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She Said, He Said

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


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.


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].


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.


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.


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.


Read the complete Q&A with Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris at


Photographs by Robert Beck