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March 10, 2012LOS ANGELES, Calif. - After winning the Pac-12 tournament championship, Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle and Colorado players Carlon Brown, Spencer Dinwiddie and Austin Dufault answered questions from the media.
Coach Boyle: "I'll start by saying, obviously, to say I'm proud of these guys is probably the biggest understatement I've ever made, but we beat a great program, a storied program in Arizona. Very good coach in Sean Miller, and a good Cal team, a good Oregon team, and a scrappy Utah team to get here. I want to recognize our opponents. It wasn't easy, but I'm telling you, before this game, we talked about it as a group. If you believe in destiny, you believe in the Colorado Buffaloes because it was meant to be for us. We dedicated this game beforehand to Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphorde, Trent Beckley, Javon Coney, and Alec Burks. Not a lot of you in this room may know those six guys, but those six guys sat in my home last year on Selection Sunday for their last opportunity to go to the NCAA Tournament, and they were snubbed. That inspired us. They picked us 11th. That inspired us. What these guys have done over these last four days is something that college basketball is all about. We recruit good kids, from good families, and they have a high degree of character, because you cannot win championships without it. Our whole locker room is full of them, and you see three of them up here before you right now. I'm just so proud of these guys. We'll answer any questions that come our way."
You had said or talked about fatigue possibly being a factor in this game. Did you ever see the point where your team was really getting tired?
Coach Boyle: "Well, at times. We tried to sub as quickly as I saw long faces out there. I tried to get in, even if it was just for a few seconds. Hey, fatigue is a factor in every tournament. They played three games in three days. We played four in four. But we've got nobody to blame but ourselves if we had taken care of business against Oregon State late in the regular season, we wouldn't have a fourth game in a row. But, again, it was meant to be. These guys took it on as a challenge. We came here on a mission, and fatigue was a factor, but it was a factor for both teams."
Carlon, just take us through your windmill move there at the end?
Carlon Brown: "I was just going to the rack strong. Something Coach was preaching every time out. Wasn't going to be lackadaisical, so I just attacked the basket and jumped with all my might."
Walk us through that last play. How were you able to lock up so well defensively? Coach Boyle: "Well, again, we didn't finish very strong. Obviously, we turned it over, missed some free throws. We didn't execute offensively really good down the stretch, except for Carlon's dunk, I think that was our first basket in like eight minutes. We've gone on droughts all year. But you rely on your defense. You rely on your rebounding. We beat this Arizona team in Boulder the same way on a stop. It's appropriate that it ended that way. It shouldn't have been that close, but our guys did what they had to do. Again, it just shows the perseverance. We do a drill, we call the bubble drill. We put a bubble in our basket with four or five minutes to go, and we have a lead. The only way you can win the game is by getting stops. And that drill, Carlon alluded to it in one of our timeouts, our players believe in it, and it won us the game tonight."
Carlon, can you talk about that stretch to start the second half where you guys built the lead? How big did you feel that was in the end? Carlon Brown: "It was a very big stretch that we came out in the second half, being aggressive, executing the offense and defense. Guys were making plays. Guys were making the right reads whether it was passing, scoring, and getting in the passing lane. Just a credit to all of my teammates. We just really wanted this and weren't going to be denied."
Austin, what does this moment mean to you given all you've been through in your career, including Selection Sunday last year?
Austin Dufault: "It's hard to explain in words what it means. There have been so many up and downs for the last four years. But I've just treasured every moment at CU for the last four years. The tough ones have only made me a better person along with my teammates. We couldn't have gotten to this point without going through ups and downs. I think that's a testament to our team. We just came together today and played through ups and downs again, and got it done."
Carlon, could you talk about your last two weeks? Coming out of a slump and then going to the top?
Carlon Brown: "Yeah, I just tried to put everything in the past, knowing that I had this opportunity to be aggressive and play in this tournament. Like I said, I just let everything go. I played the game as aggressive as I could, attack the rim, making the right reads, making the right shots, and stepping up and being the leader the team needed me to be and I wanted to be for this team."
Just wondering if you could kind of relive that day at your house, Selection Sunday? Also, if you've heard from Alec or any of your seniors this week at all?
Coach Boyle: "Well, I text them all last night about 1:30 in the morning, all six guys that were in that room that aren't with us today. Told them we're going to dedicate this game to them. It was the hardest day. One of the hardest days. Other than leaving Northern Colorado and telling my team that I was coming to CU was the next hardest day in my life as a college basketball coach, because I knew what that team deserved. We got shut out. But, again, this team wasn't going to be denied. Inspiration can come in a lot of different forms. For me, as a coach, those guys will never have that opportunity again is what inspired me. To push these guys every day in practice, and I get as much inspiration from our players, probably more, than they get from me."
Spencer, knowing you had to win four in four days, what were your realistic expectations before the tournament? And to achieve what you've done, how thrilling is it to be sitting here as the winner?
Spencer Dinwiddie: "We wanted to win the tournament, and we expected to win the tournament. To win it is a great feeling. I don't know (smiling)."
Carlon, can you talk about contrast your feelings today compared to Selection Sunday last year when you guys went through what you went through? How much did it inspire you this year?
