SDSU Men's Hoops News Conference Quotes
Jan. 3, 2012
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
"I'm very happy to see Norv Turner return as the Chargers' (head) football coach. I don't know him well, (but) we live in the same community. I know him in the fraternity of coaches. I'm very happy that Dean Spanos and his brain trust have chosen to keep Norv and I look forward to cheering for them next year as they come out and hopefully have a great season.
"Beth Burns, a colleague and a close friend, has won four games in a row. They play tomorrow night at home, so I would encourage as many of our viewers and listeners as possible to get out and watch. They've won four in a row. Beth lamented a couple of weeks ago how she gave 78 points up to Cal Poly and (then) had back-to-back games where she gave up 29 and I think 37. So I'm going to have to watch her defense in practice as we prepare to move through our last two games and into league play.
"I like how hard we've practiced and I like how hard we've played. We still must get better. The good news is we've got a lot of room to improve and we need to make sure that happens. We still turn the ball over too much. Thirteen (turnovers) a game doesn't sound like a lot, but we need to get it down closer to 10 than 13. Obviously, I've sat before and said we're a good free-throw shooting team and we're shooting 66 percent, I think, from the free-throw line. Two guys, Garrett (Green) and DeShawn (Stephens) bring that average down and if I'm scouting us, I foul them every time they get the ball. So we've got to get better at the free-throw line, especially Garrett and DeShawn. Some of the others are coming up, the guys that should be great. James (Rahon), and Chase (Tapley), Xavier (Thames), LB (LaBradford Franklin), Jamaal (Franklin) and Tim (Shelton) are shooting very well from the line. So we need to get better in a lot of areas. We've spent time on us. That's what we're continuing to do, we're preparing to get San Diego State better. I'm not as concerned, no disrespect, with San Diego Christian, as I am about San Diego State. Our goal has been, we have to get better in these areas and they're more than just the two I've mentioned. I like how we're progressing.
"We've got two more games to go before league play and we need to make sure that we play as hard as we have and then play with some good execution."
On his scheduling philosophy:
"What we have always done when we've framed our schedule, and I've said this before, we want to have four games or so that we're going to have to play our very best basketball to have a chance to win. We want four or five that it's about a coin flip if we play really well. And we want a handful of buy games that we think if we play and play pretty good, we should win. That's the mix of what you do. Then we say because we have so many games, what can we do that will fit the schedule, but also allow a program to have a memory to come in here and play and play us. We have to be careful that we don't get bit in the process, but that's part of the logic. We've done that every year I've been here. What we have usually done is put maybe a couple at the beginning and maybe one at the end. Scheduling is difficult to get it exactly the way you want it. I did not want seven straight games that I don't think we would have been favored in any of those games. I would have rather mixed it up a little bit, but you do what you have to do. I like what we've done, we've played a number of San Diego schools in the past and we'll continue to do that. I know they're appreciative, the coaches and the players. We had a good crowd in our last game and I think we'll have a good crowd (on Thursday). There are still several hundred tickets that are out and we need to get those for folks who haven't had a chance to be here to get in and watch us play and also watch our opponent play."
Junior Guard Chase Tapley
On getting better as a team:
"Just getting one day of rest helps a lot. When you come the next day to practice, your legs are refreshed and you have a lot more energy. Like James (Rahon) said, having these days off and not having games, we're still going hard in practice. Not having to go to school and just relaxing after practice is helpful, too. Rehabbing, icing, and maintaining our bodies are key for right now."
On the difference between playing a Division I and non-Division I school:
"It's not different. Coach Fisher puts that emphasis in our heads. We take each game as it's our last and we play like we're playing the best team in the country. It doesn't matter if it's Division I, Division II, or Division III. Any team can be beat and we just make sure that we're not that team to get upset or to get beat. We have the same focus coming into each game. We started the beginning of the season at Baylor, and we're giving each and every game 110 percent. As long as we do that and play our game, everything is going to take care of itself."
On what needs to change to improve the team:
"Defensive rebounding and changing some defense. We still have to get concepts down, defensively, that need to be improved. Each and every day we've been working on little concepts such as form and technique, going through fast-motion, just getting comfortable with each other, communicating, and getting back. When we get into league, we're playing against big, strong, and physical guys. We just need to have all five guys crash the boards defensively."
On the anticipation of starting league games:
"That's January 14th. We're thinking about it, but our focus now is San Diego Christian. That's what we're preparing for today and tomorrow. After that, it's Chicago State then we can really starting thinking about UNLV. It's probably in a lot of our minds, because it's a rival school and we have a former coach coaching there, so it's going to be a lot of excitement. Right now though, we're focused on San Diego Christian and Chicago State."
Junior Guard James Rahon
On the breaks between games:
"It's definitely been nice to have the breaks that we've had between games. The schedule earlier in the year was pretty hectic. Having these breaks are nice, but we're going hard in practice every day. We're playing every day. The games have been a little bit more of a break, but we're still playing in practice."
On being where they thought they would be as a team:
"I believe we went into this season knowing that we were going to be a good team. We saw every team on the schedule, before the season, and we said we could beat those teams and compete with those teams, whether or not the fans or the media thought we'd be here. We knew we would be a good team. It's not like we predicted 12-2, we didn't predict a number. We just felt like we were capable of winning a lot of games."
On playing a non-Division I school:
"I just enjoy playing, especially in this arena. It's such a fun atmosphere to play in. No matter what level the team is, the fans are still cheering for us and it feels great to have the fans there so I just enjoy playing."
SDSU Women's Basketball Head Coach Beth Burns
On her perspective on the men's basketball team:
"With his team, what's been really impressive is to see Xavier (Thames) come in and replace D.J. (Gay), who was their most important player. When you cannot miss a beat with a guy who was a redshirt, to come in and run your team, when you look at that gauntlet of games they had to go through and end-of-game decisions. That's our challenge right now. We have two talented backcourt players in Chelsea Hopkins and Kiyana Stamps, but they haven't played a basketball game for San Diego State. End-of-game decisions and the way they have so seamlessly transitioned from D.J. to Xavier has been remarkably impressive. I think their philosophy defensively changed a year ago. When you have good athletes ... great defense becomes fun offense. You get momentum changers that really change your transition game. That's what is impressive about this team. They had to replace so many parts, but philosophically, they're going to guard first, and that's why they have an opportunity to win any game. They're really fun to watch because they play great basketball."