SDSU Men's Basketball News Conference Quotes

Nov. 21, 2017

SAN DIEGO -

San Diego State Men's Basketball Head Coach Brian Dutcher

Opening statement:
“It was a step forward it last night’s game against Eastern Illinois. We shot the ball well, which I knew we could, we just hadn’t at this point. Led by Matt Mitchell’s three-point barrage, we’re hard to guard when that three-ball goes in. That goes for anyone in the country, when you make the three, it makes everything easier. We made some open ones, and we made a couple tough ones. Good night shooting for the Aztecs, our defense continues to get better, as we spend more time on it and challenge the team in practice every day. I feel pretty good with where we’re at right now heading into the (Wooden) Legacy. We will need our entire bench for that event, we play three games in four days. I think the toughest part is going to be playing that 10:00 p.m. game on Thursday night and then coming back and playing at either 4 or 6 the next day, under a 24-hour turnaround will be a challenge for every team in the event, but obviously us more than other with playing the late night game. Looking forward to taking the day off, which we are, and letting the kids rest their legs a little bit, and then heading up to the Legacy tomorrow.”

On the scheduled 10:00 pm game:
“Yeah, I think TV has way too much control over tip times. I mean, to play a 10:00 p.m. game on the west coast to fill a time slot is kind of ridiculous. People on the east aren’t going to stay up until 1:00 a.m. to watch a game on Thanksgiving. Even the people in the west are going to be in bed at 10:00 p.m. Only the most dedicated Aztec fans will be at the game and be watching the game. 10:00 is way too late to tip a game on west coast time.”

On the turnaround to the next game after 10:00 pm contest:
“As coaches, we’ll be prepared because we’ll have done our work in advance. We won’t do a lot of Georgia work, obviously, with the team, so, it’s going to be their concentration level. We’ll do a walk through in a ball room, just to do a couple of things we think are important in the game, and turnaround and play that next game. It’s not easy for any of the teams, obviously. But everyone deals with the same situation, so, we won’t make excuses, we’ll wake up the next day and play that next game.”

On the safety of playing two games that close together:
“I don’t know that (it’s unsafe). I haven’t looked at any statistical stuff where if guys get hurt when they play too quick without the proper amount of rest. I just know we have a good 11-man team. The nice thing with that is I won’t feel if I have to go to the bench because a guy gets fatigued right away that we’ll drop off a whole lot. We have a lot of good players on our team and it’ll give us an opportunity to maybe use some new combinations to stay fresh.”

On experience of having players who played on back-to-back days last year in conference tournament:
“I think it helps, but I think fatigue is always a factor. You start looking at jump shots and they start ending up a little short, you have to get your legs in the shot and your legs get tired the more you play. It’s an advantage to have a little rest, which we’ll have in between Friday’s game because they have a day off Saturday, then we won’t play until Sunday. So the big challenge will be Friday’s game, and then we’ll have a day off to rest their legs. Coming off a day off, hopefully, we’ll have fresh legs for Sunday’s game. Hopefully the championship if we’re fortunate.”

On Thursday’s schedule for the team:
“In all honesty, it’ll probably be a challenge. I mean, kids even growing up, they don’t play games at 10:00 at night. They don’t stay up that late and start playing games. So it’s not like ‘well hey they played games when they were younger at 10:00 at night’. But that’s a challenge for everybody. I mean, Sacramento State is in the same boat we are, so, there’s no one at an advantage in something like that. Although I think we will have great fan support. Last time we played in the Legacy we had incredible fan support, and we ended up winning it, and that was a big part of it. To fill up Fullerton’s gym with Aztec fans in that small environment is a huge advantage for us. I would say Aztec fans who want to support the team, come out there, be there, be loud, and it will help your team.”

On the difference between the first two games to the previous two games for Matt Mitchell:
“When our guys don’t make shots, they get in the gym and work harder. So they don’t try to luck their way into a good game. He got in the gym, he spent extra time shooting and trying to get into his rhythm. When you see the first one go in, you know, if you go 0-for-2 you might not want to take that third shot because you’re playing with other good players. When he saw the first one go in and then the second one, it just opened up for him. The basket was the size of the ocean for him at that point. Once you get a rhythm, once you get rolling, the baskets easier to make and I think his teammates knew he was rolling so they got him the ball. We had 32 baskets I think 21 of them were assisted – something like that. So we moved the ball freely, we shared the ball, and if we continue to do that we’ll continue to get a lot of open shots. Hopefully, they’ll continue to go in.”

On if the SDSU roster is built for a tournament setting:
“Yeah, we’re definitely built for a tournament setting. We obviously don’t have Max (Montana) so we’re 10-deep, and all 10 guys can play and contribute. We don’t drop off very much and that’s from practicing and watching these guys practice against each other, it’s really competitive every day. It’s not like whatever starting five I put out there dominates the second unit. The second unit wins a lot of times. So I do have depth, I do have players if given an opportunity that can contribute. We’ll see what their conditioning is like, what their legs are like, and I will go accordingly to use the bench if I think it’s needed, early and often if I need to.”

On Max Montana’s status:
“It’s kind of day-to-day. They (athletic training staff) look at him and see what the swelling is. I know it’s going down on its own, they haven’t had to drain his knee. He’s already in full rehab mode and working hard at that I just trust in Sergio (Ibarra) and our medical staff and when they tell me he’s ready to start doing a little bit more, some shooting and stuff like that, we’ll get him going. Like I said at the time, I’d love to have him right now, but I think we’re very fortunate that he’s going to comeback after everyone saw the hyperextension on the floor against Arizona State. We’re just happy to have him back at any point at this time.”

On Max Montana’s availability for this weekend:
“I know he’s probably not going to play in the opener. It’s day-to-day, it really is. It’s how he feels, how much pain he’s got, because it’s basically a bone bruise from the bones hitting each other when he hyperextended, now it’s just how quickly he’s able to heal. So there’s nothing structurally wrong, other than the bruise, which is painful. So it might take a little while, we’re going to be very cautious and make sure he’s ready. We’re not going to try to rush him out there for a preseason tournament or a game. The conference is everything so we want to make sure he’s healthy going into the conference season.”

On Jeremy Hemsley’s role off the bench:
“I talked to Jeremy on that and told him that I liked him as a starter, but with Max down, I didn’t want to go off the bench with three freshmen. So I thought I’d put a freshman in the lineup, Matt (Mitchell), he’s very deserving, and get a veteran off the bench in Jeremy. Get a little veteran punch like Max was giving me. Max is good enough to start but he fell into the role of coming off the bench and he’s done a great job in that role. I just thought instead of bringing three freshmen off the bench I’d put one of them in the lineup and only have two of them off the bench as needed.”

On a potential matchup with Georgia and how to scout them:
“The teams that have a lot of returning players you can go to last year’s tape. So you can see them against their conference tournament or conference opponents and you got to rely on how their conference played them. What did they try to take away and you try to look at this year’s tape to see if they’re running similar stuff and if they are, you go to last season’s tape to see how people in their conference played against it and what they tried to take away. We look at both this year’s tape even though the competition hasn’t been as strong and we go to last year’s tape when the competition was very strong and try to find a median between the two.”

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