Wichita State Quotes from Thursday’s Press Conference
On the added pressure from last season’s tournament run:
Shockers forward Cleanthony Early: "I wouldn’t necessarily say "pressure," but I think all the guys here want to advance and they are going to work really hard to advance. So if we go out there, I am pretty confident that if we do what we do and continue to play team basketball and continue to give maximum effort, which we will make that happen."
Early: "I think last year we flew under the radar with people underestimating how good we can be, you know. I think this year we are over that radar, but there's obviously still people who underestimate what we can do compared to certain competition. And at the end of the day we have to go out there and play the game of basketball the way we do."
On how their tournament run last season will help them in this tournament:
Shockers guard Fred VanVleet: "Well, it gives you confidence, first off, knowing that you've been in that situation. We had success already. So it gives you confidence for those type of situations going forward. And then, it also allows you to be calm in those adverse moments."
Guard Ron Baker on joining Wichita State three years ago:
Baker: "When I was on my visit at Wichita State I brought my parents along and one thing the coaches emphasized the most was when you get here the program's going to be on the rise. We just won the NIT, we are going to bring a lot of seniors in this year. And they talked about red-shirting and all that stuff. The biggest thing they were talking about is we're on the rise. And I remember my parents just getting along with the coaches."
Head Coach Gregg Marshall: "Yeah, he's quite the favorite of a lot of people, but especially young ladies and some older ladies as well. [Laughter.] It's amazing. I get texts and emails regularly, on at least a weekly basis, about their daughter who -- usually there's a story involved and they would like for Ron to have lunch with them or sign something and send it to them or go to the prom with him. So there's -- he's getting a lot of play. And Scott City is a town that has Baker fever, if you will, but when we got the announcement that if we win tomorrow we play the winner of Kentucky and Kansas State. If it's Kansas State he was lamenting that may be a stretch for people in Scott City, but undoubtedly there are a lot of folks that are K-State fans out there as well. That was really interesting. I didn't realize that."
On where their team gets their calm demeanor:
VanVleet: "First, I think we've been doing it for 34 games and a couple of months now, so now is not the time to change up anything that we have been doing, just try to take it up another level and play even better. And secondly, I think that is some of it. But at the same time, a lot of these guys, we all share similar qualities. We might show them different ways. But all of these guys are pretty calm, laid-back guys at the end of the day. And that experience, that confidence allows you to not run out of your shoes in certain situations and allows you to stay in the moment, understand what it takes to get out of adverse situations, and understand what it takes to extend leads and keep leads and things like that."
On Seeing the Potential Lineup of Games:
Marshall: "Didn't talk about it at all. You don't get to 34-0 by talking about three games from now. We've been dealing with Texas Southern and Cal Poly. That's what we've practiced the last couple of days against 1-3-1, the Texas Southern runs. You just try to prepare for these games as they come. We're not trying to get ahead of ourselves. And as you see, the brackets don't always fall the way they seem to, maybe they should, or people anticipate them falling. I mean, there's already three or four upsets today. So our job is to prepare them for the next game. And right now that's Cal Poly. And if we get to Kentucky or Kansas State, we'll be excited about preparing for them."
On the perceived "unfairness" of the Midwest Region:
Marshall: "Are you wanting me to say that it's unfair? [Laughter.] They didn't ask me my opinion when they put this together. Obviously it's a great region that's stacked. But I will be honest with you, I didn't even think about it. I didn't talk to my team about it. Last year as a 9 seed we made a Final Four run, I couldn't have told you where we were going after Salt Lake. I had no idea. I didn't know the teams, I didn't know the Regional site. That's not the way you do it. You don't look that far in advance. You just take care of the business in front of you. Eat an elephant one bite at a time."