USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Tuesday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West opener against Boise State on Wednesday, Dec. 28. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Boise State
“Boise (State) is a typical Boise State team in terms of being very skilled. They have a good group that shoots the ball from the perimeter and are dangerous from the 3-point line at four spots. The guy that is really the wild card and effects your defensive game plan is Nick Duncan. It feels like he has been there for eight years. He is an unusual player to prepare for because he is a big guy that shoots the ball well from the perimeter and is unique to defend. He makes everyone better, not in making plays like a good-passing point guard would, but in terms of how you have to guard him opens up a lot of space for guys like Chandler Hutchinson and Paris Austin. They are the beneficiaries of the space created by the way you have to guard Nick Duncan.
“They are very unselfish and have great ball movement. They are a little underrated defensively. They do a great job with their 3-point defense. They limit the number of attempts you get and the percentage you shoot against them from three. They are very solid overall. Their stats and our stats are very similar, rebounding the ball they are a little ahead of us, but in terms of offensive percentages and defensive percentages we are very similar teams.”
On how practice has gone after Christmas
“We had a really good practice on Christmas night. Everyone made it in except Daron Henson, he got stranded in Long Beach because of the weather in Salt Lake. We had a very good practice. Yesterday, we went two times and got a lot of good work in. I’ve been really impressed with our guys’ attitudes and mentality. The Holidays are the hardest time of the year for college basketball players and you have to be a mature group and handle the preparation. League is really what you are playing for and the way the conferences start league schedules now in late December doesn’t allow for much of a break. You’ve got to get back and get right to it. We’ve had two days so far of really good preparation.”
On the close games with Boise State
“It has been a really unique series that way. If you look at the last four or five years that we’ve gone to Boise, we’ve led those games 80 percent of the time and have only won one. They have always come in here and played well. They have always competed well and they have been close games. Two years ago, (Derrick) Marks hit a 35-foot shot that proved to be the difference in the game. Last year we did not play well and they took advantage of that with a veteran team. But then our guys went up there in the second game of the series and played well and led the game for 38 minutes and 30 seconds and then found a way to lose. The two games last year were frustrating for us because you never want to lose on your home court. And then going to their court and playing as well as we did for as long as we did and then lose, was also frustrating. It has been a unique series and a very competitive one.”
On the other teams in the Mountain West
“I’ve watched two or three teams play. It is a wide open league. Overall, I think teams are playing smaller. San Diego State is playing smaller inside at the five. Colorado State is playing a little smaller. Wyoming plays a perimeter orientated game. Overall teams are playing smaller and playing a little more athletic and a little more versatile offensively. Air Force is playing a little faster and pushing the pace a little bit more. They are still playing their Princeton system, but have tried to up the tempo in scoring points.
“That is the mentality in college basketball right now. With the shot clock down, possessions are up and teams are taking the mentality of getting to 80 every night. Offensively, teams want to score points and that is why they are playing a little smaller and using more versatile lineups that shoot the ball from three or four spots rather than traditional lineups.”
On the health of the team
“We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had anything that has held guys out. You always have an ankle tweak here or a bruise there. Overall, we are very healthy for the start of conference play.”
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