USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Tuesday and answered questions about the upcoming game against San José State on Wednesday, Dec. 27. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On San José State:
“San José State is a classic power basketball team. They are going to play two bigs around the basket, most of the time. It is a similar look that UC Irvine gave us, but they are a team that is really getting better. The last three or four games, going into their Santa Clara game, you can see a team that is improving. You can see a team that is really finding their roles offensively. A team that is playing well together and knows what their strengths are and know who they play through as a basketball team. I’m very impressed with them over the last few games we have watched. Coach Prioleau is doing a great job. They are playing a style that really fits their personnel. They have some bigs in Chastain, Barry and Fisher, that are big, physical guys that do a great job rebounding the ball. They are plus-8 on the glass and when you watch them you can see why that is. They are aggressive, physical offensive rebounders.
“Defensively they are pretty simple. They give you a man-to-man, packed-in defensive look. They are going to keep you in front of them and try to hold you to one shot and then rebound the basketball. All-in-all, they are a good solid team that is getting better game-by-game.”
On SJSU’s win at Santa Clara:
“They really dominated the first half and were up by 20 at the half. They put on an offensively clinic on one end and was rock solid defensively on the other end. They made Santa Clara shoot contested jump shots and only gave them one shot per possession. They scored in transition, scored in the half court, scored around the basket and scored it from three. It was a very solid performance. One thing, getting Brandon Mitchell back into their rotation (I’m not sure why he was out) gives them another frontline scorer. He is a four that is a little different than Fisher when he plays because he can shoot the ball from 15 and 17 feet, he can put the ball on the floor and can score the ball around the basket.”
On SJSU’s Ryan Welage:
“He is a really good player. He really fits the style they play. He is a catch-and-shoot guy, big and long 3-man that can also play the four. They don’t play him much at the four with Mitchell back, but he has a tremendous size advantage at the three. He shoots the three, they post him up against smaller players and he does a great job of scoring at all three levels.”
On how the power game of SJSU matches up against Utah State:
“Those kinds of teams are tough matchups for us. The team that was similar to them was UC Irvine and we played really hard and did a good job defending them. We gave up a few too many offensive rebounds, because of size. We’ll have Alex Dargenton back and available to us, which gives us another body. It isn’t a big body, but it is a body on the frontline. We’ll be active and try and keep the ball out of the post. We’ll block out and create contact to give us a chance to rebound it. So far this year, we’ve done a decent job of that.”
On evaluating the non-conference schedule for the Aggies
“We’ve had so many things that we’ve dealt with that we are not the well-oiled machine we would like to be going into the conference. Usually you’ll have an eight or nine-man rotation that you have settled in and your system is where you want it to be offensively and defensively. We’ve done a pretty good job, but we are not where we would be if we would have had everyone available to us during the preseason. Our roles would be a little more defined and our guys would be a little more comfortable with what we are doing, but we’ll get there and we’ve had a couple of good practices after Christmas. To say we are where we want to be, would probably be wishful thinking. We probably would like to be a little further down the road in terms of win-loss record and in our comfort level of who we are and who we are playing.”
On the non-conference slate and injuries:
“I’m proud because they’ve hung in there with our travel and our injuries and have done a good job. It is a little frustrating because there were a few more wins out there that we could have taken advantage of just by doing some simple things. We didn’t do that so we are not where we are because of a lack of effort or a lack of desire or any of those things. Our margin of error is very thin and when it is that thin you can’t leave a lot of points out there on the board, especially offensively. On the other side of the ball I think we’ve done that.”
On the familiarity of SJSU and USU successes against the Spartans:
“If everything was the same, the same system and the same coach, maybe you could say that (the familiarity was good). This will be a different San José State team. The way they see themselves, the way they are getting better, they are a group that believes in what they are doing. They are a group that believes in the process because they play with a lot of enthusiasm and togetherness and are really getting better. That is a sure-fire sign that a team is on an uptick. I don’t know if it is an advantage or disadvantage with them being so new. Every league game seems so hard to win. The most important thing is that you have a home game. I don’t think it matters who you play, but getting to start at home, you can’t let those slip away when possible.”
On SJSU’s head coach
“He was an assistant at Colorado and at Wichita State. I’ve known him for a long time. He was with Mark Turgeon at Wichita when I first met him and then he’s been around since. He’s been around good coaches and in good places and has always recruited California heavily so it was a good fit for him to take a job in that state.”
On any surprises to him in the Mountain West so far:
“The teams that we thought were going to be good have shown that. They’ve had some key wins. Our league has done a good job in the non-conference in representing themselves. I can’t really think of any huge surprises in terms of who was going to be worse or better than I thought they would be. This is a team, right here, if they keep going on the path they are on will win a lot more games than they were predicted.”
On the inconsistencies of Koby McEwen:
“Koby has been impacted by his injury and all of the injuries we’ve had with all the different people playing in difference places. We’ve got to do a better job of putting him in good situations, whether the ball is in his hands or if he is playing off of the ball. We’ve got to have a mixture of both. He is such a great 3-point shooter that maybe the ball doesn’t need to be in his hands and people need to do a better job of making plays for him on the offensive side. Defensively, he needs to be a little smarter and a little more consistent in defending with the same effort that he has, but just avoiding those touch fouls and reaching fouls that have been putting him into trouble. That is another area that has led to inconsistent minutes that has led to his inconsistent play. The one word for him in the preseason is inconsistent, in the number of minutes he’s played and the guys that have played with him. He’s still a young player. He is just going into the conference play of his sophomore year. He is still getting better. He is still learning. He still needs to improve on a few things, but we have to have him be a really good player. We need him to be an all-conference player for us to be the team we want to be.”
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