"Big Dance" Interviews: Princeton Postseason Teleconference
Forward Kareem Maddox
On winning Ivy Defensive Player of the Year: "I cannot take credit for the conference Defensive Player of the Year award without the help of my team on the defensive end."
On their NCAA Tournament and overall experience: "Coach Johnson and Assistant Coach Brian Earl were on the 1996 Princeton team that beat UCLA, so I am sure they will share some of their knowledge with us later this week. I think our experience will be huge for us going forward, as a lot of us have been together for four years. We did play in the postseason last year which gave us valuable experience."
On the win over Harvard: "I think the Ivy playoff game was a microcosm of our season, as it went down to the final two seconds in front of a sold-out crowd."
Guard Dan Mavraides
On Princeton's defense: "It has been a lot more fun from a player's perspective to force turnovers and run a little bit and get some easy baskets."
On preparing for Kentucky: "I think we will be mentally ready for the Kentucky game, as this is something that we have wanted really bad. We are going there to win a basketball game, so we are going to be mentally focused."
On Douglas Davis' shot: "When Doug Davis hit that shot to beat Harvard at the buzzer, it was one of the best moments of my life."
Head coach Sydney Johnson
On Kentucky: "We realize how good Kentucky is and how well we will have to play well in order to beat them. We have had a ton of close games this season, none closer than the last-second win over Harvard. Coach Calipari is fun to watch in terms of how he manages his team and makes sure they compete, and Terrence Jones is a man among boys. We have not yet decided what match-ups look best for us."
On their defensive improvement: "We have made major strides this year defensively, which allows us to get out and run a little more."
On keeping their focus on the task at hand: "A lot of our former players called me to congratulate us after we beat Harvard. You have to respect all of the stuff that goes on during the NCAA Tournament like media calls and open practices, but that is not why we are here. Coach John Thompson III kept us focused on the task at hand when he led us to the 2007 Final Four at Georgetown. I think we will be in good shape if we keep things as normal as possible and stay locked into what we have been doing well all year."
On being prepared: "I think we have an advantage this week of being game-ready due to the one-game playoff, because if we had clinched the title last Tuesday then we would have just been simulating practices last week while not knowing exactly who we would be playing."
On the players that fit into their program: "We go recruit players in the same gyms as every other coach in America, and I like guys who compete whether they are vocal or quietly confident. We want basketball players who are willing to work hard and have great grades. We do not want them to compromise on either aspect."
On the 1996 win over UCLA: "I get asked about the 1996 Princeton-UCLA game all the time, as it was a special moment both for our program and for die-hard college basketball fans."
On Kentucky: "Kentucky can certainly run up and down the floor, but if you watch tape of them you can see that they are also good at executing in the half-court offense."
On the days following the Harvard win: "It has all been surreal, as we were one bounce away from missing the tourney."