March 18, 2013
Senior Forward Solomon Hill
On playing in Salt Lake City for the Opening Round:
"It's great to see that we're in the west. Our fans did a great job showing up in Las Vegas. The majority of the gym was Arizona fans, so location is always big. I don't think we can think too much on who we're playing because every game is going to be a war from here on out. I love our location, I love our seeding and I can't complain about anything."
"They have a great scorer, a very efficient player. They can shoot the ball from every position. They are a tough playing team. They are an excellent free-throw shooting team, but they are a smaller yet faster team. We have a great chance against them especially with our height and our ability to rebound the ball. If they decide to live by the three-point line, we have done a great job, especially in the last tournament, at keeping teams off the three-point line. I don't know the numbers against UCLA, but I know they didn't have a good game at the three-point line. From the way we have been playing these past couple games, we are ready for any challenge."
On teams relying on jump-shots when playing in neutral sites:
"You never know, you look at the numbers from the other team and their leading scorers, they have a 46% three-point shooter and a 90% free-throw shooter [Ian Clark]. I'm guessing he's a player that can get going anywhere he plays. Their team is a heavy three-point shooting team and you never want to let them weigh on that option and hope that they miss shots. Our job is to make our shots from their missed shots and close in hard on them. Don't let them get hot and be more aggressive than them."
On Arizona's inconsistency in defending the three pointer:
"We have to be aggressive on defense. Going back to the Colorado game, our team did a good job to throw them off when they shot beyond the line. One of the threes that Colorado had was towards the end of the game and Askia Booker hit a three, but it was more of a desperation attempt. We did a great job, especially keeping Spencer Dinwiddie off the three-point line. That's one thing that we learned from that game as well is keeping teams off the free-throw line. Belmont is a team that you don't want to give possession to at the free-throw line because they knock them down at a high percentage and that can be the difference like the UCLA game."
On Belmont from watching film:
"I haven't watched a whole lot on Belmont yet, but we're watching game film tonight before practice. But a team that they remind me of is Washington State because of their ability to shoot the ball from so many positions. It made them deadly. You look at Washington State's game against UCLA and how heavy the guard scoring was for them. They are a team that if they get hot, it could be a long night for the opponent. I haven't been able to make a strong connection yet from Belmont to any other team, but we know that from watching the seeding and interviews that it seems Belmont is a high-three point shooting team. In the NCAA tournament, they are number one in three-points made and three-point percentage. It's going to be a big challenge for us and I am ready to accept the challenge. Our team, especially Nick [Johnson] and the defense that he's been playing lately, will be motivated to defend the three."
On national media making Belmont a trendy upset pick:
"I was thinking about that myself and various commentators and media outlets have their own job to do. It doesn't affect anybody on the team or how we feel about the game. They have a job to do and they are doing their job. Whatever they say is a part of what they do as a professional and it doesn't affect me or how I play on the court. Everyone on our team knows that we're a great team. People are always going to throw things out like that because everyone is there to play. The fact is that we're there to win just like everybody else."
On the veteran experience of Belmont:
"Against a team like Belmont, you have to get at them early. You don't want them to hang around. It was a couple of years ago that Belmont took Duke down to the wire. Last year, they played against Georgetown. You just have to get at them early. When they make their runs, we need to respect it and make our respected run. Our pace has to be a little different. In the first halves of the two games in the Pac-12 tournament, we played excellent basketball. In the second halves, we played not so well. We have to keep our pace up, keep running and not slow the ball down. If we slow the ball down, we give other teams the opportunity to get going. We really need to keep our foot on the gas and have a complete game."
On Thursday's game being fast-paced:
"It will definitely be a fast-paced game. You look at the scoring margin against UCLA; we did a great job in the first half. Then, Jordan Adams took control in the second half and our scoring production was down in the second half. If we continue to keep running, keep getting the stops and keep getting the breakout lay-ups, then we keep fueling our offense. When we are more standing still and try to run down the clock and get the game over, it really hurts us. It doesn't play into our style of basketball."
On the outcome against UCLA affecting the motivation of the team:
"Definitely not. It was hard to be mad at the situation because we played great basketball. Brandon Ashley played one of his best games since he has been here. Grant Jerrett really showed that it isn't all about offense, but when we needed him to make a shot, he was there for us. Mark Lyons played a great game. Nick Johnson was great defensively and he did a great job on Larry Drew. UCLA is a great team and they have some great young and talented players. I feel for them for the Jordan Adams situation because of the performance that he put on that night. Our team learned from that game. Brandon really stepped up that night and Kaleb [Tarczewski] stepped up in rebounding. I couldn't be mad because we played hard."
