OMAHA - Thursday, Purdue and other NCAA Tournament participants here in the CenturyLink Center in Omaha met with the media in advance of their Friday games.
Below is the unedited transcript of Purdue's press conference, as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
Q. Lewis, if you would, Matthew Dellavedova and you are very different kinds of point guards but both equally effective. In watching film of him can you talk about why you think he's been successful in leading his team to where they've gotten and talk about the differences and why you're successful about?
LEWIS JACKSON: He has great savvy with the ball, obviously you can't gauge on film how fast a guy is but he looks like he moves well, he's good at angles, once he gets guys on his hip he has great decisions and is a great shooter and he knows a time when he needs to score and when his guys need the ball and I think that's what makes him so effective and a lot of guys don't know how to use their size. He takes care of the ball and in my situation I use my speed more and am a little more aggressive and both of these guys and D.J. Byrd and Terone, those guys knock down shots in the space and the similarities are we both have guys that make our jobs easier but we attack the ball and he has size and I have speed.
Q. Robbie, after what you have gone through the last couple of years with your knee, can you talk about what it means for you to be at this point back at the NCAA Tournament?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think sitting out the last two years for the tournament it's been frustrating but I think it's made this time all the more special for me. When you miss something like that, when you have grown up watching a tournament and you always wanted to play in it. It's been disappointing not to be with my team like it has been the last two years but I think we're all excited to be here and we're looking forward to tomorrow.
Q. For those of us from the Bay Area who know who you are but don't know that much about your story, were there times in your rehab particularly after the second ACL that you thought you might not get back to this spot?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: There were times, the end of Julywhen I thought I'd be able to play at a high level again, be able to shoot the ball, play basketball at the level that I had before, and there were points in the season where it was a team thing where, is our resume good enough to get us in the tournament and at the end of the season we started playing our best basketball and we were able to get in. There were times where it was myself asking will I be on the court and/or will the team be in there, and those both definitely occurred.
Q. Ryne, you came in with Lew four years ago and the St. Mary's guys talked about what Matthew Dellavedova means to their team. Can you, in your words, put kinda what has made Lewis the success that he is and why he makes it easy for shooters to get good looks?
RYNE SMITH: First of all, Lewis is a great point guard and he came in under Keaton Grant and he showed him on you offenses are run and every since then he's done a great job, being the vocal leader of our team, telling us what we need to do in the game, being the leader before the game and Lewis has done a tremendous job driving the lane and finding the opening shooter and if he's not finding the opening shooter, he find the guy who is, and I'm kinda hugging him up a little bit but I feel fortunate he was my point guard.
Q. Ryne Smith and Lewis, with what Robbie went through, how much of an inspiration has his come‑back been?
LEWIS JACKSON: For me it's been great because I remember being hurt and mine wasn't that serious. It was serious but his is amazing because most guys would have quit and you have that same guess in your mind, is he going to be able to be the same player and do what he does and is he going to get back out there and every day coming back out to work and helping the young guys, at the end of the day if I'm tired and Nicked up, it's like, look at this guy, what he's been through and you need to give your heart because he's out there giving his, too.
RYNE SMITH: Rob, when he was out, he was an assistant coach for us and he was a big chief leader and telling us what we need to do and giving us the respect was good to have.
Q. Rob, in watching film, I think you said you saw them on TV against Gonzaga a little bit, but now that you have had an opportunity to see them play on film do they remind you of anyone that you played in your schedule this year? What has impressed you most about St. Mary's?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: You know, I think they're pretty unique. I think we have played a lot of good teams with good point guards, so that's a similarity, but they run a lot of ball screen stuff, spread the floor with their shooters, and I think Matthew Dellavedova does a great job of finding their big guys rolling to the basket, so it will be a little different than a lot of teams we have faced in the Big 10 but they're a great team.
When you come out of a conference like the West Coast Conference with teams like Gonzaga, they're good, and we're looking forward to a competitive game tomorrow.
