SDSU Men's Basketball News Conference Quotes

Dec. 5, 2017

SAN DIEGO -

San Diego State Men’s Basketball Head Coach Brian Dutcher

Opening statement:
“It’s time to get to work. We have some actual time to practice leading into the Cal game on Saturday. We’ll have a hard practice today and try to start correcting some things we couldn’t do while playing five games in 11 days, so the next two weeks is pivotal to our season and we have to put the work in at practice in order to see that result on the game floor.”

On how to cut down on the team’s turnovers:
One, will be getting Trey (Kell) back. You get a senior guard out there instead of some freshmen that are still going through their first-time experience in a lot of these games and your veterans take better care of the ball. With that being said, Devin (Watson) had four in the last game, which is atypical for him. He’s not a high-turnover guy, (he averages) 3-to-1 assists-to-turnovers. Devin has to do a better job of managing the game like he did at USD, but you’re going to have a game like that every so often.”

On what else is on the to-do list this week:
“Playing after the set play. I really like our set plays right now. I think they’re giving us the spacing and the looks we want, but when we don’t get a shot, what’s next? Sometimes I feel like they stand out there and hold the ball and wonder what they should be doing next and we’re going to clean some of that up this week as to flowing into something out of the set play, whether it’s a quick ball screen, a handoff, we’ll set them in those positions in order to get some reps at that so we flow a little better once the set play is done.”

On the team’s three-point shooting:
“I think we shoot the ball pretty good. I am not overly concerned with that. Maybe the fact that our best three-point shooter, Max Montana, has only played in two games. I know everyone knows at Arizona State he hit four threes in the first half so I think he adds a dynamic shooting-wise that when he’s not in there, it shows sometimes. That being said, Trey (Kell) being out for two games, he’s improved his shooting vastly. … I think Jeremy (Hemsley) is capable of shooting better than he is, and will, he’s worked at it hard. I’m not overly concerned with our three-point shooting right now. I think as the season goes on, that percentage will go up.”

On what he has seen from California this season:
“I’ve just looked at Cal’s scores. I really haven’t had a chance to watch them a lot, I’ll start that tonight. Our assistants are already into that, but won’t do anything on Cal for a day or two. This is our time to try to get ourselves better and then we’ll do a two-day prep for Cal leading into the game. Sometimes we’ll subtly do a defensive drill to get ready for Cal without saying it’s Cal. But right now, I think today we’ll try to improve ourselves a little bit on the offensive end to get our timing down on some things. Defensively, (we’ll) just do a couple break down things and then later in the week, we’ll start our Cal prep. Obviously they’ve proven, you know how good Wichita State is, to be up 18 on Wichita State, that doesn’t just happen. They’ve played in spurts. They have a new coaching staff. Wyking (Jones) is a very good coach. I know he’s working to get the team improved and I think you’ll see an improved Cal team as the season goes on.”

On the Mountain West:
“The conference has done very well. I think last week, with Boise State’s win at Oregon, ending their home streak, and Colorado State going into Colorado and winning… I thought Marvin Menzies at UNLV could’ve and should’ve beaten Arizona. I thought they were the better team. Arizona got the win. Marvin has done a great job there. I think the Mountain West is much improved. We have another two weeks to build our non-conference resume. Nevada, I think is ranked this week, has games with Texas Tech and TCU, so they can build an extremely strong resume. … If they get those, I think you can almost consider them a tournament team at this point. The conference has definitely played better. We have a couple of opportunities with Cal and Gonzaga. A lot will happen over the next two weeks as to where we’re positioned heading into our conference schedule.”

On wanting to defeat a Pac-12 team:
“We’re still smarting over Washington State. I feel as if it was a game we could have and should have had, but to their credit, they made open shots, they played great off ball screens and exploited us. Obviously not having Malik (Pope) in the second half and Trey (Kell) getting hurt with a five-point lead with six minutes to go didn’t allow us to finish with our young kids, but yeah, we want go get a win over a Pac-12 team.”

On Kameron Rooks playing his former team:
“I haven’t talked to him yet since we had a day off (on Monday), but I’m sure he’ll be excited to go against his old team and teammates. So I imagine we’ll have to make sure he’s not too emotionally charged, that he’s playing with controlled emotion, but it’ll be emotional for him. No question.”

On if he knows his team yet, just nine games into the season:
“The interesting thing with this team, even though we’re 7-2, I don’t feel like I know my team yet because I haven’t had all my pieces. With Trey (Kell) missing the last two games, Max Montana missing five games or so, these are guys who I would say would be in at the end of close games and to not have them out there right now… so no, I don’t know my team completely yet because I haven’t had my team with injuries and stuff like that. I’m real pleased with the guys that have been out there. Moving forward as we get into conference, we know the games are going to be closer. I’d to like over the next two weeks, get my team together, get Trey (Kell) back and healthy and get Max (Montana) into game shape and see what we are when we have all of our pieces.”

On Max Montana and Trey Kell’s injuries:
“Max is a full go. I played him a couple minutes, which was probably unfair to him, against Bradley. He’d really only practiced one day in two and a half weeks, but I wanted to get him a little game feel. This is big for him this week to get his legs back underneath him and get his game-timing back. I think Trey (Kell) is going to continue to just rehab. I don’t think he’ll practice today or tomorrow. We’ll continue the healing process and the treatment and rehab and hopefully he’ll be ready for Cal, but there’s no guarantee to that. It’s kind of day-to-day and seeing how he’s feeling and how he’s responding to treatment.”

On defensive improvements:
“Arizona State, they’re just really good offensively. So I don’t think it was a disaster the way we played there. We obviously could’ve played better and maybe should’ve. But we’re getting better defensively. As much as we preach and talk, sometimes you have to go through the experiences and watch it on tape. The kids come in, we watch tape as a team and we see areas we have to get better. That’s what we are. We’re coaches and we’re teachers. We’re teaching all the time. We have stuff to teach to once we start playing games. We can watch the tape, we can put it on and show them where we’re deficient and what we have to get better at. To their credit, they’ve responded to all that. Sometimes the message is an arm around them and sometimes it’s a little bit more abrasive jumping on them. We’re delivering that message in the way we think it needs to be delivered and I think we’re getting better.”

On Jeremy Hemsley:
“Jeremy’s playing better. Sometimes you’re not making shots and you think, ‘Well I’ve got to work harder on my offense.’ Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, ‘Let me be more involved defensively and don’t worry about the offense. Let me try to stop that other point guard,’ which he’s done a great job of two straight games. At USD and followed up with Bradley, their best player and most instrumental player is their point guard and Jeremy’s ridden them over ball screens and he’s disrupted. So you can feel good about yourself at one end and it relieves the tension at the other end. Sometimes it’s just a matter of picking the defense up and then things start to fall together and I think that’s a perfect example of what’s happened to Jeremy.”

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