USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Friday and answered questions about the upcoming game against BYU on Saturday, December 2. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
"I really have only started watching them recently, obviously. I got to watch the whole Utah Valley game, and that was a basketball clinic for 40 minutes. That was the best team performance I have seen all season long. 40 minutes, team-wide, both sides of the ball, tremendous energy, toughness, togetherness, tremendously well-coached, unselfish. That was an impressive, impressive performance. They've done a great job, coach (Dave) Rose has done a great job with changing the culture of their team, their group. They look like they're a together group. They look like they have no agendas other than playing together. They look like they really enjoy playing together. That was impressive to watch because that's a hard environment they were going into. Obviously, had tons of pressure after last year's game, and the way they responded as a group really tells you all you need to know about Dave Rose."
On preparing for BYU's defense:
"The most impressive thing about them, defensively, was it almost looked like the defense from four or five years ago where the rules were being officiated a little more differently. They were very physical and aggressive with cutters, which most of the time you can't get away with anymore. They did a great job of disrupting Utah Valley's hand-offs, their ball reversal, they were physical in the post. If somebody had thrown that film on, I would have told you that film was from four or five years ago because of the way they were guarding. More than just scheme, it was physicality, it was activity, energy and just an overall toughness about their defense. Obviously, they were extremely well prepared, they were extremely determined. 15, 16 or 17 turnovers defensively, that's about as good as you can possibly imagine. So, we have to play offense on our toes, we have to play with force and not let them impose their will defensively. That's really what they did more than any scheme. It was toughness, aggressiveness and really going all the way to the line without crossing the line in terms of what you can get away with these days."
On Yoeli Childs:
"You have to guard Yoeli (Childs) from the 3-point line in. He's extremely explosive athletically and has really done a good job refining his post-game. They play through him a lot in the post. He does a great job getting angles, getting easy baskets. He's an extremely active offensive rebounder and just plays really hard. They've done a great job with his development. He's come a long way in the low post in a short amount of time."
On the offensive rebound total from the game last year:
"Out-rebounded us by 23 or 24 and had 23 offensive rebounds and that really was the game. Our team's been reminded about that once or ten times in the last two days. We're a better rebounding team this year than we were last year. We're a little tougher team, we're a better defensive team and that's all going to have to show up on Saturday night because we're talking about our defense and we should be, but offensively that was a clinic at Utah Valley."
On preparing for BYU’s offense:
"That's what makes them a tremendous offensive team. That and the fact that nobody is holding onto the ball. Everybody has a mentality of 'get my teammate a shot,' 'throw the ball inside,' 'throw the ball outside if I'm doubled' and 'make one more pass if somebody's running at me.' Just all the right plays. As a coach, you watch that game and roster-wide, everybody that played tried to make the right play. When your team has that kind of mentality offensively, then just by default, you end up looking at a stat sheet like theirs looked on Wednesday. You have this guy with eight, that guy with nine, this guy with eight, that guy with nine, this guy with 11, and yet they know where their bread is buttered. They know who they're playing through, and that's Yoeli on the block. They can space the floor. They can bring (Zac) Seljaas in at the four, and he does a great job of spacing the floor and knocking down threes. Tremendous togetherness, tremendous unselfishness, no agendas other than trying to get a great shot and trying to win. Again, as a coach, watching that game was everything you want your team to be offensively."
On the health of the team:
"Diogo (Brito) practiced today and is making a move. He won't be 100 percent, Julion Pearre won't be 100 percent, Koby McEwen won't be 100 percent, but there's a chance that all of them could play. That's not a certainty. I think Julion will play for sure, Koby and Diogo will probably be a game day decision."
On the play of Sam Merrill:
"Sam's in great basketball shape and really by default because he is playing tons of minute and doing a great job. He has really put our basketball team, kind of, on his back because there's been so many moving parts around him from night-to-night. He doesn't know who he's playing with, he doesn't know who's on his right, who's on his left, how many minutes those guys are going to play. Through all of that, he has been very steady and really done a tremendous job."
On the advantage of playing the game in Logan:
"I always think the home court sites are the way to play these games. I am happy to have it in the Spectrum. I obviously wish it was a couple weeks down the line when we are, hopefully, through default by some point going to have a healthy team. I don't know when that will be. But surely before the season's over, we'll have everybody in uniform, nobody in a walking boot, everybody 100 percent healthy. But that's no guarantee because it hasn't happened yet."
On the impact of the injuries to the Utah State rotation:
"I've never experienced anything close to this. It just has kind of come moment-by-moment, or they've all been kind of staggered where when somebody goes down and somebody starts playing well it seems like they go down, and then another guy starts playing well and he goes down. Koby's injury has lingered a little bit longer than we thought, but it's a high ankle sprain and those things take longer than a normal ankle sprain. Our guys have really handled things really well. They've stayed very even keeled. We have a lot of internal leadership on this team which is great. They've really gone to battle no matter who's been out there. That's a lot of credit to how they've prepared and to their character. But, it affects everybody. You work so hard as players and so hard as coaches and when games come, especially big games, and to us, your next game is a big game as players and coaches, it really doesn't matter who it's against, but you'd just like to feel like you're taking the court at 100 percent of your capabilities. So, that's been frustrating, but our guys have done a great job mentally."
On the variety of the Utah State rotation:
"No question. We've played guys at spots that we didn't think we were going to play in. We've started players that we never thought they would start a game, maybe in their career at Utah State. We've had guys emerge that are maybe better players than they had had a chance to show that they were. So, that part is good. You like to develop your depth, but not at the expense of the health of your starters. There are no excuses, it is what it is. In sports, nobody cares. It's all about how your team's playing and how your team's performing, and as coaches you have to adjust, do the best you can and move on."
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