March 24, 2009
Head Coach Russ Pennell
"I'm happy to be doing my 34th interview of the day (smiles). This is the sixth NCAA tournament that I've been to as a coach and I understand the extra stuff that goes along with it. It's just good to have this opportunity to still be playing."
"I think in many ways we're a Cinderella. We've gone through a lot and there are some great storylines. I certainly think that our talent level is not Cinderella. When you start that basketball game, it's just a basketball game. I'm just going to treat it like we have all year."
"I think Kyle (Fogg) is a guy who can fit wherever you need him. He's so coachable. He's been a huge key to our success."
"Nic (Wise) is always a big part of the things we do. He does need to have a big game for us, but Nic likes it when he's told he can't do something."
"One of the biggest blessings was losing that first game (in the Pac-10 tournament) and getting that extra rest. Couple that with getting selected into the tournament and that gives a great boost."
"You're going to see a sea of red shirts (at Lucas Oil Stadium). I'll just tell our guys it's Arizona red."
"As Jordan (Hill) gets older and stronger, you'll see a prototypical NBA power forward. If he improves as much over the next couple years as he did over the last year he'll be in a good place. He has matured as much as a person as a basketball player. Every one likes him and enjoys being around him. He just enjoys life and I think that makes him a great basketball player."
"I think they're relaxed and I think they're comfortable. They're relishing in all of this, but I don't think they're satisfied. They know the magnitude of it all. We just have to make sure to keep then as even keel as we can."
"They really embrace the challenges. They like that. In the big game it doesn't take a speech from me to get them going. When they came to Arizona they came to win a national championship and they came here to play in the big games. These kids have played in the big games and they aren't scared of it."
"These guys genuinely care for one another and like one another."
"We do have a good story. What I really hope comes across is that in life you get dealt some tough things. You have to make the best out of every situation. I hope the guys learn a life lesson from this because all of us go through it."
Junior Forward Chase Budinger
When asked if this season were like a Hollywood script, how would he have written it?
"I would have written a script kind of like this year. I told the coaches at the beginning of the year that this season was going to be something special and the ending is still up in the air."
"We don't consider ourselves a Cinderella. We feel we can play with anyone and the label of Cinderella doesn't come to mind."
"We know they (Louisville) are a heck of a team, good guards, good big men."
"This is a good opportunity to show people we're better that what they're been saying all year. We're rising to the occasion."
"You want to play your best basketball at the end of the season. Our defense has improved and people are stepping up for us."
"Just being on a team like this is so special. It was one of my goals to win a game in the tournament and one of the reasons I came back."
"We've got nothing to lose and that's how we have to play. Play loose and play to our strength. That's what we've been doing and need to keep playing that way. It can't get any better than playing in the tournament and being in the spotlight."
On the waiting for Selection Sunday after losing in the Pac-10 Tournament:
"Those days couldn't have been any longer. It was a frustrating time, it was stressful. I think (getting into the tournament) really sparked our team. It's done a lot to carry us through."
On Nic Wise:
"He's stepped up tremendously for us. He's playing at his top level and leading our team right now. Without him I don't think we'd be here."
"Any time we get that extra help from someone it really elevates our team. Jamelle's (Horne) confidence is up and I think he'll play well. The same with Kyle (Fogg)."
"Our focus and preparations for the bigger teams are better. Our team knows we need to be ready to play."
"I'm definitely more relaxed. I was able to get that first tournament win. I'm a better player when I'm relaxed. We've got nothing to lose. We don't see our selves as a No. 12 seed. We see ourselves as one of the last 16 teams left."
"I'm just going to look at this season as a learning experience and look back to all I've learned and go from there."
"Coach (Russ) Pennell has done a great job. He's always been positive even in the lowest of lows. Without his leadership I don't think we'd be here."
Junior Forward Jordan Hill
"They're (Louisville) a real good team, especially defensively. We'll have to have everyone step up."
On what it took to go from unheralded recruit to where he is today:
"It took a lot of hard work. When I first came in no one knew who I was. I've really had to prove who I was. I always thought I was a pretty good player and I knew it would come out (by) coming to Arizona. I just have to keep working hard."
"I do feel relaxed about where we are. People were doubting us and didn't believe we should be in the tournament. We're doing the best we can to show we belong."
"In my mind I felt that with my athleticism I should be averaging a double-double. I don't worry about what people say, I just concentrate on what I need to do. I never take any opponent lightly. I just go out there and try to be prepared and stay ready."
On Jamelle Horne:
"He's been doing his thing and feeling good. Jamelle's a guy that should average seven or eight rebounds a game. When he's playing well on the court it's a positive for us."
On Chase Budinger:
"He's stepping up a lot for us. He's taking on that leadership role for us."
"This is definitely the best season of my life with what we've been through and what we've accomplished. We've played as a family and decided we were going to do this for us."