McGrane: Ailing Quinn Appears Ready to Take on Duke

San Diego State notebook from Charlotte.
March 21, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Turkey sandwiches are unlikely to find a place in Aqeel Quinn's diet anytime soon.

San Diego State's senior point guard missed nearly the entire final 10 minutes of the team's second-round win over St. John's on Friday after being diagnosed with possible food poisoning.

Quinn, however, was back to be being his grinning, affable self on Saturday and said he was feeling "pretty solid" after receiving numerous IVs. He fully participated in Saturday's practice.

"For lunch (on Thursday), I had a turkey sandwich," Quinn said. "Right after that, my stomach just wasn't feeling well. We came to the shoot-around and I didn't feel good in the shoot-around at all. I told (athletic trainer) Tom (Abdenour) that I just didn't feel right.

"When we got back to the hotel, I started vomiting, got IVs the whole night until like 3 or 4 in the morning. I woke up and didn't eat all day. I tried to give it everything I had (against St. John's), but when I wasn't feeling right in the second half I just told them I couldn't go anymore."

A Second Chance vs. Duke

The only time SDSU and Duke have ever played came 2001 in Durham, N.C., a contest won by the Blue Devils, 92-79. It was the first time that a game featuring the Aztecs was shown on network television.

"We don't take "buy" games and that was a situation where the longer I held out, the more money they offered us to go," said coach Steve Fisher, who was in his third season at SDSU. I tried like the dickens to get Mike (Duke coach Kryzewski) to give me a home and home and couldn't get that done, but we robbed the bank to go there and we played well.

"We had Randy Holcomb on that club and wound up going to the NCAA Tournament. It was a great experience for our kids, for the program, a nationally-televised game that was helpful in starting the growth of the program."

Happy Birthday, Fish!

Fisher, who turns 70 on Tuesday, said he learned long ago that one of the keys to life is loving what you do.

"I don't feel 70, but I look in the mirror and know I'm approaching 70," he said. "My dad was my first coach; that's all he wanted to do. A wife, four kids, World War II, he did everything but student-teach.

"I saw his passion for coaching our Little League team, and he told me, 'Do something that you love to do. Don't do something for money, do something you have a passion for and opportunities and good things will happen.' "

On Closer Inspection...

Aztecs junior forward Winston Shepard has drawn his share of criticism, but Fisher well knows that Monday-morning quarterbacks are renown for throwing errant passes.

"When Winston Shepard signed with San Diego State, he was the highest-ranked player we've ever had," Fisher said. "With that came the pressure of expectations. He played terrific as a freshman, but people expected more. He started every game as a sophomore, but people expected more.

"He is our leading rebounder, he's our best passer, he's one of our smartest players, he knows what to do and he's now at the point where he's not worried about what others are thinking. He's playing to win. He's made great progress and he's a huge piece to what we've done over his three years. Winston's done a great job for San Diego State."

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