Inside the Locker Room

Justin Holiday (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

CHARLOTTE, NC - Dawgman.com's Kim Grinolds was able to talk to a handful of the Washington players in their locker room after the Huskies' 86-83 loss to North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. He spoke with Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant, and Scott Suggs about the game, as well as the future for the Huskies.

Isaiah Thomas:
On Overton's half-court shot:
"I saw it. I guess he thought they were trying to foul him, so he threw it up."

On what happens if that play happens as it was supposed to be drawn up:
"I really couldn't tell you. (Romar) told Venoy to push it, we needed a three. I guess Venoy thought he was going to get fouled, and he put it up. I told him to watch out for the foul, and if it looks like they are going to foul to get a shot up at the rim, and he did that. But it didn't happen that way."

On the loss setting in right away:
"It hurts right now, and it'll probably hurt later on when I get back home."

On testing the NBA waters:
"I don't know. I really couldn't tell you. I love this program, I love this team. Who knows. Like I said, I couldn't tell you. You have to weigh your options. I'm not saying I'm leaving or staying…who knows."

On playing against UNC's crowd and silencing them early:
"The crowd didn't really affect us. It felt like a regular game. We were up, we had chances to win, but we didn't capitalize on them."

On Terrence Ross and sensing that this game was in him:
"I always sense something from Terrence. He goes out there and hoops, that's what he does. First game, he was nervous. You could all tell. That was his first NCAA Tournament game. But today he just went out there and played basketball like he always does, and he did a great job. He almost helped us win."

On Ross having something extra when matched up with Barnes:
"He just wanted to win. He was playing basketball. He got lost in the game. He played a great game."

On what he wants to do if he comes back for his senior season:
"If I do come back, I want to win a National Championship, just like I always have. That's the main goal. I want to win it all. I'm a winner. I ain't losing. I don't even know what the seniors are feeling right now. It's their last game ever as a Husky, and that's not good."

On one key thing that affected the season this year:
"Probably consistency. We weren't a consistent team at all times, and that's what hurt us in our losses. That's the biggest thing with this team. If we were more consistent, we would have had a lot more wins than losses, and we could have won this game - because we were up and down in this game too."

On explaining the lack of consistency:
"I couldn't tell you. If I could, it wouldn't have happened. It's a team game. There's 12-13 of us, so it's not just one guy being inconsistent. It's everybody."

On the bigs coming to play:
"Yeah, especially Aziz. That's what we need him for. He rebounded, and other guys rebounded. We did a really good job in a lot of areas…the last four minutes, we didn't seal the deal."

On next year's team:
"A lot of talent, just like this year. A lot of talent. A lot of different type of players, and that's going to help us next year. We've got some talent coming in, and we've got some talent here, even though we lose three great seniors. We'll be alright."

On who will be pulling on him to come back:
"I don't know…maybe (Abdul) Gaddy. "

Maybe Tony Wroten?:
"It's pretty cool. He's a great player. He's going to bring a lot to this program next year."

On what's next:
"I'll probably take a couple of days off to get my body back, and then I'll be back in the gym, getting better."


Justin Holiday:
On the inbounds and Henson knowing what he was going to do by looking at his eyes:
"Smart defenders are able to do that. When I'm on defense, I'm able to read guys' eyes, so maybe I should have done something different. That's not what happened."

On UNC's defense:
"They were able to use their length real well. That's what a team like that is going to do, use their length. And they did that against us. Sometimes we were able to get baskets up; other times they were able to get their hands on the ball."

On playing against someone like Henson that made in-bounding the ball so difficult:
"I'm sure I have…usually I'm able to make the pass there. That's why I was down there. That's why coach had me take it out. Whether there was a defender like that or not, there had to be options. Once again he did a good job of getting his hands up and getting the deflection."

On his career:
"All I can think about right now is that I hate how I ended it. I had fun. I enjoyed playing with my teammates. I would have just liked to have ended it better than I did."

On coming out and hitting UNC physically from the start:
"I felt like we came out and played well. We started the game off well, which we haven't done in a while. I felt comfortable out there with my teammates making plays and doing what they were doing. They should have been rewarded with the win, but that's not what happened."

On playing against their bigs:
"It was real tough. At the same time, we missed some easy shots we should have had. Them still being bigs, they deleted some baskets that could have helped us."

On dealing with the mystique of UNC:
"We knew we could play with them before the game started. It was cool to play a team like that, but we knew we were a good team and we knew we could have beat this team. We showed we could play with them, but that's not good enough if you don't win the game."

On the futures of Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox:
"The NCAA is going to have a tough time trying to stop those two. I've gone through it every day in practice, giving each other our best shots, showing them the ropes. They are going to be good players."


Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
On his career being over:
"I don't think there's anything like college basketball. My teammates are all like brothers here, and just seeing it change and evolve from where coach Romar had the program and where he wanted it to be…this is the type of team he wanted."

On UNC's bigs:
"They just used their length. Obviously God gave them a lot of length, and they used it to their advantage. I've been going through a little bit of a slump lately, obviously, and being able to see some one-on-one coverage was good. Obviously I shot better from the field than I had done in recent games, just playing my advantages. They had their length, but I think I had a size advantage weight-wise over a couple of them. They just did everything they needed to do to get a win."

On being more physical than UNC:
"Definitely. That was something that, going into the game, that we wanted to be. We came in the game and wanted to try and contest everything, be physical with them on the glass. I think we ended up out-rebounding them, but they came out with the W."

On the potential of Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox:
"I don't know how much longer they'll be in a U-Dub jersey. Talent-wise, they'll be up there and they'll have a long career after college."

On their length causing trouble, especially late in the game:
"Obviously that's one of their strengths, and they use it to their advantage. Justin (Holiday) read the play, and there was nothing open on the wings…over the top was the only play he could make. He threw it up there, and Henson was able to get it…it was nothing on Justin's part…their length is pretty much ridiculous. Throughout the game I didn't think it was that much of a problem. They may have blocked a couple shots here and there, but it wasn't nothing major, I don't think. We tried to be physical with them. We ended up out-rebounding because of playing physical and having a guy in there like Aziz and myself rebounding."


Darnell Gant:
On being physical with UNC:
"We came at this team like we knew we could win. We felt like we can beat any team. The fact that they were Carolina didn't make a difference. As long as we played right and played Husky basketball, we'd be fine. But there were some mistakes down the stretch that they capitalized on, and we fell short."

On being like a home game:
"The crowd was on their side, but we capitalized on some big plays. We made some plays. We just fell short."

On Holiday's in-bounds play:
"He can't beat himself up about it. It's in the past now. I know he wishes he could take it back, but he can't. He can't call the whole game based on that one play. It wasn't his fault."

On being physical with them:
"We tried to be physical, but we had a few defensive errors down the stretch that didn't help us."

On next year's team:
"I feel like the future is fine, as long as we work hard in the off-season. We've got a bunch of guys that have no problem working hard in the off-season, so we'll be fine.

On taking any time off now:
"No. My off-season starts when I get back (to Seattle)."


Scott Suggs:
On his last three:
"Isaiah penetrated and found me open on the wing, and I was able to make the shot. I think my defender turned his head, so I re-positioned myself and I was wide open."

On UNC:
"We knew coming into the game that Kendall Marshall would be looking for their bigs, and they would run the floor off a miss or a make - and they did that."

On the future of the team:
"The potential is good, but we have to come back next season and be focused."

On his younger brother - a ninth grader:
"He's pretty good. I haven't seen him play in high school yet, but he's been doing pretty good. He's playing for the Eagles, the AAU team I used to play for. Hopefully that's a good thing for him."

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