SDSU Men's Hoops News Conference Quotes
Jan. 9, 2012
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
"We are fast approaching the last non-conference game. Chicago State is coming in tomorrow and then it gets down to the real business of league play. Chicago State has not won a game. Everyone knows that. They just played at Air Force and played Air Force relatively close. So we have to take care of business with Chicago State tomorrow and then all the focus can start on the conference play beginning with UNLV at our place.
"Xavier Thames is improving; he has a chance to play tomorrow. We'll see what he does today in practice. In a perfect world, we would get him some time tomorrow. So I'm hopeful that will happen, but I'm not going to do it just to say we have to get him minutes. But hopefully that will allow itself to happen."
"We're proud of what we're doing -- 13-2. I saw we inched up a little bit in both polls, which is nice to see. Now the important thing is we continue to get better. That's been our theme, not worrying about our opponent, not worry about anything but us. I believe our guys have done a really good job of that. We're making progress and it's important that we do that.
On if he's ever had a player like Tim Shelton:
"I've never had a player like (Shelton). I remember early in our tenure, New Mexico had a player (like Shelton). I can't recall his name that was a lot like Tim, had major problems with his knee, he never practiced and he rode the bike constantly .... But I haven't had one like this, especially one who's this important to the total success of your team. Tim has done a good job and I know (head athletic trainer) Tom Abdenour has done a great job with how he's treated him. Tim has lost considerable weight, which has been helpful. When he's practiced, it's been very noticeable that we're better and when he plays, it's noticeable that we're better. So many of these games we don't win without him in there."
On if he does anything to make sure the players don't look past Chicago State:
"You can't worry about who you're playing. We're game planning and you don't have to have a Ph.D. in anything to be a basketball player or coach. You have to come out and you have to be sound in your fundamentals. You have to know what's necessary to be successful. They know that. They're used to winning, so I don't think that will be an issue. We've played hard in every game we've had. When we had that stretch of games where everybody said, `why are you playing all these games, non-Division I games, etc,' we have played hard. If you look at us compared to anybody in America when they've played games that they are supposed to win, I would say our effort and energy and execution would be in that 99th percentile."
Junior Guard Chase Tapley
On not looking past Chicago State:
"We're for sure thinking about (the conference opener), it's just a couple days away. It's not like it's two or three weeks away, but we still have to have a main focus and that's Chicago State tomorrow. We just have to stay very mentally focused tomorrow as good as we ever been and not really focus on Saturday. Our team is ready and prepared. Coach Fisher gets it stuck in our mind that we have Chicago State right in front of us."
On the change in the intensity level once league play starts:
"The level of intensity is greater by 10 times. You're playing teams that kind of know your plays. Every game is going to be a barnburner. The competiveness in our league is getting greater and greater each year. You have to really be on you're A-game when you're playing in league. Every game counts and as long as we keep playing hard and keep listening to Coach, we'll be fine."
On whether it feels like a new season:
"Of course it is, I feel like it's a new start. Saturday is the start of league and building our resume for the NCAA Tournament and trying to put up another banner. So it's important and exciting."
Junior Forward DeShawn Stephens
On how the team fared without Xavier Thames:
"Certain people step up; when one falls we have another one step up. We still play as good as we can play and with (Xavier) there or not, we'll be good."
On whether it feels like a new season:
"It's a brand new feeling. I guess you can call it another season. It's also just another level that we have to step up and get better.
On the importance of being ranked:
"We look at it. We acknowledge it and know that it's there, but we just want to keep winning. No matter what ranking we are, I'd rather take a win over a ranking any day."