#AztecMBB Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 7, 2014

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Head coach Steve Fisher

Opening Statement:
"I will start with how excited we were that not only did we win, but the Chargers won (too). We're pulling for them to keep winning. This is excitement for the city. We had a great win at Kansas. It is a unique place to play with the tradition, history, fan base and everything that goes into it. Unless you've been there or played there, you can't appreciate what it's all about. So it was a wonderful win. I think their fans appreciated good basketball, so we got more compliments than boos after the game. But now our focus better be 100 percent on a really good Boise State team that returns its starting five from a year ago, beat us soundly at their place (last season), that should have beaten us (at Viejas Arena) and could have beaten us in the (Mountain West) tournament. So needless to say, our players have respect for the opponent and will be prepared to play. We're playing a really good team (on Wednesday)."

On how much confidence the road win over Kansas gives the team:
"Like anything, winning begets winning. When you win, you feel good about yourself and feel like you'll find a way to win the next (game). I said also that the Colorado State game was extremely more important long term than Kansas. But the win at Colorado State helped us mentally get ready for the Kansas game. We were feeling good that we could win a true road game against a good team."

On if it's difficult to keep the team focused coming off a win over Kansas:
"I would hope not. I told them on the plane ride home, `Don't worry about Boise State. When you go to bed, smile about your win over Kansas. But when you get up on Monday, all eyes and ears are on Boise State.' It's easy to say, but sometimes hard to do. But, with the team we've got led by fifth-year seniors Xavier (Thames) and Josh (Davis), and the maturity of a fourth-year junior JJ O'Brien, it shouldn't happen. If we don't play well, it won't be because we weren't ready to play. It will be because of the opponent. We're planning on playing well (on Wednesday)."

On if being ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25 is a big deal:
"It's exciting to be ranked, and obviously it feels good to move up. I think it's also a tribute to us, and obviously it is to Kansas, that we beat Kansas in their building, and they dropped only two spots (in the rankings). Hopefully if we lose again - I hope we don't lose another game - but if we lose, we won't be in a free fall in the rankings because of what people saw with our team in Allen Field House. But you want to be ranked. It helps in every regard, starting with getting in the (NCAA) tournament, recruiting and all the things that matter."

On how much the victory over Kansas boosts the program nationally:
"I think it could have an effect. On Sunday, we had an opportunity for writers, voters and athletic directors on the selection committee to watch us play. So often, all the people that vote don't see teams play. They just vote for who the good teams are every year and never see them play. I think they got a chance to see us play, and see us play successfully. That obviously will help us."

On how hard it is to get ready for a completely different team in a short turnaround:
"(Boise State) is completely different. They can play five guards at one time, but they will for sure play four guards. They spread the floor, make you guard them in all sorts of ways, shoot the three as often and as quickly that they can - and not just one guy, and they are a team that scores in bunches from the perimeter. So it will be different than the short preparation time we had for Kansas, but when we watched film yesterday, everything we watched is from us last year. We saw a lot of things (Boise State) did to us. They were doing to us what we see them doing to other teams. So I think that had an impact. They're good. (Anthony) Drmic and (Derrick) Marks are hard, hard guards. (Jeff) Elorriaga is as good of a catch-and-shoot player as there is in the United States. (Ryan) Watkins is playing so much better now. And they were picked (to finish) second in the league with five guys back after being an NCAA Tournament team. They expect to come (to Viejas Arena) and win. They could have, and they would say should have, beaten Iowa State in the Diamond Head Classic finals. They played well enough to win."

On what the buzz is like in the city right now:
"I went into 7-Eleven, got a newspaper, and the girl behind the desk didn't recognize me. She said, `Did you go to the Chargers game?' I said, `No, but I was pulling like crazy for them.' There's tremendous buzz in this city about the Chargers and the Aztecs, which is very, very nice."

Senior guard Xavier Thames

On the comparison between the atmospheres at Kansas and at Viejas Arena:
"It was kind of similar. There was a great atmosphere in Kansas. The fans were great but it's kind of the same as our crowd. They're loud and always on their feet. It was a great atmosphere and a good experience."

On if the team pays attention to the rankings:
"I'm sure everybody has seen it. We're not going to stay focused on that. We just have to go out and play each conference game really hard and competitive because each game is going to be hard. There aren't going to be any easy games in this conference. We just have to get prepared for Boise State and be ready for a tough game. "

On if the win against Kansas was the biggest win in SDSU history:
"It was a good win for the season. We got a road win in that type of environment. As far as history, I'm not going to get into that but it definitely was a big win for us especially because it was a road game against Kansas."

On what the recent honors he received mean to him:
"It's a blessing. I have to give all the credit to God and to my teammates because without them, I wouldn't be receiving these awards. I'm not really interested in that but like I said, it's a blessing and without my teammates, none of this would be possible."

On what Boise State does to make this game a unique challenge:
"Kansas is more of an inside team when they get the ball. (Boise State) just wants to come out, shoot 3-pointers and run. It's going to be a little bit of an adjustment but, I'm sure we're going to be ready and the coaching staff will have us ready."

On if the team's experience from the Wooden Legacy helps with the short preparation now:
"I think so. Playing those teams early on in the year helped. Every team is different so we have to come out and be prepared. I'm sure we'll be prepared and come out hard. Boise State is a good team."

Sophomore forward Winston Shepard

On how much confidence the team has after winning on the road against Kansas:
"I don't know how much more confidence it will give us, but I think we already have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We work hard every day at practice. Everybody on the team worked hard on their game in the summer. It gives us a boost in confidence but this team came into this season confident."

On if the rankings are as a big of a deal now versus a few years ago when the program hadn't been ranked:
"I don't really think anybody focuses on it too much. It's always good and I think it's better for the media, but in our locker room, we don't really worry about the number. We have the same team that the media picked to finish fourth in the conference. We're the same team. We just want to come out and keep playing. We're just trying to focus on the next game."

On if the win against Kansas was the biggest win in SDSU history:
"I'm not too fond of the history but I would definitely say it was a big win for us and I will say it's a program-boosting win. Is it the biggest win in program history? I'm not sure."

On what Boise State does to make this game a unique challenge:
"They have more shooters and scorers, I would say, than Kansas, as crazy as that might sound. They play a different style. They play four guards and they just want to get up and down the court and shoot every shot they can. It will be a little different for us but I wouldn't expect anything less from my team to be ready. I think we'll be ready to play."

Sophomore center Skylar Spencer

On the difficulty of putting a big win behind them to focus on the next opponent:
"We don't think it's that hard. Coach (Fisher) always reminds us to stay focused. He reminds us about how close the games were against Boise State, how close all the conference games are and how it's not going to be easy. I think we're going to do a pretty good job at staying focused."

On the key to winning in a challenging environment like Kansas:
"We didn't really focus on the history or the streak. All those other games didn't really have anything to do with us because we've never played there before. We just came out there, made sure we handled our business and didn't get caught up in the history or the atmosphere."

On his transformation:
"Maybe it was because the teams we played against weren't at the highest quality level and I guess I was taking a break. I know I shouldn't be doing that. Once the coaches got on me, I got back on track and I played how I should be playing."

On if that's the downside to playing teams like St. Katherine College and Southern Utah:
"I come out and play hard every game, but sometimes you just fall off. I needed a little wakeup call. The coaches gave me one and I'm back where I need to be."

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