NCAA Tournament Press Conference Quotes :: New Mexico State

Q. Eli, can you tell me how last year's experience will help you out this year at the NCAA tournament?
ELI CHUHA: This is my third time being here. I have a lot more years of experience. From last year I felt like it gives us a little boost and watching film on these guys from last year, learning from last year what we didn't do good. This is a learning experience, so I feel like it will help us in the long run.

Q. Can both of you talk about what you have seen from Auburn and what stands out to you since you have been watching the last couple of days?
ELI CHUHA: They are strong, they are athletic, that is what we have seen so far. So really, they are super athletic and they are stronger. So, that's all we see right now.

Q. Shunn?
SHUNN BUCHANAN: Athleticism and quickness and the size of them, that is about it.

Q. As players, there's a lot of upsets, it is always one of the trendy upset picks in the tournament. Do you guys look at that? What do you think about that? When you saw the 12 fives, we're going to get some attention here?
ELI CHUHA: Regardless of what team, we are going to play our hardest, I don't think we look at it as a 12. Everybody's good in this tournament, we will just come and play hard.

SHUNN BUCHANAN: Everyone's good so not take no one for granted, just come out and play hard because we know Coach Jans is going to put us in the best position to win.

Q. Could you talk about the chemistry on this year's team and how you get along, please?
SHUNN BUCHANAN: It's crazy. Everybody loves each other. We're always staying together, hanging with each other. We have free time, which we are bound to have. We always together and having a good time, always jumping around.

Q. Eli?
ELI CHUHA: This team chemistry is great on and off the court, it is really good.

Q. Shunn, what has the practice schedule been like this past week? Have you been able to have a regular routine of any sort?
SHUNN BUCHANAN: We kind of had a regular routine when we got back from Vegas. We really didn't dwell on Las Vegas, we got into our own end game plan, just practice hard because we don't have some guys that play a lot of minutes, so we are barely tired. The coach has pushed us and we come to do what he asks us to do every day, we prepare hard to win this game.

Q. Hey, coach. Can you give me your thoughts on Auburn going into this.
CHRIS JANS: They are a handful. They're playing their best basketball of the season right now. They are feeling great about one another and there's been a lot of talk about how proficient and how many threes they shoot a game. It's 30-plus game, I think they shot 40 in the final of the SEC tournament, but that traditional three-point shooting team.

They've got great guards out front, that can really bounce it, shoot it with range. They have plenty of size and athletes, and that's something we're not used to, we don't play against that type of athlete on a nightly basis. We do randomly in the fall with our schedule but we don't do it night in, night out. That is my biggest concern.

It is going to be like walking out in the cold for the first time in the winter and just trying to adjust and get your body to adjust to that cold and we will have to adjust to athleticism and quickness once the ball is jumped. But it will be a big deal. People talk about our rebounding prowess. We are proud of that, at the same time doing it against this type of athlete.

So if we can win that battle that gets us a step in the right direction.

Q. Can you talk about Trevelin's progression? He can change the game defensively for a night and then he can score another night. Is he an X factor for you?
CHRIS JANS: I have never had someone be eligible at Christmas and he didn't get here till late, so I really didn't think he was going to be eligible all year-long. Fortunately, he was. And so he didn't know the system, the terminology, he was always with the scout team. I wasn't coaching him very much. We were trying to get him acclimatized to our system and program, and he becomes eligible and at that point he could be our X factor because of the talent, you could see the talent, the size, the ability. But how long would it take for him to adjust to us in what we're trying to do.

If you watch his progression and you watch the games like you have, you can see the steady progression. There were some ups and downs early, but as the season progressed, you knew he was capable of being that X factor because he has the ability to score the ball, rebound the ball and be a play maker. And he's got size in his position and that was something we were lacking until his arrival.

So I'm excited for him. He's very confident every day. He thinks he's the best player on the court, no matter where he's playing, who he is playing against. And hopefully that will help him playing against these type of teams. He's showed everybody that was watching our game on Saturday what he's capable of and hopefully that will boost his confidence and he will continue to play the way he is.

