Nov. 26, 2008
OKLAHOMA POSTGAME QUOTES
Q. Blake, do you want to talk about the last five minutes, you guys were down by two and you put the game away and still you had the lay up for the dunk?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I feel like we just settled down and executed and really got it going on the defensive end first. Like you said, that steal, I think we had a couple of flexions and really that's the key to us really putting the team away like that is getting stops on the defensive end and taking care of the ball and converting.
Q. Blake, I know you haven't had time to think about them but everybody watches everybody on TV. Could you talk about the match-up playing Purdue on Friday?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: They're a great team, a team that executes well. They're well coached. I mean obviously as you guys saw in the first game, they do a good job in a lot of areas, so we're going to have to be on our game, and like I said before, we really need to make --
Q. You're a sophomore, Hummel, Moore and Johnson. Did you play a lot of AE ball, same circuits those guys did?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I did. We went to several camps. I don't know if I ever played them, their actual team. I went to several camps with both of them. They're both really good players.
Q. As far as the way that the first half played out, what did you guys feel you needed to do to shift the momentum so that you guys could get back on top?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Really buckle down on defense. We did a poor job overall on defense in the first half. We did a bad job in transitioning. Also our coach stressed getting the ball inside and kind of working inside out, whether it's post passes or penetrating.
Q. In your opinion when he's on (Cade Davis) and you're on, how potent is that?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: I'm not sure. Just I know it makes it a whole lot easier when he's on, and most of the time he is. And you can tell when he comes in the game because the other coach, the coach on the other team is always like, that's the shooter, they have an awareness for him. They're always running the guys at him when he catches on the perimeter, so they can't clog the lane when he's in.
Q. What is it like playing with a guy this dominant down low on your team?
CADE DAVIS: It makes things a lot easier. He's getting doubles every game and he'll have that the rest of this year, and his career, and, like I said, it doubled down, and leaves me open outside there, and really don't have to force anything while he's in the game, and you know, with such a good player like he is, he can dribble out of the double team and find the open man, which is good if we're knocking down shots and like he said, it has to leave those guys coming back out to us and it freezes him up inside.
Q. People are going to talk about Blake's moves or his ability to block and get rebounds but are there some intangible things that people don't know that much about with him, his will, the way he can put his will on the game or the character that he shows?
CADE DAVIS: Having him be the best player he has to be, the hardest worker, and he is day in and day out. He comes in to practice trying to push everybody and trying to push himself. He's trying to make everybody better along with him.
His drive, his energy that he provides on the floor is really important for him to be that leader out there, and he's done a great job of it.
Q. Blake, I saw in your locker room you guys have signs posted over your locker. Does that remind you guys to play 40. Is that something you guys have going in your head, when you guys are back and forth?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: Definitely. That's something coach stresses. Since we've been here he always talks about playing 40 minutes. You can come out and have the best half of your life but if you couldn't finish it out, it really doesn't mean anything. So I guess you could say that one of our team mottos, I guess is playing a full tough 40 minutes.
Q. Jeff, Blake was talking about working the ball from inside out. It seemed like for a while that disappeared which a lot of people would think is strange with Blake on the inside. How do you keep that focus with your guys?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: We have to constantly tell them to remind them. So many good things happen when Blake touches the ball for us. He's a guy that shoots a high percentage. He's a guy that you have to double. If not, he's going to score all night, and he's going to get your whole team in foul trouble, and when he doubles, when he gets doubled, one of the things that's so great about him, he's not a pit, he's not a black hole. It doesn't just go in. He's hunting. He does a good job of moving the ball. He passes the ball and he's a guy that's genuinely happy for his teammates.
When he made that pass late in the game to Tony Crocker 4-3, I don't think there was anyone happier on the floor not just because that was a big shot in that moment but Crocker was struggling. So we needed him to play well so that was big in the game but also for Tony Crocker, and Blake's a guy that understands that. So it showed confidence for him to make that pass in that situation.
Q. You've been around college basketball obviously for a pretty good number of years. Does Blake remind you of somebody that you competed against or you coached against?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: No. No one that I competed against or coached against, no.
I mean he's different. He's unique. That's the one word I always use when I describe him when people ask is "unique," and I can go on and on explaining what I mean by that, but the fact that he decided not to turn pro and come back to college is incredibly unique. His drive to be the best is unique. I haven't seen a guy like that, and I played with some great players. His work ethic is very unique for someone his age. He's just 19 years old.
Obviously he's been incredibly blessed with talent, but he's done a really good job of trying to max out with that talent, and the scarey part about it is I think he's just starting to scratch the surface. So I think he has a chance to be one of the great ones. I really do. I thought it from the first time I saw him play when he was a junior in high school. He has a chance to be special, and he's certainly gotten off to a tremendous start for us, but I'm not really surprised about by it.
Q. Do you think he's the best player in the country?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: I've said that. Obviously I'm biased. I've said that every day. I know there's some other really good ones and some other great ones but when you combine the package of everything, I wouldn't trade him for anyone. There's not one guy in college basketball. There's not one guy playing basketball I'd trade him for. Maybe LeBron, but...(laughs)
But no, I do think he's the best, but again, I'm biased.
