Selected Quotes from Today's Men's Basketball Press Conference - 1/14

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Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy
Opening Statement:
“First of all, I am very thankful and proud of our guys and the way they have competed the last two games. Obviously, the way you win those two games is very rewarding but we have to be consistent with that in our practice habits. Hopefully, we are getting better with that and we will gain some confidence from the last two games.”

On keys to wins over Arkansas and Kentucky:
“I think it was just the urgency of conference play. I can’t sit here and tell you that these habits just changed all of a sudden. Our energy level has been better. I will say that Kourtney Robertson and Fabyon Harris have been better in practice. Elston has always been consistent and there has been some carry over from Kourtney and Fabyon’s efforts.”

On Elston Turner’s performance against Kentucky:
“Nobody could have seen that coming. It was just a special performance, especially when you score 40 points at Rupp. The only other players I know that have scored over 40 at Rupp are great NBA players. For him to have that, it was just a special feat. But he prepared himself. He’s been getting in more shooting practice at the gym. The performance was just incredible.”

On faster offensive tempo:
“One, we’ve been focusing on that for a while. Hopefully, it is kicking in some. Two, the teams we are playing are running up and down. They are not trying to slow the game down. They do not have a controlling tempo and we are getting rebounds. We weren’t getting those rebounds a lot of the time and it’s hard to run when you are not rebounding the ball or you are not getting the ball out of the net on time. I think that’s been a difference.”

On importance of Kentucky win for team morale:
“That’s the biggest thing I am looking forward to, from the program’s standpoint. If we compete hard defensively and we play together we can do special things. You can only do that from success. Players have to win. Players have to feel success to buy in. We will continue to use that as motivation in practice and continue to go hard and get them to a point where they don’t think they are tired every day. Hopefully, they will gain some confidence from this.”

On Florida:
“They are a potential Final Four team. They are very good, experienced and really good defensively. They have a true center, Patrick Young. I’ve been really impressed with their defense. Everybody knows Florida can shoot the ball. I think they made 13 three-point shots against us last year and they have all those guys back. Eric Murphy is a tough matchup for us because he is a floor man who can step out and shoot threes at 43%. This is a team that is capable of getting to the Final Four. They were really good last year and they are an experienced veteran club.”

Texas A&M Guard Elston Turner
On scoring 40 points at Kentucky:
“It didn’t feel as good as coming away with the win. It was a team win and fortunately I was able to contribute some shots. My teammates do a great job of looking for me. All in all, it was a great team win.”

On Dad’s reaction:
“He didn’t say anything bad, surprisingly. I was thinking he was going to say something bad. Normally, if I do have a good game, he will still find something bad to say about it. He said there was something different about that game. I had a different attitude and different approach to the game. He told me that whatever I did in that game needed to happen again. He said I needed to take the same approach to every game that I took to that game.”

On takeaways from Kentucky:
“I just need to have a quick mindset. We have a quick turnaround and play Florida on Thursday. The game against Kentucky is behind us. We have a practice today and another opportunity to get better as a team. Our team chemistry is great right now. We are playing solid defensively and when we play like that we have a great chance of beating any team.”

Texas A&M Forward Jared Jahns
On playing 30 minutes against Kentucky:
“I never would have thought that would happen. Ray got in foul trouble and you have to answer the call at that point. We don’t have a deep forward lineup so Coach told me to go in and I knew that it was going to have to be for the rest of the game. I was just going to have to answer the call. It was fun, for sure. I went up against the biggest and the best and I didn’t even have offers to play in college so it was a dream that has come true.”

On guarding Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel:
“He’s a monster. He’s 18 or 19 years-old and I did the very best I possibly could. I tried not to let him catch the ball. He’s just really good and a very big guy. I’ve never played against a guy who is a true 6-11 and plays as big as he is. You prepare. You watch film. You know how good he is and what his tendencies are. You just force him off the block. Coach just said, “Stay solid. Stay strong.” Coach Keller is my biggest critic and he said, “If he blocks your shot, you’re coming back out.” My focus was just to get the ball reversed and get Elston the ball because he was on fire. That was our main focus and what Coach was feeding us.”

On takeaways from Kentucky:
“I think it is great experience for all of us. Florida is a heck of a team. They have great guard-play and great post-play. I think it will give us a little bit of momentum going into the game on Thursday. We need to stay strong, keep rebounding and keep having a team effort all around.”

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