Q. One of your players has had a bit of a homecoming. What has he brought to your team, JoJo Zamora, as fifth-year senior?
CHRIS JANS: He won a couple of games for us single-handedly for us this year. He's capable of that. As a coach, you want him to be a bit more consistent. Sure is nice bringing someone off the bench that you know can change a game with three or four shots, and he is capable of doing that.

And I'm proud of him because I don't think he's ever considered a defender. It's been a foreign word to him before he arrived at our place. He's got on the floor because he's been a willing defender and he's a better rebounder. So we're hopeful that in one of these games he can go on one of these special runs and turn the tide, if you will.

Q. Chris, in regards to Auburn's athleticism, how do you counter that? You don't want your guys to be dealing in headlights. I'm sure they won't be. How do you counter that?
CHRIS JANS: A good question. Still trying to figure it out. (Laughter.)

We have to use our technique. We've got to check them out, old school basketball. If we just turn and look at the rim and the ball is shot, we're not going to win the jumping contest. We have to rely on our habits of checking out. We are quick to the ball. And just being tough.

If we try to just step in the center of the ring and just duke it out with them, we will have problems. We have to try and control tempo as best we can and pick our spots and I think rebounding is going to be a big deal. We've got to be able to beat them to some loose balls, beat them on some long rebounds. Because both teams shoot a lot of threes, there will be a lot of long rebounds.

The long rebounds don't necessarily, not necessarily an advantage for the taller players. It is an advantage for the quicker players, people that move first and track the ball down. And so we're going to try to use our quickness and tenacity to our advantage and hopefully rely on our training.

Q. Coach, you spent a good part of your career at Wichita State under Gregg Marshall. What did you take away from that?
CHRIS JANS: I wouldn't be sitting here if it wasn't for Coach Marshall. We had some great teams, a heck of a run and it was a lot of fun to be part of it. I felt like I was getting a PhD in basketball and probably most importantly, how to be a CEO of an organization. I mean the way he ran his program, he was on it every day and he brought energy and ideas and thoughts and you knew what you were getting every day with him, he never took a day off. He was always ready to go at practice. I learned a lot from observing him how to run the program and he's been doing this for over 20 years as head coach. Arguably one of the best coaches in the country right now.

And just to be by his side, watch him work at his craft and to take all that knowledge with me and try to implement to our program, like I said, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him.

Q. This year, you have 12, 13 guys you can throw on the floor that could have an impact at any time. How beneficial is that to have coming into a game like this?
CHRIS JANS: Hopefully, it will be. Last year, our biggest problem in playing against teams like this, these power five teams, was their size made the court smaller and we only had three guys on the floor at one time that could shoot the basketball. They made the court look smaller. We had a hard time trying to get penetration. We throw it inside there will be two or three guys with their length swiping at the ball, we weren't able to spread the floor like we are now.

That is our biggest change, our spacing and having more guys on the floor that are capable scorers and teams can't focus on one or two guys. Hopefully, that will help us tomorrow in being able to get better shots off against a team that is trying to turn you over.

Q. Coach, the second time as a head coach here, what did you learn the first time last year that you are going to take into this experience?
CHRIS JANS: It is good to be back. It's good to be back up here answering these questions. What I learned as a head coach -- I have been an assistant and played in a number of NCAA tournament games, Final Four, when you are in that seat next door and walk out there, the lights are brighter, the lights are brighter and it feels different. Even for me.

I've talked to our team about it. Winning the WAC Championship was fun, it was awesome, but it felt different, it wasn't as euphoric as it was last year being my first time and my first time at New Mexico State and we have guys that have been with us and coached by us that was here last year. We talked about how different it is. How getting up on this podium and walking out for the open practice and the media interviews and when the ball is tipped, it feels different.

I think because of me being in that position now and our players being able to educate our new guys, I'm hoping that experience will help our new guys this time around. You have to go through something to get that experience. Now we have. Hopefully, it will help us tomorrow.