USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Monday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West Tournament game against San José State on Wednesday, March 8. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On if he likes the bracket and the potential matchups
“No, I would have preferred a different bracket. If we would have won the last game in the regular season then we would have had a different bracket. That is nothing against San José State or Nevada or any other team in the conference, but our goal was to win our last game and we didn’t get that done. Therefore, my answer to that is no.”
On how the team has responded to finishing the regular season
“We’ve had some good days of practice. Their challenge is to go to the tournament with some juice and with some togetherness and with some belief that they can win. That is what the group did last year and that is what we’ve been talking about for a month or so - the first part of March are we getting better? Are we still excited to play? I think this group is by the way they’ve gone about practice and they way they’ve gone about their business since the UNLV game.”
On the status of Quinn Taylor
“Undetermined. He has to have another test tomorrow and that will probably tell the story about the remaining part of his year and maybe his career as well. He played with a heart monitor during a 48 hour test (at UNLV). He played with that device on and at the end of that testing period they felt like they had seen enough that they needed to shut him down before they did a few more test and he was seen by a cardiologist. He’s been dealing with it for a month or so where he can feel his heart speeding up and he checks himself out. Then it calms down and he doesn’t have anymore issues.”
On how much fatigue plays a factor in having to play four games in four days
“I don’t think it does in a conference tournament. With every win, you are so excited to advance that in a short period like that the mental overcomes the physical. At the end of you are wiped out and exhausted, but as you are going through it every time you advance that exhilaration of going to the NCAA Tournament overcomes any physical fatigue you may have.”
On the excitement during this time of the year
“It is the third phase of your season. We talk about preseason, conference and then postseason. The mental is twice as important as the physical. Do you still enjoy playing with your teammates? Do you still enjoy coming over and going through the process of preparing for the game? Do you have a belief that you can win? If those things are in place then the physical follows along. We’ve had teams around here in February and March that have gotten better and stronger. For the most part, this group has done that and has prepared like they want to do that. Only time will tell. We’ll know Wednesday when we take the court, hopefully we are excited to play and I know they will be. The winner will probably be the group that has the best mindset going into the game.”
On the first game against San José State
“We played well. Offensively our guard play was really good and we moved the ball well and made a lot of good decisions with the ball. We knocked down open shots. We didn’t really get a good shooting performance from Jalen Moore that night, he went 0-for from three, but made some tough 2s. I thought we made a lot of really simple plays and the result was 81 points. We also made free throws.
“Defensively we did a good job on (Brandon) Clarke. (Ryan) Welage played well against us. When you go into the game with their team and how it lays out you have to neutralize Clarke.”
On the individual performance of Clarke in that game
“When he gets 20-24 points and 10-12 rebounds, 3-4 blocks, then they are an entirely different team. That is when they play well. Our goal was to neutralize him and we did it as a group. I can’t say that one guy just manned up guarded him. That is not the way to guard him. He is so athletic and active that it takes a group. We changed defenses, blocked him out and got a body on him. I think he had nine defensive rebounds and only one offensive and that was a huge key. As a team, we did a really good job.”
On Koby McEwen being named the MW Freshman of the Year by the media
“I’m really proud of Koby. That was a goal of his to be the freshman of the year in the conference. He had some ups and downs as every freshman does, but all-in-all with all we put on him on both ends of the floor, he’s got to produce, he’s got to guard well, he’s got to run the team, he’s got to learn as he goes and that is a lot to ask of a guy, but I thought he did a really good job.”
On Jalen Moore earning his third all-MW honor by the media
“Jalen is rock-solid and steady. As a coach you really appreciate that, even from an opponent. When you see a kid’s stats over a lengthly period of time, you appreciate consistency and excellence. That is what Jalen Moore is all about, those two words. He has been excellent over a long period of time and we need him to be excellent for another week or two.”
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