USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Friday and answered questions about the upcoming game against Utah in the Beehive Classic on Saturday, Dec. 9. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
“Watching Utah, you see a team that is very balanced. Offensively they can score from inside and out. They do a tremendous job of passing the basketball. If you look at their assist-to-turnover ratio, it is really impressive. Their bigs are very good passers. Usually when your bigs are good passers then it is really contagious and rubs off on your team. I really like the way they pass to each and play together offensively. They are very solid defensively. They are, what I would term, a scheme defensive team. They can play you a lot of ways, based on your strengths and weaknesses and what they are trying to take away. All in all, they are a solid team, one through five. Some of their young players are coming along and playing really well. Donnie Tillman, the last two or three games, is really on an uptick. I like their team a lot.”
On which opponent Utah State has faced this year that resembles Utah:
“They resemble Weber State a lot. They are going to play tough, hard-nosed man-to-man and be physical inside. They both have dynamic point guards. (Justin) Bibbins is a really good player. When you watch him play as a coach you really appreciate him. He is always trying to make the right play. He doesn’t force anything. He doesn’t try anything that is unnecessary. He just makes basic, solid basketball plays. His stats reflect that. He’s got 35 assists and only 15 turnovers, shoots the ball at a high percentage from two, three and the free throw line, and he is a very solid defender. I would say Weber State is the team they most resemble.”
On David Collette:
“It is what it is. Every year and every season, you get so invested in the team you are coaching in the season you are going through. Everything else is so far in the past that it is even hard to remember that far back. We are focused on our team, presently. We are getting better in some areas, we have the chance to be a solid team, but still have some areas we need to improve on. We are still making changes in what we are doing with our system and what we are doing offensively. We are still trying to nail down our rotation because of the injuries we’ve had. We have so much on our plate with this current team, anything that happened two or three years ago is really hard to remember.”
On how David Collette has been playing for Utah:
“I’ve just started watching them. I didn’t watch them last year because we didn’t play them. (He) is a good defender, a good passer and plays hard. (He) looks like he is doing a good job to me.”
On playing in the Beehive Classic and the longevity of the tournament:
“I think it is multiple years to begin with. They will look at it in a three or four-year basis and see how it is going in terms of interest level and in terms of what the teams’ interest is in continuing to participate. For such a great basketball state, like we have, it is a must-see event for a basketball fan in this state. You get to see the four major teams in our state, and you get to see them play each other. That will change year-to-year, but it is in a great venue and as a basketball fan I’m not sure what more you can ask for.”
On the Beehive Classic potentially taking away home games:
“If we were playing all of the teams in our state on a regular home-and-home basis, without interruption, then maybe you would look at it as a coach or administrator differently. When you play one of these teams in Vivint, then you don’t get them on your home court or it is delayed a year. Everybody’s fan base wants to see all of these teams on their home court, in rotation. That puts a little thorn in that part of it. But, if teams aren’t playing each other regularly then this event solves all those issues.”
On adding Utah Valley and Southern Utah to the tournament:
“You could make it a triple header, if you wanted to. The four-team tournament format in college basketball in the 70s, 80s and 90s was really popular. There was no regulation on how many of those you could play and there wasn’t such a thing as an exempt event. You would try and play in two or three of those four-team tournaments, where winners play each other on the second night and the losers play the second night. Almost every team in the country played in multiple events like that. You would probably have more resistance from the coaches if it was a tournament format. The Classic format, where it is one night and one game is probably what will work out best for everybody.”
On the seven years since Utah State and Utah have played:
“That is amazing that it has been that long. It doesn’t seem like it’s been seven years. I don’t remember the last game to be honest with you. (After some reminding) It was here! I do remember. Jim Boylen was the head coach, his last year. It doesn’t seem like seven years ago, but I do remember we played and played well and won fairly handily. It was a tremendous series, even back when coach Majerus was there and then on through coach Giacoletti and coach Boylen. We got to play all of those guys, including coach Hunsaker and even Joe Cravens, when he was the interim. Larry (Kryskowiak) is really the only one we haven’t squared off with. It is kind of ironic because of he and Stew’s (Morrill) history together. Those are the two that you would have thought to keep the series going, but that is when everything came to a halt.”
On the health status of Koby McEwen/team:
“He has practiced on a limited basis. We are still trying to hold him out of some things, just to make sure that he can answer the bell in the next game. Hopefully we will get past that where he can just go through a regular week of practice or a cycle of practices leading up to a game and we won’t have to worry about that. We are not there yet. Diogo Brito is really close to 100 percent. Julion Pearre is grinding his way back. He’s not in game-shape yet. His calf fatigues really quickly and he hasn’t gotten into the flow yet, but we hope that happens fairly quickly.”
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