SDSU Men's Hoops News Conference Quotes

Feb. 21, 2012

SAN DIEGO - Watch COACH FISHER | Watch STUDENT-ATHLETES

San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher

Opening Statement:

"Per usual with what we do, another big week as we head down to the last four conference games. Everything gets magnified and we know the importance of taking care of home court and taking care of our business against a very tough Wyoming team. That's the challenge and that's what we'll be ready for. We're appreciative of the fact that we're home, we're going to need our crowd to do for us what they have done all season long. To be there to be a part of what we are doing and we will be ready to play.

I don't have a definitive update on our injuries, I said yesterday that if I had to look into the hazy crystal ball that Jamaal Franklin went from doubtful to maybe to could play. He has made steady progress and has done nothing other than he jogged and did some spot shooting yesterday. He is making progress. Garrett Green is a little more problematic, he is in a boot still and (his ankle) is still quite painful. I would say he is doubtful. We are hopeful that we will have Jamaal but we will see.

It doesn't matter if we have either, the game will be played. We will be ready and I know that we will play hard. If we make some baskets we will be ok."

On the players having a meeting and possibly wanting to `push the ball' more:

"I'm going to clarify a little bit, no one came to the coaches, I think, to say what the meeting was about. I've done this long enough to know that sometimes there is a time, a place, a reason to have a player meeting. If you have too many, they serve no purpose. I think this was a good one, I'm not exactly sure if Tim (Shelton) was the initiator but what I said was that I am putting 10 minutes on the clock. If it goes longer than 10 minutes you will be just talking in circles. I expect you to be on the court, ready to go in 10 minutes. They came out jogging, ready to go and we had a good, spirited practice. We have had a lot of those. I did sense a feeling that they felt good about themselves when they came out. I think, as much as anything, that is important.

With reference to pushing the ball, you have to push the ball, home or away. All of us run a little better at home. With that being said we can't run up and down for 40 minutes and shoot it within five seconds on every trip. We want to run, we want to push the ball any chance we can. To get a drag screen, quick early up or a really good shot. If you don't have it you have to be a little selective to get a great shot in a half court set. I think that's probably what they were referring to. You don't win if you don't get some easy baskets. You have to score some easy baskets to be successful."

On the possible challenges of having a small bench:

"I think every coach in America, at this point in the season in mid to late February, has practices that aren't nearly as long physically. I think that is every coach, whether you have 15 guys you play or whether you have five guys you play. The thing we have to make sure that we are managing is that we not wear them out with reps because right now we only have seven scholarship players that are practicing and sometimes Tim (Shelton) doesn't practice. We have mixed them in with some of the walk-ons that do some of the reps. I think we have done a good job making sure that we are teaching, learning, growing, getting better and still having our legs and our ability to be at our best on game night."

On what this losing streak has been like for Fisher:

"When anyone says, and I heard some of the Air Force players say and be quoted in the papers when Jeff Reynolds was let go, that they weren't having any fun. Well when I worked as a young assistant coach with a guy named Gene Smithson and one of his mottos was, `The fun in basketball is winning.' When you don't win you don't have fun. The fun is running off that floor knowing you did everything you could and you got more points than they did. It doesn't matter how hard you play, how well you play, if they have more points than you do that isn't any fun. So you make sure you analyze what you are doing now, what's different from what you did before. If there is anything dramatic or drastic, that's an easy thing to fix. For most of it, its not. It's not unlike what I said before, Santa Barbara, USC, Cal Berkeley, UNLV at home, Boise State, these are five games that go down to the last possession or two with either team being able to win. We won those. We had a two pointer at Vegas and we had a two pointer at Air Force that didn't go our way. You have to make plays to win games and that's what we all have to do. We've done that, we've done that enough but we haven't done it in those losses. We're not reinventing the wheel or reinventing everything we want to do offensively or defensively, we're going to do basically the same thing.

You can't turn it over 16 times in a lower possession game. That being said if you told me, `You are going to get 16 offensive rebounds to their three.' Im going to say, `We're going to win.' So that gave us more shots to make up for some of the turnovers but we missed some easy shots that you have to be able to make. It's not a hard game to figure out, sometimes it's a hard game to close out and play. I like our kids and I've said that before. We have competed, we've not always competed with good judgment but we have competed. And that wins games for you."

On being described as overachieving early in the season:

"I think our players would be offended if someone said (that they were overachieving early in the season). That is kind of a cut on them a little bit. I said this yesterday, you are never quite as good when things are going well as someone might say and you are never quite as down as someone might say when you've lost three in a row. So that's what we have preached. Compete, be ready, be smart and play together but you have to compete. And that is what we have done and I know that is what we will do on Wednesday."

