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Arizona, Texas meet the media: Williams vs. Thompson

Texas will try to surround Derrick Williams, as Memphis did on Friday.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Arizona and Texas met with the media Saturday in Tulsa to talk about tomorrow’s matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

One of the leading topics was the big man matchup between the Wildcats’ Derrick Williams and the Longhorns’ Tristan Thompson.

You can read the full Texas transcript from their podium interviews here, and the Arizona transcript here.

If you don’t have time for all that, here are some selected sound bites from each side as it relates to the matchup:

Williams on Thompson:

DERRICK WILLIAMS: He’s really lanky. He has long arms. He can jump out the gym. That’s what he brings. He likes to attack the rim. If you’re in the way he’s going to jump over you and dunk the ball. Offensive rebounds, he’s an animal.

It’s going to be my job to keep him off the boards, because that’s where I think he averages like 13 points a game. … A lot of it has to do with just me guarding him and just boxing him out.

Arizona coach Sean Miller was asked about the potential Williams-Thompson clash:

COACH MILLER: I don’t know if it’s an individual match-up. I don’t know if Tristan Thompson will guard Derrick or Derrick will guard him. But I do think respective to their own teams, both guys are obviously very important. I’ve watched Tristan as a high school player, and Texas deserves a lot of credit watching his body change the way it has in such a short period of time.

It’s overwhelming as a coach that’s getting ready to play against Texas to watch him offensive rebound. I think he’s had as many as ten in a game. He might be the nation’s best offensive rebounder. Keeping him off the glass and not allowing him to put fouls on our team is certainly one of the big keys to our game.

Derrick on our end is essential that he plays well, and he usually does. Getting a good game from him is going to be paramount to tomorrow’s game.

Thompson was asked to compare his game to Williams. One difference is that Thompson, unlike Williams, is not a 3-point threat.

TRISTAN THOMPSON: Yeah, he can do almost everything. He can shoot threes. He gets in the paint and gets down and dirty with it. My game’s more inside, sticking to my bread and butter, but he has a lot of tools to his game. So he’s going to be a good match-up for me.

Texas coach Rick Barnes on Williams’ versatility:

COACH BARNES: Well, he’s a great player. Great players can give it to you a lot of different ways, whether it’s inside, outside, somewhere in between, what they can do on the defensive end. And, again, he’s a player that’s Player of the Year. Yeah, he creates problems. You’ve got to be able to step out there and be close enough to him because he shoots I think the highest percentage on their team from the three and they move him around. I think they do a nice job on their offense running some motion, coming back to them, and trying to get your defense a little discombobulated.

But he’s a terrific player. There is no doubt you’ve got to know where he is at all times.

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