#AztecMBB Press Conference Quotes

March 19, 2013


Head coach Steve Fisher

Opening Statement:
"We're excited. We feel it's a privilege to be in the tournament. The moment you start thinking it's your divine right to be there, you lose. And then the next time you're there, you appreciate it. It's our fourth-year in a row, so our fans have become accustomed to being in the NCAA Tournament. We've won one time, so our goal is to go and win. And none of them will be easy. (Oklahoma) is good. The more I watch, the better they become. So we are anxious to go prove that we belong, and if we play well, we have a chance to win."

Thoughts on Oklahoma:
"Lon Kruger's basics are never compromised. They're very good defensively, the pressure you hard and they don't beat themselves. They're led by Romero Osby, who's a terrific player. He creates problems for everybody. They're a handful. They're a good team, and they're supposed to be a good team if they're in the tournament."

On his good record against Kruger:
"The fact that we've won (in the past) has no bearing on where we are now. I think those are things that happened. You would hope they would continue to happen, but most of the time they don't. This is a different day, a different team for (Kruger). (Kruger) and I are friends, and have been for a long, long time. Our wives are friends. When we go on different basketball related functions, we have dinner together. So it's more than just a coaching friendship, it's a friendship. So you would rather not play a friend, to be honest with you, yet we're both thrilled to be in the tournament."

On if the fan base is not as rabid as it was last season:
"We've sold out every game this year. We had a whole bunch of people that traveled to Las Vegas for the (Mountain West) tournament. The only way you could say that is you marvel that the whole state of New Mexico was (at the MW Tournament). They had more people than UNLV. Our fans have been great. They have been very supportive and they travel well."

On how hard it will be for fans to attend Thursday's game, and how it will affect the team:
"We probably won't have a lot of San Diego State fans in Philadelphia. I'm sure it's a very expensive ticket, and it's a long way to go. I would venture to say there won't be too many people traveling from Oklahoma either."

On what getting five Mountain West teams into the tournament means for the conference:
"We set a new bench mark, five out of nine. It's terrific. I'm really glad that Boise State is playing. Now, we need to win some games to maintain the status that we've got right now. There are a lot of people saying the Mountain West got too much respect. Now we need to prove that we didn't get seeded high enough by winning."

On how much of a factor SDSU's experience will have:
"You would hope that experience would have a little impact. I know Oklahoma hasn't been (to the tournament) for a while. We've got a bit of experience. I think if you want to pick, you would rather have very good players with no experience rather than players with just experience. But I think we've got very good players with experience. So hopefully, it will have a subtle impact and help us a little bit."

On James Rahon's shooting struggles:
"I think he's doing OK health-wise. (Rahon) has been sporadic with his shooting. We're hoping that he'll shoot the ball well (this week). If we're going to win, we're going to need to be able to make open shots. But in today's world, they all know what you like to do. I think the defenses everywhere in the country are better because you have access to more stuff. I think that impacts the field-goal percentage of teams across the country. But that being said, good shooters find ways to make shots. And we've got to make some shots."

On what they need to fix after the loss to New Mexico:
"You should win if you hold a team to 60 points, but you're not going to win many if you only score 50. You've got to make some shots. We've got to get the ball in the basket with a greater degree of regularity. Our defense has been good enough. Our offense has been the wildcard. When it's been good, we've beaten people up. We have to make some shots if we want to win, and that's against Oklahoma or whoever else we would play after that."

On how their non-conference scheduling helped their seeding:
"Our scheduling helped our seeding. It helped get us a No. 7 seed and helped get our conference RPI to be what it was. We've all scheduled tough and we've all been right there (in tough games). We've won a few, and we've had chances to win some that we lost in tight games. So if you're afraid of who you're playing, then you're in trouble. I think it allows you to say, `Been there, done that.'"

Junior Jamaal Franklin

On what he's noticed about Oklahoma on film:
"I noticed they're not too much bigger than us. They shoot mid-range shots really well. Their guards look to penetrate every time, and they're fast and quick. They're athletic. We're definitely going to have to get a body on them, box out, and try to out-rebound them."

On the challenge of facing Oklahoma's undersized post players:
"It makes it equal for us, because I wouldn't say that we have a true center on our team either. (Oklahoma) is a real athletic team that likes to play above the rim. Their system is real cool. They like to spread the floor and play pick-and-roll like we did last season. So it should be really interesting playing against them on Friday."

On if this is a more favorable matchup than facing N.C. State last season:
"Yes, I like our matchup. N.C. State, I would still say shouldn't have been a No. 11 seed (last season). I like our matchup, but at the same time if we had to play N.C. State again, I would be ready to play."

On how much of a factor experience has in tournament games:
"It plays a big factor, because a lot of people when they're first there, they're excited and nervous. We've already been there and got our first-time jitters out. We're just ready to play, and we're not really looking at it as the NCAA Tournament, we're looking at it as business."

On Oklahoma senior forward Romero Osby:
"He's strong. He plays real hard and is consistent shooting the mid-range jumper. He's aggressive going to the basket too. I definitely respect him as a player."

On how they can attack Oklahoma:
"We've got to make sure we bring ball pressure and make them turn the ball over. We're a fast-paced defensive team and I feel we can make them turn the ball over with our playing style. All we have to do is swing the ball, stay together and make sure we're making open shots." On having a fresh start:
"Yes, it's always nice. We got a fresh start at the Mountain West Tournament and now we have another one. Hopefully we have a good run this tournament and make a really good run to the national championship, but before I get ahead of myself, we've got to get past Oklahoma and take it one game at a time."

On why SDSU is so good defensively:
"One reason is because we play against each other every day, and everybody on our team is explosive, fast and can score the ball. So when you're matched up against somebody like that every day, it makes it much easier for you come game time. The way we practice makes it easier. Nothing has changed. We just play hard and for each other on defense."

On if he's affected by the way people perceive him:
"The way I play on the court is definitely not the way I am off the court. I'm a goofy person, real laid back. On the court, I have to bring that energy and it fires up my teammates. I feel like when I'm on the court, that's just a different role I play. I want to win. I'm a competitor on the court. Off the court, I'm just a regular guy. I can't worry about the fans, I have to worry about my coaches and my teammates I play with every day, because those are the people out there with me giving their blood, sweat and tears. They know what everybody goes through to get a win."

On where his passion while playing basketball comes from:
"I would say it comes from growing up in Hawthorn and being in AAU all my life, it just makes you a competitor. Nobody wants to lose. When you play somebody, somehow you're going to see that person another day. It's always a pride thing."

On how he stays focused with NBA scouts coming to watch him:
"Don't worry about it, just play. If I start worrying about if the Knicks or Pacers are there, then I start losing focus and making mistakes. I've just got to worry about having fun and just playing. Just worry about winning, because if you're winning and everybody is doing well, it means I'm having a good game, a good stat line and everything works out."

On getting technical fouls:
"No coach likes players getting technical fouls, but if you look at all of mine, it's never been too serious. It's never been for fighting somebody. It's been hanging on the rim too long or talking trash to somebody. At the time, I think coach Fisher gets mad about it, but I think he understands me more since I'm not out there fighting somebody."

On the team's poor shooting:
"It's definitely frustrating when you have wide-open shots and you're not making them. But at the same time, you have to shoot like you've been making all of them. You can't stop shooting them, because when you do that, it makes a good shot turn into a worse shot. You've just got to keep putting time in at practice and keep working on our game so we can make those shots when it matters."

On how the long road trip will affect them on Friday:
"It's going to be like playing at New Mexico, I guess. We've just got to worry about playing. If you worry about your teammates and coaching staff, then everything will work out."