USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Monday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West contest at Wyoming on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
“Wyoming is a very long, athletic group. They are very dangerous from the 3-point line. Their percentages are a little misleading. They are a much better shooting team than what it looks like on paper. right now That is how they attack you, from the 3-point line. They spread you out. They can put five 3-point shooters on the floor at one time and get your defense spread out. When they do that, then they can drive by you.
“I am very impressed with Hayden Dalton. He is a tremendous rebounder, makes 3s and can put the ball on the floor. Alan Herndon is the same type of player. They are long, stretch fours. They can rebound, block shots, make 3s and drive the ball. Those kind of bigs are a handful defensively.
“On the guard line, (Jason) McManamen is the most dangerous 3-point shooter in the league when you are talking about a catch-and-shoot player. He is a much better shooter than what his numbers are indicating right now. They play point guard by committee. Justin James comes off the bench and is probably their best all-around player. He is 6-foot-7 and can play the one, two or three and is very athletic and can score in the lane. He is shooting much better from 3 than he did last year.
“They are a long athletic team that plays very well at home.”
On the pace of Wyoming this season
“They are playing much faster. (Head coach) Allen (Edwards) mentioned at the league meetings that he wanted to play faster. They were a 3-point shooting team last year under Larry Shyatt, but did it in a more controlled way. This year they are getting about 28 3-point shots up per game. To do that you have to play at a high pace. That is the biggest difference you see this year. They are very solid defensively. They play mostly man, but will mix in a little zone. They can really block shots and are very solid.”
On Wyoming’s success in non-conference as opposed to their play in conference
“They’ve played two tough road games. They’ve already had their bye and have played only one home game and played very well against Air Force. Fresno State is as athletic as they are and did a good job of taking the 3-point line away. The one surprising loss to me was their loss at (UNLV). UNLV zones you a lot and I thought that would have been a good matchup for Wyoming, in terms of how they shoot the ball. That loss was a little confounding, but three games is too small of a sample size. They were playing really well right before the league started.”
On how teams in the Mountain West have guarded Jason McManamen
“He has been around long enough that you know how to play him. Despite what statistics will tell you, you know with (Aka) Gorski, McManamen and with those bigs that you have to play from the 3-point line in. Familiarity is part of it, but all of those guys can go by you on the bounce. They are hard to guard and the two times we have been there has been a horror house. We need to figure something else out.”
On Justin James and Hayden Dalton coming off of the bench for Wyoming
“They both come off the bench and may be their two best all-around players. They have scoring punch off the bench and shot blocking off of the bench. Dalton’s rebounds per minutes played has got to be one of the best. He gets nearly nine rebounds a game in under 30 minutes. He is very active when he comes in the game. Why they come off the bench? I’m not sure about that.”
On their impact last year and during the tournament
“(Hayden Dalton) was one of their suspended crew that didn’t get to play (in the MW tournament). He really came on a lot at the end of the year. A lot of the freshmen - he, James, Naughton and (Aka) Gorski really improved. They don’t have Josh Adams, so they don’t have one guy to play through. I think the ball movement is better, the scoring is more balanced and they may be an even more dangerous team because of that.”
On how inserting Sam Merrill into the starting lineup has helped the team
“The combination of Jalen (Moore), Sam (Merrill) and Koby (McEwen) make each other better, more than what we were getting before. You have three 40-percent-plus 3-point shooters on the floor and it makes you a little harder to zone. Sam is more of a ball mover and the ball is in his hands less, has really helped Koby and Jalen. It has been two home games, so the sample size is small, but so far I have liked the move.”
On the performance of Koby McEwen against UNLV
“Halves like he had against UNLV in the second half is career-type halves of basketball. They are amazing to watch. He has so much confidence and so much will that he believes the ball should be in his hands, that he is going to make every shot and that the other team can’t guard him. He gives you a little bit of swag that rubs off on people. Jalen’s swag has always been a little more understated. Koby’s is a little more outwards in terms of the plays he makes and how he reacts to them. His teammates are even starting to see that he is a different kind of a guy.”
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