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Louisville – Quotes 1
Louisville: 71
UConn: 61

An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We’ll transition
immediately to the Louisville Cardinals, head
coach Rick Pitino, student athletes Russ Smith and
Montrezl Harrell. Coach, your comments on
today’s game.
COACH PITINO: We’re super excited to
win our third straight championship, to win a
regular season championship and a tournament
championship back-to-back is not easy. You have
to have special players and these two epitomize
exactly that. We played great defense tonight for
most of the night. We didn’t have it offensively.
You general can tell when we play well because
we have 17 to 25 assists. We weren’t passing the
ball like we have been. We had a great run in
February, a great run in March and everybody
knows about the press and everybody knows
about talent, but what’s made us special is our
passing and tonight we didn’t have the passing, the
passing wasn’t there.
That was the greatest thing I told the guys
in winning the championship. You learned the
most valuable lesson why you didn’t click for forty
minutes offensively because the passing wasn’t
there with only 11 assists. But these two guys
were spectacular, Montrezl is similar to Gorgui, he
came in a very good athlete and he will leave us
someday as a very good basketball because his
passing and shooting skills may be the smartest
player on the team in terms of a scouting report,
certainly no words to describe Russ Smith. He just
is having a spectacular senior year.

Q. Andy Katz said on TV that you said
you thought you guys deserved a 1 seed. Is
that what you said and do you think it will
COACH PITINO: Well, I judge it from the
eye test. Now, understand something, every
analyst has an agenda, every coach has an
agenda. I think it because I was there at SMU in
the ugliest environment in 39 years, I was there at
Cincinnati in the most hostile environment. I’ve
been there with a run through March, I know what
the guys have been through.
Do I think we should be, yes, do I think we
will be, no. That being said, if you ask me who is
the best college basketball player in America, I
would say Russ Smith if you ask me who is the
best power forward I would say Montrezl Harrell,
so I have an extremely biased opinion, but I’m
impressed with our guys and what they have done
to win a regular season, the conference
tournament, the way we have done it in the fashion
we have done it fits the eye test. I can’t talk about
the strength of the league. If you want to blame
anybody blame football, don’t blame us.

Q. Coach, what is it that you tell your
team going into March for them to get on high
street because y’all have done it the past two
years, the beginning or middle of February you
all get hot and carry it into March and on into
COACH PITINO: Well, I think it’s
recruiting quality people, and then the older guys
convinced Terry Rozier and Chris Jones, look at
the transformation in Chris Jones in less than a
year from buying into what Louisville is all about.
It’s all about winning, playing for the name on the
front and we always take the philosophy if you play
for the name on the front the name on the back
gets rewarded. That’s been our theme. I think our
guys understand it. We did not pass the ball well
tonight but outside of that, we understand why you
play the game and we play extremely hard for all
the right reasons, and Russ comes in and
immediately grabs a freshman and I remember
going back two years ago in the Big East
Championship, he’s screaming at me from the foul
line, “I’ve never won a championship, I’ve never
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Louisville – Quotes 2
won a championship!” Now look at him, not only
does he have multiple MVP’s, multiple College
All-Americans, National Championship,
back-to-back final fours, his legacy is pretty
incredible, all coming from a guy who just scored a
lot of points in high school, but didn’t win anything,
didn’t even win a scratch ticket.

Q. Rick, you won these three games by
a total of 100 points, and there was a time-out
with will 11 minutes left up by 17 and you are
laying into your guys pretty hard. Tim
Henderson talked about how guys are afraid of
getting screamed at when you are up 50 or 60
points. What is that attitude and what are you
trying to convey?
COACH PITINO: I’m not personalizing my
voice, I’m telling them that regardless of the score,
the game must be played a certain way because if
we would have passed the ball tonight like we did
in a close, hard-fought game we would have lost
the game. So you’re preparing and trying to be
fundamentally sound all the time. It’s not a — like I
told Russ, it was one on four and I said let’s take
the ball out and run our back screen action and
use clock. We weren’t going to lose that game but
I want our guys if we’re in a tight game to
understand what we take and don’t take.

