#AztecMBB Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 3, 2014

Get Acrobat Reader QUOTES


Head coach Steve Fisher

Opening Statement:
"Big, important win for us at Colorado State (on Wednesday). It was good basketball, tough hard-fought basketball. Just like at Del Mar (race track): We got out of the gate first, (Colorado State) got nose-to-nose with us, but they never got ahead of us. And when you lead from wire-to-wire, it can take something out of the team that's trying to catch you. Whenever (CSU) made their challenge, we fought them off. So it was a good team victory against a team that fights very hard, so we're pleased with that. Now we're on to Lawrence, Kansas for a Sunday afternoon game that we'll all be ready to play."

On if this is the best time for them to play Kansas:
"We're playing Kansas when we could get the game scheduled. In a perfect world we would have played it 10 games ago and not have it get in the way of (Mountain West) play. Travel is always problematic, and everyone knows we had problems getting home from Denver (on Wednesday) because of weather in Chicago. Those are issues that you deal with. We will play very, very hard against a terrific team that is almost unbeatable at home. But our kids will be excited. They won't be in awe or fearful. Yet I've watched Kansas go 30 points ahead of Georgetown at home and beat Duke by 11 or 12 on a neutral court. Yes, I know they've lost three games, but if you watched their game against Toledo, it was probably the best game they've played in terms of shooting the ball, with an inside-outside combination. So our kids are excited, you know that. They'll be really, really excited to go and play."

On if it's good he has players who are accustomed to playing in big games:
"We have two fifth-year seniors who have been around the block more than once. We've got JJ O'Brien, who is a fourth-year junior. So we've got a nice blend of youth and experience to where we've played in big games before, we know what it's like to be on national TV and we know what it's like to play a terrific team on the road."

On if any other team is on Kansas' level in terms of pure individual talent:
"I don't know, there's a lot of talented teams. I read what you read and get reports from others of what you read. (Kansas) potentially has three players that are lottery picks in this year's NBA Draft. They're very, very big, long and athletic, and more than anybody we've played, they have a mandate to throw the ball inside. When you have that length and size, they can be hard to guard even when you defend well. They've outrebounded 11 out of 12 opponents. At one stage against Toledo, (Kansas) had 12 offensive rebounds and Toledo had 11 total rebounds. So they present problems and they're very athletic, but for me to say nobody has more athletes than they do, that would probably be something I would say not knowing (if it's true)."

On if he's watched much tape on Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins:
"Yes, I've watched enough tape on all of them. If (Wiggins) was the only person I had to worry about, I think I'd be OK. How about (center Joel) Embiid? He's not too bad either. Or (sophomore forward) Perry Ellis? I thought that was just a clothing line. He's tremendous. And this is an incredible stat: (Kansas head coach) Bill Self has been at Kansas for 11 seasons. He's won nine conference championships and has eight home losses. He's won more conference championships than he has home losses. That's pretty impressive. That's a pretty good stat, so you know they're pretty good, and they're a little bit better at home. So what we need to make sure we do is control runs. Runs occur everywhere, normally at home. We get them (at Viejas Arena). (Kansas) gets huge runs at home, and they get them against everybody. We can't let that happen to us. So we have to manage their runs and control when the crowd gets going."

On if their own raucous home atmosphere helps them when they play on the road:
"Really good players and teams love to play in a building where they have to silence the crowd. They enjoy that process. It's hard to do, but really good players are able to do it. So we have to figure out how to do that on occasion."

On if the game being on national TV adds more significance:
"It will be great if we play well. I think it's great we're playing on national TV. We play right after the (San Diego) Chargers game, and that will be a great lead-in for our fans. But it will give the casual basketball fan a chance to watch San Diego State play Kansas. So yes, it has to be good. That's one of the reasons we decided to play the game, even though we'd rather not play it on Jan 4 or 5, that's why we said we'll do it. This is good for us, and if we would win, it would be a phenomenal resume builder for the NCAA Tournament. We're very much looking forward to it."

On the difference between his team now compared to when they played Arizona:
"I think we're playing with more confidence. Xavier Thames is playing as well as anybody in the country right now, and that wears off (on the rest of the team). Winston (Shepard) has been playing at a much higher level. In the Arizona game, I don't think Dwayne Polee or Aqeel Quinn got into the game. Now they're going to get in the game early against Kansas. So I think there's more comfort level from a coach in terms of who, when and where we'll use the bench."

Senior guard Xavier Thames

On being part of a big weekend in San Diego sports:
"I just take it as a blessing to be in this position. We're going into Kansas to play against a good team, and I'm sure we'll be ready to play. The coaches have us ready to play, so we're looking forward to it."

On what it will be like playing against such a high-profile opponent with high-profile recruits:
"I don't really look into all that recruiting stuff. I don't really care about all that. We just have to go out and play, and it's the same thing with (Kansas). So I'm just looking forward to playing out there against a good team. We've just got to come ready to play."

On how they view the game against Kansas compared to a Mountain West game:
"This is a big game going against a good Kansas team. It's going to feel like an NCAA Tournament game. So it's just preparing us for the NCAA (Tournament) games, so hopefully we can go out there and get a win."

On how this game is different from the game against Arizona:
"It's a different team. Kansas has different types of players. It's going to be a big challenge for us."

On if he's ever been to Kansas' home gym Allen Field house:
"Yes, I went there for an AAU tournament the Jayhawk Classic. I've seen the facilities and the campus and everything like that, I just haven't played there when it was packed, so that will be nice."

On what he expects the atmosphere to be like on Sunday:
"I expect it to be loud in there. I've talked to a few guys that have played against Kansas in Kansas, so they tell me the crowd is crazy. I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure my teammates are as well. We've just got to come out ready to play."

Sophomore forward Winston Shepard

On what it will be like playing against such a high-profile opponent with high-profile recruits:
"I was a highly-ranked (recruit) coming out of high school as well, but at the end of the day, none of that stuff matters. If that was the case, every top-ranked player would go to the NBA. At the end of the day, all the hoopla from the recruiting world gets settled on the court. They've got to match up with us just like we have to match up with them, so we'll see on Sunday."

On if they're curious to see how good Andrew Wiggins is after all the hype surrounding him:
"I think I'm a pretty good player too, so we'll see."

On if there's an individual challenge for him going against Wiggins on Sunday:
"Not really. It's a big game, but I try not to get caught up in one-on-one things. I think that was a mistake I made last year. So I'm just going to come out and try to play the same type of game I've been playing. Get my teammates involved, and when I'm open and I can attack, I'll do that. But as far as getting caught up in a one-on-one matchup, I think that would be going down the wrong road for me."

On if Kansas is facing a different team than what Arizona saw:
"I think a lot of questions have been answered about our team. Not all of them, but some have been answered since that Arizona game. So I think we're a better team (now)."

On if he's ever been to Kansas' home gym Allen Field house:
"I have. I've been up there numerous times. I actually took a (recruiting) visit to Kansas. What a lot of people don't know is my mother signed to play basketball at Kansas, but unfortunately my grandfather passed away, so she played at Texas. So I've been to Kansas a lot, I know the atmosphere, so it won't be anything new for me. It's a great facility, they've got numerous NBA players and hall of famers that have come from there. It's pretty much like a basketball heaven. I'm looking forward to going in there."

On what challenges Kansas presents:
"Up to this point, we really haven't got to watch a lot of film on (Kansas). I've seen a couple of their games, but I'm not sure what our coaches are going to draw up. I'm sure they'll come up with a great gameplan for us, so we'll be ready."

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago