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NCAA MEN'S 1ST AND 2ND ROUNDS: PITTSBURGH

March 14, 2018

Herbert Jones Collin Sexton Braxton Key

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Q. This is for Braxton. What makes the guy to your left, in your opinion, the most dangerous and best point guard in America?
BRAXTON KEY: We believe he's the best point guard in America. He's fast, small at the ball, makes very good decisions, just takes care of the ball and leads the team really well. You see how aggressive he is each and every night. He feeds off the team. His aggression, his passion helps feed us, so just playing hard with the rest of us.

Q. Collin, what was working so well for you and for the team last week in the tournament that you kind of want to bottle and do just as well this week?
COLLIN SEXTON: I feel like we played a whole game. We played 40 minutes of basketball. We didn't play in spurts. We gave it our all the whole 40 minutes, and we just didn't give up and when we're playing like that, I feel like nobody can beat us.

Q. Collin, you get a lot of attention, and people talk about you a lot. How do you deal with all of that, and what are your feelings about going into your first NCAA Tournament game this year?
COLLIN SEXTON: Honestly I don't use like what people say to distract me. I just like stay off, like, all social media, so I'm not on there so really I don't like to see what people say, comment good or bad.

Also I feel like going into this tournament, it's going to be good for us, for this team. I feel under Coach Avery, we haven't went. This is our first year going. I feel like it's going to be a learning experience for all of us and to be here with the guys and try to win some games.

Q. Collin, what's been the most important thing that Avery has taught you this year as a point guard?
COLLIN SEXTON: Honestly, I feel like he taught me to adjust to the other team's scouting reports and not coming to the game thinking like, this time we get off and stuff like that. He told me just to let the game come to me and also make sure I get my teammates involved into the game as well, so that opened up everything else for me.

Q. Collin, many players of your generation, people of your generation use social media daily but you don't, what is about it you do not like?
COLLIN SEXTON: I feel like if you you're doing good, people are with you; if you're doing bad, people start commenting and saying things like sorry, like that. I just feel it's a distraction, a lot of distraction, good and bad. And if it's good, then people are like I'm straight, get a little cocky; but when it's bad, they try to get down on themselves, get more pressure on themselves and want to do good, so --

Q. Alabama has not been to the NCAAs in six years. How do you kind of handle the newness of the situation tomorrow when you're playing in your first NCAA Tournament game?
HERBERT JONES: I feel like it's still a basketball game. We'll come out and play the same way we've been playing the past couple of games and hope to come out victorious.

Q. Collin, the so-called one-and-done guys seem to have, you know, the -- I guess a reputation, an image of "I just care about basketball, I don't care about school." Talk about how seriously you take your academics. And if Herbert and Braxton could also talk about that as well, how serious you take your academic life.
COLLIN SEXTON: I feel like it's important, very important, because if you ain't got books, then a lot of things won't open up in the future. So I feel like that's the most important thing, and also my siblings, they got their degree, so I want to get mine as well. So that's what just pushes me.

And also me and Herb in the same class. We battle. We battle it out to see who get better grades and stuff. It's just like a competitive thing, and then -- yeah.

BRAXTON KEY: Yeah. Coach praises that we all take grades serious, because he said the ball stops bouncing seriously whether you play 20 years in NBA or never play after college. Great to see guys like Collin and Herb, to see them compete, makes us pick up our grades. As a team I believer our GPA is 3.2 this year. It's very good for us.

HERBERT JONES: I feel being in the NBA is cool, but if you don't have knowledge, people can manipulate you when you get to that level. And you I feel you get your education if you can and it's free. And you get to play basketball. That's a plus.

Q. Braxton, I'm sure you hear this all of the time. When people think of Alabama sports, they think of football. How much do people embrace basketball now since you've been there?
HERBERT JONES: The culture has changed a lot when we started winning games early. Then we went in to a little dropped and you see some fans started pushing away from the basketball. But I think it's changing now, now that we made the tournament, I think the cultures' changed.

