SDSU Men's Basketball News Conference Quotes

Jan. 11, 2018


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San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher

Opening statement:
“Taking the Aztecs back on the road for a weekend game with Boise, two of the winningest teams in the history of the conference. We’ve had epic battles with them in the past, buzzer beaters both ways, made and missed, so excited an opportunity to go play a really good Leon Rice team (with) preseason player of the year Chandler Hutchison. (We’ll) see what we can do to slow Boise down.”

On if the Boise State-San Diego State game has become a rivalry:
“Boise has become part of a rivalry type of game because both teams have been on top of the standings for a lot of years, so they’re both upper division teams. I remember not to many years ago, Dwyane Polee hitting a buzzer beater at their place, they were ready to storm the floor. I remember a couple years back Duncan hitting two threes late in the game here to beat us. It’s just been a great series and a lot of really close games. Both teams respect each other. Both teams play really hard. Both teams play the right way. I’m expecting a great environment and a great game come Saturday.”

On what a road win would do for SDSU:
“Road wins are critical, so to have the opportunity to go on the road and try steal one would be huge for us. We know this is a team we’re going to for sure see twice and in all likelihood three times this year. So this is just round one, it’s an opportunity for us to go steal one on the road. If we don’t get it, it’s not fatal, but it can give us a big leg up if we’re able to steal one. To Boise’s credit, they’ve already got two road wins. They have a real nice road win in their last game at Fresno, they’ve got a win at UNLV, so for them to be 4-1 having played three road games is a tremendous credit to them and their program.”

On what is different between this year’s Boise State team and past teams:
“They’ve added two fifth-year seniors so they’re experienced. Experience wins games. So to have two fifth-year seniors to go with Chandler Hutchison, the preseason player of the year, gives them a big leg up experience-wise. (Head coach) Leon (Rice) always does a good job. They spread the floor, the really drive the ball, they drive for others, they don’t always drive for themselves, they rebound the ball at a high level, so they’re well-coached. They have a system and a culture that has produced a lot of wins for them.”

On playing on the road:
“The Colorado State game gave us some confidence on the road. I think if things go poorly at the start or in the middle or the end, we won’t fragment, we’ll stay to together, we’ll play good team basketball and not hero-ball… Hero-ball is not selfishness, it’s like you feel like when things are going bad you’re going to try to make a quick play to get us back in the game. I think what we’ve learned from our team is that when things don’t go right all the time, stay with the game plan, stay consistent, play team basketball, play the right way, then you have a better chance of surviving a run by the other team. I think we have grown in that regard. Hopefully we see that Saturday night.”

On if the recent success has been because players are more comfortable in their roles:
“Guys are getting more comfortable. I think there’s no doubt they’re more comfortable with their roles. They don’t try to do things more quickly. A lot of that is on me. I have to call plays that aren’t isolation plays right away where we’re trying to go one-on-one, that what we run is trying to set up a chain, a drive-and-kick, a play-of-others-type mentality. Now within that, obviously, you’re going to have to attack the basket, you’re going to have to make a play. Hopefully, it’ll be after we move the ball a bit, share the ball, and then we’re playing for others.”

On Jalen McDaniels:
“Jalen is still a freshman even though he is a redshirt freshman. But he had a year of hard practice under his belt going against Malik (Pope), Nolan (Narain), Valentine (Izundu), Zylan (Cheatham) and Max (Montana). He got some good experience last year sitting out. Now he’s getting game experience, so now he’s slowly starting to grow his game. When you’re actually getting game-time minutes, it’s different than practice. He’s slowly made that adjustment and gotten more comfortable.”

On the Mountain West having three teams with zero or one loss:
“There’s great parity in the league. With that being said, Nevada is undefeated. Boise and us each have one loss. It’s any given night. It’s hard to win on the road. Getting a road win is important, but it’s not fatal if you don’t, you have to protect home court. You have to win your home games. Hopefully that will add a little more pressure to Boise. They don’t want us to steal one. We know if we steal it, that will be great, but if we don’t, we know that we have them coming to us down the road. It’s an opportunity to maybe steal a road game and put ourselves in a great position. Last year at this time, we were sitting at 1-3. We’re 3-1 this year, so obviously the vibe is better, the team feels better about itself. Win or lose, hopefully it’ll be a win, we know where we need to be and coming home after the game with Fresno on Wednesday. We’re excited for the opportunity to try to steal a road game, but we know it’s a long conference season and no one game is going to affect it that much if it’s not a home game.”

