Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Flashback: 1995 UCLA Basketball Champions Press Conference

Seattle, Washington
UCLA Bruins Basketball Team
1995 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions
Press Conference Transcript
April 3, 1995

MODERATOR: We have Toby Bailey. Tyus Edney. Ed O'Bannon and George Zidek. Along with Head Coach Jim Harrick. We will ask Coach Harrick to start the news conference out with some general comments about the game.

COACH HARRICK: I was certainly very concerned when we couldn't have our most valuable player Tyus Edney play. I knew before the game that he couldn't dribble or handle the ball. Sometimes these things work in your favor, but I wouldn't give emotion or divine intervention, a little bit of credit, but certainly I'd like to give our players a lot of credit. Starting with the guy, I think, is the best player in America, bar none, 30 and 17 in the championship game, and he is is a guy who would refuse all year to let us lose, always finding a way to win: Ed O'Bannon. And then George Zidek was just a mountain inside. He played great, great defense and offense and if he had made those two foul shots I'd really be happy for him, but he did a great job. And then we rely on Charles O'Bannon played a great game. And Cameron Dollar, I don't know what to say. I am speechless. To see the way he operated our team and directed it and led it and got us there our offense and the last five minutes, you know, he knew exactly what I wanted. He said don't worry, Ed will get the ball every time down. And guarding people and stealing the ball and doing the right things. And then of course Toby Bailey just was absolutely incredible. Inside and outside and when you open the floor that makes us -- that makes this team a very good basketball team. They opened the floor on Bailey and Dollar. And Edney, if we would have had him, it would have been, I think, the same thing. But the one thing that I want to point out, this is one of the finest conditioned basketball teams, probably ever. They are in great, great condition and they can play two, right now if they wanted to.

MODERATOR: We will open up questions for the players before we finish questions with Coach Harrick.

Question: George, I'd like to ask you about your play against Corliss, and, Ed, I'd like you to talk about you guys did such a nice job helping him down low whenever Corliss got the ball?

GEORGE ZIDEK: I watched a lot of films on Corliss after the Oklahoma State game. Besides that I saw Arkansas so many times on TV that I was pretty familiar with the way Corliss plays. And my plan was to push him outside and when he catches the ball, have a gap so he doesn't go by me and move my feet and every shot he would shoot would have to be a shot over me, so he would never score around me. That is about it.

ED O'BANNON: Yeah, it was a team effort. I think any time Corliss had the ball down low, we wanted to send somebody down there and fortunately it worked out. George is stronger than people think and I think he was actually stronger than Corliss thought and George just held his own and he couldn't do much with him.

Question: Tyus, can you tell us exactly when you first hurt your wrist; take us through the last 24 hours and when exactly did you know you weren't going to be able to play.

TYUS EDNEY: I first hurt it in the Oklahoma State game when I fell in the first half; almost kind of early. Just the rest of that day it kind of got sore; it got a little worse, actually, and I just tried to do everything I possibly could to get it as, I guess, as strong as possible and all the way up until the game time and when the game started, it didn't have-- I didn't have the strength that I needed I knew that I would probably hurt my team if I tried to stay in the game and you know, just and -- I knew I had to sit down and just do whatever I can on the sideline.

Question: Toby, you might expect some degree of intimidation being a freshman playing in a game this big. You showed absolutely no fear; you were in the middle; you were everywhere. Can you talk about what enabled you to get in the middle of the game and were there any nerves associated with it?

TOBY BAILEY: I don't think there is any nerves associated with this. I knew it was going to be the style of game that is complimentary to the way I play and I was just trying to attack him, the coach said, get the ball; firm up and just attack and that is what I am best at, so that is what I was trying to do.

Question: Could you talk about your emotions when you found out that Tyus was not going to be available?

ED O'BANNON: I was very disappointed. He is the leader of the team and he controls the tempo. He controls everything on the floor and when we found out that he wasn't going to play, it was hard to handle, but at the same time, we knew that he was positive; every timeout he was over talking to us and making sure that we were all staying together and basically everyone just felt they had to step up. Tyus handles a lot of the burden; especially during this tournament and we knew that he wasn't going to be with us, so we all took it upon ourselves to get even closer together and step it up in all phases of the game.

Question: Do you think Arkansas underestimated you a little bit and could you see them -- you kept scoring and scoring and scoring.

TOBY BAILEY: I mean, I am sure they watched tapes, so I don't know if they are that surprised, but after the first couple of points they started talking to me saying different things, you know, like I was just a freshman and it was luck and this and that, but I think they could have underestimated me; especially the way I played against Oklahoma State, I mean, I didn't have that great of a game and they might have you know, kind of overlooked me. To try and stop me when you have such great players like these guys on my team; this team has so many weapons you are not going to key on a freshman, so I think they could have done that.

Question: This is for Ed. Ed, knowing that Tyus wasn't going to be with you, and you guys were 7 deep, did you think it would be hard to play iron man?

ED O'BANNON: No, it's the last game of the season. There's no way anybody on this team is going to go out. And they say their bench is real deep, I mean, I don't know, whatever. We came out, we played as hard as we could with our six men, and we won by 11. So, it was sweet, it was the National Championship game. Ain't no way nobody is going to come out in this game and talk about retiring. Everybody sucked it up and we went out and we whopped them, simple as that, that's how we feel.

Question: Tyus, right before the second half when the team huddled in the corridor there, what did you say to the team?