Q. Why do you think your teams tend
to peak this time of the year?
COACH PITINO: I think it’s a system of
recruiting the right people. It takes a while to do
that, by the way. My best team did not get to a
Final Four, got to an Elite Eight, because — even
with the team that lost to Moorehead State totally
bought into the name on the front. These guys buy
into it totally and the team that lost in the Elite Eight
didn’t, that’s why we got beat by a good Michigan
State team.
So it’s our philosophy, we know we can
lose, we respect everybody, we are a humble
group, these guys buy into that name on the front.
That’s why I’m so hard on them in the time outs,
because they didn’t pass the ball tonight. Luke
Hancock was off, wasn’t playing well. He took bad
shots to try and play well rather than pass the ball,
use his teammates, get the ball back, he would
have had a good night so even the wise people
learned a valuable lesson tonight.

Q. Coach, you have had a Hall of Fame
career, you flirted in 2011 with coaching the
Puerto Rican team. Seeing your future
coaching the National Team, U.S. National
Team or another team to further your trophy
COACH PITINO: I wanted to coach the
Puerto Rican national team very much.
Unfortunately they changed the date as well as the
place. It was supposed to be played in Puerto
Rico and they moved it to Brazil and they changed
the date to when school started. I was looking
forward to it because it was something I had not
done. If the situation arises again and they would
like to have me, I would love to do it.

Q. Russ, besides the national
championships, the conference
championships, and the individual awards,
what else do you feel like you have
accomplished during your four years at
RUSS SMITH: I feel like I’ve
accomplished meeting a bunch of new people,
making a lot of connections, getting an education,
and living out a college athlete’s life. I have a lot of
fun being Louisville and it’s probably one of the
best places ever. I always invite my friends to
come and just stay with me.
Just the whole college experience is fun
and my teammates. Besides the individual awards
and the accolades, I remember I went through that
whole time last year about what I wanted to do,
even though I had almost done everything a
college athlete on the court could have done.
There was some things I was missing, being a
senior on campus, my teammates, helping new
freshmen grow so a bunch of maturity points that I
wanted to get better in helped me a lot.

Q. Montrezl, you guys have won,
starting with SMU, the last five games,
averaging 30 per game. What have you guys
done to accomplish this stretch?
MONTREZL HARRELL: We take it one
game at a time and we buy into Coach’s game
plan. We try to focus on the defensive end
because we know if we get a defensive start that’s
going to lead to our offensive break. Look at our
scouting report, paying attention to every little thing
to win the game.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very
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UConn Quotes 1
Louisville: 71
UConn: 61

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: We can get started
with UConn, head coach, Kevin Ollie, student
athletes Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels.
COACH OLLIE: The first half we came out
and established ourselves, we got down about 14
and anytime you spot a team like Louisville 14
points it’s hard to come back. We did some good
things in the second half. I was proud of our guys
that we kept fighting. Now we go into the next
tournament. We want to win a national
championship. I still believe in this team, we got to
clean things up but I like our execution in the
second half and we got to show heart and compete
and that’s what I like and hopefully it carries over to
the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Shabazz, seemed like you had a
difficult time doing what getting things done on
offense, was it just that you couldn’t find your
SHABAZZ NAPIER: The first half we
didn’t play as well as we should have, we didn’t
move the ball the right way, we didn’t knock down
open shots. We just didn’t find our rhythm.
They did play great defense but once we
got into the middle, guys were open for shots and
we couldn’t knock ’em down and we gave up too
much offensive rebounds in the beginning of the
game. It took away from our offense.

Q. Shabazz, you guys went 3-0 against
Memphis, Louisville went 3-0 against you, all of
the teams that have been ranked, what do you
make of that?
SHABAZZ NAPIER: Just competitive
games. Sometimes it goes that way. The saying
is you can’t beat a team three times in a row but at
the end of the day it’s anybody’s game. It’s a new
day. They came out and established what they
were doing and we wasn’t able to do what we
wanted to do offensively and defensively, but credit
to Louisville they played great.

Q. Kevin, I know you’re not into moral
victories, but playing so much better than you
did a week ago. You take some positives out of
that obviously and you didn’t let it get away
from you like it did last week?
COACH OLLIE: No, I’m not into moral
victories, but I did like how we responded the
second half, just with the ball movement we had,
getting Amida going, he had 14 points, most of
them came in the second half. He started to
establish himself. That’s how you beat the zone,
you get it at the high post and you make plays.
Our guards started passing it in there and we
started making shots. That’s what we’re going to
need to do going forward so we will be able to play
with a match-up zone. You never know what’s
going to happen in the NCAA Tournament. Every
coach comes with something new. I thought our
ball was great and we started making shoots. We
got 10 assists. Six in the second half, we got four
in the first half, and that’s improvement. We’re
going to go back and see who we going to play on
Sunday. Then my coaching staff is going to have
a great game plan and I know our guys are going
to follow it and we’re going to go deep into this
tournament. That’s our goal.

