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She Said, He Said

Nov. 17, 2008
Nov. 17, 2008

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Nov. 17, 2008

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She Said, He Said

Some of the brightest stars from college hoops' dual powerhouses dish on who's got game

NORTH CAROLINA

This is an article from the Nov. 17, 2008 issue

Rashanda McCants • Tyler Hansbrough

SI: What do you like about each other's game?

Rashanda McCants: Tyler's a workaholic. To be honest with you, it frustrates me because I'm like, Where does he get all this energy from? Usually people run out of energy. He just finds more.

Tyler Hansbrough: Rashanda's intense, and she's so competitive that she reminds me of her brother [Rashad, a guard on North Carolina's 2005 title team]. She's a good shooter like her brother, too.

SI: Why do you think both programs are enjoying such success?

McCants: Because of our seniors. Me, Tyler, Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard and Bobby Frasier—we all came in together. We've evolved, [playing with] some great players. We want to keep the legacy going.

Hansbrough: Rashanda's doing some really impressive things for our women's team.

SI: Who runs a tougher practice—Coach Williams or Coach Hatchell?

McCants: The guys swear their practices are harder, but I think they're equal because the coaches have similar styles. They're both really intense.

OKLAHOMA

Blake Griffin • Courtney Paris

SI: What do you like about each other's game?

Courtney Paris: Blake just loves to play. He dominates. He's aggressive. He'll try to dunk on anybody.

Blake Griffin: There hasn't been a player like Courtney in a long time, someone who gets every rebound. No one can really stop her. Her record of [92 straight] double doubles is amazing. I wish I could do that.

SI: You were both recruited by UConn as well. Why did you choose Oklahoma?

Paris: Even though the Sooners went to the Final Four a couple of years back, they had never won [a title]. I wanted to be part of a group that could build a tradition here.

Griffin: We're trying to—as Courtney said—change the culture of our program and make [winning] more of an annual thing.

SI: What do you think about being projected to go No. 1 in the WNBA and NBA drafts?

Paris: For me it's going to [depend] on what the No. 1 team needs. If it needs a center, hopefully it will go with me.

Griffin: I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't go No. 1. My goal is to have a good career here and then [in the pros].

PITTSBURGH

DeJuan Blair • Shevonte Zellous

SI: Why do you think both programs are enjoying such success?

Shavonte Zellous: Good chemistry. We all care about each other. I come to all the [men's] games when we're in town and talk to the guys after games to see how they did.

DeJuan Blair: We are one big family here. Shavonte and I have a cool relationship. We're like Kobe and Shaq—when they got along and won titles.

SI: What do you like best about each other's game?

Zellous: DeJuan is a power player. We have different games, but we both smile all the time—kind of like we're getting away with something.

Blair: Shavonte always goes hard. And she makes her teammates better.

SI: Would you ever show up at a game with your chest painted as Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl did a few years ago?

Blair: That's a great idea! I'm going to try to do it for a game this year.

Zellous: I'm not sure I'd do anything that crazy, but we definitely show support.

NOTRE DAME

Kyle McAlarney • Ashley Barlow

SI: What do you like best about each other's game?

Kyle McAlarney: From the first time I saw her play, Ashley was relentless. And she's fearless. That's what stands out the most.

Ashley Barlow: It's like the ball is on a string with Kyle. When it leaves his hand, you just know it's going in every time.

SI: How closely do you follow each other's team?

McAlarney: I attend their games as much as possible. But most of the time, our schedules overlap; we'll have practice while they have a game, or vice versa.

Barlow: I go to every game I can, and I try to watch as many of their games as possible on TV. I'm a basketball junkie, so I go to check out the different strategies.

SI: Why do you think both programs are enjoying such success?

McAlarney: I believe the quality of people in the program helps. We understand what it takes to win, and are willing to put in the work and make sacrifices.

Barlow: When one succeeds, the other team is pumped to do as well—if not better.

ARIZONA STATE

James Harden • Briann January

SI: Why do you think both programs are enjoying such success?

James Harden: We both have good coaches who are fun to be around—though Coach [Herb] Sendek is not as funny as he thinks.

Briann January: We're trying to maintain a tradition of success, while our men are just beginning to have that kind of success.

SI: Why do you think the other would make a good teammate?

Harden: First off, Briann is a black belt in karate and could beat up anyone on the other team. Second, I know she would pass me the ball.

January: James would make a good teammate because he is athletic, smart and would play good defense ... sometimes.

SI: Would you ever show up at a game with your chest painted or sing the fight song?

Harden: If they make the Final Four, maybe I will wear [ASU mascot] Sparky's outfit.

January: To repay the favor I would join the cheer squad for one of their games. James might get a little upset, though, because he would see that my abs are better than his.

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Read the complete Q&A with Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris at SI.com/cbb.

FIVE PHOTOSPhotographs by Robert Beck