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Selection Sunday Quotesheet




March 16, 2014

SELECTION SUNDAY PLAYER QUOTES

Petersen Events Center, March 16, 2014

 

Quoting Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon:

Opening Statement:

“We were on spring break this week and now we are getting ready for classes to start tomorrow and getting ready for Colorado. I know a little bit about Colorado, I know their coach, Coach Boyle. I have gotten to know him the past couple years with being part of Nike. I know they have a lot of players from California, and have done a good job with recruiting. We are looking forward to get ready and start watching some film. I have six tapes waiting for me to watch. I have a good feeling but we’re focusing on Colorado. They’re an eight seed and we’re a nine. We are the underdog coming in so we have to go out and play good basketball. We have been playing our best basketball this year at this point so we are looking forward to getting better this week. We watched some tape of ourselves today prior to getting together. We are looking forward to this opportunity. As far as our health goes, I think we got through pretty well. Talib [Zanna] seems healthy and Lamar [Patterson] is doing well. Michael [Young] is still battling through that back as we know. He has a small fracture in the back and he has been playing through that for about a month and a half now. There is a lot of pain and discomfort but he is battling through it. James [Robinson] and Cameron [Wright] had some rest today and they will be ready.”


 

 

On playing a team without many common opponents:

“We have seen a few but Coach Boyle has gone out and got some guys from California and got a couple local guys as well. He has really done a good job. They seem to have a really good balance. You’re going to get someone, in this case, that we haven’t seen or don’t know and that is the great thing. There are a lot of teams, 350 teams, 68 are playing, and we are getting ready for Thursday.”

On thoughts of being a nine seed:

“I haven’t had a chance to look at different things. Everyone is talking about the parody, like number one seeded teams with four losses. Everybody has to go in there thinking they have an opportunity. We are a team that has gotten better as the year has gone on. We have developed the bench and rotation. We have gotten freshmen that have improved and got better. We are excited about how we are playing. We have three practices to get ready for Thursday.”

On being a strong road team and preparing for Orlando:

“That is what we were talking about. Our 7-2 record was the best in the conference on the road. That is essentially the team people look at. We did a very good job in a lot of ways. We have four returning players playing in the NCAA tournament. That is hard to find someone else in the country that are returning four players. The road wins and neutral court wins that we have had was our talking point going into the ACC tournament. It was that we have won more road games more than anybody and we will be playing on the road the rest of the year.”

On seeing NC State get into NCAA tournament:

“I was very surprised and glad for the conference. I hadn’t looked at the numbers today as we were traveling back and watching film. I had asked the question about a few teams that people had down as locks and I had some different thoughts to them and it turned out that way. I didn’t know who the next team in was going to be. As I look at it now, it does make sense to me. I can understand that and getting their win against Syracuse in a close game speaks to that. They are another NCAA tournament team. It is interesting at the end of the day to look at who we beat and who we played and there are a number of teams in the tournament. It is interesting how it has all played out.”

On last year’s nine seed making it to the final four:

“We will be focused on Colorado. That is the number one thing. We have constantly talked to our team about what we could become and it speaks to that. Going in with four returning players, we are clearly in the process of developing.”

On importance of the freshmen to step up to make a run:

“It is very important, but with defense for me, they have to be able to defend for us to give us an opportunity. That is what Josh [Newkirk] has done for us first and foremost, and now you are seeing the offense come with it. You may score some buckets, but if you’re giving up more on the other end it is not helpful to our team. That is what Josh is doing now for us. He is a positive and an asset on the defense end. Now you’re seeing him get more minutes and then the offense is coming with it.”

On keeping teams below 40% field goal mark:

“We didn’t do it the other day. We talk about our offense, rebounding and different things, but we didn’t hold Virginia to under 40%. With that, you don’t get as many transition opportunities and the rebound numbers we like to get. We did get more turnovers out of them that I would have thought. We did not get the stops that we needed to get. We did at the end of the game, but it was guarding penetration. The switch was a bit of a problem. I was surprised they beat us off the dribble as much as they did early on.”

 

Quoting Pitt guard James Robinson:

On familiarity of Colorado State:

“I’ve seen them some on TV. We know they are a good team. They are going to play hard, but so are we. We are going to be ready.”