Q. Looking at Purdue, it would seem that you guys have a bit of an advantage size wise with Blake. What do you expect will happen?
COACH JEFF CAPEL: They're really good. I got a chance to watch them a little bit earlier. They're so well coached. They're physical. They have big guards. They shoot it. They understand how to play and they've been together. It's a team that had a lot of success last year together, and now they're a year older.
It's funny, Matt and I were talking yesterday, Painter. We played each other my first year here. I think it was Matt's second year in Maui and we joked how much better our teams are now. Back then we were both new programs and trying to get our guys in there, and you know, I'm certainly happy for Matt and the success that he's had at Purdue, and they're a really, really good team and we're going to have to be a lot better than we've been all year to have a chance to beat them.
UAB POSTGAME QUOTES
COACH MIKE DAVIS: I thought the first half we played well, and the last possession before the first half we turned it over, and they scored a couple easy baskets, but I think Coach Capel did an outstanding job when he went to the zone late in the game. It really hurt us. We really kind of stood around a little bit, and we had about 3 or 4 shots, I thought. We needed them to go in and kind of run it out, but you have to give Oklahoma a lot of credit. They're a well-coached basketball team, and they made plays and shots when they needed to make plays and shots.
But I'm proud of my team. I thought we fought hard. There was one stretch during the second half where we didn't push the basketball. It was my fault. We came down probably about 5 or 6 possessions, just trying to set things up instead of getting into an open-court game because the Open court game is our strength. So this is definitely a game that we can learn from and get better as a basketball team.
Q. Can you just talk about playing against Blake Griffin and what it's like playing against him, what he brings to the table?
PAUL DELANEY III: Blake's a great player. He's physical. He did what he's supposed to do. He did exactly what our coaches tell us to do and we played certain ways and he carried his team on his back. He did a great job.
Q. Have you encountered anybody else like him in college basketball right now that plays the way he does?
PAUL DELANEY III: Not throughout our first four games, no.
Q. Could you guys talk a little about you've been on the road for every game so far. How much will it help you down the road having played tough teams on the road and playing at home, how much you guys have bonded to become a better team?
PAUL DELANEY III: I think help us become a great team. Of course we've got room for improvement but at the same time our bonding is there. Our chemistry is there. We have to clean up certain aspects of our game. When we go home hopefully we'll have all this straightened out, so we'll have a good game at home. Only one player answered questions.
Q. Coach, what was the difference down the stretch in the last five minutes. You guys played it was back and forth and then they went out running at the end of the game?
COACH MIKE DAVIS: I thought we missed some shots that probably should have gone in, but I thought Coach Capel did a great job of going to the zone. Once he went to the zone we kind of stood around a little bit and we didn't get the movement that we needed against the zone, and we ended up taking shots that was not high-percentage shots. So we got one attempt and they got 2 or 3, and just Blake Griffin just carried the basketball team.
And Davis, number 34, made some big time shots for them, I mean really big shots for them. We doubled the post, kicked it out and during that one stretch where they were missing some open shots, we didn't capitalize on it, but he hit -- I mean the one he missed I think everybody in the crowd was kind of -- I mean the fans were kind of surprised he missed the one he missed because he had made like three and a row. Anytime you have a big time player like Blake Griffin, he's got lay ups and dunks?
Q. Mike, how difficult is he to stop down low especially when he's that deep close to the basket?
COACH MIKE DAVIS: I mean I hate to put a name on it. Karl Malone was a great player, I mean great player, but I mean if he reminds me of anyone, I'm not saying he's Karl Malone, but he's pretty good, the best I've seen. He's so physical. He made some shots early in the game -- he carried them. He carried them. I mean he scored -- at half time he was good. He had eight points almost at half time and he gave his teammates time to kind of adjust to our speed.
I thought we surprised them early in the game at how fast our team was in transition, but he's a big-time player.
Q. Coach, do you think he's the best player in the country right now?
COACH MIKE DAVIS: Well, he's the best we've seen. (Laughs) I've never seen a physical specimen like that in college. We've played some guys that was big and strong, but he's like, whoosh, he's like 32 years old.
And I mean he's under control. He's really, really, really good, I mean really good?
Q. What was your mindset defensively coming into the game?
COACH MIKE DAVIS: What we wanted to do, and we didn't execute. I don't want to take anything from them. I don't because they played a heck of a game but our game plan was for the guy that was guarding them, not to let him go baseline, and if you noticed he went baseline every time. What we wanted to do was take baseline from the person that was defending him and bring the help to the top, push them to the middle so he could come right to the help. But he, spinned, spinned, spinned and he was getting layups on the baseline and we couldn't get the double team a couple times because when we were doubling from the furthest, the closest elbow and if you double from the closest elbow, you're going down on him, and so if you're going down on him you're going baseline, you don't get a double team. You want him to come back to the middle, no matter which side he was on, he was going baseline. So we just didn't execute. And that's not taking anything from him, trust me. I'm just saying we wanted him to go to the middle instead of baseline and he got baseline every single possession almost.
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