USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Thursday and answered questions about the upcoming contest against Idaho State on Saturday, Nov. 19, as part of the Cancun Challenge. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Idaho State
“They are a team that is very impressive when you watch them. They have a lot of returners that played a lot for them last year. They’ve played two very tough road games and have been in both of those games most of the way.
“They are very strong defensively in how they play the match-up zone. It is a very unusual zone and you don’t see it very often. They do it as well as anyone in the country. Coach (Bill) Evans has been coaching it for 20 years and does a great job. They are very unusual to attack and different in how you have to attack their zone.
“Offensively, they have three guys that are carrying the load in (Ethan) Telfair, (Geno) Luzcando and (Novak) Topalovic. They give them scoring inside around the basket, scoring from the wing in Luzcando, and Ethan Telfair is a very dynamic offensive player. He does a lot of good things, is hard to guard and can hurt you in a lot of different ways.”
On the defensive matchup against Telfair
“He plays the point for them, so Shane (Rector) and Koby (McEwen) will have him, for the most part. Shane will start out on him and then Koby will have some minutes there, as well. Both of those guys are very good on-ball defenders, but will have their hands full.”
On the irony that Ethan Telfair and Shane Rector came to USU on a visit the same weekend
“That is something that Telfair remembers when he played here last year. He had a good game and had a lot of points late in that game. He ended up with some good statistics. We recruited Ethan and thought he was a very good player and that has proven to be right. He has done a great job for them last year and will have a big year for them this year. He is one of the best guards, if not the best guard, in the Big Sky Conference.”
On the importance of playing Bill Evans’ teams to associate head coach Tarvish Felton and assistant coach Louis Wilson (both former assistants to Evans)
“They’ve done a good job of setting that aside. As does Coach Evans. We are very good friends with him and he is as good a guy as there is in coaching. We know that we’ll play each other quite a bit and those guys have done a good job of that (setting things aside). They’ve both worked for him, Tarvish played for him and I’ve known Bill for a long time and think the world of him. But, for one night we battle each other, and then for the rest of the year we try and help each other.”
On Shane Rector’s comfort level with playing with the newcomers on the team
“Shane is having to make a little bit of an adjustment offensively, more so than he thought in terms of he and Koby playing together. It isn’t that he thought they wouldn’t play together some, but that is a different dynamic. When he is out there and Koby is not, his role is different in that the ball is in his hands and he is a playmaker when Koby is not on the floor. When they play together, they are both combo guards and Shane has to play more without the ball in his hands. That is an adjustment for him because his whole career, he has played the majority of the time with the ball in his hands and made a lot of plays for other people and has scored the ball his whole life. But, the ball has been in his hands, most of the time. He is adjusting to the fact that Koby will have the ball in his hands, maybe not half the time, but a lot, so Shane has to get used to playing without the ball in his hands. It is an adjustment that he is still working through, as is Koby. They are working on playing with each other and will continue to get better and it is something that needs to happen and will happen because we need them both out there together.”
On Rector’s alley-oop from McEwen against Bristol
“That was a case of two really good basketball players making a play in the broken floor. It could have been Koby throwing it to Shane, or Shane throwing it to Koby, either one. As a coach, that is what you want, as many play-makers on the floor that you can get at all positions. Sometimes we get a little too caught up in positions as opposed to having basketball players out there. I love the fact that those guys are both combo guards and that you can play them together or apart. They are both scorers, playmakers, defenders, passers, and as a coach that is what you want.”
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