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March 9, 2013

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Quotes from UConn vs. Providence Men's Basketball (March 9, 2013)

Connecticut Players

R.J. Evans

On the end of the season:

"Well tonight was my last game against Providence, a team we consider to be one of our rivals in the Big East, and that we were able to get a win in's a great way to go out."

On your defensive performance in today's game:

"You know Coach Ollie told me earlier that he needed me to shut them down and I just took my pride and said I am going to stop them...I am going to help us win this game, that's what I'm going to do...I'll just do that. And I did a good job bumping them off screens and my big men did a good job going out and giving me a second when guys were running around so I could contest the shot. We just played good collective team defense."

On addressing the team, emotionally, before the game:

"I just told them that I was proud to be part of this team and that I loved them. We had been through so much stuff this year and we stuck through it, stuck together. And that we had one last chapter to write on our book and that was to beat PC. We really came together after that and had a good warm-up and that really helped us. The fact that we had our ace back today really helped us too."


DeAndre Daniels

On the sanction this season:

"You know no guys on this team really had anything to do with it. Its sad and we move on but its tough for guys like R.J. who season is ended early. But we enjoyed the whole season."

What are you doing differently that is causing the "light bulb" to go on?

"Just playing much harder and just wanting to win so bad. And when guys got hurt, I just wanted to step up and keep playing and I did that."


Shabazz Napier

On the UConn fans:

"You know I just wanted to thank the fans so much. The environment today was crazy...for it to be our last was good and I appreciate it a lot."

On being 100% for the game:

"If I had to put a number on the first half its probably 75/80 and the second half it was up-down just like 55/60. After the first half we were just sitting there and tensing up...I was trying to work it up a little bit, but it was still throbbing. It was only 20 more minutes so I dealt with it."

On your decision to play:

"You know I decided I was mentally ready, I was going to push myself to be physically ready. I think it was about 35 minutes left on the clock and I came back in and just suited up. You know I was ready. I'm always mentally ready to play but if I'm not there physically I'll push myself. I'm glad I came in and played, I'm just glad for my team, glad for the fans, and glad for Coach Ollie to get number 20."

On this team's statement this season to the basketball world:

"Coach Ollie said it, its possible, we had so many distractions this year. Not one day did we ever use the excuse that oh well we aren't going to the tournament, or Alex Oriahki and Roscoe Smith transferred...oh well, just we had a lot of excuses but nobody gave up. Whenever somebody was down, someone else came up and filled that void and did a tremendous job. This is one team that, even though we aren't going to the tournament, hopefully we will make it in the history books as a record team...and it starts with my coaching staff."


Ryan Boatright

On the win today:

"Once we got that 20th win, it really meant a lot to this team."

On having a decision to make next year between staying at UConn and entering the NBA Draft:

"I mean, I'd be a liar if I said I didn't think about it, but I don't know what I am going to do yet. Right now, the season just got over so I'll kick back for a little. I'll discuss it with what's going on with my family."

On your intentions to discuss your decision with Coach Ollie due to his experience in the NBA:

"He's my coach so I'll definitely listen to him, but it's my decision. Everybody can only give me so much advice, but it's all on me. I'm going to discuss it with my family and my coach as to what will be the best fit."

On the shot at the end of overtime:

"I put on a little hesitation, I knew he would bite on it a little bit to give myself the chance to dribble. I knew once he would bite on it that I could get up in it a little in his chest because I knew he would foul me. I was lucky to get the separation I needed and got the shot off. Thank God the ref called it on him."

On what the NCAA is missing out with on this team and the message this team sent this season:

"That anything is possible. And that UConn really instills a lot of heart and pride in the program. You know nobody expected anything from us this year and we could've easily rolled over and died plenty of times. We have been through so much this year, a lot of adversity, especially this last week with everybody dropping like flies. You know Shabazz was out, Niels was out, Tyler was out, Omar is hurt, it was us coming together and getting this last really means a lot.

UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie

Fantastic year. I'm sad that it's over with, but I'm very happy and satisfied with this team, what they gave me. Starting in Germany - even starting way before that - but let's go with Germany. Then come back here and play Vermont and then go over to the Virgin Islands and play three games in three nights. That Quinnipiac game I knew I had something special, because we had a double overtime and then we came back and played that championship game and had a chance to beat New Mexico and I was, like, "Man, this team is going to be something special." The resolve, the resilience they showed, the dedication they showed through the ups and downs, through all the changes. Me having a five-month contract. Them sticking together. Through the pain, I always say, there is going to be promise.

I couldn't be happier for this group. Hopefully, they stay together because the future is so bright. We're going into a new conference. I love my AD. I love his passion. I love my president. And I'm just along for the ride. I know they're going to take us to great places, and I just can't wait. And the team that we've got coming in, too. The freshmen we've got coming in, it's just going to be a great ride.

This game was wonderful because it showed that if you believe, anything is possible. And they believed.

Getting 20 wins was one of our goals. Winning the Big East was one of our goals, and we didn't accomplish that. But those are superficial goals. But the goals that I really want to talk about this team was the goal of being the best attitude team in America. They were the best attitude team in America.

On Napier
He played marvelously, running the tempo and controlling the whole game. He was just a special player out there.

Ryan stepped up. Without Omar, without Tyler, without the heart of the team, without Niels, we all stepped up. I could go down the list. Phillip, playing 34 minutes. You all would be lying if, seeing Phillip earlier in the season, that he could play 34 minutes against Batts. He showed that, if you keep fighting, and keep working, and keep believing in yourself, anything can happen. He stepped up.

On Daniels
The lightbulb has just turned on in DeAndre. He's just got a special, special season coming up next year. I can't wait for him to come back.

Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley

I'd like to think that we've been in this league long enough...It's tough when it comes down the stretch there. If anything, that's a no call at the end. I think both guys created contact there.

They really crowded the post. They gapped Kris Dunn. We made an adjustment at halftime and it definitely worked. We took the lead. I thought we controlled the second half. We had some missed assignments on the glass, on free throws, that they capitalized on. We had a missed assignment with Shabazz dead center, three-ball, on lack of communication.

Our kids played hard. I'm proud of our kids. I'm really, really proud of our kids. We came down here to play for Providence College. We didn't come down here thinking about Connecticut and what they're going through. God bless 'em, Kevin has done a great job this year with his team under the circumstances. So, give him a lot of credit.

I thought we had a winning performance tonight....We played hard, we played together. They got the right call at the right time. And, really, that's the game. Point. Period. That can go either way.

On last possession of regulation
In the past, he's made the play. But to his credit, he thought a better play, a better shot, was to pass the ball to Kris Dunn. Kris wasn't ready for that at that point in time in his career. Give a lot of credit to Cotton for believing in his teammate and hitting the open guy. Hopefully, next time he learns from that and, as the leading scorer in the Big East, he makes the play.

On Napier, Boatright and Daniels
Those are three talented individuals. Three very, very good players. Those kids played with some pride, some determination. Obviously, playing in front of the home crowd. Give them credit. They made the plays to win the game.