March 18, 2010
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, along with senior guards Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes and junior Jon Leuer met with members of the media Thursday in preparation for Friday's opening-round NCAA tournament game against Wofford.
A complete transcript of their remarks is below:
Jason Bohannon, Trevon Hughes, Jon Leuer
NCAA Press Conference - Quotes
THE MODERATOR: We'll start out with questions for the Wisconsin student athletes.
Q. Jon, I was just wondering, any update on your injury and how you're feeling?
LEUER: Yeah, my wrist is feeling great. Pretty much no pain anymore, and training staff did a great job in helping me out recovering. Yeah, it's fine?
Q. No brace or anything?
LEUER: I'll have it taped up, yeah.
Q. I was talking to some of the Wofford players earlier, and they've got a lot of guys from Minnesota, three players on their roster. Do you know some of these guys personally, and do you talk to them in the off season, and what's it going to be like to face some fellows that you may have already even before?
LEUER: Yeah, obviously I know they're from Minnesota. I know I've played with Jamar Diggs and Cameron Rundles a little bit. I played with them this summer a little bit. They're great guys, great players, and obviously Noah Dahlman was in my class, so I played against him in high school growing up a little bit. It's be fun to see them out on the court. We still have to compete and go at it hard. But it's fun to see those guys performing and playing well. But now I want to beat them.
Q. J-Bo, this Wofford team kind of knows that they're the underdog. In fact, one of the guys was saying he watched President Barack Obama fill out his bracket and he picked Wisconsin to beat Wofford. When you face teams that are considered the underdog and you guys are considered the favorite, does that change anything for you guys? I know you approach things a lot the same, but do you look at this game as we have to win this, and does it put any pressure on you guys?
BOHANNON: Any team in the NCAA tournament there's going to be a favorite and an underdog, and we're going to be a favorite for this one, but that doesn't change how we prepare for anything. We can't take them lightly. They're a very good basketball team. They play very smart basketball, and they know how to play. We can't expect anything different. We have to prepare the same way we always have and prepare for a very good game.
Q. For Trevon, are you aware of 12s, 13s, those kind of seeds? You've watched the tournament growing up and the last few years there have been a lot of upsets in those match ups?
HUGHES: I'll say yes, because the 12, 13 seeds plus, they have nothing to lose. They're just going out there to play like it's their last game, and basically that's how everybody is playing when they're in the tournament. The 65 teams are actually pretty good teams, so they're going to give it their all, plus the underdogs, they want to prove people wrong. We're usually the underdogs, so it's rare that we're the favorites in this one.
Q. Jon, this is a smaller team. They've got three guys listed at 6'9", but they don't play significant minutes. The rest of the guys are probably 6'6", if those are accurate heights. You guys out size them. How big of an advantage is that? Do you expect to have a big game?
LEUER: Well, any time we play, we want to dominate the paint and make our presence felt, all the bigs on our team want to make our presence felt inside. That's not going to change.
As far as we're going to try to obviously score in the post when we get it or make a play. They have guys that play a lot bigger than what their size might indicate. You know, it really doesn't matter. Once you get out there, you have to play physical and do the same things that make you successful, otherwise no matter how big a guy is, he can play harder than you and want it more. So you always have to just be ready and stay focused and play the game.
Q. Do you see Wofford as a deliberate type team, slower tempo, similar to you guys?
BOHANNON: I mean, they look for good shots. Whether that means they're deliberate or they get out and run, it really doesn't matter for them. If they're finding good shots and working the ball around, they're a good team. For us we're doing the same things. Coach doesn't tell us to slow down, we're just looking for good shots and trying to get the most out of our possession. That's certainly what we want to do in the tournament is make the most out of every possession offensively and defensively.
Q. Trevon, this being your final go around with the Badgers, you're going to be graduating, a lot of guys come in and they look at Sweet 16 run, that's a successful run, or Elite Eight. Do you guys go ahead and talk openly about getting to a Final Four or are you just trying to enjoy what's in front of you, or do you have that goal of we don't want to go home early?
HUGHES: We definitely don't want to go home early. It's a goal. We all want to make it to the Final Four. We all dream about making it to the Final Four. I've been here before. I've been to the first round, second round, Sweet 16. I want to go deeper than that. I want to go deeper than the Elite Eight. It's me and Jason's last go around, and in past years we've had another year to come back. This is it for us. We're going to have to come out and play with chips on our shoulders and hopefully our teammates feed off of us and we can make a good run, a deep run in this tournament.
Q. Jason, being your last time, as well, are you savoring the moments a little bit more maybe, the camaraderie, the hotel, being here in an environment like this?
BOHANNON: Certainly. Any time we're in an environment like this, we're trying to savor the moment. For the freshmen on the team, it's the first time they've been around it. Fortunately for me and Trevon, this is our fourth go around in the NCAA tournament. A lot of other teams don't necessarily get that chance. But each time we've been here, we've wanted to make the most of it and haven't wanted to take anything for granted, and that's certainly not going to be the case this time.
