Senior guard Chase Tapley leads the Aztecs into Wednesday night's home game against Boise State.
Feb. 5, 2013
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher
"I want to start and repeat myself for everybody's benefit what Chase Tapley has brought to the table for this team. A lesser man would have said, `I can't play because I can't shoot the ball.' And Chase said, `I'm playing. Even if I can't shoot the ball, my presence on the court will help us win.' And that's what he's done for us for four years. I know you remember he broke his hand as a freshman and came back quicker than anybody thought. But I think sometimes it goes unnoticed and unsaid what guys do to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the team, and (Tapley) personifies that. And he has throughout his whole career, which is why he's going to leave here with more wins than anybody in the history of San Diego State. Now on top that, he can score the ball and do a lot of other things. He's willing to say, `What do I need to do to win?' And that's what we have to have as we move forward to Boise State and Fresno State and on and on and on. And I think J.J. (O'Brien) is quietly starting to show folks what he means to this basketball team. We have a Boise State team coming in that shoots the ball better than anybody in entire league. We've got to make sure we guard them. We know that they're good and we know they're going to come in here saying, `This is a tournament run for us.' And we've got to make sure we do our part to send them home with a loss.
On O'Brien's versatility:
"He's had seven offensive rebounds in a game and it directly related to his ability to go to different spots. He knows how to play and you can't put a premium on those types of players. I think that's what you want to have from everybody."
On if Thames is more likely to play in home games:
"I don't think so. I think it's just more a question of him knowing his body. He's got to be the decision maker. Home or away, I don't think that factors in. So we've just got to continue to consult with the doctors. We're going to meet again tonight, and then just hope and pray he says he can (play) and doesn't have a lot of lingering after affects so he can (play) the next (game). We've got to just cross our fingers. He's getting treatment twice a day. Nobody wants to be out there more than he does, but he wants to be able to move and be healthy, and so do we. It's frustrating for him, but we just say, `Learn by watching.' I don't think he'll miss a beat not being in practice, but obviously we've got to get him back out there to be a part of what we're doing."
On where they're at in the process of meeting with doctors concerning Thames' back injury:
"We're going to meet again tonight. This will be my first opportunity to sit down and not have to make phone calls and talk to (doctors ) on the phone."
On if he believes Thames will ever get to 100-percent health this season:
"I have no clue on that. We want him back on the floor. Even if he's not 100-percent, we want him on the floor to help this team win. And that's where he wants to be. No one wants to do anything that will jeopardize his health long term or short term. When he's available, he'll be back out."
On the MW conference at this point in the season:
"It's a terrific league. A year ago we had 13 games that went down to the wire, and we won 10 of the 13. In league play so far (this season), we've had three games go down to the wire and we've won one of them. You've got to win close games. You've got to find a way to be in the game and have a chance to win, and then you've got to close it out by getting victories. We've had some wonderful big, heavy wins by 16-20 points. Most games will go like the Colorado State, Air Force and UNLV games. With two minutes to go, every team had an opportunity to win. Veteran players with experience, you've got to find a way to win the game."
On if O'Brien has met expectations this season:
"I have high expectations for all of our guys and I knew J.J. O'Brien when he said no to me the first time (I recruited him) was going to be successful. And I was elated when he said yes (to come to SDSU) on the bounce-back opportunity. He's everything you want in a student athlete. He represents himself, his family and the program in a fashion that you like. And it's not phony. He is who he is. Everybody says, `I'm a team player, I want to win,' but it's hard to do for most people. Most people the first thing they look at on the stat sheet is, `How many minutes did I play?' Next is, `How many shots did I get?' Then, `How many points did I get?' All (O'Brien and Tapley) do is worry about winning, and that's the most important thing. If you can focus on that, the attention and accolades will come individually for you. You don't get any individual attention if you don't win. Both these guys understand that."
On how this season compares to others in regard to injuries:
"You can't worry about getting hurt. You can't worry about making excuses if somebody isn't available to play. The games are going to go on with or without a coach or player. Whether we have all our guys, or one or two guys not there. And nobody cares at the end other than if you won or not. I never try to compare seasons and teams. You hope you're fortunate. You hope you can go through a season unscathed. You may not feel your best, but you've got to play as hard as you can and give everything you've got when you're able to do that. And we've got a group of guys that have done that and will continue to do it. If you do that, winning takes care of itself."
