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F4 talks: What the coaches said

Autore: Raffaele Fante
Data: 1 Apr, 2017

There are three first-timers, and Roy Williams might school them all with his ninth appearance and 520 Final Four minutes coached, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s not just about the teams and how they play, the way their coaches talk do tell why they are here: Frank Martin is a S. O. B., Dana Altaman is poised, Mark Few and his monkey, and the histrionic Williams.

All of them had obviously things to say during the week, so here is what they said.

Frank Martin, South Carolina

The ex maths teacher: “I’m not one of those guys that believes in pressure when you’re playing the game. I said this a long time ago and I’ll say it again: You know what pressure is? Thirty-five students, 27 desks, 188 textbooks, 180 days. You’ve got to educate every single kid in that classroom for 180 days. That’s pressure”.

Things change: “I find it comical that I’ve got so many new friends now and how the stories have changed from he’s a yeller and screamer and demeaning to he’s a passionate man”.

Stubborn by trade: “I spoke with Billy Donovan and Huggins yesterday so they can kind of give me perspective as to how to best manage this week. I’m still going to mess up stuff because I’m a stubborn S.O.B and I’m eventually going to do stuff my way”.

Open book: “I’m an open book, if people want to judge me based on a 30-second clip on the sideline out of a 40-minute game out of a 24-hour day, that’s their prerogative. Anybody that wants to get to know me has that opportunity. Anyone who wants to judge me has that right. The people who sit back and do the criticizing of the people who make mistakes are declaring who they are”.

No fear: “Our guys haven’t been scared to step up onto every stage that has been put in front of them. I don’t expect them to be intimidated by it. On the contrary, they are enjoying every single minute of this ride. They don’t want it to end. They are fearless in their approach every day. It’s going to awesome”.

Sindarius for MVP: “Sindarius Thornwell is our most intelligent player. I don’t mean to demean our other guys saying that. He understands basketball at a high, high level. He doesn’t need to be on the practice court to understand what we’re doing”.

Mark Few, Gonzaga

No more monkey: “I don’t think my wife thinks I have (a monkey), or anybody in my family, close friends. Fishing buddies never talk about it. It’s not about me and my monkeys and my dogs and my cats; it’s about (Gonzaga’s players)”.

Mark’s pride: “My stance all along has been that if you’re good enough, then eventually it’s going to happen. We wanted to stay nationally relevant. We’ve done that year after year after year. That’s probably what I’m most proud of. Eventually, you’ll kick the door down and break through like we did this year”.

Karnowski’s miracle: “There was a very high probability that he was not going to play basketball again. All of us coaches, players, coaches’ wives, were huge in this (recovery) process, going over and giving him a little TLC with his parents not being around. We were really truly hoping for just a normal, active life. I was really worried about depression and things like that. Emotionally, he wasn’t in a great place. Going from those dark days to right now, it literally is miraculous, and I’m not using the term lightly”.

Roy Williams, North Carolina

All I know – “I know that they’re going to play extremely hard. I know that they’re going to be unselfish. And I know that the best shooters are going to take the most shots. And I think that’s what I remember about Dana’s teams. But it’s, again, nobody believes me – I haven’t watched any of their games yet. That’s just who I am and I what I do”.

Circular history – “You know, I was on the staff here in ’81 when we lost the national championship game, we went back in ’82 and won it. … 2008, I was coaching on the team and we lost and we went back in 2009 and won it. But there’s probably a lot of times there that that didn’t happen, either. But I think our kids really used it a great deal as motivation during the off-season”.

A bunch of idiots – “The seriousness of Marcus is gone, the quietness of Brice is gone. Now it’s Theo and Joel and those guys, and I mean, it’s comedy express out there half the time. So they’re closer together because they’re all idiots. And me with them, I guess. So it’s my kind of team”.

Ball-fighting – “I lost a battle yesterday at practice. That’s the reason I have a bruised lip — if you take close-ups, my wife didn’t hit me, I assure you. I kicked the ball, the ball hit me right in the face, and I went down like you would have thought Muhammad Ali hit me. But other than that life is good.”

The loss to Villanova – “Therapeutic is probably the proper word. Because I always say it’s just made it a lot better. But we’ve had some junk swirling around that I haven’t enjoyed or appreciated or felt good about things that were being said. But I could lose myself when I went out on the court with those guys”.

Dana Altman, Oregon

The best is yet to come – “I think we can play better than we showed against Kansas. Casey Benson can give us more. Payton Pritchard can give us more. And Dillon Brooks can certainly give us more. We can still show more than we’ve shown”.

The hateful one – “I didn’t have many highlights as a player. I was awful. I would have sure hated to coach me”.

Friends helping out – “I was on the phone with Lon Kruger last night trying to get some advice, and Mike Montgomery this morning. Two coaches (that have) been to the Final Four, just trying to get some thoughts on what to avoid and what to embrace”.

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