Carlon Brown: "Yeah, it was definitely a heart break. I still have the picture on my phone just to remind me, even though I didn't contribute in minutes played last year, I still understand how it felt. To come out here today, I told these guys at halftime, there is nothing like the feeling of winning a tournament championship and cutting down those nets and getting all this free gear (laughing). On a serious note, I'm the only person that's been to the tournament. I know how it feels. I wanted these guys to feel it, especially A.B. and Nate and Trey because I know what this program has been through the last four years. It wasn't always like this. Those guys deserved it, and I wanted to win it for them and I wanted to win it for Coach."
Spencer, what did this mean to you having gone to Colorado, being from L.A., having won this championship here?
Spencer Dinwiddie: "No, no. That means a lot. That was great. Playing in front of family and friends and showing that I made the right decision in my college choice. Thank you, Coach. I mean, it's a great feeling to come back and win this championship. To make it to the tournament my freshman year, it's a blessing."
Spencer, yesterday you said you were happy with winning. A little disappointed in your shooting. Did you put a little emphasis on it? How did it feel hitting that first three and going four for four?
Spencer Dinwiddie: "That felt good to hit your first shot it always gets you rolling. But I just credit the seniors and stuff for believing in me. They told me don't stop shooting. Even though I was in a little bit of a slump throughout the tournament, they said when we pass it to you, make the shot. I've got to keep shooting."
Carlon, talk to me a little bit, not looking too far behind, yesterday you had that windmill dunk. What was the response that you got after that happened yesterday? Did that put any more pressure on you to deliver another performance or signature moment today?
Carlon Brown: "I had like 50 texts waiting for me yesterday after that. Everybody saying I made SportsCenter or what not. But that's something I've done before, so it wasn't too exciting for me. I just knew I wanted to put an exclamation on the game and make sure we won. Today I was just trying to finish at the rim, like I said earlier. I'm thankful that God gave me this talent and ability to leap."
Spencer, do you feel any pressure at all? You get out there and feel loose. You're hitting everything. That's pretty unusual for a freshman. And Tad, did you see that in Spencer when you were recruiting him?
Spencer Dinwiddie: "No, I don't really feel any pressure. I practice every day and I played hard and I prepared. Once again, the seniors and the coaching staff instill confidence in me every single day so I don't feel any pressure. I've just got to go out there and play."
Coach Boyle: "In terms of recruiting Spencer, the thing I love about his game is he can affect it in so many different ways. I saw Spencer score 20, 25 points in games when I watched him play. I remember seeing him play a game where he didn't score a point, but he ran the team. He rebounded. He made plays for others. He's got the ability, I think, to be a leader, like Carlon's been on the perimeter and Nate. I think he's learned from two great seniors this year. As his career progresses, his game will continue to evolve. Again, what makes his game great is he can affect the game so many different ways. Shooting is just one of them. Scoring is just one of them. One of the things I talked to Spencer about in the last couple of weeks, every time I'd see him, be aggressive, be aggressive, be aggressive, because when he's aggressive, he's pretty darn good."
Coach, these two local guys, can you talk about not just this weekend, but the contributions and the impact they've had on your program?
Coach Boyle: "Yeah, I mean, I think our veterans would attest to that. These guys have come in with a confidence and a little bit of a swagger about them. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it can get a little bit too much, and that's why sometimes they've got to be put in their place by the coaches or seniors. But when the ball goes up and we're all trying to win a game, I think our guys love the fact that Spencer and Askia are here, and they do have the attitude and the swagger that they've got because that's what helps you win games. You've got to have a little bit of that to win. But we recruit L.A. guys like Spencer and Askia. We talk about moments like this. Spencer and I talked about it on the phone coming back to L.A. and making a statement, and I think both those young men have started pretty good in their careers. The good thing is they've got three years left."
Can you talk about your feelings when you're watching Carlon go up for these windmill dunks?
Coach Boyle: "I just want him to finish them. Now Carlon's banged a few off the back of the rim, but I'm telling you what, big players make big-time plays, on big-time stages. I think what you saw out of Carlon Brown these last four games is he's a guy who kind of put this team on his shoulders. He's been more vocal than he's been all year in timeouts, in huddles, on the floor, encouraging his teammates. And those windmill dunks are just icing on the cake. I'm extremely proud of him and all of our seniors. But Carlon deserves the MVP of this tournament because he was big when we needed him to be big."
Down the stretch you guys had a series of air balls, the ball went through your legs. What were you thinking on the last possession?
Austin Dufault: "Just get a stop. For all the stuff that was going our way, we still had an opportunity to dig in on the defensive end, which was what we were preaching all year, get a stop and win it that way. I just think once again it was kind of fitting. It would have been nice if we could end the game a little bit smoother. If I could have knocked down a couple free throws or caught that pass. But we went down to the other end. Once again, we just dug in defensively and got a stop."
What did it mean to have the members of your student section, and who made the decision to let one of them be the first to cut down the net?
Coach Boyle: "Mike Bohn, our athletic
director, who is as big a part of this win as anybody
at our university. We brought him in the locker
room after the game because I wouldn't be the
coach at Colorado if it wasn't for Mike Bohn. His
leadership and bringing those students here, I
think, is a testament to what he's all about. That's
helped make dreams come true and lifelong
experiences as a student-athlete or a student at
the University of Colorado become a reality.
I'm just so thankful that those 50 kids could
come here and experience this with us. They're a
big part of it, as are the rest of the students who
have been supporting us all year at The Coors
Event Center. I know a lot of you haven't seen a
game there, but it's a special place. And Mike
Bohn's a big, big part of that. So for me, I tip my
hat to him."