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PRESS CONFERENCE: Chase Hunter, Joseph Girard III, PJ Hall Preview Baylor Matchup

Chase Hunter, Joseph Girard III, PJ Hall

NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Second Round – Clemson vs Baylor

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Memphis, Tennessee, USA


Q. I wanted to ask you each about Preston, what he’s brought as your strength coach, and having him back at Clemson and just what he’s provided for you guys?

PJ HALL: Yeah, Preston Greene, he started off with Coach Brownell early on in his time at Clemson. And then headed to Florida with Billy Donovan. He’s been to a handful of Final Fours and national championships. It’s ridiculous the kind of stuff he’s able to do to our physique and conditioning and stuff. It’s really incredible stuff.

What’s funny is Justin McClelland was a guy under him at Florida, with the women’s team. He came to Clemson and the guys who were here before Preston were, like, PJ you were built by J Mack and fine tuned by Preston. That’s what they jab at J Mack about. He’s incredible, though.

JOSEPH GIRARD III: Preston has done a lot for me personally, just changing the way my conditioning is. Obviously playing a different system from Syracuse to Clemson, it’s a lot different playing zone to man for 40 minutes.

He’s done a lot for me body-wise, shaping my body and getting me in better condition and better shape to withstand a 35-game season plus.

Preston is unbelievable. Obviously has a lot of connections. A lot of people trust him and he’s pretty noteworthy in the industry.

CHASE HUNTER: I think he’s just brought a different level of experience for us. He’s an older guy, a guy with a lot of experience, like I said, and he took us through a very grueling summer. We had some hard conditioning.

And he’s just been a guy that speaks up. He speaks up for us. He makes sure that we’re good, our bodies are good. And I’m very thankful of Preston. Like they say, he’s a great guy. Just a great guy to be around and we’re lucky to have him.

Q. PJ, wanted to get your opinion on RJ Godfrey’s performance yesterday, coming in with you and Scheff in foul trouble. What has his development been like over the course of a season, and to see it now in a postseason setting, can you describe that for us?

PJ HALL: Yes, it’s special to see him blossom there in yesterday’s game. A younger guy who hasn’t played in any postseason games, you never know how things are going to shape up when you’re out there. R is a very free-minded guy, he’s like me in that way. He’s going to go out there and put it all on the table.

He did just that. He went out there and gave us a huge spark, had a lot of incredible rebounds. We were able to push it up the floor and get some advantages. He was huge for us. Not only that, having some size rebounding, but also defensively he’s such a presence. And then obviously he has some explosive things around the basket. He’s a special guy to be able to come in off the bench and give us a huge spark at all times.

Q. Baylor is one of the best shooting teams in the nation. Very similar to New Mexico. They shoot a lot. But how do you guys lock them down like you did New Mexico?

CHASE HUNTER: I think it’s just coming out again with the same competitive spirit, competitive fight. Making sure that as guards we’re getting in with ball screens and making sure we have hot hands and just limiting their 3s. Just making things hard for them. And we’ll be successful.

JOSEPH GIRARD III: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is trying to make sure they’re not really rhythm 3s, trying and keep them on the move a little bit. Like Chase said, get open on screens and off the ball, just be head turning at all times, because they have three, four, sometimes five guys on the court who can shoot a 3.

They’ve always had a great offense, and it’s going to be a tough task for us, but I think like I said if we just stay locked in, focused where our guys are and knowing our own personnel we’ll be all right.

PJ HALL: I think Joe hit it on the head. The rhythm 3 is a big key point, making sure whenever we are — we’re going to give up a couple 3s, that’s how it’s going to go that we know we’re not giving up easy step-in rhythm 3s, basic thing, keep on rhythm and be more disruptive.

Q. What’s the challenge now that you’ve got a win under your belt in this event and sitting out there as a Sweet 16 berth, how tough is it to stay focused, and does playing Baylor, a team that has a recent national championship, maybe help keep you focused in this task?

JOSEPH GIRARD III: Once you get in March, you kind of have to wipe the slate, no matter who you’re playing. So after the New Mexico game where not a lot of people picked us to win, we were on edge, had a lot of competitive spirit and fire, you have to wipe it away and realize there’s a new 40 minutes ahead of you, especially against a team like Baylor, like you said, who has had so much success in March recently. You’ve got to be focused. But at the same time, stay doing what you did all year, have that competitive spirit, have that edge that we just gained back hopefully this past week leading up to these games and just, like I said, stay together and make sure that you’re focused for the whole 40 minutes.

PJ HALL: Along the same lines, wiping the slate clean and making sure that, you know, there’s a new task at hand. What you’ve done in the past is not going to affect the future. Make sure you recognize that.

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