Q. Jon, you were talking about having grown up with Noah. How many times do you guys figure you've squared off with him, and is he one of those guys you're talking about who plays bigger than his size?
LEUER: Yeah, I played him I just remember in traveling tournaments, I'd see him every once in a while. I don't really know how many times we played. But as far as him playing bigger, he's definitely one of those guys that plays bigger. He's a tough match up. He can do a lot of different things. We're just going to have to prepare for him as best we can and hopefully try to limit what he can do.
Q. Trevon, because you've done this so many times and it's your fourth go around in the tournament, what have you learned from maybe tournaments past, and do you focus in more, or is now the time to kind of relax and not put pressure on yourselves? What have you learned maybe in the past that's going to help you in this tournament?
HUGHES: I think we're going to be more focused, especially me because I'm a point guard. You know, in the previous years I got a little antsy, wanted to get things done like my first year starting. It's my show, I have to run the team well. So it was kind of a little nerve factor in that one.
But right now, this is my fourth go around, so I know what to do. I know how to get it done, and my teammates, we've all been here. We've been fortunate enough to make it ten plus times. I think we've all got a good mindset coming into this game. We don't want to be all choked up like we came out last week, so we've got another chance to prove what we have, and I think we've got a good club.
Head Coach Bo Ryan
NCAA Press Conference - Quotes
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could give us an opening statement about the tournament and then we'll field some questions.
COACH RYAN: We're happy to be here in Jacksonville, needless to say. It's a beautiful city. They've been treating us real well since we arrived, and we're looking forward to playing. We know we've got another 40 minutes, and that's all we know.
Q. In your first eight years, how do you think your program has done in the NCAA tournament? When you stack all the accomplishments and setbacks, how do you feel you've done?
COACH RYAN: Well, there's only one team that doesn't get a setback out of the 64/65, so I don't know, you'd probably have to ask everybody else, how do you react one way or the other? We come in, we compete, we know we're one of the rare teams that's been able to prove their worth for four months to get here, and that's all I know. I'm not grading anything from past years or anything else. We'll just get ready to play this year's.
Q. Are coaches and programs judged on the NCAA tournament unfairly or fairly? Do you feel they're judged on what they do in the last month of the season?
COACH RYAN: I don't know. You know, there's a lot of people that make judgments that you could care less about what they judge anyhow. So we get to live in this. Everybody has got an opinion. We've been through this before. That's the way it is. We just know what we're trying to do as a staff. We know what our players are trying to do as a team. And there's nothing else on our mind right now thinking about the last eight years, how we're rated or I wouldn't know how to answer that.
Q. You played Wofford a couple years ago. The Wofford coach said it was kind of a nightmarish game to him; he was so happy to get out of town.
COACH RYAN: He only said that because of the uniforms we had on.
Q. Did you watch that game?
COACH RYAN: My assistant as the scout watched that game. I've watched all the current games. We had throw back uniforms on, I believe, that night, back to 1941 when we won the National Championship. Do you remember? No, okay.
And we watched it, and they beat Purdue, was it that year or the year before or the year after? They've been on the road and done some really neat things and won against South Carolina. They're a really good team. We're sitting there watching Old Dominion, we're watching Robert Morris, all these different games. When it comes to this time of year, every team is a winner, every team has good players, and just things fall in place. You never know how far you can go, or if things don't fall in place, you never know how short your trip can be. We're just trying to get ready, and what happened a couple years ago I don't think will have much effect here tomorrow. But it was an experience for both teams, and they did some different things during the year, we did some different things during the year, so now we're in 2010. We'll see what happens.
Q. Wofford's player Noah Dahlman is a Minnesota guy. He said his parents don't even have a TV, so they'll probably listen to the game on the radio. Wofford has got three guys in Minnesota, kind of in your backyard, and Wisconsin has four guys from Minnesota. How well do you know their players or were able to scout their players, and did you hear about their players, the Wofford kids from Minnesota, and as they were going through high school and their recruitment process? Do you know them pretty well?
COACH RYAN: Yeah, we're aware of them. A lot of them probably played on our campus in some of the team camps. A lot of guys that come through play during the June or July, whatever I think it's June. We have our individual camp, our advanced camp, things like that, guys from Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, wherever.
But with AAU basketball the way it is and the tournaments in the summer, I mean, you see a lot of players and you know of a lot of players, and each campus has X number of scholarships each year to give out.
And the nice part is every time you see a young man from anywhere that has a scholarship, you're thinking, that's pretty good for the family, a great experience for the young man, whether it's in South Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, wherever it is. It's all about what we're doing here these next four or five days on this trip and then the next trip if you get to play on. It's all about the experience.
Those guys were fortunate to get scholarships to Wofford and get the chance to play in the NCAA tournament right now. I'm sure they're thankful for it just like our guys are.
Q. This time of year do you worry more about your team and how it does and how it does since what you've worked on since October, or do you worry about the team you have to play tomorrow?
