They said it: Quotes from Indiana players

Here are some of the best quotes from Thursday’s interviews with Indiana players Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Christian Watford:

Q. Jordan, could you talk a little bit about what the job Yogi has done as a point guard and just as a freshman coming in, his maturity and leading a veteran group.
HULLS: He’s done a tremendous job, Yogi has. Us older guys have really rallied around him, especially once the
season got going, and just trying to help him get through whatever he had to get through. He’s far and away one of the best players I’ve ever been around, especially at his age. He doe Zesn’t play like a freshman. We look for him to do a lot of different things, and he creates a lot of opportunities for us.

Q. Victor, what do you see out of James Madison? Do they compare to any other team that you’ve played this year?
OLADIPO: They’re a really good team. They won their conference. We watched a little bit of their game yesterday, and they do a lot of things well.
The thing about the Big Ten, it prepares you for anything. It prepares you not to take anyone lightly.
So we’re looking forward to the game tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to getting it started.

Q. Victor, how much do you know about Andre Nation on JMU with his defensive skills?
OLADIPO: I don’t know too much, but I watched the game yesterday, and I watched their conference championship game. He
does a lot of good things for them in order for them to win.
He does a lot of things well, whether it be on-ball defending or blocking shots or things likethat. So we’re going to have to match his intensity.

Q. Cody, how has the start of this tournament experience compared to last year? Obviously, you coming in as a freshman last year, didn’t have any experience, no one else on the team di d as well. How has this lead-up to the tournament been compared to last year?
ZELLER: It’s definitely very exciting for us. The tournament is — it’s kind of tough to explain just because it’s a whole new season. There’s a different feel about it.
It’s something you look forward to your whole life growing up, watching the NCAA Tournament growing up, and it’s definitely one of –an experience we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.
So it’s easy to play hard. It’s easy to put everything you got out there and try to make a memory out of it.

Q. Cody, you know going into this that there’s a huge size difference. How do you as a power forward center go into this trying to exploit the undersize of JMU?
ZELLER: Every game that we go out to, we want to get inside to me and Christian, and our offense flows well after that. Even if me and Christian aren’t the ones that score it. So that’s always a big key for us.
Then also rebounding is a big part of it. Really the same stuff we’ve been doing all year, but it really gets us going, I guess.

Q. Cody, how has that Big Ten kind of meat grinder kind of prepared you guys for this tournament?
ZELLER: The biggest thing is there’s so many different styles. Big Ten prepared us well for whoever we could see, whether it’s up-paced teams, 3-point shooting teams, or slow it down.
I think we’ve really seen every style we might see in the tournament, and it’s prepared us well just because every team in the Big Ten is so good and so competitive that I think we’ll be ready for anything.

Q. Victor, would anything short of a Final Four appearance be a disappointment for you?
OLADIPO: I would say so. We’ve been through a lot, and we expect nothing but the best. We’re going to go into this
tournament and try and win it. So any loss before then would be a disappointment because our main goal is to win the tournament, take it one game at a time, and just play together and have fun like Jordan was saying and play Indiana basketball.

Q. For Christian, lookingback, it’s a foregone conclusion to be a No. 1 seed this season. Do you reflect back on any
moments as the program has come back that stand out? I mean, Christian, your shot. Like things over the years, do you ever step back and think, wow, this had to go right, we had to do this, this, and this, and then kind of the whole overall picture?
WATFORD: I can’t really put a pinpoint on a certain thing, but I can justremembe r us constantly working, working ever day, and just trying to get better. These guys have done a great job of improving over the years as well as the whole team. It definitely took a team mindset to get here, and we embrace this point.

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About Randy Beard

Randy Beard has been at the Courier & Press since 2007 and became the sports editor in 2012. He has previously been a sports editor at the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat. He began his professional sports journalist career in 1976 and has spent his career primarily covering college sports in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. He's also covered the NFL, the original North American Soccer League and professional tennis and golf. He's covered two Super Bowls, three college football national championship games, dozens of NCAA basketball tournament games, an Olympics, a World Cup and once hung out with soccer legend George Best for two days and sat in a golf cart with Jan Stephenson.

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