Q&A: Florida's Joakim Noah
Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 9:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 9:21 p.m.
Joakim Noah answers questions during Sunday's news conference inside Atlanta's Georgia Dome in preparation for Monday night's national championship game against Ohio State.
Q. Looking at the present, not one game in advance, you're here. You have a chance to defend your championship. What does it mean to have this opportunity to possibly make history, but to be here right now?
A: I mean, we're really happy. We're really happy and excited to be in this situation. But, I mean, we're not satisfied until we get that good thing at the end. Because if you don't get that good thing at the end, I mean, it's still going to hurt really bad in that locker room.
I've had a chance to talk to people who were in that locker room when they lost in that championship game on that 2000 Gator team. It hurts. There were people crying. I think the coach of UCLA was talking about that yesterday. I saw it on TV. There is only one team in the Final Four that's going — that's ultimately going to be happy, and that's the team that wins the championship.
Q. You obviously have done a great job of staying focused or you wouldn't be here. Now you stand on the brink of history. What would it mean to you to be the first team to repeat since ’92?
A: I feel like that's a question that we should talk about like after the game if things go our way. I feel like right now we realize that it's not about history, it's not about all that. We have to do what we do, and that's just play basketball for 40 minutes and focus on the task at hand, and then hopefully we're back here and we can talk about that.
But I feel like right now it's just about Ohio State because we know we're playing against a great team.
Q. What is it that you remember about playing Greg Oden and what makes him hard to defend?
A: I remember him blocking my shot and smacking me right in the face right after it. It didn't feel too good.
No, but he's definitely a great player and he's dealt with so much this season, so many expectations. From what I heard, he's a really humble, humble guy. He's a great basketball player.
We're really looking forward to playing against a great team because it's not all about just Greg Oden. We know that this team has a lot of other components.
Q. Could you pick what you think is the best college basketball team of all time and maybe why.
A: Well, I lived in France for a long time, so I don't really know too much about like the history and stuff.
But when I came to Florida, I used to love watching that 2000 team, when they beat Duke and UNC. I love going back and watching those games because I feel like we play for those guys, like the Major Parkers, Udonis Haslems, even Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson. I feel like those guys are with us. Even though they're not here with us like every day, I feel like we play for those guys, too. I love watching those guys play.
Q. Dallas (Baker) told us a story about what you told him before the football team left for Phoenix. Have you heard from him this week? Have you heard from anybody on that team?
A: Yeah, a lot of guys, they write texts and call, leave messages. I mean, I feel like that's cool. I feel like Earl Everett was there to support, Joe Cohen, Tony Joiner, all these guys are just like brothers to us.
We came in together. It's just great to see all the support they give us, and we do the same back for them.
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