March 20, 2006
On the last time UW met UCONN in the sweet-16:
"I remember watching a lot of the game, I was rooting for Washington. They were so close to beating a really good team, they were like an 11 seed and UCONN was like a two. I watched a lot of the game, I can't remember it very clearly but I can definitely remember the last play."
On his [Brandon Roy] head:
"My head is cool. Everything is fine; we had a day off yesterday so I think that guys are rested and ready to play a big game. I think that this is a huge game for the program, UCONN is a really good team. I think that they are probably the best team in the country, so we have our work cut out for us."
On the physical aspect of the upcoming game:
"This is going to be a war. I watched them play against Kentucky and they are big and very physical, and that is the only way that they play. I have never seen them play soft. I expect them to be even more physical than Illinois was."
On where he watched the UCONN/Kentucky game:
"I didn't have a rooting interest, I watched it at home because I knew it was coming on. I said either team is going to be really good. Connecticut came out, and they were playing really good. They were shooting the ball really good, I said man if they play at that level they are going to be a tough team to beat. Kentucky made some runs, and it was just a good game I think. I was really just trying to watch both teams because we didn't whom we were going to play. I was trying to watch Connecticut because we have been watching them all year; they have been on TV a lot. They are a good team, but I was not rooting for either."
On how many times he has watched UCONN play:
"About 7 or 8 times, they have been on TV a lot. I watched them in Maui, I watched them against Pepperdine, I watched them against Villanova a couple of times, so I have watched them a lot this season. It is really no secret how they play. They take shots and they crash the glass, they get a lot of put backs. They lead the nation in blocked shots and rebounds, so they definitely take pride in banging you inside. They are going to come out the same way against us and approach it the same way they have approached it all year long."
On how many times Rudy Gay has watched himself play:
"Maybe half of a game, maybe some highlights. I don't think he has ever seen me before, I don't think they have ever watched us. I guess that is to our advantage, they have never seen us before so they have to try and watch us and familiarize themselves with us. We have watched them all season long, I know their starting five, I know their guys off the bench. I know their team."
On the advantage of watching UCONN play more than they have watched UW:
"When we played UW-State, I think that was their advantage. We had never seen them play; we had to really watch a lot of film. I had never seen what one of their players looked like. When we played Illinois, I knew everything about them. It was an easier game to get ready for. I think it is definitely our advantage that we have seen them so much and they have never really got a chance to watch us."
On if he wants to guard Marcus Williams in the upcoming game:
"I would like to, I would like to guard him. But they are so good, I would like to guard Rudy Gay a little bit, I want to guard Denham Brown. It is not just that one guy on this team that you say I want to guard. They have a lot of good players that we all want to have fun and guard. They have a big line up so it is going to be kind of hard putting me and Bobby [Jones] on their point guard, Rudy Gay is like 6-8 and Denham Brown has good size. I think that we might just have to go in and let coach decide who we wants us to guard and do our best at guarding those guys."
On being the only state with two sweet-16 teams:
"I think that it says that we have two really good division-1 teams. Gonzaga has been really good for years now, and I think that we are starting to finally climb over that hill and say that we are a pretty good program too. I don't think it says that we have more talent, it has been a great year for both teams. Both teams had a great season. There is a lot of talent out there, so I don't want to say that we have more, but we are definitely up their with the best teams now."
On channeling energy behind the fact that UW has never gotten past this level:
"We have been breaking some records, and to break this one would be great. We have been looking at everything at it has been sweet-16, and that is where it ends. To beat Connecticut, if they beat us they probably will win the national championship, they are a good team. If we can beat them, that says a lot. We just didn't beat an easy team; we will probably beat the best team in the country. I think that it will mean a lot, I think that everyone will go out there, everyone has been leaving it all on the floor, and I think that we will do a better job of leaving it on the floor to beat them."
On if a win over UCONN would be an upset:
"Yeah, it would definitely be an upset. Unless Duke beats Connecticut, that would probably be the only game that wouldn't be an upset with Connecticut losing. Duke or UCONN, they are the best teams in the country. So if we beat them it will definitely be an upset. We feel that it is something that is possible, we believe that we can beat them, we have the pieces to beat them and match up against them pretty well. I think that we can beat them, but if we do beat them it will be an upset."
On where the belief that this team can beat anyone comes from:
"It is just really just our Coach's personality, it is mine. I have always felt that I am a good player and that I can play with anyone in the country. I think that it just rubs off on guys, Justin Dentmon, he feels that he is as good as anybody else, Bobby Jones does Jamaal Williams. I think that we take that attitude and we use it as a team now, as a team we feel that we can beat anybody in the country. When you win games early in the season against a team like Gonzaga, who have been on a national level and proved that they can beat anyone in the country, it gives you confidence. I think that playing in the Pac-10 this season and accomplishing some things that we haven't just made us believers. Our hard work has showed up to pay off. When we played Illinois, we said we can beat Illinois lets not just be happy that we are playing them, we can really beat them. Everybody is becoming believers in that we feel again that we can beat Connecticut. We have to go out there and believe, if couldn't beat them we wouldn't throw the ball up, we wouldn't play the game. I think that there is always a chance that we can win, we have to take that attitude and try to get a win."