On the team currently playing at a high-level:
"It started when we played in Los Angeles. We had a week to prepare for Arizona State and we had the same type of mentality against ASU. Then, we just brought it in the Pac-12 tournament. Ever since that game in Pauley Pavilion, we've been playing with a different mindset and playing harder. If we had a few shots go our way, we might have had a different outcome in the tournament. On the defensive side, we're almost getting there. "
On Coach Sean Miller's statement that he has never been more motivated to coach this team:
"We're going to rally behind our coach regardless of any situation. You look at the situation we are in with me, Kevin [Parrom], Mark [Lyons], Max [Wiepking] and Quinton [Crawford] are at our last games. The big players are playing great basketball. Nick Johnson is getting back to form. You will be motivated as a coach to see your team play great basketball and have another opportunity to chase the opportunity to cut the nets down. Our coach really saw in our performances from last week that we're getting back to where he wants us to be."
On Coach Sean Miller's behavior in the UCLA postgame press conference:
"You have to be understandable towards that situation, to lose a game like that and lose the chance to improve our seeding and cut the nets down. Deep down, I was frustrated as well with what happened, but coach is a professional and he has a way to express himself. It's something that we learned from and our team understood the magnitude of the game and the situation that we were in. Hopefully, we can bring the same type of intensity to Thursday's game."
On the team's familiarity with the EnergySolutions Arena:
"Our last game there wasn't anything that we should be familiar with but hopefully, we can learn from that and learn from the three-point performance that Jimmer [Fredette] put on and not let that happen again."
On the freshmen making their first NCAA tournament appearance:
"I haven't really talked to them about it yet, but I talked a bit about the games that they've been playing great basketball, not to be too upset with themselves and to keep the same mindset. With the tournament, you can't really speak on it. You have to let them experience it themselves and guide them in the right direction. The main thing that I tell them is to have fun. This is the game you love during the biggest time and this is everything that you've worked for. Don't let it get to you and just go out there and play your game."
On the first-time experience in the NCAA Tournament:
"Nothing really struck me, except maybe the fan support. Going to Anaheim and having the section that we had, it was a great moment. To this day, I still feel bad for losing in front of a crowd like that and losing in Las Vegas will be something that I will remember as well. Just making the most of it, just going out there and leaving everything on the court and after the game, not feeling upset about the performance. If you leave everything out there, then you did everything that you can control."
Junior Guard Jordin Mayes
On recent defensive performance and role coming off the bench:
"This whole season, my defense has been good and I started to like playing defense. Belmont has good players that play my position and I'm looking forward to go out that there and guard them."
On the developing an interest to playing defense:
"It was just during the season when I was stopping players from getting to the basket. I was pressuring players from the top of the key and when I was stopping them, I started to see that I liked doing it. I don't remember a specific game, but it was during a series of games that I kept guards out of the paint and holding guys to not shoot as much. Once I started to see that I was playing defense, I started to really like it."
On players coming into college liking to play defense:
"I can't tell you if that is true or not, but some players come in already liking to play defense and some players really have to learn. I wasn't always a good defensive player, but I just got better over the years."
On national media making Belmont a trendy upset pick:
"I've heard comments on it but I don't pay attention to that stuff too much. Belmont is a good team and they're in the tournament. We're a good team and we're in the tournament. We just got to come out, play hard and step up on the defensive end to stop them from shooting threes."
On the balance of the team:
"Everybody is stepping his game up, as far as me coming off the bench and being productive, the big men getting rebounds and being productive down low. It's a plus and gives us an advantage. We all feed off each other so it's a good thing. It shows on the court that when we play together, we can beat anybody."
On comparison between forms against Texas in 2011 and now:
"I am better than I was in my freshman year. Right now, I am playing good basketball and being productive, and early in the season, I wasn't being productive. I showed life during the UCLA game and it felt good to be out there and to score and help my team to play well. We had a good week of practice where we were competitive. But I feel that I am a lot better than my freshman year. I am more of a leader, being more talkative. I am pushing the ball more up the court, getting more players involved and on the defensive end; I am more willing to sit down and go after the ball."