BRAXTON KEY: It's been great. In football they've been for the fans; just a little greedy when it comes to winning, so when we got on a losing streak, they kind of just got on us a little bit. At the end of the day they support us and our coaches trust us and support us. The culture's changing. They are starting to become more basketball fans, so it's great.

Q. Herb, I know you had a 4.0 in high school?
HERBERT JONES: Yes, sir.

Q. I know there's a battle. Who is winning that battle academically? Could you tell us what you have, GPA?
HERBERT JONES: Right now both of us still have 4.0, so we're even.

Q. Really 4.0, all As?
HERBERT JONES: Oh, yeah.

Q. That's like double what I got at Arizona.
Defensively, like why? I mean, most guys come into college and they want to score the ball and you look like that's an after-thought for you. And you just want to go hard on the defensive end first and that's okay with you this year. How do you get that mindset?

HERBERT JONES: When I came here, I knew the recruiting class and guys. I knew what they do. So I just had to find a way to get playing time because I knew it would be hard to get playing time as a freshman. Defense, it goes anywhere. You can play defense anywhere. Your shots might not fall, but you can play defense and that's what I'm keyed on.

Q. This is for all three. Could you talk about what Donta brings to the table and what you're missing when he's not there?
HERBERT JONES: He brings the toughness. Huge defensive guy, and he can also do it on the offensive end. He's just a big piece of our team, and when he's missing -- you can tell when he's missing -- that's a big part of the defense that's gone when he's out, so it's kind of tough.

Even though we still have bigs like Danny Giddens, but -- he's a primary offensive and defensive guy.

BRAXTON KEY: His communication is also great on defense. That's why I think he makes a great defender. He tells people where to go and where we need to be. He just leads real well. Offensively he scores really well in the paint, gets offensive runs for us, takes off threes. He never complains. Just a great tee teammate to have.

COLLIN SEXTON: Honestly, we feel like we know what he's going to give us. Game in, game out, he's going to always play hard. Offense, give him the ball, he's going to score it. On defense, he's going to block shots and run the court.

I feel like we know exactly what we're going to get out of him. When he's not there, it's pretty tough because one night he'll give you 15 rebounds. So it's tough not knowing how to, like, put somebody else in his shoes kind of.

Q. For any of you guys, you have beaten some really good team this year, Auburn, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Oklahoma, who are here in Pittsburgh.
For you guys when you beat a really good team like that during the course much the year, has there been certain kind of consistent things that have helped you against the really top caliber teams that resulted in the wins in all of those games:

BRAXTON KEY: Rebounding, I feel like if we run the rebound, get stops, and we can run, I feel like no one can stop us or mess with us. We're really fast. We get the ball to Collin or Dazon, just let them push, get to the spots we need to and shoot our shots with confidence. When we rebound offensively and defensively, I feel that's the key to get us over the edge.

Q. For all three of you guys. I think that ESPN power index, whatever you guys call it, Virginia Tech, 64 1/2 percent chance to advance in this thing. Anybody want to comment on that? Is that a big motivator for you guys, being the underdog once again?
COLLIN SEXTON: Honestly, we don't worry about those numbers. Those numbers don't really mean nothing. We're just going to go out there and play our game.

Q. Collin, I'm sure every team goes into the game plan where the number one goal is to kind of stop you, contain you, limit you. How you've been able to be so effective this year despite getting everyone's defensive attention there?
COLLIN SEXTON: Honestly, I just feel like when I'm not there, my teammates they help me a whole lot. You all don't see it, but they're going to let me know what's going on, what do they see, and also it helps me like judge someone. When I come off the screen, they tell me how many people looking at me, stuff like that.

So I feel like my teammates are big as well as the coaching staff because we do a lot of scouting before. So we know what they're going to do pretty much before the game. I'm ready for it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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