NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Final Four: Baylor vs Gonzaga

Monday, April 5, 2021

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lucas Oil Stadium - Unity Court (South)

Baylor Bears

Jared Butler

Championship Game Postgame Media Conference


Baylor - 86, Gonzaga - 70

Q. Can you just take me through that start of the game? You guys just came out on fire and kind of took it from them.

JARED BUTLER: Yeah, start of the game was tremendous. I know I didn't, Adam didn't, Mark didn't, we didn't look at the scoreboard. We were just going out there, giving it our all.

We were just going to let the crumbles where they fall. I looked up at halftime, we were up 10. I knew at some point we were up big, because I was, like, we're scoring; they aren't scoring. Everybody was hitting shots; nobody was going to miss.

Electrifying, especially in that type of moment, a big game. And everybody stepped up. Like, everybody was clicking on all cylinders. Like that's what it takes to win. So it's amazing.

Q. Just as critical it seemed was the way you guys started the second half. I mean, Gonzaga had cut it to 10 by halftime. And you guys really came out and kind of pressed the accelerator down. Was that a message at halftime?

JARED BUTLER: Yes, that's always a point of emphasis for us, the first five minutes of that, the first half; it's so important. These type of games, these games are second-half games. Early leads don't mean anything.

We looked at it like 0-0 and we knew they were going to fight. Very talented team. They're never out of the game. That first five minutes was pretty crucial.

Q. You've won a national championship. You're the most outstanding player at the Final Four. What the heck is it like to have those achievements for you?

JARED BUTLER: Man, I'm not trying to preach a prosperity gospel, but our Lord and Savior, I say it all the time: He gets us through everything. Jesus Christ, man, he's the truth. And he was with us tonight. He was with us all season. He was with us wherever we go.

And he just sustained us. He brought us together. He brought this team together. Transfers. People from overseas. It's just tremendous how it just comes and it comes all full circle. And it's just amazing. Man, you could do anything you put your mind to, for sure.

Q. You guys have had a dynamic offense all year. But you all really cut down on turnovers. You average less than eight per game throughout the NCAA Tournament. Was there a special emphasis on that, or what happened there?

JARED BUTLER: Yeah, that was. And we have, like, three keys where we try to have 11 less turnovers in a game. And with the guards we have, it shouldn't be a hard thing to do. And that's always a point of emphasis. We would rather get a shot off than a live ball turnover, or rather get a shot off rather than forcing it. That's always a point of emphasis for us, especially us being so guard-heavy.

Q. 30 years from now, when you're looking back on this team, what are you going to remember outside of the basketball, maybe the relationships and how this team, you all loved each other?

JARED BUTLER: It's really like a family. When I talk about a family, like group of brothers, like after 30 days in the bubble, you start to, like, not want to be around each other. You're around dudes all day. It's hard.

But I don't know how we got through it. We got through it. We loved each other. Played so many games of Connect Four, and played cornhole and ate together, watched movies together and did everything together. It's just a really cool thing. I'll probably remember that more than winning the championship. They're just great guys, they're great people. That's what I'll remember, for sure.

Q. What kind of statement do you think you and MaCio and Adam and Davion made today?

JARED BUTLER: We say it all the time, we think we're the best guards in the nation. We went up against some highly touted guards. They're explosive. They have Drew Timme. And we want to be the best guards in the nation. And I think we proved that tonight. We made a statement. And it's just the best way to do it on national TV, NCAA Tournament championship game, like, it's amazing to do it.

Q. For you, you kind of struggled shooting the ball going into the tournament. Was there a different mindset or preparation for you going into these potential two games about how you had to maybe turn things around? Because you were obviously outstanding.

JARED BUTLER: I was struggling the whole tournament probably until the Final Four. And as a shooter, like, it's hard. Like, it just makes the days longer and you think about it all day long. But I knew, like, I couldn't go the whole tournament and not shoot well.

And that's what I was holding my hat on. And I knew God was going to allow me to make shots eventually. I just trusted him. My teammates found me, kept feeding me the ball, telling me to shoot the ball, stuff like that. I'm glad it came at the right time. I'm glad I was able to shoot the ball well these past few games. That's about it.

Q. How would you describe what it was like to have the success in this type of year, with everything that's been asked of you guys and everything you've had to sacrifice, how does that add to the feeling of winning a championship?

JARED BUTLER: I think it's harder to win it this year than ever before with the stoppages and testing and the sacrificing your social life just so you can play basketball games; having no fans sometimes. It's just hard to get up sometimes for these games. And I'm just so thankful that we were able to play and the tournament still goes on.

It was really cool to say we did that in the midst of adversity, in the midst of tribulations, and to bring it home for Baylor, it's amazing.

Q. With everything that has happened over the last, the tournament's canceled last year and you're able to play this year, just you've had the vision of being national champions for so long, was there ever a moment that you didn't believe?

JARED BUTLER: Ever a moment I didn't believe? I don't think so. I think when we all decided to come back, I was like, yeah, we definitely have a chance to be the best team ever at Baylor, the best team -- first team to make it to the Final Four.

When you have a goal for that long, we all knew the goal. Like, everybody knew the mission. And I think everybody sacrificed for it. And I think that's why we're here today. And just, whew, so glad that everybody came back. We got the band back and we won, that's cool. Gotta make a movie out of it.

Q. Tonight you join rarified air. You're the first player since 2003, which was Carmelo Anthony, to have 20 points, seven assists in a championship game. To be recognized like Carmelo Anthony, how does that feel for yourself? And what does that do for you as you now get ready for next process, next part of your career?

JARED BUTLER: You know, I think it just lets me know that, like, when I worry about my future, when I worry about my next move, or am I going to be able to do this, am I going to be able to play this well, perform this well, it just gives me confidence to know that God's got it all planned out and all I've got to do is just adjust to his plan and let the chips fall where they may and just give it my all and just cut out all the worrying, because there's no reason to worry. Just look at what he's done in my life and where I've come has just all come full circle. Just lets me know that I should never not trust him at any moment, you know?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
106467-2-1001 2021-04-06 05:02:00 GMT

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