu - "A week ago I was really struggling. I was struggling through that whole Pac-10 Tournament. I was in bad shape physically, but right now I'm doing well. I'm just excited for this tournament to start. It's NCAA Tournament time, so there's no need to be sick or anything. You just have to suck it up and go play basketball."

On starting strong - "We can't control if the ball goes in or not sometimes, but we can control our defensive intensity. Once we do that we'll have the ability to control the game. It's going to be a tough game. We're going to have to figure out how they are. We haven't had a chance to play them or a team like them before, so we're going to have to come out and try and impose our will on them. It's which team's strategy will work. Hopefully ours does."

On the biggest key Thursday against Marquette - "Defend. Defend and try and take them off the 3-point line. I think once we do that we'll be very successful."

Venoy Overton:
On being ready to go - "Yeah, definitely."

On scouting Marquette - "I noticed that they are small, very fast and can shoot the three very well. Scrappy team. Coming out of the Big East you know they are going to be a tough competitor."

On Marquette focusing on him - "I'm just going to be that type of player that's going to get that impact on teams, because I'm going to go out and play my hardest. That's what it is."

On having to wait to get in the game - "I'm going to be ready, but as long as the game is tied or we're ahead, that's all that matters. Hopefully the starters can get in there and get a good start, and when I get in there I'll try and keep that going."

On starting strong - "We have to be patient. We have to go inside-out. A team like this, we're going to have to get our bigs going early and Quincy on the post. And then we'll go from there."

On remembering what it was like last year at the NCAA's - "I remember sitting in the room like this, waiting for the media to come in and then go hit the floor. It's just anticipation, waiting for tomorrow."

Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
On having to play farther out by the 3-point line - "It's sorta like playing against some of the bigs in our league. I've matched up against guys like (Sasha) Cuic, Jamelle Horne. Or even some of the big guys at OSU shooting the threes, so we just have to use that type of adjustment when we get back on defense."

On how he thinks Marquette will defend in the post - "A little bit of everything. From what we've seen with a lot of different teams is a little bit of everything. Sometimes they double, sometimes they play your man straight-up; sometimes they double off the guard, sometimes they double off the post. So there are going to be a lot of different defenses expected, and I have to just read what they give me and if they do double, where are they doubling from and find the open guy."

On getting doubled with smaller players - "It doesn't matter. If somebody is smaller than me, I can use my height as an advantage. If somebody is taller I can use my quickness as an advantage. It's just trying to find a way. I have a lot of different tools I can use to my advantage."

On feeling different than Portland a year ago with Jon Brockman - "With Jon and those guys, we were dependent a lot more on them, but now we feel more comfortable because we've been through so much this year. It's our time, and we know how well we're playing."

On playing on the big stage - "When that red light is on, the whole country is watching, especially as you get deeper and deeper in the tournament. Everybody is seeing what you're doing and you want to show everybody what you can do."

On coming out strong - "Just be focused on playing defense on these guys in the perimeter. And on offense, just staying aggressive."


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