On being announced so quickly:

“Word just spread for the most part. We are happy wherever we are seeded.”

On having momentum from the ACC tournament:

“Definitely. We didn’t reach our goal of winning the ACC tournament title but we did some good things. We also did some things we need to improve on. So we need to use tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready for Thursday’s game.”

On Colorado State’s point guard getting hurt early on in the season:

“It was hard for their team once he went down. They have good players that have stepped up. We have got to be ready. They still have guards capable of making things happen.”

On his offensive showing this past week:

“I am feeling pretty good. We played really unselfish this past week and that really helped us out. If we continue to play unselfish and limit our mistakes we should be fine.”

On perspective going into the tournament this year:

“As of last year we lost to Wichita State in our first game. But our focuses are on Colorado right now and we have to try and prepare for them the best we can.”

On inspiration from the team they lost to, a 9 seed, Wichita State making final four last year:

“Yes, it is good to see that it can happen. We have faith in ourselves and our coaches. So we just have to take it one step at a time as a team and be ready.”

 

Quoting Pitt guard Cameron Wright:

On familiarity of Colorado State:

“I have seen them on TV a few times. I know they have size to them. They like to shoot the threes but you can’t really go off of that. You need to do a lot of research and bring up film on them.”

On losing Durand Johnson just as Colorado State lost a key player:

“We definitely miss Durand. He is a brother to all of us. We are glad to have his support on the sidelines. It is unfortunate for anybody to lose one of their teammates so it is a sad situation for them also." 

On how losing Durand Johnson affected them as a team:

“We never broke apart. You could say it brought us closer. We were always close, even with Durand. His personality and spirit and the relationship we have with each other is maintained throughout the entire season.”

On leaving ACC tournament after 2 victories and tough loss to Virginia:

“Definitely congrats to Virginia, they outright won our conference in all aspects and they deserve the number 1 seed. But we feel like we let a game go. We are confident going into the NCAA tournament.”

On the offense improving while at ACC tournament:

“We got a lot of guys that can score the ball. We got a lot of guys that have displayed their talents on the floor.  We have faith in all of our capabilities on the floor and we have to trust them.” 

 

Quoting Pitt forward Michael Young

On facing Colorado State:

“It’s another game. It is an opportunity for me to go out on the court, and show what I can do. This is another opportunity for this team to come out and get a win.”

On reaction to getting in the South bracket with the number 1 overall seed, Florida:

“Everyone was surprised on how fast we found out. We are playing Colorado and we have to be ready like any other game. We have a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth from the loss to Virginia. So we want to come out and be hungry and ready to go.”

On what has been different this last week for the team:

“Everyone has been on the same page, offensively and defensively. On defense, we need to continue being aggressive, tough, physical and staying disciplined. On offense, we need to be patient.  Everyone has been attacking and everything has been flowing.”

 

Quoting Pitt forward Talib Zanna

On game against North Caroline giving them momentum for the NCAA tournament:

“Yes. We just wanted the win. We went into the ACC tournament hungry and we wanted to make a statement. We needed a couple wins to have a better seed for the NCAA tournament. We are the 9th seed right now and we cannot worry about it. We just have to go there and play our game.”

On possibility of playing Florida in 2nd round in Orlando, Florida:

“Yes, that would be their home base. I know they would have their home crowd, which would give them some advantage. But, we can’t think about that. We just have to play our game and leave everything on the court.”

On reaction to their seeding:

“So people care about the seed. I think the seed does not matter. A lot of teams have had the number 1 seed and can go out early. It is more about whoever has the heart to come out and dominate.”

 

Quoting Pitt forward Lamar Patterson:

On initial reaction to being a 9 seed:

“I didn’t even realize our seed. I just knew we would be playing Colorado.”

On a number 9 need (Wichita State) making the Final Four last year inspiration for Pitt:

“Just being in the tournament is inspiration enough for us. We know what to do. We have to go out there and get wins.”

On momentum from the ACC tournament carrying over to NCAA tournament:

“I believe so. Our defense is coming around, our rebounding is coming around and we have definitely made strides this past week.  We are ready to go.”