Some Pre-Duke Quotes

3/3/2010 9:43:52 AM As promised (even though I'm a little late), here are some quotes I got from the Duke presser yesterday. It was my first one of these, and it was pretty cool. There were about 25 reporters (including familiar Terp faces like Patrick Stevens, Seth Hoffman, Steve Yanda and Jeff Barker), a bunch of cameras and Chick Hernandez, and Jay Bilas was just chilling in the corner waiting for his exclusive interview with Gary and getting to observe practice. Also, Bilas is massive in person. He looks smallish on TV, but he's broad and enormous. He also looks older without all the makeup on. Go figure.

Okay quote time:

From Gary

On Greivis:

“He’s been a player who’s always wanted to get better. Some guys get here with a great reputation and they don’t work hard to keep improving because they think they’re good enough, but Greivis has always had the goal to be the best player that he could be. The only thing I did was I always told him that there is always another level to get to for any player, and he’s bought into that.”

When asked, "Was there any point early on in his career that he did something crazy on the court or in the office that you were thinking 'What have I gotten myself into?'"

Gary: "How many times?"

On ACC PoY:

“Duke’s the fourth-ranked team in the country, and if Scheyer or (Duke forward Kyle) Singler get that award, how could you say that was wrong? I mean, look what they’ve done for their team. I know in terms of value to the team, I think Greivis has been tremendous for us, what he’s done for our team. Player of the Year, I think it’s debatable.”

On this team:

"We're pleased with the way our players have developed this year in terms of continuing to work as you go through the season. That's something you always try to get them do no matter what your talent level is at the start of the season. You just want to be the type of team that tries to get better each week you play, and I think our guys have done that."

“They’re a special team. To watch what they’ve done in terms of their intensity level every day in practice, what I get to see, and how they are every day with each other... Regardless of their record, they’re a special team.”

On tonight's game:

"Zoubek should get some credit because he's worked hard to get where he is, and they're a different team this year because of their defense. They're a much tougher defensive team because they have much more inside players that they can rotate through there. Foul trouble is not a problem with the inside players. His rebounding, especially his offensive rebouding, gives them a different look. If you can make a team miss and you know you're going to get the rebound, then all you have to do is make a team miss because you know you're going to get the rebound. We have to work a lot harder in rebounding in this game if we expect to do well."

From Vasquez:

"This game is obviously going to be one of the most important games of our season. We're playing a great team, with a great coach and great players, and we're looking forward to playing the game."

On his attitude on Senior Night:

"It means a lot to me just because I want to win. It's not going to be any different from any of the other games. It's Duke, I mean, obviously we want to beat Duke, but more than anything else I just want to win. It's about winning, it's not about anything else."

"This is new for me. Now I'm going to be the one walking and being involved with the whole ceremony, and I just, you know, I'm praying that everything works out not only for me but my teammates, the other two seniors. We had a great career here at Maryland, and I can't really control much, I just hope that God just keeps everybody under control, not really emotional because it's our last game. It's hard. It's tough."

On the feeling on campus about tonight's game:

"A lot of students talk about this game. They come to school because they want us to beat Duke, and obviously it's going to be a great environment, fans are going to do a great job showing up and supporting us, and we're looking forward to seeing all that."

On his Maryland career:

"I wish I could play two more years at least. Unfortunately, it's only four years. I'm very, very excited about tomorrow and I'm so because this opportunity that I have to play for Maryland and the chance I have to be here and play for four years at this school for coach Williams. I think coach Williams still does a good job being a great mentor for me and the whole team. I was talking to my family today, and we don't have enough words to thank the whole institution of Maryland for what they have done for me and my country, my whole country. You know, kids back at home, all they talk about is Maryland and it's unbelievable where I'm at right now. To me, this is a blessing. That's why tomorrow's game is not about whether I score 2,000 points, whether my jersey's going to get retired...it's just about winning, because that's what I got out of my four years being coached by coach Williams."

On playing for Gary:

"He's been a great coach for 21 years. I've only been here for four. I wish I could have played for him for 21 years. I mean, he's a great coach. He's an unbelievable game planner, he loves practice. One thing about him, he has a short memory. Whether we win or lose, he's so fired up for the next game. He inspires me. That's one of the things that motivates me to do my best. When I see him on the sideline going crazy and doing all that stuff time, but at the same time he knows what's going on on the court, and he calls a play from the bench...it's unbelievable to me how he does things on the court and off the court. We talk almost every day. I go to the office, sit down with him and talk. We talk about the NBA, we talk about life, and I have no words to describe how happy I am to be here right now and to be winning for four years, so coach Williams is, at this point, one of my heroes because I see myself and I see coach Williams."

On potentially winning the ACC:

"It would mean a lot to me. That's why you play college basketball, because you want to be a champion. It would be huge for us to beat Duke, but it's not over. We beat Duke, then we have to go play UVA on Saturday. We still have a long way to go. We have to take it game by game, step by step, so tomorrow's going to be huge for us just to be right there and show the whole world that we want to be the champion."

On facing Duke:

"It's going to be a fight for 40 minutes...we have to play great basketball for 40 minutes, we cannot play good basketball for the last 20 like we have been doing the last couple weeks because tomorrow's team is a great team with great players and a great coach, so that's why the game is going to be so good. It's going to be a fight, and I love these types of challenges because I love proving people wrong."

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How can you not get emotional but simultaneously jacked up reading that? I was there, I was hiding getting a little misty-eyed hearing Greivis and Gary talk about each other, because you know they love each other so much and are undoubtedly going to be lifelong friends or something along those lines. You can tell the guys are fired up for the game and are trying to downplay how much it means to them, but there were some points where Greivis and Milbourne (who was also there, but not very quotable) really showed how important tonight is for them. It'll be all the sweeter if we win.
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