TYUS EDNEY: I just told everybody that just try to just keep playing hard and we could win this game. And basically the style of the game was playing street ball, like we all played street ball, and that's getting up and down, and scoring, play ups and dunks, and I told everybody to just come out, keep staying aggressive and we'll be all right.

Question: For Tyus, just talk about how it was having to watch this whole game. And the crowd was chanting your name the last part of the game. Did that make you feel a part of it?

TYUS EDNEY: I felt a part of it. Even though I was on the sidelines, I felt like part of the game. It was extremely hard to sit over there and not do anything to help. But I tried to do anything I could on the sideline to help the team. And try to encourage them in any way, and pick everybody up. And basically try to be another coach out there. And that gave me a lot of positive feeling when I heard them chant my name.

Question: This is for Toby. Maybe I'm mistaken, but at the beginning of the game you looked a little bit nervous, but yet you settled down. When did you really feel comfortable, and was this exactly the style of game that you wanted to play?

TOBY BAILEY: This was exactly the kind of game I wanted to play. I was missing a couple of shots in the beginning, but I think that was because I was so pumped up and excited, I was shooting it a little hard. That's probably what it was. I wasn't nervous at all, I was just fired up. After playing against Oklahoma State, I was coming out here to prove a point. And I had heard all the critics saying the freshman didn't show up, and they're going to have to show up for this game. And that's what I tried to do.

Question: Tyus, could you talk about how Cameron did as your replacement today, what your impressions were from the sidelines?

TYUS EDNEY: Cameron just really stepped up today. And I think everybody on the floor had confidence and on the sideline had confidence that he could do that, because he's done it before. I knew that he's a winner, and that's the type of player he is, and he'll do whatever it takes to win. When Cameron was in I was completely comfortable, I knew we were in good shape as long as he's in the game. He's been our spark all year, and he's played like that I think consistently all year. And I've just felt good knowing that he was out there running the team and basically running the show. He just had an excellent game.

Question: Coach, I wonder if you could discuss in more detail how you were able to break down their pressure?

COACH HARRICK: Well, you just catch, positive on the and look, mostly. It's really hard, I think, in my opinion to really press real good basketball teams. We have good spacing. When you play Arkansas, you need as many players as you can who can pass the ball and catch the ball. And our whole plan of attack was receive the ball and attack the basket. That's exactly what we wanted to do, because they don't want you to run any offense and set plays and that's fine. We're the kind of team -- Tyus Edney is the kind of player if you open the court on him he's going to make you pay. And all along our players have picked up on that. And when you open a court on us we're pretty good. Ed is hard to guard, and Toby is a very fine player.

Question: Coach, I was just curious, with Coach Wooden in the stands, did you talk to him before or after the game, and if so, what he may have told you.

COACH HARRICK: No, I did not talk to him. He sent in word to wish us good luck before the game. But like Coach Wooden does, he stayed away. He had this planned all along, and now I find out. So, he's way ahead of me.

Question: Jim, at what point did you know that Tyus was not going to be able to do it? Was it in warmups, did you just feel you'd give him a chance or was it in the first couple of minutes where he was dribbling with his left-hand?

COACH HARRICK: It was in the locker room when he had a ball, and we were letting him play with it and dribble it. He could put no power on the ball on the dribble. So, I thought I'd start him and see if adrenalin would take over. But the first time down he went left-handed and he came down and turned it over. And I said that's enough of that. We'll go down the best way we can.

Question: Jim, Toby Bailey surprised a lot of people tonight, did he surprise you at all playing that way in a National Championship game?

COACH HARRICK: No, he's played like that a lot of games for us. And the reason he surprised everybody is because they don't watch us that much. He's had games like that, and when you open the court on him, he's a very fine athlete.

Question: Jim, what does this mean to UCLA basketball, what does if mean to you personally?

COACH HARRICK: Well, I'm certainly excited for our players and really for Chancellor Chuck Young, who's been there 25 years at the University, and Pete Dalis, who hired me. I'm really happy for them, because they stuck with me, and -- through thick and thin, and they've always been there for me. And our people that work at UCLA, the faculty and staff are very special people, and our athletic department, our students and our faculty and our boosters, and really the city of Los Angeles really it's my home, and I've been there a long, long time. Our children were born there. And we've been through a lot of tough times the last four or five years with disasters of -- there's been a lot of kind of depression, we've had the O.J. Simpson trial, and that's not really an uplifting thing. And it's nice that the city can get excited about something of that nature. And then for me personally any coach, any coach anywhere, this is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and in your professional career it is the pinnacle of whatever you do. This is the pinnacle for me.

Question: Coach Harrick, what exactly did it mean to know, one, that Coach Wooden would come to this game, and that he was here to witness what amounted to a continuation of what he started?

COACH HARRICK: Well, we are very, very close friends, and for him to on his busy schedule and really being his age sometimes he doesn't feel well, and for him to come up here and do this to be with us and I've hammered him for all along, I said if we ever go, I want you there. And it really means a lot to me personally, because we're very close friends.

Question: Very simple question. Talking yesterday about driving into LA the first time; knowing nobody and having no job. What were you driving?

COACH HARRICK: I had a job. Teaching junior high school. I was driving a 1960 Belair Chevy stick shift with no radio or heater - or no air conditioning either. I had a heater, no air conditioning.

Question:Good shape?

COACH HARRICK: Yeah, my parents bought it for me for graduation that May, so this was August, so it was in good shape.

MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach Harrick? Thanks a lot coach.

(ASAP Sports)



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