San Diego State senior forward Tim Shelton On the team's current mindset:

"We had a really good practice yesterday so we're very optimistic about that. The guys are very focused. We understand we need a win so that's all our focus is on for this next game."

On if there's more pressure to score with Jamaal Franklin injured:

"Not necessarily, we're just focusing on our game plan. He (Franklin) hasn't practiced at all so it's still very up in the air. In terms of that, if we have him, we have him, if we don't, we don't. Of course that's going to a be a decision on his part and coach's part, so right now we're just focusing on the guys that we do have and who are playing and what we can do with them."

On losing three games in a row:

"We just have to be more focused and intensify our preparation process. Make sure we just focus on the little things, naturally get some extra shots up that you feel like you're missing, in my case, free throws, and just focus on the things you haven't been doing too well to just try and get that next win."

On what's missing now within the team as opposed to earlier in the season:

"There's not really anything missing. If you look at the tough games, which were close, that we played earlier in the season and you look at the outcomes, it was the last final possessions here and there that we'd try to make plays and it just hasn't been going our way, I guess. We've had some pretty close games in the last two or three weeks and we've tried to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game, but it didn't go our way. We didn't execute the little things down the stretch."

On his last two home games as a senior:

"That's in the back of my mind, obviously. I'm just thinking one game at a time. Senior night is going to be on Saturday and I'm excited about that, but I also have mixed feelings. I've been here quite a while and I've had a great time."

On taking charges:

"It's a little bit tougher now when on the scouting report `this guy takes charges' is up on the board. Coaches are often in the referees head saying, `Watch this guy.' It's all about being in the right place at the right time and trying to make a play. Sometimes things go my way and it's actually a high-risk type of play when you don't get the ball."

On the team's position two weeks ago compared to now:

"It's just how our league is. It's no surprise that Air Force is a good team. They took UNLV at their place into overtime. Just understanding what kind of situation they went through with the coaching change and getting one of their first wins with that. We have a tough, competitive conference and on any given night anyone could beat anyone."

On what he's learned about the team when they lose:

"I've definitely learned about the character of our guys. I knew we had high character guys, but after the Air Force game, we got back into the locker room and decided we all needed to get together and have a team meeting. That's what we did to just discuss how we felt individually and collectively, gave little pointers here and there that we could maybe push (Coach Fisher's) way. Also, recognizing that even though we lost three games in a row, (Coach Fisher) knows what he's doing and we still have a recipe for success. Our guys' characters truly showed. Even our managers and walk-ons had a meeting as well and it turned out great. There was high energy in practice yesterday and we got focused again."

San Diego State junior guard Chase Tapley

On questioning themselves as a team:

"We're not really questioning ourselves. I think if you're a good player, you shouldn't question your ability. Like Tim (Shelton) said, you just have to prepare a little more and focus a little but harder. That's what we did yesterday and that's what we have to continue to bring over into today."

On individuals playing more minutes:

"It's not an excuse that we're going to make. We're all young and most of us have young legs. That's what we want to do, we want to play a lot. It's something we're going to have to deal with. We're going to have to get in treatment with (athletic trainer) Tom (Abdenour), one of the best, and just towards the end of the game, get our legs ready for the long run."

On sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin missing playing time:

"Jamaal wanted to play against Air Force, but he was hurting too bad. Just seeing him going through therapy, taking a bucket of ice home with him and sitting around, you just see it in his eyes that he wants to be back on the floor. It's just killing him sitting on the sidelines. His rehab is going well, though."

On the team missing Jamaal Franklin:

"We miss him a lot. Jamaal brings that `it' factor to a team. He brings everybody else in the game to another level. The energy he brings, his athleticism, the way he approaches a game and how he is in a game. He just really has that toughness about him, that's what Jamaal brings to our team."

San Diego State sophomore guard Xavier Thames

On what needs to be done on offense:

"We just have to play like we were at the beginning of the season, not really thinking about shooting whether it's a good shot or a bad shot. That's what we have to do on offense."

On the team being able to up the tempo on defense:

"I think we can. We have guys that can come in off the bench, Alec (Williams), DeShawn (Stephens), and LaBradford (Franklin), and they can come in and do the same thing. That's why I think we have to up the tempo a little bit more and get back on the defensive end, pressure the ball, and get back on the run."

On tomorrow's game:

"It's the next game on the schedule that we have to win. We just need to take it one game at a time. Hopefully we can get a win against Wyoming tomorrow and go out and play hard like we've been playing."