Q. What was the difference between
last week and today?
COACH OLLIE: They won the game. If
you win by 10 or lose by — you win the game.
Wasn’t no difference. We had that game by 7 at
Louisville and didn’t get it done. It’s a game of
runs. We try to keep them at bay as much as
possible but at the end of the day you gotta
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UConn Quotes 2
rebound and can’t give up 16 offensive rebounds
and expect to win. I thought our defense was
great in the second half where we held them down
to 32% and shot 50%. That’s something we are
going to look at on the tape and try to keep
improving. I liked the ball movement and the
competitive spirit. We could have gave in, but this
team is not like that. We fought all year and I think
they’re going to fight in the NCAA Tournament. I’m
proud of them. We didn’t come down here just to
win a semifinals game. We came down here to
win a championship. It didn’t happen but I think
our guys gave it their all and they play with their
hearts and that’s all I ask of these guys each and
every day.

Q. Kevin, anything can happen over the
next few weeks, I know you’re only concerned
about your own team but does it seem like
Louisville is playing better than anyone else in
the country at this point?
COACH OLLIE: Yeah, Louisville is playing
great basketball. They won the championship last
year, they went to the Final Four the year before,
and they got pretty much their whole team back.
They’re an experienced bunch, they play hard and
they’re well coached. But you know how this
tournament is one game elimination, somebody
can get hot and hopefully that team will be us and
we will get hot and play together.

Q. How do you guys feel heading into
Selection Sunday and the tournament about
how you’re playing?
DeANDREA DANIELS: Well, we feel good
just coming in, how we battled this the second half.
We played the right way and shared the ball and
we played UConn basketball. It’s time to put it
behind and you say move forward and prepare for
the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Shabazz, do you think you guys got
better from a week ago to — through the three
games this week?
SHABAZZ NAPIER: Yeah, I think there is
always room for improvement. After you lose by
30 points you got to look at yourself and figure out
how can you help the team. I think we definitely
played well against Memphis and we played well
against a Cincinnati team but definitely we’re
improving as a team and we just got to get over
that hump. Once we do, I think we should be fine.

Q. Shabazz, after not being allowed to
play in the NCAA Tournament or any
postseason last season, how much have you
been look forward to Selection Sunday and
seeing UConn on television tomorrow night?
SHABAZZ NAPIER: I really haven’t had
time to look for it. Now I do since I’m — tomorrow
is Sunday, but I’m definitely happy. It’s a great
thing to hopefully see your name being called and
with your teammates and see everybody smiling
and knowing that we have a chance at hoisting
another trophy, but I haven’t thought about it
because I was thinking about the games ahead of
myself. Now since we just finished this one, you
know, we have time to look at it.

Q. Coach, on your roster you have four
players that were not born in the United States
and one that’s with Puerto Rican descent. Do
you look for players that are maybe overlooked
in other teams?
COACH OLLIE: You know, I look at
basketball players. I don’t really care about their
descent, I want them to play for UConn and play
with pride and bleed Husky blue. Really doesn’t
matter to me as long as they play hard and defend
well, I don’t care where they come from. We do
look at first and foremost character and we look at
guys that understand team work and we look for
guys that don’t mind rooting for their teammates.
After that, you know, we let their talent
speak for themselves. But they gotta play the right
way. If they are not playing the right way, they’re
not going to play and we’re going to get somebody

Q. Kevin, this is the last time you will
play Louisville for the foreseeable future. Are
you disappointed? Would you like another
shot at them? They have had your number a
little bit lately.
COACH OLLIE: I just play who is on the
schedule. We would have liked to have won this
championship game but if Memphis was in the
championship game, don’t matter to me. I just
make sure we worry about us and that’s our main
goal. I wish them the best of luck in the ACC and
this American conference is going to be great. I
like what Tulsa is doing, they made it into the
NCAA Tournament and congratulations to Danny
Manning and this conference is going to be great.
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UConn Quotes 3
of this league and keep it going. We are just going
to play the right way and hopefully have everybody
come in and do the same thing and make this
league very viable, but I like what Memphis is
doing and SMU is doing and this conference is
going to be great.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, we appreciate
your time. Thank you very much.

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