On the advantage of seeing a team play on TV:
"I think that it takes the myth away a little bit. We watched them so much and we have dissected them saying that they weaker in certain areas or stronger in others. We get a chance to watch them, we got the chance to watch them play some bad games, it shows that they lose games too. When you don't see a team play and they are ranked number one, you say oh wow they are just monsters, everybody is 7-feet tall. When you see them in person you think, I can beat this team. That definitely helps that we have the advantage of watching them all season long."
On not getting media coverage like the east-coast teams:
"We have a chip on our shoulder. UCONN they deserve everything that they get. They have won two national championships in the last ten years; they have been a great program. We feel that we are on the rise, we feel like Arizona and UCLA and programs like that on the West Coast get more credit than us because they have more accomplished more things than we have. We need to go out there and try to use that as motivation and say look, they are going out there and getting all of these things because they have won a national championship or been to the final four. We know that in order for us to accomplish those goals or one day have Washington looked at in that way, we have to tear that wall down. We need to beat Connecticut and go to the elite eight and to the final four. It is motivation but I don't want to take anything away from those teams, they were not handed that credit, they are going out and earning it. We need to take that approach and go out and earn it too."
On the difference from last year's appearance in the sweet-16 compared to this year's:
"We are as confident as we were last year, but at the same time when you make the sweet-16, everyone that you are playing is good. Louisville was a really good team last year and they came out and showed it. I think that Connecticut is just as good if not better, so we have to just go out and try play as a team and if we get down keep fighting and if we get up keep fighting. I think that we have a lot of fight in us this year that might be the only difference. Last year we were a number one seed, maybe we got a little lax. This year everybody is hungry, and everybody wants more."
On if he got the chance to talk to Nate, Tre, or Will after the game:
"I talked to all of them after the game, they were pumped up. Will was going crazy, because last year during the draft process he got the chance to talk to Darren Wiliams and Dee Brown and those guys. We wanted to play them last year; we were both number one seeds. This year we got a chance to play when we both lost a lot of guys but we both came back pretty strong and they were actually talking to each other during the game. Darren was saying Illinois and Will was saying that Washington was. He was pretty happy when we won. Nate and those guys, they were just going crazy. They are still big fans of the program. They helped start something here and they want to see us continue it. They are definitely happy for us."
On Nate playing Justin Dentmon:
"They went good, Nate won the battle, he wins the majority of his battles. But it was fun to see because this was after Nate had been drafted, the twenty-first pick of the draft. Justin was going at him like I have heard of Nate but I want to get a taste of him. It was good, but Nate won the battles, he was right there though, it was fun to watch. I was just glad to see that he wasn't intimidated by Nate. A lot of guys here about Nate and back up off him and don't really want to go at him. But he was going at him, that was fun to watch."
On Jon Brockman having a slow start in the tournament:
"I didn't really notice until the Illinois game, that he was feeling the pressure a little bit. I tried to talk to him before the game, hey JB go out there and don't worry about it, the score and things like that. Just go out there and play hard and have fun. If you do that you will be fine. I think that is something that we all took notice to after the game, maybe Jon was a little down. I think that he is feeling the pressure, just a little bit. That is something that we will try to take off of him a lot this week. JB you have to go out there and just have fun, it is a fun experience. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, maybe when you are a junior or a senior you can put that kind of pressure on yourself. Right now you are too young to go out there and feel like you have the weight of the team on your shoulders. I think that he is kind of playing with that kind of mentality right now, we are going to relieve him of that this week because we are going to need him a whole lot against those big guys from Connecticut."
On if anybody on the east coast is giving UW a shot:
"No, they were not really giving us a shot against Utah-State. So I don't think they will give us a whole lot of a shot against the best team in the nation. I don't think they give a whole lot of people a shot against Connecticut. We will continue with that role of the underdog and lets go out there and try to shock the world."
On if UCONN has a weakness:
"If they do, it is hard to say exactly what it is. I would say watching them play Villanova, smaller lineups and dribble penetration would probably be their biggest weakness. Villanova was kind of cutting them up a lot. I am not saying that we have the guards that Villanova has but we feel that we can penetrate them a little bit and hopefully have their big guys collapse and try to kick it out to shooters. They don't have a whole lot of weaknesses, but they are beatable."
On the lack of respect for talent in the Seattle area:
"They might say that Seattle has one or two good players, but that is definitely something we are changing people's minds a lot. They are starting to take recognition with teams like North Carolina and Duke recruiting guys like Jon, Martell, and Spencer Haas. So they are definitely saying that we have more talent out here than they know of, but it is something that we just have to keep putting out heads down and keep trying to get better. It is never a finished job, we can take a dive after this. You can never get too satisfied, you have to keep trying to get better. I think that is something guys are trying to do in this state. Now that Spencer is coming to the University of Washington, he is definitely a player that can take Washington to the next step."
On if this was the situation he was dreaming about choosing not to enter the NBA draft and attend the UW:
"This is something that I have been dreaming about. It is like after four years, people are starting to take recognition, like this Washington guy is pretty good. To here them say that I am a top five player in the country, that is something I would dream about as a kid. I watched college basketball since I could remember and I have always dreamed about being one of those guys that is one of the best players in the country. Coming to the University of Washington and accomplishing those things is huge, it is something that they can never take away from me. I am really excited about what we have accomplished here."