Dec. 4, 2012
On the BYU game:
"I don't know where to begin, really. Obviously this game always draws a lot of attention from our fanbase. It's one of those in-state rivalry games that as a coach you've played a lot of them, but every one of them has a special meaning. It's just the nature of the games. In the 15 years I've been at Utah State we've had an interesting series, with us winning in Provo one time and them winning in Logan one time. When you go to the other team's home court, you're a decided underdog."
"With that being said, we're excited about the opportunity to see where we're at, I stress that we don't know quite where we're at. We have times where things happen that are really encouraging, and then we have times where you're just like `Wow, where did that come from?' You can look at each one of our games and kind of make that generalization. We were down, 19-4, at Santa Clara, turned the ball over 25 times and yet we won. How does that happen? We shot a high percentage and held them to a pretty low percentage. They were undefeated going into the game. We out-rebounded them substantially, so there you go, both sides of the coin. I think that's kind of where our team's at a little bit individually and a little bit collectively. We're just not consistent enough and that's what you're trying to do in the preseason and non-conference games, is get more consistent and get ready for conference play."
"It's a challenge going to Provo. They've had a very tough schedule and when you look at their performance in the Marriott Center, it's pretty impressive. They score a lot of points, as usual, they have a lot of talent. They have a big guy inside (Brandon Davies) that in one sense, being from the same high school I went to (Provo HS), you're glad to see him do well. We tried like heck to get Brandon. They're getting him 25-30 touches a game. Tyler Haws is back off his mission, averaging 20 points. A lot of other players go with them, but it starts with those two. We'll see. We can't go down and start like we did at Santa Clara. BYU had one game they were up 33-2, so our last game combined with what they did with one of their ballgames at home, we better make sure we don't get started like that or it will be a long night."
On the significance of a road win in Provo:
"In-state games to me are always special, especially any time you get a win, home or away. They're just harder to come by, away. You always want to play your best and play your hardest in the in-state games. They should mean a lot, I've tried to stress that to our teams through the years. We would have to play very well to have a chance to win down there and neutralize some of the things they're doing so well. That's going to be the challenge."
On if stressing the importance of in-state games has been what makes the team successful:
"We've had a lot of good teams. You look at what some of these teams have done in the past, that's probably why we've won a lot of in-state games. There have been a lot of teams that were in the postseason, a lot of teams that won 20-plus ballgames. That generally means that you are pretty good in most of your games. It doesn't guarantee anything at all about this year or the future, moving in the Mountain West and that sort of thing. I always try and stress to our players that they are not responsible for the past and that they don't need to feel pressure from the past, even though I say it, I'm sure they still do feel that. We just need to try and worry about today. Then we'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. If we go down there and play very well, that would be encouraging. If we don't, we'll come back, and try and get better. That's really your only choice in athletics. You just have to try and get better day-by-day."
On any newcomers that stand out so far this season:
"You have to start with Jarred (Shaw). He sat out a year after transferring from Oklahoma State and hadn't played very much at all there. He's leading us in scoring and rebounding and still has tons of room to get better. We're constantly trying to get him to become more active, turn the ball over less, pass the ball better, all those kind of things. He's very receptive to coaching. I laughed when he said something about me `harping on something,' because yeah, I harp a lot. If you read that and didn't know Jarred, you'd think he was tired of us, but he's been very receptive. He's watched a lot of film, trying to get his game better. You have to be pleased with what he's doing, averaging a double-double as a new player.
"I think a lot of our new guys are just trying to figure it out which is usually the case. Spencer Butterfield off the bench has got a chance to be a Brian Green type of guy who can really bring you something off the bench and we're hoping for that. We're really trying to develop our depth. Our point guard position is two new guys who are making progress game-to-game. They're getting a little bit better as we go. With about half our team being veterans and half being new players, the faster they come along the better we're going to be."
On the point guard position:
"We need them both to be productive. (At Santa Clara) TeNale (Roland) didn't start the game very well and Marcel (Davis) came in and gave us a lift so I basically left him out there the rest of the half. He was playing well and TeNale had struggled at the start. Then in the second half, I didn't want to give up on TeNale. He had earned the starting spot so we put him back in and he played much better. Someone said we're "platooning" them, but I don't think we do that in basketball. We need them both to play well and to keep getting better, so that's where that's at."
On Rick Majerus experiences/memories:
"I just felt really bad when he passed. Rick and I weren't close, but we had a lot of good games against each other. Any time you were fortunate enough to beat one of Rick's teams, you knew you'd done something special. He was such a really good basketball coach. I just thought it was way too early in his life to be done so I felt bad about that. I just have a lot of respect for Rick Majerus. Any time you lined up to play his teams, you'd better be ready. They were hard to play."
On the success of Scott Barnes and Gary Andersen at Utah State:
"I was talking to Mike Montgomery, who as you know is at the tail end of his career at Cal and he's coached for a long, long time, and he said, `I just saw my 10th football staff pack their bags and walk down the hall.' Ten staffs during his coaching career. It made me start trying to count, and I don't know exactly where I'm at, I didn't spend too much time figuring it out. It's such a challenging profession, coaching and being in athletics. It's a `get it done quickly or be done' type of business. I think the two definitely go together, Scott Barnes and Gary Andersen. There was a commitment a few years ago made to Utah State, that Gary has done a fabulous job. He was also given more opportunities than those before him. I used to just shake my head at the facilities football had when I first got here and for a long time after that. President Albrecht and Scott Barnes made a concerted effort to improve the budget, the facilities, the salaries. That doesn't mean you're going to win, it doesn't mean that at all. You still had to hire Gary Andersen, you still had to hire a great football coach, but it means you've got a chance. That's the way I see it. The university as whole gave football a chance and then they hired the right man. He's done a fabulous job. It really helps our entire department, our entire community and our entire university for football to do well. Basketball is my profession, but I'm not naive enough to think that basketball is the big deal at most universities. Football, especially in the climate we're in now with all the conference realignments, is so important. It's great that we're having the kind of success we're having."
On feeling fortunate being a `Utah guy' and coaching at Utah State, like Coach Andersen, and being able to recruit in-state:
"When I came here, people didn't believe me, but I said this would be my last coaching job. For me it was getting to come home, where I grew up and being around family. It's been a wonderful deal for me to be at Utah State. It's special when you grow up in this state, to coach at one of the major schools. I feel very, very lucky. Don't get me wrong, there are some days I don't feel good, but I do feel lucky. I think Gary feels the same way. We're two local guys who got a chance and are fortunate every day. Coaching could end tomorrow and I would feel like I got treated pretty well. I told my son not to go into coaching and he hasn't listened as he's a high school coach, but he always says `Dad, it was pretty good to our family,' and he's right."
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