Q. Matthew, told us you guys played in Australia a few years ago at The Institute and he said he remembered playing Purdue but didn't remember any of the guys on the team.
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I remember the game, it was freezing in the gym, and I saw a box score and each one had a lot of point, for us and one of their guys did, too, but I don't remember anything specifically.
Q. Lewis? Ryne Smith? Anything?
RYNE SMITH: We weren't there.
Q. So it was cold?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yep.
COACH PAINTER: Very grateful to be here. Obviously our team is excited to play in the NCAA Tournament, especially our group of seniors. Robbie Hummel and Ryne Smith and Lewis Jackson have done a fabulous job for our program. We know we have a tough challenge facing St. Mary's, a very, very good basketball team with a lot of good players. They've got a the lot of depth, talented guys and we're going to have our hands full.
Just excited to be here and represent Purdue University.
Q. Matt, Matthew Dellavedova and Lewis obviously different shape and sizes, and they have different strengths, but each has the common bond of leading their team to be very successful. Could you not really compare them because it's hard to compare 5‑9 and 6‑4 but why is each successful at what he does?
COACH PAINTER: I think both guys are competitive, they're both winners, and at the end of the day it's how they judge you as a point guard.
The number one question is does your team win. Both teams have won, and Lewis is someone we recruited and coached and we saw him in high school and in AAU and at Purdue and that's been the constant for them.
Matthew Dellavedova we played against at The Institute, and I watched the 19‑and‑unders that scouted him in New Zealand three years ago, and ... we won in the semi‑finals and they got beat, so we didn't collide. I was able to watch him there, but he wasn't with them at the University Games in China, because he was with the National Team, but he's unique in terms of being a leader, being a great passer and making good decisions and making others around him better.
I think that's also a big statement for any player, you know, do you make your teammates better and obviously Matthew Dellavedova does that and we feel Lew does the same for our team.
Q. Matt, as far as Robbie Hummel goes, as far as come‑back stories go, where does that rate in your book?
COACH PAINTER: It's probably the number one story for us in the last seven, eight years since I've been back at Purdue in terms of everything he has had to endure with his back injury, his two ACL injuries and just a guy who has stayed with it and not made any excuses.
He's had a long road and really didn't get into rhythm in term of shooting the basketball until Februaryand you see offensively his hard work and paying off and you feel good about it. He deserves to have this opportunity and I know he's looking forward to competing in the NCAA Tournament.
Q. Matt, when Rob was in here we asked him, does St. Mary's remind you of anybody that you played? He said they're kind of unique, you played a lot of teams with good point guards but he said the way they run stuff is unique. What does he mean by that, and do they remind you of anybody you played?
COACH PAINTER: Not really. They don't ... obviously they do some things with their ball screen action that you see a lot in college basketball, but I would say the uniqueness comes directly from Matthew Dellavedova.
Rob Jones is a good player. They have a bunch of good players, I could reel off their whole team but Matthew Dellavedova has a unique ability to pass the basketball in a lot of situations. At times you think you have him on the run or trapped and stopped and he finds the open guy.
I think that's what a lot of people are referring to when they say St. Mary's is unique. I think Matthew Dellavedova is unique, he's their leader, he's what makes them go. With that being said, they have a great team. I think he just pieces the team together.
Q. Matt, some of the Missouri players were asked earlier about if you had gone there, what might have been. Obviously you were Missouri's first choice last year. Does that ever cross your mind, knowing what team they have put together this year?
COACH PAINTER: You know what? Not really. I'm happy for Missouri. I'm a big Mike Alden fan, he's done a great job at Missouri, and that being said Frank has done a great job and that's one of the those things that's meant to be, and Frank Haith was meant to be at Missouri. I had a chance to Coach Kim English in the Trials in USA Basketball and coached Marcus Denmon on that team, and it's been a great experience, but I'm happy for those guys on that team and happy for Missouri and their success.