COACH RYAN: As the head coach, I worry about what we're doing. And that's a very good question because I know sometimes people get into this time of the year and they oh, we're playing a big team, we're playing a small team, we're playing a quick team. I think everybody has played a team similar to the team they're playing in the NCAA tournament. So it's still about the head coach making sure that what you're doing, you're refining that, tweaking it maybe a little, but going to your strengths.
The assistant coach that's in charge of the scout, he's the one that's presenting a different team out on the court for the past three days in practice. So his concerns are more with the other team. You present what they do, we're going to do our thing. I look at the practice tapes to see if there was something that was giving us some trouble, having of course already looked at other films on teams. But our assistants have done such a good job over the years of the nuances of the teams we're playing, especially when you're playing like a Northwestern. I think Greg Gard knows Northwestern's offense as well as anybody that's ever coached under Petey Carroll or any of his disciples. I worry about us because it's still on our points per possession, on our sometimes the ball doesn't go in. Sometimes it's you try to make that something that only happens every once in a while. But as we know, it can be streaky.
But defensively taking care of the basketball, that's giving us a chance to compete in most of our games.
Q. I watched your conference tournament and you suffered through one of the worst shooting games all year when you got beat, and I couldn't believe how you held your team together at the end, I really couldn't, to still have a chance to win the game. You shot the ball, you missed lay ups, you missed everything.
COACH RYAN: And you actually kept your TV on the whole game?
Q. I have a TV.
COACH RYAN: But you watched that whole game. If I was in an establishment serving beverages, I don't think I'd have been watching that game the last 10 minutes. So if you watched that game through the whole thing I had to watch it because I was coaching it. But you know, I appreciate what you said if you've ever coached for a long period of time, you know there are things that that happen. We have one shot, it's a tie game or we have a one point lead. I told the guys, I'm hard to impress, but you do impress me with that, but now we've got to get better. We can't let that happen again.
Q. Have you seen your father down here yet, or have you had a chance to catch up with him, because I understand you guys go to the Final Four together.
COACH RYAN: We do. We go every year. Last year is the first year he's missed. It was in Detroit, but I don't want you to quote me on saying the reason he missed it was because it was in Detroit. He could not get there, and he wasn't in the best of health.
But he's ready for Indianapolis. The plane tickets are all set. But he will not be here because the other day a player that he coached who has done pretty well asked him to present him at a Hall of Fame induction. My dad said, well, I can't, I'm down here in Fort Myers. Tough break, I know, but he couldn't get up there.
The guy flew down, got him a plane ticket, flew him back, and he's in Chester, Pennsylvania, right now at a Hall of Fame deal, and he can't be here. He's hoping we can go further.
Q. Talk about Noah Dahlman and his style of play and defending him tomorrow.
COACH RYAN: Tough player, good hands, uses angles well. He's a post player that yours truly I've had a couple like that, and he does the most with what he has, and any time you have a player that does that, you always know you can ride him. And they have other good players obviously, but he's done a very good job of executing his strengths to the team concept, and to become player of the year in a conference, you have to be doing something right. And his team wins, so...
Q. What does experience mean in this tournament, nine straight for you here, obviously the first for Wofford.
COACH RYAN: You know what, they've played in the conference tournament, they've played together for a while. It's not like there's a bunch of freshmen for them out there playing. They've been through this. They've played a lot of tough teams on the road. They've played out in Santa Clara, a neutral court. Plus players now coming into college have played in so many tournaments away from home like this.
So I don't think it's what it once was maybe when you say about experience. I just think these guys have played so much basketball now that I think that's neutralized. Just a personal opinion.
Q. When you look around, there's a lot of Philly coaches here. I mean, what's that like, and why do you think so many college coaches around Philly are coaching at this level?
COACH RYAN: Well, what we should probably tell the audience is anybody from Philly that sits in the stands thinks they're a coach. Have you ever met anybody from that area that didn't think they could coach? So you learn early about opinions.
You know, it's the playgrounds, the schools, the tradition, what the college coaches in the area, the Big 5 plus Drexel and Delaware not being too far away and Newark, you've got basketball in the water there. The Delaware River, when I was growing up you could walk across it not that anybody was supernatural, but it was so polluted. But you figured people stayed in gyms a little bit more or on the playgrounds. We didn't swim a lot. So everybody played a lot of basketball. McKinney, the Lynems, Westhead and all those guys, and I'm going to stop there because I'll miss another 900.
I grew up loving the game, I grew up across the street from Jack McKinney, my family and his member, and for those that remember Jack, basketball was just something in Chester, in that area, that once it got a hold of you, you were never going to let it go.
Q. Just to follow up on an earlier question, your father, Butch, who is he presenting at the awards banquet?
COACH RYAN: I think it's Tony Calise. Is that who it is? There's some other people going in, but I think it's Tony. Did you see the list?
Q. No, I'm going to check it out, though. Thanks.
COACH RYAN: You're welcome.
THE MODERATOR: That's all the time we have for Coach Ryan. Good luck, Coach. Thank you.