USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Sunday and answered questions about the upcoming 2017-18 home opener against Montana State on Monday, November 13. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Montana State
"Montana State is an impressive team when you look at them on film offensively. They are a handful to guard. They play at a very fast pace and they are multi-positional guys. You can’t really put them in a box in terms of what lineup, what combination and what group of guys they can have out there. They can do a lot of different things. They can really hurt you from three, especially (Tyler) Hall and (Harald) Frey. They can also drive the ball and are very athletic. Most of the time they have an offensive advantage in some way because there is a matchup issue with them being undersized or they are just quick and athletic at their spot. They run a system that is a little unique, you don’t see it very often. The old Johnny Orr, or the new generation calls it the Creighton system, where there is a lot of back cuts and pinch-post action that you don’t see very often. Preparing your team for that is a little unusual. They are just a skilled, experienced offensive group and give you a lot of problems defensively."
On if the game will be high scoring
"On paper, before our first game, I would have said it would be a high-scoring affair. Obviously, the Weber game needs to be an apparition if we want to be the team we want to be. I still don’t have an explanation after watching that film over and over again. That was just uncharacteristic of who we’ve been, even since we went to Italy. It has the potential of being a high-scoring affair. We need to have a good defensive performance in order to have a chance to win. We can’t go into the game thinking it is a shoot-out and go and out score them. They are a little more experienced in that area than we are. Defensively at Weber, we graded out really well and played a solid game on that end of the floor. It is going to take that kind of an effort on Monday night to have a chance."
On the difference of play between the two top guards for Montana State/Utah State in the first game of the season
"Harald Frey on film was unbelievably exceptional in the Omaha game. (Tyler) Hall, for his standards, had a very pedestrian game. That tells you the kind of player he is when you can have a so-so night and come up with 19 points. He is a talented offensive scorer. Our backcourt has to match their performance and I think they will. I have all the faith in the world that Sam (Merrill) and Koby (McEwen) will bounce back and be more like themselves on Monday."
On Konner Frey
"Konner is one of my favorites. He came off of his mission and walked on. He and I had a really good relationship. We put some extra time inside the gym together and he was always a worker. You always like to see good things happen for those kids. I thought it would work out for him at Utah Valley. He went down there and had a good year, and did everything they asked him to do. Then he had to move on to Montana State, but every night, except Monday, I root for Konner Frey and hope he does well. He is a first-class kid, that is for sure."
On Montana State’s defense
"Omaha plays extremely fast as well and had a lot of good looks, but didn’t knock them down. That is the life on the road sometimes. Montana State does a solid job defensively. They can switch a lot of things which gives you problems. They keep the ball in front of them because they are so interchangeable. You have to do a good job of shooting the ball to beat them. It is impressive that Omaha took them to overtime, going 2-for-20 from behind the 3-point line. We have to be a balanced team. We’ve talked about shooting a lot threes and making a lot of threes, but we also have to throw the ball to the post. Alex Dargenton is getting better and better down there. In a one-on-one situation, he can produce down there. We need to have the defense honor him and get the ball down there some and that will clear up some space for our shooters."
On how the team will bounce back offensively from the Weber State game
"As a head coach, you do a little bit of everything. You hope, based on track record, that is not indicative of the players that Koby and Sam are. Looking at the film, we missed six open layups. You can’t do that. If you make three, or four, or five of those, then it is a different game. The fact is, we have to convert those plays. You know what you are getting, based on track record there. At our three-spot and four-spot we are very inexperienced with the starters and the guys coming off of the bench. Somebody needs to step forward and produce and win those positions. We are staring (DeAngelo) Isby and (Dwayne) Brown (Jr.) there now, but in no way is that set in stone. Those positions are being evaluated on a daily basis. We need those guys to be good offensive players. As a you coach you worry that because they are so inexperienced that it won’t take them a long time to find their sea legs and produce for us."
On how quickly games are coming
"This week and the next seven games, it is really a whirlwind. The preseason in college basketball is really ‘Katie bar the door’ and brace for impact when the season starts and know that it isn’t really going to be normal until your league season. We’ve got the unusual road trip thrown in there and that makes these first two or three games all the more important for us. You worry about how your team will bounce back, but on the other hand, our guys are chomping at the bit to get back out there because of the way they played Friday night. Until I see us play the way I’ve seen in practice or in a scrimmage, then that is going to be a concern. Hopefully tomorrow we are more like how I think we can be and then we can improve from there."
On scheduling in November and December
"With most of the tournaments being in November, that crowds your schedule a little bit. In December, everybody has the Christmas break and finals that you are maneuvering around and you don’t want to schedule yourself too heavily during those periods. When you look at the calendar and know you have to get 12 nonconference games in a certain period of time, there just isn’t a lot of days. The NCAA is rectifying that next year and we can start three days earlier next year. So, next year we could have started last Tuesday, instead of last Friday. That gives you another day to fit in another game for sure. In the not too distance future all of the leagues are going to start playing more league games before Christmas. The Mountain West will be at 20 league games in another year or two and that has you playing conference games before the Christmas break. That could change up the scheduling format as well."
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