Senior Chase Tapley
On his ability to shoot with his wrist against Air Force last Saturday:
"I can shoot but it was just the brace and the extra tape that kind of prevented me from getting my full rhythm to shoot, and really flipping my wrist how I like to do it. It was bothering me at the time, but like Coach Fisher said, I just wanted to do something else on the court and I felt like I could do that and that's what I tried to do."
On noticing that his teammates will do whatever needs to be done on the court:
"Of course. From Jamaal (Franklin), (O'Brien), to Winston (Shepard), Dwayne (Polee), everybody that's had just a little knick or pain, they just wanted to be out there playing, have some kind of contribution to the game or to what we were doing, and that's what you need to have a great team."
On the feeling in his wrist:
"It feels good. It feels better. It just keeps on getting better thanks to the treatment and everything."
On whether he'll play with the brace or not:
"My thought is to just play with a heavy tape job and I'll be fine."
On his opinion of O'Brien's versatility:
"I remember in the earlier press conferences I said it ... (O'Brien) is probably one of the most versatile players on this team. He can play 1 through 5 in my opinion on the offensive end and defensive end. It makes the game easier in my opinion when you have a player like that, that can play any position and be out there on the floor at any time, any situation and have confidence in the person that they can do the job that needs to be done. It just makes everybody's job easier."
On balancing the frustration of not having Xavier Thames vs. moving on and playing with who you have:
"With moving on ... the league is not going to stop, the games are not going to stop. When a person is out, everything's just going to keep going as scheduled. We have to keep our heads up and just keep on moving, but we do see that without having Xavier ... he's a big part of our offense and our team and our defense ... especially defensively. With him being there, helping us out when we mess up, being a floor general on the offensive end. His presence is a big contribution to our team. Without him, you can kind of see he's a big piece missing. As teammates we all have to pick each other up and just keep moving."
On what he remembers from the last time Boise State came here:
"I remember we almost gave up the game at the end of the game from a last-second shot. Last year playing against Boise here was a tough game. (At Boise State), we kind of handled them. In the conference tournament, (Franklin) hit a game winner at the buzzer. They're a team that is young playing like they have nothing to lose. They play hard. They just have a good core between Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks. They just play hard until the end of the game."
On how critical these next two home games are:
"Very critical, but the game that is the most critical is the game that's coming up tomorrow, and that's Boise State. Like Coach Fisher said, we have to take one game at a time. We can't just think about the future and what we need to do. We just need to take one bite of the apple, and that first bite starts tomorrow against Boise State."
Sophomore J.J. O'Brien
On knowing his role when he joined the team:
"Yeah, that was something that we talked about coming in that they were going to use my versatility, and that's why I wanted to go where I thought I was going to be used. I knew that was going to be my role coming in."
On if he has a choice of playing one spot and what spot that would be:
"I don't really have one spot as long as I'm on the floor. I'll play any spot. I'm good at all the spots. One spot doesn't really stick out to me. I'll play any spot on the floor."
On if his versatility makes it fun:
"Yeah, it definitely is fun. You get to show people what you can do by being at all spots on the floor. You can be on the floor at any time doing anything. It's definitely fun."
On balancing the frustration of not having Xavier Thames vs. moving on and playing with who you have:
"Like we said earlier, everybody on this team is willing to do whatever is necessary. When we have a player out, that means somebody else has to step up and do something else, and we try to do that the best that we can. We'd much rather have Xavier on the floor, of course, but we're a team that's like that: when one person's down, somebody else has to step up and do something else. We try to do that to the best of our ability."
On the importance of these next two home games:
"I think it's important that we finish the first half of conference with a win and start the second half with a win. That's going to get us going to start making a run for the conference title, but it starts with this next game. We have to get a win here and end it right and then start (the second half of conference play) right."
On if the season has gone as anticipated so far:
"Yeah, you always come in hoping for the best. You just have to come in knowing that you're going to play your heart out and that what happens, happens. You can't come in thinking, `I'm going to beat the league in scoring,' or anything. I think I do a good job of just going with the flow. Just play your heart out. I anticipated playing a bunch of positions. I anticipated helping the team out in any way that I could and that's what's happened."