NCAA Sat.: OU PC (w/audio)

Griffin

Inside Carolina's Saturday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel, Tony Crocker, Taylor Griffin, Blake Griffin, Austin Johnson and Willie Warren, who spoke to the media at FedEx Forum.

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JEFF CAPEL & STARTING FIVE
Part I: (23:55)

Part II: (33:19)

Capel
Opening remarks:
"Again, I'm really proud of our guys for -- of how we played last night and for the opportunity to play such a terrific basketball team tomorrow. Carolina is really good. They're as good as I've seen on tape this year, and in person. They're incredibly explosive. I was counting, when I was looking at their roster, I think they have nine McDonald's All-Americans, four guys that scored over 1,000 points. One of them has almost 3,000 points. Coached by a Hall of Famer.

"They're really, really good, and it's going to be a tough challenge for us. But, again, our guys are excited about the opportunity. And hopefully we can play well."

You talked about point guards, traditional point guards, Lawson fits that mold. Without overusing the word great, how close is he to that and how fast -- is he the fastest you've seen with the ball?
"Ty Lawson is a great college point guard. I don't know how that will translate to the pros, but especially when he's doing now this year, and especially when he's been healthy over the past few months. That North Carolina team maybe does not get past LSU if he doesn't play, especially how good he was in the second half. You know, he was tremendous last night.

"Their program is known for having very, very good point guards. He's following right in line with the tradition of that. And as far as speed, it's tough to gauge speed on tape. Yesterday was the first time I'd ever seen him play live. And he's really, really fast. I think Flynn is fast. We had a kid in our league last year, D.J. Augustine, who was pretty fast. Sherron Collins is pretty fast. How does he measure up against those guys, I'm not sure. But he is really, really fast with the ball."

Jeff, how did you wind up choosing Duke over Carolina?
"You know, I grew up a Carolina fan. I always tell my mom, my mom and dad when I was younger, that when I grow up, I'm going to Carolina. The posters I had in my room as a young child were Carolina posters. Probably one of my favorites, there was a picture of Michael Jordan shooting a jump shot against NC State. It was picture perfect form, his legs were spread out, and it had the tradition continues. I just thought that was incredible.

"Carolina was the first ACC school to start recruiting me, and it was the summer going into my tenth grade year. When I was in tenth grade, I was actually in Chapel Hill. I went to quite a few games. When I was younger, my father was a high school coach. I used to always go with my dad to Coach Smith's clinic. When I was younger, I used to go to a lot of games. My father would take me up to Carmichael and watch a lot of games. I was there when Kenny Smith broke his wrist against LSU. I was a Carolina fan. I thought that was where I was going to go until I met Coach K.

"The first time I had a conversation with coach face to face is when I started to change a little bit and when I thought that that's the man I want to play for. It wasn't anything against -- my final two schools were Duke and North Carolina. Really what it came down to was playing for Coach K. I wanted to play with Grant Hill. But then also, as a freshman, I thought it was more of an opportunity for me to play early. You know, Duke would be losing Thomas Hill and Bobby Hurley. While North Carolina would be returning Phelps and Donald Williams. And I thought it was more of an opportunity for me to go in as a freshman and earn playing time. So that's kind of was maybe the deciding factor. Towards the end."

Blake Griffin
Your thoughts on matching up with Hansbrough?
"You know, it's exciting, but like I said last night, it's not going to be a one-on-one battle by any means. It's going to be Oklahoma versus North Carolina.

"That's how we plan to play them. I'm not going to try to, you know, break away from a team concept and try to show him up or anything like that. I have no problem with him. He's a great player. He's been a great player for four years now. I have a lot of respect for him."

Could you talk about the inside presence of Carolina, what it will take to match up defensively and some of the things they do.
"Like Coach Capel said, they're a great team all over the board. Inside, they have the national player of the year, returning national player of the year and a supporting cast that is, you know, just as good as anybody in the country. So we're going to have to do a great job of really getting down and playing well defensively and also offensively, just trying to slow them down and get into a rhythm."

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