On if this is the best place the team has been at this season:
“Health-wise, we’re 100 percent. Jeremy (Hemsley) missed two practices last week with either a cold or the flu, we’re not sure. Other than that, we’re healthy, we’re on a three-game win streak, so everyone feels good about themselves when you win three in a row. Hopefully we can build some momentum on that and continue to keep this streak alive. It’s a tough environment. I know they’re working hard to try to fill the building, sell it out for us, it’s something that we’re used to seeing. We tend to get the biggest crowds on the road of any team in our conference and I would expect that they’ll be close to a sell out when we go in there on Saturday.”

San Diego State senior guard Trey Kell

On if this is the best place the team has been at this season:
“Physically, for sure. At the beginning of the year we always had one or two people down or not 100 percent. Mentally, I feel like we’re the same. We’ve had our bumps here and there, but I don’t think we’ve been in a bad place, but as of right now, the team is playing well, everyone on the team is feeling good about each other, so, yeah, we’re in a good place right now.”

On if the Boise State-San Diego State game has become a rivalry:
“I don’t know if I would necessarily call it a rivalry. I know, for sure, the games are always going to be close, no team is just going to blow out the other team. It’s a game we always look forward to, as I just stated, the games are always close, they always come down to the last five minutes and those are the types of games we look forward to. They’re a good team, we’re a good team and it should be a good battle on Saturday.”

On what he will tell his teammates to expect when playing at Boise State:
“It’s just different. I don’t know how else to describe it or I can’t give you a specific example. The feel there is just a little different. The crowd really gets into, though, especially when their team starts playing well. It’s just one of those things where if you can control the game, you can control the atmosphere a little bit. But their fans are great, they back their team up and they also have a great team out there, so it should be fun.”

On Jordan Schakel:
“The first thing that jumps out to you is just how he is the ultimate team guy. He doesn’t worry about minutes, shots, who he’s guarding, he doesn’t worry about anything of that. My biggest example is when we played Georgia, we had him on the SEC player of the year, and he did a great job. He took two elbows to the chin, got right back up and I was his biggest cheerleader on the bench. He’s just someone I can always cheer for, he’s always happy for everybody, so I’m always happy for him. He’s getting better and better every day. You can tell he’s really focusing in on getting better at the little things that the coaches are telling him. He’s always learning, always observant and he’s going to be a really good player in this league as far as a shooter, and he will develop more and more into an all-around player, I believe.”

On if he is interested in seeing how the team plays compared to the game at Wyoming:
“Yes and no. I’m not worried too much because games with this kind of magnitude, you don’t really have to worry about people being ready. But at the same, I can’t say we’ve been perfect on the road this year, as we all know. At this point, I think our team is ready, the coaches are for sure ready, and we’re all going to be prepared and ready to go on Saturday.”

San Diego State freshman guard Jordan Schakel

On playing on the road in the Mountain West:
“I feel like we’re always really prepared the days we have to prepare in practice. The coaches do a real good job of telling us how hard it’s going to be and letting us know that we really have to be locked in and the atmosphere. I’m looking forward to playing in Boise.”

On the difference between high school and college:
“The biggest difference is being mentally focused the whole practice and every game. You can’t have any mental lapses or your man will back door you and you get taken out of the game or you’ll make a turnover if you’re not focused. That’s the biggest thing. In terms of physicality, I don’t think it’s that much different high school, but the mental aspect is the real difference.”

On the adjustment of going from high school to college basketball:
“The adjustment has been pretty hard. It’s taken a lot of practice and a lot of hard work in practice making that transition, but at the end of the day, it’s nice because I have the experience guarding the 4s and 5s, and I’m learning to guard the perimeter players and I’m getting better at it, so I feel like at the end of the day, it’ll be a good thing.”

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