Quotes From Utah State Head Basketball Coach Stew Morrill
Dec. 19, 2000
The following are quotes from Utah State head basketball coach Stew Morrill at his weekly press conference on Dec. 19, 2000.
How would access Dimitri Jorssen's progress thus far this year and even last time out against BYU?
"I thought he played really well at BYU. He is a kid who's confidence level needs to be up. When his confidence level is up then he tends to play better like a lot of kids do. The thing Dimitri needs to do is not have so much fluctuation in his confidence level, not let a poor performance bother him so much and yet still let a good performance help him. Dimitri is just one of those wonderful kids that takes everything to heart, and in the nature of athletics, sometimes you are better off letting some things roll off your back. I think if he can keep going in the direction he did in the BYU game that is really going to help our team. I think both him and Bernard (Rock) had improved performances in that game and that is a real positive for us."
Do you see Bernard Rock getting better and more consistent, like he was last year? Is he the key to your team's success?
"He's been up and down and he knows that, and he wants to get more consistent. But our team is not totally based on Bernard's performance. We are a team that has to have balance. We don't have two guys that can night in and night out just carry us. We have to have balanced scoring, balanced effort defensively, balanced rebounding. We don't have a guy averaging 20 and 10. We don't have a sure fire NBA player like some teams have. We have to have everybody doing there job. That is something we say a lot, everybody has got to do their job. For us to be successful that is what has got to happen. And if there is a guy or two that's not playing as well that makes it more difficult. We can still survive if we have four guys play well and one or two not. But we can not have is consistently one or two not play well and have it be the same guys, because then you are going to have a night where another guy doesn't play well and then you have too many guys not playing well, if that makes sense."
It seems like Bernard's (Rock) defense keys everything you do defensively. How is he doing defensively thus far this year?
"Better, its been better. He's understanding that we really need him to set the tone defensively. He's got excellent quickness and he can be a little pesky and aggravate people and kind of disrupt their flow a little bit. I think something he also needs to do is his assist-to-turnover ratio needs to get back to where it belongs. And I know that is something he is concerned about. We would like him to be at two-to-one, two assists to every turnover, and he is at one-to-one or even a little below that right now and that is something that I look for him to approve on and get back to where it needs to be."
Do you anticipate UC Riverside being more jacked-up for this game as opposed to another game because you are the defending league champions and they are going the Big West next year?
"Anytime you plan on the road, teams are better at home than they our on the road and that's just the nature of college basketball. It's almost at this point a little exaggerated with Riverside to where their a lot better at home than they are on the road right know. That seems to even out as the year goes on and as people get a little better on the road and there is not quite as much disparity between home and road. I think its a question of all our guys going down and playing better not just Bernard (Rock). They just got hammered on the road, and their coach is a good coach, you look at how many wins he's got. He's brought a lot of teams back after getting spanked, so he knows how to do it. They've got some real good wins. They hammered Weber State, they beat Oregon State on the road. They are very capable. They have been kind of up and down. Hopefully they will respond the same way we will respond to losing a tough game at BYU. They we will be ready to go. We aren't going to slid into town on anybody this year. We are the favorites to win our league, we won 28 games last year, we went to the NCAA, that grabs everybodys attention and you are going to get people's best efforts and that is what we'll get night in and night out and we just have to respond to that."
"We didn't play awful at BYU, that's a team that's going to win 20 games, that's a team that's probably top-three in that league. That's a team that's in a league that's ranked in the top-10 leagues in the country and we go done there and should've won. Because you loss sometimes it like your playing bad and when you win its because your playing good. It's not that way. We did a lot of really good things at BYU. We out rebounded them by eight, we held them to 33 percent from the floor in the second-half. We just didn't get calls and you don't get calls on the road, don't expect calls on the road, and we certainly didn't get calls. We didn't overcome that. We didn't make smart basketball plays down the stretch of that game and that is what was frustrating about that game. So its not like all of a sudden we are playing bad and we got to go to Riverside and play good. Be a little bit mad about letting that one slip away. Don't get down, as I told our guys yesterday, that is the last thing we need is to feel sorry for ourselves and get our head down. We need to be a little bit mad and set our jaw and get ready to go. Because we are going to have to play well at Riverside to win, we can't play average, we've got to play pretty well, as you have to do most times on the road."
Are you seeing a lot of improvement in the team at this point in the season?
"I hope we are improving. That is what the preseason is all about. We are 6-2 and there is nothing to panic about and feel like we are in dire straits, were not. We are doing some things real well. We have to take better care of the ball. That is going in the right direction, but it is not where we need it yet, and show that we are a veteran team down the stretch of games. Those are probably my two biggest concerns. Not overly concerned, but two biggest areas we need to sure up a little bit is take care of the ball and down the stretch of games. We are 3-2 in games that went right to the wire. We got spoiled last year, we won the majority of those games, we won all the close games when we got in league. Generally speaking, you feel like those are going to even out, 50-50, but we want better than 50-50 with a veteran team in close games. I think we will be fine, I think our experience will show as we go along,"
When you look at the stats, there two leading scorer's are not projected to start in the game. Why do you think that is?
"What we are doing to prepare for them is were talking about their leading minutes people first and then we view the other guys as subs even though they may start this game. The guys that get the most minutes are in my mind basically the guys you prepare for first. You have to be aware of the other guys. I guess that has always been their deal, mess with starting lineups, juggle them, whatever. Everybody is different that way. I've always been one that would start another guy if I felt that was deserving. For whatever reason during my coaching career a lot of times the starting lineup has been fairly stable and he is just the opposite of that. Everybody does it different."
Is UC Riverside pretty interchangeable offensively?
"They play motion, so yeah. Rather than have a set offensive team where the two or the three do this, and the post do this, they have a four and a five, but there five guy is basically inside but they run their four out in motion and sometimes their five out in motion so that makes the parts all kind of interchangeable and it causes you match-up problems. They'll go small, they'll go big, they will play a bunch of little guys. If we have Shawn (Daniels) and Dimitri (Jorssen) in the game that can cause problems, but they have problems trying to guard them at the other end if they go small. The biggest thing is they get into rhythm with their motion offense. We have to keep them out of rhythm. That is what Riverside does, they get a lot of flow and they get rolling offensively."