Fox & Players Take To The Podium

Fox & Players Take To The Podium

CHARLOTTE - Georgia coach Mark Fox and his players answer questions at the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Dustin (Ware), does this -- back in your freshman season, pretty tumultuous year you went through, would this have been be believable, then, that two years later you would be in the tournament and does this feel like sort of a reward for that?

Dustin Ware: I guess in a way it's a reward for that. But I think the bigger thing, it's a reward for our hard work all season long.

Q. Back from two years ago, was your confidence shaken by what you went through? Did you see a future like this at that point?

DUSTIN WARE: I guess it was definitely hard to see but something that we always, you know, strive for. You know, day in day out we always dreamed about getting to this point, just working hard and believing one day we could get here, and now that we're here, we're just excited and ready to go play hard.

Q. Trey, Lorenzo Romar just said a lot of nice things about you. Is he telling the truth, or are you not that good a player and not that good a guy?

Trey Thompkins: Well, this summer I got a chance to work with Coach Romar and I enjoyed every second or it. He's a great guy. And to be honest with you, I hope he's saying the right stuff. If you ask me, I think he is and I appreciate the stuff that he says.

Q. Travis, who in the SEC reminds you of Washington, the games you've seen of them?

Travis Leslie: I can't really think of a team that reminds me of Washington right now, but they're a great team, fast-paced team. Good rebounders. They got great players overall, and I think it's going to be a good game tomorrow.

Q. Trey, I think Coach Fox on Sunday night was talking about how excited everyone was about making the tournament but that it would be important to get off cloud nine pretty fast. How -- is that something that kinds of happened naturally, or has the team had to make a point of getting over the celebration and back to business?

TREY THOMPKINS: First of all, it's a grand opportunity to be at this point and still be playing. I feel like our team is mature enough and we've handled the fact that we're in the tournament very well. Coach Fox is doing a great job of keeping us focused and worried about the task at hand and worrying about Washington, not looking forward, not looking back.

Q. Trey, I was wondering, in Southeastern Conference country how much y'all even know about the PAC-10, if there's any sort of reputation that the league has down here?

TREY THOMPKINS: We really don't get much games from the PAC-10, but the ones that we do catch, we notice that they're really fast-paced and everybody is getting up and down and scoring points, and we appreciate the style of play that they play. They're a tough league. We know them for their great teams and the great teams they've had in the past.

Q. Did any of y'all watch the Washington/Arizona final in the PAC-10 last Saturday? If so, what did you think?

TREY THOMPKINS: I watched some of it. It showed the level of toughness they have in their league between two great teams in Arizona and Washington.

Q. Did you see the last shot?

TREY THOMPKINS: Yeah, I did, I saw the last shot.

COACH Mark Fox: It's good to be in Charlotte, really proud of our team for putting us into this position and excited to be in the NCAA Tournament to play a terrific Washington team and just really excited that our young men have this opportunity. THE MODERATOR: Questions. Who has the first question?

Q. Mark, I know Sunday night you mentioned talking about the euphoria making the tournament on players and how important it was to go to be to get back down to earth pretty quickly. How is that process going in terms of going from the celebration back to business?

COACH MARK FOX: Can I tell you four minutes into the game tomorrow? I do think that, you know, our kids were really excited to get into the tournament, but I also think we've had some pretty solid preparation. I think one of the things that's probably helped us is that we're on spring break and, you know, they've had some time just to be by themselves and get grounded again, and so I think we've had solid preparation. Hopefully, we'll be able to avoid, you know, an issue with that -- with being overly excited as the game begins.

Q. Mark, I guess everyone hasn't been here except Jeremy and Chris. Could you just quick rundown on how y'all prepared today? I guess a practice off-site and do you have any sort of emphasis on making sure that guys get acclimated, know this is about basketball, that kind thing?

COACH MARK FOX: Well, we have not yet practiced today. We'll practice here tonight and then have another practice off-site afterwards. Today has been a day where we forced them to leave the hotel and walk around downtown Charlotte for an hour and enjoy the atmosphere and try and get comfortable and get some of the jitteriness of being in the tournament behind us. I want them to enjoy the experience. The game is tomorrow and the preparation continues tonight, but earlier today we let them enjoy their trip for a few hours, and we've watched tape today and we'll go to work tonight on the floor and try and finish up our preparation.

Q. I'm sure you've been asked by your local media, but could you talk a little bit about your time at Washington. And also, even though it's been awhile, do you see any sort of notable or fundamental differences between PAC-10 basketball and Southeastern Conference?

COACH MARK FOX: You know, I was just on the West Coast a couple years ago in the WAC and was able to watch a lot of PAC-10 basketball. I think both league are very comparable. I think they're -- where the game is played at a very high level. Each league is very athletic. Washington certainly has a terrific team that is probably the measuring stick for PAC-10 teams this year. You know, my time at Washington was nearly two decades ago, which seems strange to say that, but it was a time when I learned a lot about the profession and about college basketball and have fond memories of my experience.

Q. Mark, they average 83 a game, you average 69. Is this one of those whoever gets the game to go the way it likes wins the game?

COACH MARK FOX: They're a very explosive offensive team. Usually when you look at a team, you're trying to find their offensive strength. And some teams are inside scoring teams, and Washington has a great inside score. Some teams are three-point shooting teams and Washington has good three-point shooters. Some teams are driven by guard penetration and they have a guard that creates offense for himself and everybody else.

They have a terrific offensive team. Because they have so many weapons, they can play a style and a tempo that allows a lot of possessions and for them to score. And certainly we have to find a way to slow that a little bit, but we've always tried to play as fast as we can play well, and we'll have to find that balance tomorrow that really works, you know, in a way that we can be successful and somewhat efficient.

Q. Mark, can you go back to your time in Seattle? How did you meet your wife, and can you explain a little bit more about what you learned coaching on that particular staff?

COACH MARK FOX: I met my wife -- Trent Johnson, who is now the head coach at LSU, introduced me to my wife. There were a lot of young people in the department. We were friends first and we all just, you know, spent a lot of time together, and so that's how we met. And, you know, this is a business in which -- it's a profession and it's a trade, much like you in the media experience.

When I was at Washington there's probably a far greater importance and emphasis on basketball at UW than there was when I was there. They've redone the facility. They've made a lot of necessary adjustments to commit to basketball, and Lorenzo has done a great job. And when I was there, you know, we didn't win a lot of games, and it was certainly a time where we were able to see -- you know, I was able to see, you know, some of the struggles in the profession. I have fond memories of beating the number two Arizona team but really learning a lot about the trade of coaching and how to manage a team and certainly how to, you know, how a program should operate.

Q. Mark, any concern -- I don't think y'all played this late yet. Any concern about playing at almost 10:00?

COACH MARK FOX: As I said the other day, I'm not concerned about our players playing at 10:00. They're usually awake them. I'm more worried about myself, you know. So I forced myself to stay up late last night so I'll get used to it. I don't think so. This is a special stage and hopefully that will have no impact.

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