SDSU Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Aztecs senior DeShawn Stephens, junior Jamaal Franklin and head coach Steve Fisher addressed the media at a press conference on Friday.

Jan. 11, 2013

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San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher

Opening statement:
"We are excited that we're coming home 1-0. And I think people who don't know basketball might have said, `Well man, three-point win (against Fresno State).' But we were thrilled to get a three-point win. League games are a different animal, and everybody in this league is capable of winning, home or away. So we're home and we like that better. Everybody wants to play at home. We've got an exceptional Colorado State team coming in, an NCAA Tournament team from a year ago. They've got all of their players back with the addition of three really, really outstanding guys that are helping them win. (Colton) Iverson, the Minnesota transfer, is the biggest and truest low-post center in our league. So we're looking forward to a great game. I think both teams feel they have an opportunity to win the league. (We have) identical records and it's two clubs that competed hard against one another last year. And I'm sure we'll have more of the same (this season)."

On the status of junior guard Xavier Thames:
"Xavier did a little bit, at least from our vantage point, yesterday. He went through and jogged through some stuff, which is the first time he's done that in a long time. I would say he's questionable, very questionable for tomorrow. It's going to have to be his decision. We don't want to do anything that would jeopardize his health first, or the long-term health of him and the team. So we've got to make sure he is physically capable of going. Right now, I'm not sure."

On the status of sophomore forward J.J. O'Brien:
"J.J. is very sore and stiff. His neck, shoulder and back (are hurting). He took a very hard, nasty fall. Whether he's 100-percent remains to be seen. But I do believe he will try to play, and then we'll go from there."

On the quality of the Mountain West after such a close game against Fresno State:
"Every league is good. You talk about yours because it's yours. But you look across the country at these games being played, they're hard. Every game is a hard game. They've all got good players. Every team in this league has got Division I players who are on scholarship who have won before and expect to win. Fresno State played very good basketball. I could say, `We didn't do this, we didn't do that,' but Fresno shot the ball, they guarded really hard and they never gave up. And that's how they have to play. But to answer your question, our league is very good. I think we're getting recognition - justifiably so - as one of the top-3 conferences in the country. And it's legitimate. We've got people that can beat anybody at any place, and we've proven that with what we've done in some of our non-conference games."

On Jamaal Franklin's highlight dunk against Fresno State:
"I said, `That was a pretty good play.' And I made this statement; I'm much more interested in substance over style, and doing the easiest way to get it done. And I made reference to Bob Cousy, who was the first guy to go behind the back with a pass, and the purist said, `What is he doing? He's ruining the game.' But he did it to get baskets. And (Franklin) made a play to get a basket. And it opened up for him perfectly. He saw the opportunity and he was able to finish it. So final product getting the basket, everybody thought it was sensational. Had it not gone in, it would have been a 180 the other way for anybody that wanted to talk about it."

On if he would take a player out for being too flashy:
"I wouldn't take a player out for a between-the-legs, or a behind-the-back dunk. I've taken guys out, but not for that."

On managing a player like Franklin:
"He is (a challenge), there's no question about it. But let's not forget I was part of the group that coached the Fab 5 (at Michigan), and they pushed the envelope a little bit also. I've never been afraid to allow good players wiggle room to be good players. I want to make it the easiest way to be productive. So I'm not worried about what others say. I'm only worried about what I want done and what we're doing. With (Franklin) as with a lot of players I've coached, they have to be who they are, and sometimes they do things that they have to come out (of the game) for. Sometimes they do things that are not what I want and inappropriate. But you can't make them afraid to have the spontaneity of basketball player that knows what they want to do and can be successful doing it."

On when he heard about all the buzz from Franklin's dunk:
"I heard about it on the way home from the (assistant) coaches on the bus. While most people were sleeping, I was watching the replay of our game. And I watched that play, and I watched it four or five times and smiled as I watched it, because it ignited not only our bench and our team, but (Fresno State's) crowd. Their crowd stood up and applauded. It was a play that drew attention because it doesn't happen very often."

On facing Colorado State on a quick turnaround:
"I don't think (Colorado State) has played since Jan. 5 against St. Bonaventure. And we played on Wednesday. So there's nothing we can do about that. Our coaches have watched as much tape on Colorado State as we have for any game we play. That's normal. We gave our players their first talk of Colorado State (Thursday night). We will be ready to play. If they win the game, it won't be because we had two days to prepare and they had 10 days to prepare. They're very well coached and they're a good team. They have a lot of pieces back from the team we had fits with in our two victories last year. I'm anxious to see how we play. I know we'll play with great energy at home. (Colorado State) is the best rebounding team in the country. This is a very, very talented basketball team that has played together and played affectively.

San Diego State junior forward Jamaal Franklin

On his thoughts about trending on Twitter:
"I don't really have any social network, so I don't know if I'm trending in America. Knowing that now, I guess it's exciting, it's an accomplishment."

On his thoughts during the play:
"There really weren't any thoughts. If you followed me through the summer, it's a dunk that I do a lot. I just got the opportunity this time to do it, and luckily I made it."

On his reaction to all the buzz:
"Yes, I'm very surprised it's blown up like it has because if you talk to a lot of the players I played with growing up through high school and AAU, I've done that dunk so many times. It's just this one dunk that has been blown up. I've actually done that dunk much better many different times."

On his teammates' reaction:
"A lot of them have seen (the dunk) too before, but Chase Tapley keeps saying, `You made history." And on the way back (from Fresno) he kept shaking my hand about 50 times. But you can't be mad about that. It's just having good teammates and being goofy. It's all fun, but I can't really live off the dunk right now. I've got to focus on Colorado State, because they could come in here and beat us."

On Colorado State:
"Colorado State is very tough. When it comes down to conference (play) everybody is tough. You can't take anybody lightly."

On if his back is feeling better:
"My back is getting better. I'm not 100-percent yet, but it's getting better. I'm still getting treatment, but that's just because I haven't had a long time just to rest it. As the season has progressed and I keep getting treatment, it gets better every day."

On how they've prepared for Colorado State:
"It's just being comfortable. We know what they do, but we've got to watch players and know everything about them because we're not really that familiar with that team because we don't see them playing that much. But I've been around three years, so you just do it from memory."

On the difference between Colorado State this year and last season:
"I would say they throw it in the post more. Last year, they didn't do it too much, but when you have a great player like Iverson, you throw the ball in. And it looks like they try to play more inside-out instead of outside-in."

San Diego State senior DeShawn Stephens

On Franklin's dunk:
"Like (Franklin) said, during the summer, we played on the same Drew League team and he did it plenty of times. So it wasn't anything new to me, it was just new that he did it in an actual game. But other than that, it's exciting every time I see it."

On Colorado State:
"Colorado State is a good team. They're very good at offensive rebounding, rebounding regardless. They crash the boards like crazy. So we definitely have to focus on boxing out, getting every rebound we can get and just playing good basketball."

On playing at home compared to playing away:
"It's a good feeling to have the first game at home, but regardless we still have to go there and we still have to play at their house, so we've just got to be ready."

On what makes defending Colorado State's big guys so tough:
"I would say size and bulk. They're definitely bigger in the post now, so it's going to be hard to battle with them on the glass. And (Pierce) Hornung has been a great rebounder, so we still have to keep him off the boards."

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