Stew Morrill Quotes - 1-9-14



Jan. 9, 2014

LOGAN, Utah - USU men's basketball head coach Stew Morrill's quotes previewing Saturday's game at Nevada:

Opening statement:

"It was a good showing by Nevada last night. They played really well and got a great road win. They're coming into our game with loads of confidence, off to a great start. It will be a big challenge for us headed over there. It's familiar surroundings for some of us. We've been there a lot of times. A few of our players have been there. It's a place where we have played well before. Hopefully that bodes well for us to play well again. It's going to take an awfully good effort to have a chance to win over there. It all starts with (Deonte) Burton, of course. He was phenomenal last night. You're talking about a bona-fide NBA point guard. He's as good as any player in this league. He causes havoc on the break and in isolations. He can shoot it, he can drive it, he gets to the line a ton. We've got to have some guys do a good job on him individually, but our team has to realize that whenever he's got the ball in his hands, we better be in a position to be able to help out. He's not their only weapon. (Michael) Perez, their 2-guard, played really well last night. Jerry Evans, Jr., is a veteran. The 5-man, (AJ) West is a guy that I really like on film. He's a blue collar hard-nosed tough guy. (Cole) Huff can shoot it from the 4-spot. They've got some good weapons."

On Nevada sophomore guard Marqueze Coleman:

"They were playing seven before he played last night. I haven't seen him a lot because he hasn't played in the last five games. That's mainly what we've been focused on is their most recent games. He looks like an athletic guy. When Burton was out for a bit, they played him at the point. He's kind of a combo guy that looks pretty versatile and very athletic."

On improving the perimeter defense after Air Force and San José State made lots of three's:



"Defense is something that we know is an issue for this team. We work on it every single day. I've never worked on it this much, to be frank with you. If we were anywhere close defensively to where we've been offensively, it would be nice, but we're not. We're trying to get better as we go. Our biggest issue starts with guarding the ball. Guys are just driving around us and causing lots of problems with penetration. We don't have a lot of guys that can stop penetration. We have to continue to work on it. When you're not exceptionally quick, you can't go for fakes or jab steps. You have to be a little bit more disciplined. We're trying to get more disciplined as we go, but there's no question that the concern for our team is the defensive end."

On getting more practice time this week with only one game on the schedule:

"I like to practice more than they do. It's been good to have some practice time. We've been able to iron out some wrinkles and add some things that we need to work on. There's also something to be said for playing games. We've got a boatload of games coming up - two a week every week until March, so we better enjoy the one-game week. I would rather have had it halfway through the conference season, but here it is. Then we're off to multiple games and challenges in this league, just look at the scores from last night. Every time you play it's a challenge."

On TeNale Roland's performance against San José State and him getting more consistent:

"He's got to be able to get shots off. Sometimes with his size, he hasn't been able to get very many off. His teammates created a bunch of shots for him. He got on a roll and that's what we envisioned. He's a very good shooter. We need him to make some shots, there's no question about that. That gives us a three-point shooter off the bench, a guy who can score some points. As I told him, it was great to see him do that. It was something we've kind of been expecting. Getting him open looks is something we'll try and do when he's in there. He doesn't always get those clean looks."

On Nevada winning so many close games and bouncing back from last year:

"They went through a really tough year last year. I think it's a credit to them that they're doing everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen again. When you have the premiere point guard in the conference, that's a position much like the quarterback spot where you control a lot of things in the game. You may remember him making shots to beat us a couple years ago. He's a special guy. They've got a lot of new guys, who are all getting better as they go, getting their feet wet. They're good enough players, but they haven't played in the system or at the Division I level, either one or both. Now they have, they've got some games under their belt, and they're playing better. I think it's a combination of those kind of things."

On Nevada's system:

"They've got some new things. It's a similar system that has worked through a lot of coaches. I recognize a lot of stuff that goes all the way back to my time with Mike Montgomery and before that (Jud) Heathcote and (Marv) Harshman. Trent (Johnson) was with Montgomery and went on to Nevada, and so on and so forth. They've adapted and changed things to fit their personnel, but there's a lot of similarities in a proven system. Why would you change what has worked with a lot of coaches for a lot of years?"

On having the same rivalry with Nevada now as in the WAC:

"I don't know about that. That's hard to predict. They've been good. There was a time in that league when we were both battling for the top. I think it's hard to predict where the rivalries will fall in this league as time goes on. We just don't know."

On the team's response and backing of Jarred Shaw:

"They're going forward. I don't think it's an issue. They're supportive of Jarred and worried about being a college student going forward. I don't think we've got a lot of guys worrying about all that. They're just worrying about getting ready to play basketball."

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