3/23: Florida’s Sweet 16 press conference quotes

By Adam Silverstein
March 24, 2011

Arriving in New Orleans, LA for their Sweet 16 match-up against the No. 3-seed BYU Cougars in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan along with senior Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin met with the media to discuss a number of topics. OGGOA has compiled most of those quotes for you below (click the link below) with the rest coming in a post Thursday afternoon.


QUOTES

Parsons on expectations and adjustments going into the season: ”Coach made it pretty clear that we weren’t going to have any expectations when we came in here because we came in here after arguably one of the best teams ever in college basketball, so he made it clear that we’re our own identity and we’re our own team. But at the same time, you feel pressure coming in after those guys, how good they were. I think it was just a learning process for us. We came in here young, a lot of freshmen were playing big minutes and had big roles, and I think it was just different for us, and I think we really learned from that. The biggest adjustment that I had to do from high school to college was probably strength, shots that are open in high school aren’t open in college. Guys are stronger, more physical.”

Tyus on expectations and adjustments going into the season: “Back then I felt like we didn’t have an older group of guys to lead us and guide us into knowing how to win, and I think that was the key coming in was just thinking that everything would be easy when we were freshmen. “

Tyus on the journey to get to where they are now: It’s been a long haul, but [I’m] really excited about how everything played out and how things are right now. But back then I felt like there were different journeys that came along. I think me and Chandler really did a good job of just moving forward, handling different challenges since we got here since our freshman year.”

Parsons on Donovan leaving for Orlando, going to the NIT for two years and the struggles: “Going in with that whole thing with Coach Donovan going to the Magic, that was definitely crazy because when you commit to a school you’re also committing to the coach. So that was definitely shocking. He calls you one day and says he’s going, and the next day he says he’s coming back. So it was just exciting. It was a difficult and weird time. When we came in here, everything we’ve been through together as a team, and me and Alex going through that whole process has really helped us grow and humbled us and has made us the players and the team that we are today.”

Tyus on being contacted by the Oh Fours: “We talked to Al Horford before the SEC championship game and he gave us some good words of advice. I think those guys look out. I think they’ve been watching us play through our journey. “

Parsons on being contacted by the Oh Fours: “Those guys, they’re great. They’ll stay in touch; they send text messages or through Twitter just stay in touch with us and let us know how they’re playing or how they think we’re doing, mostly just being supportive.”

Parsons on getting to know Jimmer Fredette over the summer: “He’s a really good kid. I’ve known him since 15 years old and we played against them in AAU. He played on Albany City Rocks with Talor Battle and Mark Lyons. And I played on the team for us and we were always going at it in the AAU circuit. This summer he was at LeBron camp with me and Vernon. I think he’s a really good player. He’s just a really good player, he’s tough, he’s smart, he’s got crazy range on his jump shot, and I just think when you’re guarding him you can’t let him get a lot of easy baskets, not give him any easy looks and really just try to contain him because he’s been doing this all year long basically for the last two years against everybody, so he’s a great player and a great scorer, so we’ve just got to do our best to contain him.”

Parsons on BYU kicking out Brandon Davies for pre-marital sex: ”Rules are rules, so he knew what he was doing. It’s something that we can’t worry about really because he’s not playing in the game tomorrow and that’s really none of my business. Yeah, that’s it.”

Donovan’s opening statement: ”It’s an exciting time for any team that can move on and advance in this tournament. We’re playing against a team tomorrow that there is a level of familiarity with, just from having the opportunity to play against them last year. They’ve got obviously a terrific player, arguably the best player in college basketball, in Jimmer Fredette. I think he’s done some terrific things for the game and for young kids, just the kind of kid he is, his work ethic and what he’s been able to do, and he gets a lot of publicity and a lot of exposure and deservedly so. But I also think they’ve got a terrific team. They’ve got players that I think when you get to this point in time of the season, certainly you’ve got to be good players, and he gets a lot of attention, but they’ve got other very, very good players.”

Donovan on if Fredette reminds him of himself as a player: “He’s a lot better than I was, I’ll tell you that. He is – I think the one comparison between he and I that I could maybe see was just – last year finding out a little bit more about him because he started to kind of get the kind of attention he’s gotten this year was I’ve always admired his work ethic and I’ve admired his love and passion for the game. He’s a better player this year than he was a year ago. And I think it’s so hard for young people when they have a high level of success, individual success and team success, to be able to come back the next year and understand the importance of what the off-season means in terms of his improvement. […] I would say I was probably somebody that loved the game just like he loved the game. Problem for me was I just wasn’t as good as he was.”

Donovan on what makes Fredette a good shooter: “Like any great shooter, he’s probably taken thousands and thousands of shots, and he’s got great confidence and belief in himself. I think a lot of it has to do with the coaching staff and with Coach [Dave] Rose, having that kind of confidence in him. I think as a young player you need a coach to give you confidence as a shooter. I think the other thing is he’s got the ability. You know, there’s certain guys that have an ability to put the ball in the basket, and he’s got the ability to put the ball in the basket in a lot of different ways: runners, off balance shots, fade aways, post-up, drives to the basket, deep, deep threes. He has a knack for putting the ball in the basket, and he can do it at a very, very high level.”

Donovan on if Florida has an edge having faced Fredette before: “I don’t know if it gives us an edge because I would say this: The last time we saw him he is drastically better now. That’s the thing that’s impressive is that he’s a better player now. Our guys understand that he can score in a variety of different ways. We’ve seen that. I actually thought last year we did a pretty decent job for the first 40 minutes of the game when the game went into overtime, he had 23 points.”

Donovan on difficulty recruiting if his players could not have premarital sex: “[Laughing] I’m not going to get into that. I mean, I don’t know. First of all, I don’t really talk about any of that stuff, either. I’ll pass on that one.“

Donovan on how proud of he is of the seniors: Well, I’m really proud of those guys. I think the one thing you want to see as a coach is you want to see guys get better. They have individually gotten better and our team has gotten better and they’ve been a big part of that. But really I think it’s been an incredible ride for those four guys because I don’t know if you can really enjoy the good times unless you’ve had some difficult times. […] I give those guys credit, Chandler and Alex, they battled through the adversity that they had to learn and they had to go through. And they probably have a much higher level of appreciation for winning right now because of what they went through, and I think the other thing that can be a great confidence builder for them not only playing the game but in life is they’ve learned a great lesson about perseverance and resiliency and battling through difficult times, and that if you stay the course and you have a belief in what you’re doing, however long it may take, there can be some positive results that may come from it. And I think that they really hopefully through this experience with their four years here, they’ve learned a lot that they can carry on into their life.”

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