The following are quotes from Utah State men's basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to its home game against UT Arlington.
Dec. 19, 2011
LOGAN, Utah -
"Here we go, three games in three days. We took yesterday off, we needed to because we practiced all week last week and have three game days in a row coming up. I think the tournament has as good a field as it ever has. Our first opponent (UT Arlington) I am very impressed with, we have watched them play on tape a bunch. Their last game they really deserved to win at Tulsa, which obviously would have been a good win. They played very well against No. 6 Baylor, they played well in that game, ended up losing by 10. They have some good quality wins and they have some good players. Their system is really well designed, they run a ton of on ball screens and they get you spread out all over the place, and they play a variety of defenses. Obviously that is our first concern is trying to deal with (UT) Arlington. You are not going to have a lot of turn around time, that is the nature of this tournament. It has always been good for us to get multiple games in a post-season type format. We will see how we do, it is a challenge for us for sure."
On Kent State And The Other Teams In The Tournament:
On Utah State And The Improvement The Staff Is Seeing:
"I don't know enough about (Kent State) to talk a lot. Obviously, Kent State is a top 50 type team, a boarder line top 25 type team. With a win at West Virginia, I think that they are 7-1, but I haven't really studied them or Saint Peter's. I think we knew with Kent State coming to the tournament, a lot of times going into the tournament we have probably been the favorite, I don't think that you can say that this year. It is on our home court and I am sure that would be the other team's point, but I think that certainly Kent State would probably be the favorite on paper. (UT) Arlington is capable of jumping up and Saint Peter's, everything that I have ever heard about them is how physical they are and how you better be ready to play when you play them. Like I said, I haven't studied them but I think that it's a real good field."
"I think we're doing a little better job of understanding how much you have to practice with a purpose and not just go through the motions in practice. Learning to practice properly at the Division I level is a process and we're not there yet, but we are making some progress. Our last game our turnovers were down, we shot a good percentage and defended pretty solid. The things that you're trying to do to give you a chance to win and that have given us a chance to win through the years, is to shoot a decent percentage, guard the other team, don't turn it over to much and those things appear to be getting a little better. The rebounding for this basketball team is a real concern, we don't have a dominate rebounder like Brady (Jardine) would have been and we've got to rebound by committee. We got out rebounded by a good rebounding Seattle team the other night, now they missed a bunch of shots, but still out rebounded us by eight. One of (UT) Arlington's strengths is they are plus three or four on the boards, so that is certainly an area that is a concern. We're taking some baby steps, we are making some progress, so that is good to see."
Are You Getting Comfortable Yet With Your Starting Lineup:
"No, I don't feel that way. I don't know how you'd feel that way with as many different starting line-ups as we have started. I know what you are asking and we are getting a little closer to some role definitions and who is coming in off the bench and who can help where and all of that. We haven't been consistent enough in performances to say we are there yet."
Is Morgan Grim Getting Closer To Being Back To Full Strength:
"I think so. He was bothered by foul trouble the other night and I don't think that ankle is back to full strength. It has taken longer than I had imagined and probably he imagined. Morgan is not the quickest jumper or the most athletic guy in the world anyway, so a bum ankle makes him appear much slower and much less athletic. What he does have is very good sense for being able to guard and playing help defense and box out and being physical. He has been hampered in those areas by the ankle. I am hopeful that he gets a little better as we get closer to league."
On UT Arlington:
"I think it's hard to say who their best player is, they're balanced. They can go small, they can go bigger, they can start a 6-10 post guy and come off with a 7-0 post guy, or they can play the smaller line-up like they did against Tulsa. (LaMarcus) Reed is a pretty versatile guy, he can shoot three's, he can drive the basketball; he is very capable in a lot of the areas of the game. I think that their overall team is very athletic and they play really hard. I was impressed with how hard they play on film. (Kevin) Butler is more of a guy that can post you up than Reed. Then they've got (Bo) Ingrham who plays the four position but he is a face-up guy, he will post you some, but he wants to shoot face-up jumpers out of the ball screen motion. Their point guard is shared by a couple of guys and both are athletic. They'll start (Shaquille White-Miller) and come in with (Cameron Catlett), and both play about equal minutes and give them a fresh guy to pressure the ball all the time. They play 10-11 guys and run guys at you all the time. Staying on top of match-ups is going to be a concern. They'll full court press you, they'll play pressure man on the half court, they'll play a 1-1-3 zone, they will throw you a lot of different looks. I know that they've got to feel like they should have and could have won the other night but they are playing pretty dang well and like I said earlier, I am impressed with (UT) Arlington."
Is This Tournament A Chance For This Team To Get Rolling:
"I think any win for us right now is a good win. We are scrambling right now to get wins. We just need to take each game and see if we can find a way to get another win. I think the goal obviously is to improve as you get closer to league and with the Mississippi State game looming right before league, that was probably a very stupid schedule on my part, with this new team that we've got, to throw them into a Mississippi State situation. We did it because we got a 2-for-1 and they're going to be coming to Logan someday down the road. This schedule has challenged us and hopefully is getting us better prepared for conference and what we are going to face then. As far as a spring-board, I don't know. We've got to be more concerned with trying to get one win at a time."
Do You See This Team Being More Guard Oriented That Past Teams:
"I don't know that that is accurate, we had a really good scorer coming off the bench that was a wing last year in Brian Green and obviously Brockeith (Pane) was a scorer on the perimeter. We were just really balanced last year. Our post scoring has been sporadic this year and so that has caused the perimeter guys to be more aggressive. I do think that we are making a little progress in being able to throw the ball to Kyisean (Reed) down on the block and hopefully Morgan (Grim) will get back to the way he was playing before the ankle. The strength of this team has got be balance, we don't have a Jaycee Carroll, we don't have someone who is going to average 20 points a game for us. We have got to get scoring from a lot of different spots if we are going to be successful."