Wichita State Quotes from Saturday’s Press Conference
Thoughts on Playing Kentucky:
Shockers guard Ron Baker: "I grew up watching Kentucky basketball. I have some family in that area. I actually made it to a couple of games this year. My dad was a Kentucky basketball fan growing up as well."
Shockers forward Darius Carter: "We just went into practice knowing that it was going to be a physical game. They had big, tough, athletic guys. We're focusing mainly on boxing out, being strong and physical with these guys. And you know, just doing what we do offensively. Rebounding and defensively."
Baker: "Playing Kentucky is great for our program and right now we're just trying to find ways to execute them on defense and offense and see some things, you know, we can grasp and take hold of and maybe, you know, try and win a basketball game."
Thoughts on whether they "deserve" to be the favorite against Kentucky:
Baker: "I think the biggest thing we carried over from last year is just playing the game. This time of year records don't really mean anything. What matters is the five players on the court for your team and how you play the game."
Shockers guard Tekele Cotton: "I think we're all competitive, so we come into this tournament, we got a mindset that we want to win the whole thing, but we want to take one game at a time. And I mean, whoever is in the way, we have to play them. We have to lace up our shoes like they do and go out and play basketball, we are going to do what we have to do to come out victorious."
Thoughts on Potentially Going 40-0:
Carter: "Like Tekele said earlier, I was very aware of what Kentucky had going on. I mean, they're all over TV and you always hear about them as a great program. For us it wasn't really talked about that much, we just want to go out and play every game and just look forward to the next game and prepare for the next game. And you know, it just ended up happening like this."
Cotton: "Like he (Carter) said, in the beginning of the year you see like who is projected where and stuff like that, but at the same time we stick to what we know. We stick to what we do. And we've got to play for ourselves. We're not playing for Kentucky. So we focus on ourselves at the end of the day. And our fans are going to be there regardless."
Shockers Head coach Gregg Marshall: "I don't want to be relieved (of winning) at this point. (Laughter.) I want the pressure to last a few more weeks, if possible. So when you're in this situation, you don't want it to end for sure. I'm not sure. I just think that our guys have enjoyed it. They have relished it. It's been really special. So until it's done again, we've done something that no team had ever done and we're the first to win 35 in a row, and hopefully make it to 36 in a row. I haven't talked about who that might be if we get to that point."
On whether his team represents a "symbol of traditional basketball":
Marshall: "I really haven't thought about that very much. I mean, maybe people can do that, but it's not something for me to decide. I don't involve myself with Kentucky's recruitment at all. You know, it's working for them, they won a National Championship two years ago and they're back here this year in the second or third round now and have a chance to go to the Sweet 16. So they do what they do. Again, it's control your controllable. I can't do that even if I wanted. So it's not for me to say what's right for them to do. I have to do the best thing I can do for my university and our program, and that's fine, Ron Bakers and Fred VanVleets and Tekele Cottons and Cleanthony Earlys of the world."
On What Type of Players Wichita State Recruits:
Marshall: "We try to find guys that, number one, have great character and are very coachable. Because we demand quite a bit from them. They go to class every day. They work extremely hard in practice, as we talked about. They play as a team. They share the basketball. They play on both ends. They have to play defense in order to get an opportunity to play on offense. And then we want athleticism and guys that can score the basketball some way. If they have athleticism and play hard and are coachable, I can teach them to defend and rebound. But they have got to be able to score some way or affect scoring in some way. Maybe it's just becoming a great passer."