What was Said at Final Four
March Madness became Final Four Fun this weekend, starting with the customary press conferences heading into the round of semifinal games at Houston between North Carolina and Syracuse and Villanova and Oklahoma.
What was said increased the appeal of the games because the comments at a Final Four are usually memorable.
The following are some of the highlights of the press conferences:
Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, on the problems NRG Stadium’s open spaces give shooters:
“It’s just you and rim, you can’t focus on what’s around you. As a shooter I just block what everything is around me.”
Villanova coach Jay Wright, on the Wildcats’ loss to Oklahoma in December:
“I think this game is going to be about how much better have they gotten, how much better have we gotten, how close are we now?”
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger on the same game:
“Watching film, video of that game, I was hoping to see us be just better. That wasn't the case. They just didn't make shots, and we did.”
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on his philosophy on managing players:
“The old saying that you treat every player the same is not true. I don’t think it was ever true. I don’t know who came up with it. Probably a football coach, who they deal with a hundred, and we deal with seven or eight.”
North Carolina’s Roy Williams, on his role in helping Dean Smith and the Tar Heels win the 1982 national championship:
“Coach Smith, his whole philosophy was to keep everybody away. I remember 1981, we played in Philadelphia. We stayed on the other side of Villanova. We got beat by Indiana in the national championship game. In ’82, we were fortunate enough to get back and were playing in New Orleans. We’re trying to discuss where to stay, and I said, `Coach, let’s stay in downtown New Orleans, let them realize we’re in the mix of the Final Four. It didn’t work last year.’ He said, `Yeah you’re right, let’s try that and see how it works.’ We won it. That’s one of two or three things I ever gave Coach Smith. He carried me for 10 years. I think I gave him two or three suggestions.”
Oklahoma’s C.J. Cole on his chemical bioscience major:
“It’s a lot of chemistry, biochemistry and biology. It’s all the stuff people don’t want to take.”
Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard on Kruger:
“He’s got that old-school style. He expects the players to get the job done. But I think that is why (he’s overlooked), because he doesn’t have that flamboyant style. He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t shout. He’s a nice guy. When he uses some harsh stuff, that’s when you know he’s serious.”
Williams, on trying to beat a team during the season and in the tournament:
“In '09, we played Michigan State in the ACC-Big Ten in Detroit. We were great that day. We caught Tommy's (Izzo) club on not a good day and we beat them easily. Now we got to play them again for the national championship. That's when people said it was going to help the economy of Michigan and Detroit (if the Spartans won, with the game in Detroit). I said, `Let's let the economy suffer for another day.’ I told our guys, `We can beat 'em worse.’ (The Tar Heels didn’t, but still won comfortably).
Wright, on coaching in Philadelphia, with its six schools:
“It's not like being in a state where you have two state schools. We're all on top of each other. There's a lot of mixed breeding. It's an intense college basketball town, and it's hard for everybody to get behind one of the schools. But it's a pro town, too. So because of the recent last couple years, they've been saying it all year, everybody's been putting pressure on us saying, 'Hey, you guys are Philly's hope, do you feel the pressure?’ We really never felt the pressure. We can definitely feel it now. There's buildings in Philadelphia that have the lights going across the top, Nova Final Four. It's pretty cool. We would love to do it. We would love to do it for Philly.”
Kruger, on his nickname as youth, Slick:
“I'd like to say it started because I was pretty smooth, yet it was probably more about the haircut. Growing up, I was one of six children, five boys. We didn't want to spend that money on a barber. Dad bought himself a pair of clippers. The only thing he could kind of do was give us a burr cut. I think that's probably what it started with, the haircut, that burr look back in the day. Wish I could give you a more exciting answer, but that was about it.”
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