Jan. 30, 2001
The following are quotes from Utah State head basketball coach Stew Morrill at his weekly press conference for the week of Jan. 30, 2001.
On UC Irvine being a physical match up:
"I think they are a lot like us in a lot of ways. They have some size guys and they have some perimeter guys that can shoot it. They have balance. The one thing they have is a guy who averages 20 points in league (Jerry Green) which he might be the premier player in the league right now, and it is a huge challenge trying to guard him. It's not like there is anything special you can do. You can't go out and play a junk defense because they have too many good shooters that you leave wide open. I think they are similar to us in style of play and similar to us in having some shooters and size guys inside. I think it will be a good match up. Obviously on their court it's to their advantage being at home, and I think it will be a heck of a basketball game. It's kind of weird that we turn around and play them again next week, we've had some weird scheduling already in league."
On Utah State and UC Irvine being the best two defensive teams in the league:
"At this point yes. You look at a lot of the stats and Irvine and us are up there at the top in terms of shooting, defense, rebounding we are in the top three or four. Usually those things lead to good records. If you can defend pretty well and rebound pretty well you've got a chance. It's probably not a big surprise that we are near the league leaders in all those areas."
On the players mind-set going into this game:
"It's too early to tell. We'd like to have more practice this week. Normally this would be a Thursday contest and I wish it was. I just found out today why we are playing Wednesday and Friday. I'd rather have a little longer prep time like a normal situation when you play on Thursday. We are just rushed right now. Everything is rushed trying to get ready to go on the road. It's a little bit of an odd situation but our guys are generally ready to play and generally excited to play. I'd be surprised if that weren't the case."
On Jerry Green's play:
"One thing is that a lot of people don't realize is how much he gets to the free throw line. He's made like 27 more free throws in league play then any of the other league leaders, and he makes a great percentage. He can shoot it from three and take you off the dribble. If you foul him it's basically points. The first two years we played against him you could see he was a good player but he didn't hurt us. His game has just grown so much each year. He's just a real quality guard right now."
On Green gaining size from last year:
"They post him up a lot and I'm sure that's a reason, one of the reasons he put on some strength and they are able to post him. The problem you have is if you have a Bernard Rock guarding him, which we will have a lot. It won't be the first time people have tried to post Bernard, that seems to be the menu whenever he's guarding a bigger player is to go down the block and try to post him and we've got to get help in that kind of situation. You have a real dilemma there and we do switch a lot so a lot of guys will be guarding Green. As far as who's assigned to him, Bernard did such a good job last year, and his quickness level makes you want to put Bernard on him rather then Tony (Brown). But then you've got Tony guarding a six-foot guy that is also pretty quick. It's a tough call there on who should guard who."
On Irvine trying to go inside with its offense:
"When (Ben) Jones is at the three he'll post your three-man because he is stronger and bigger. When he goes out to the four he takes your big guy like Shawn (Daniels) out to the perimeter. That's what I've seen on tape with Jones. It just depends on what position he's playing. (Adam) Parada is an outstanding freshman, so their future is awfully bright. Irvine has to feel really good about it. I think Green is averaging 20 or more in league, so that makes him more perimeter but Parada makes you have to guard an inside threat. Their four men can all shoot similar to Pacific. Our four guys can't sag off their power forwards because they can all step out and shoot the ball."
On Dimitri Jorssen maybe having an edge over Parada because of experience:
"I don't know. We'll see what happens. How do you predict what is going to happen. Their stats are very similar. You'd like to see an experienced player assert himself and be physical with a young redshirt freshman and hopefully he will do that. That kid is pretty good, he is very skilled. He can pass, he can shoot, he can jump up inside, and he can play over either shoulder. It's not like there is anything in particular you can do to gain an advantage, you just hope maybe an experienced guy in a big game can play a little better."
On playing at UC Irvine:
"I'm not sure what they are averaging in attendance but they are going to be having a sell-out from what they tell us. I think our guys would rather play in that environment rather then two nights later in Fullerton in front of 200. I hope there is a crowd, it makes it more fun."
On playing Fullerton:
"Until you see what happens at Irvine it's hard to see where we'll be in terms of state of mind and those kind of things. The thing that I think is really positive is that we get to stay in one hotel. It may sound like a small thing but we have been hopping on buses after games, bussing until 2 a.m., traveling the day between games, practicing at 7 o'clock at night. Just to have a chance to practice at a normal time between games and maybe go out to dinner and be a normal human being instead of just being travel worn. That should help us at Fullerton I think."
On both Fullerton and Irvine only fouling out one guy each this year:
"It depends on who's officiating. Normally on the road you tend to get in more foul trouble and you can make of it whatever you want to make of it that is just a fact of basketball. Often times we have had to play a little more changing defense because of that reason. What becomes a tough thing is that you get a Shawn Daniels who gets his second foul with 12 minutes to go in the first half. That becomes a real tough coaching decision. I think we are pretty physical and I think they are too. I know in practice we are physical but we are stupid sometimes because we just foul, foul, foul, and just knock the crap out of each other. You want them physical but you want them smart physical and maybe in games it helps us that we back off just enough to get away with some stuff."
On UC Irvine's bench:
"I like their kids on the bench a lot. They have got guys coming in that can shoot the ball and are athletic. They didn't start ( Malachi) Edmond the last game, and then all of a sudden you have Edmonds coming off the bench. It's a little different so I don't know which way they are going to go but they have a nice combination of some size guys and some shooters."
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