SDSU Men's Hoops Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 6, 2012

Get Acrobat Reader Fisher, Thames, O'Brien

SAN DIEGO --

Opening statement:
Steve Fisher: I will start with what's on everybody's mind, and that is the game with Syracuse on the USS Midway. The game has been postponed. It's going to now be Sunday because of potential weather issues. Everybody that knows anything has put their heads together and says this is probably appropriate and gives us almost a hundred percent certainty that there won't be weather issues. So it has been moved. I just found out about it a little while ago, an hour or two ago. But it's already out there. So it will be played at 1:00 p.m. (Pacific) Time. It's on, and hopefully the weather will be like it is right now. So the game has been moved to Sunday. Xavier Thames and J.J. O'Brien didn't know until 30 seconds ago. So I know that they're excited to play and would like to play them tonight if we could. We are very much looking forward to it. I thought we made progress in our second exhibition game, and now it's for real against a terrific, big, long, athletic team that's had awfully good success over the last number of years and we look forward to the opportunity to play them.

Q. So, Coach, it is Sunday at 1:00 o'clock. You were originally scheduled to play a different team on Sunday. Is that correct, or are my dates off?
Steve Fisher: We were originally scheduled to play San Diego Christian. So now that game is being moved. It's my understanding that game has been moved to Tuesday. The game with San Diego Christian has been moved from Sunday to Tuesday.

Q. You're changing not only the venue but also the date. Why not just change the venue and play the Syracuse game Friday night?
Steve Fisher: The purpose of the game is to play it on the Midway. So that's what we want to almost guarantee that we can have happen. So the only reason we're moving it from Friday to Sunday is to guarantee the fact that we'll play it on the Midway.

Q. So the venue is not changing?
Steve Fisher: No, no. If I said that, I didn't come across right. We're playing the game on the Midway. The stands and the court and different things, a lot of it is up and they say it looks absolutely spectacular. So we're very excited and looking forward to it. This is what we felt was in everyone's best interest to do what we're going to do.

Q. Do you think that benefits you, Coach, having more time to prepare for Syracuse?
Steve Fisher: Not really. Obviously more time to prepare. We're going to continue to work on what we've been working on, but we've been working on Syracuse for 10 days in terms of doing things that we have to do. Again, it's not major changes in anything. We have to play, but we have to play against a very efficient zone defense, which most teams in America have trouble scoring on. So that will be our challenge. That and dealing with their size and can we defend them with that size?

Q. I know you don't have any control over the game time. But do you almost wish it would have stayed the way it was with the weather pending, of course?
Steve Fisher: I do. I spoke with Jim Boeheim, so does he. Everybody was anticipating Friday at 5:00. So that's what you get your head set on, but it's now going to be Sunday at 1:00 and we'll get quickly adjusted to the fact that it's Sunday at 1:00. I know they and we will be ready to play and excited to play.

Q. J.J., how has the transition been for you the past couple years playing in San Diego State?
JJ O'Brien: The transition hasn't been too hard. It was two different styles of play from Utah to here. Sitting out last year was definitely different, but it allowed me to work on my game and get ready to play this year. So the transition, it's been difficult sitting out, but it wasn't too hard to deal with.

Q. How much do you learn sitting back and watching the game and watching a successful team produce?
JJ O'Brien: You see it from a different perspective on the sideline. It's kind of like when you watch film versus watching it live. When you're sitting on the sideline, it's kind of like watching film. You can see what the players on the court don't see. So you learn things that way. But nothing beats playing and getting experience that way. But sitting on the sidelines, you get a different perspective.

Q. How comfortable are you going up against your two three zone in terms of the preparation you've done in the last 10 days?
Xavier Thames: We're very comfortable. Now we get extra time to work on it as well. But like coach said, we've been working on it for the past 10 days. We're getting comfortable. I know the coaches will have us prepared for Sunday as well.

Q. Syracuse doesn't usually venture out of the state of New York in their preconference, in fact, out of their own building. What are your thoughts about playing, other than the NCAA Tournament, one of the most high profile programs San Diego State has faced? Your thoughts on playing a Syracuse team like that?
JJ O'Brien: We're definitely excited. Last year, the Carrier Classic was a big attraction to everybody. This year this is just as big. We're blessed to have this opportunity to play in it, and we're excited for it. To play against a big name like Syracuse, they're a good team and we're a good team too. It's going to be a good game. We're excited.

Q. Is this the reason you came to San Diego State to play in games like this and to be recognized this early in the season?
JJ O'Brien: Yeah, definitely. Playing against them my freshman year was the worst. It sucked. But when I got a chance to transfer back, it was something I definitely considered. The big name, the big games, the crowd, the whole experience, that was definitely something I considered.

Q. Even though they're moving the game to Sunday, is wind still going to be a little bit of a factor for an outside shooter like yourself and passing the ball. What do you do? Do you practice outside?
Xavier Thames: Coach has something up his sleeve. We might go outside and shoot for a little bit and something like that. But I'm sure, like I said, the coaching staff will have us prepared and we'll be all right. This is the game of basketball. We've been playing it our whole lives, so I'm sure we'll be okay.

Q. Does it take you back to those days where you played outside as a kid?
Xavier Thames: Yeah, it takes me back to the days when I played outside with my dad, windy Sacramento in the winter time. So I'll get back to feeling like I was a little kid again.

Q. Most of the student body has been anticipating you playing for a few months now. But the football team is starting to take a little of your thunder with their recent success. What have you thought as fellow coaches and fellow student athletes looking at their success?
Steve Fisher: I'll go first on that. I want them to react because they're friends with a lot of the guys on the football team. Absolutely, we have never given thought to stealing our thunder. We are so proud of what Rocky Long and the football team have done, and we have been some of their strongest supporters. We're tremendously excited about what they've done, just as we are with other programs like Mike (Friesen) with the women's soccer team. They are legitimately good enough to win a National Championship. Our swimming and diving team is as good as there is. So we've got a lot to be excited about at San Diego State. We feel as if we're all capable of being good. When you have success, and when success goes in every direction, it's good for all of us. It's good for not only the bottom line of getting extra bodies in those stands, but it's good for morale. It's good for recruiting. It's good for everything imaginable.

Xavier Thames: Here at San Diego State, we're all one big family. No matter what sport team it is, basketball, football, soccer, we all support each other. We're just all Aztecs, so that's what I was going to say. No stealing thunder or nothing like that. We're all friends here. I'm just glad to be a part of this, the Aztec family and all the sports teams are doing well right now. It's a blessing.

Q. Coach, do you think that you've ever had this many options as far as your roster concerns, this many different combinations and this many different options of guys that all can play different positions and what not?
Steve Fisher: This is the most depth that we've had in terms of quality. We've always had 12 or 13 on scholarship, but we've got a lot of guys that can play. The sticky wicket becomes when they're all so closely matched and there's not a lot of separation, then it's on me to say, `okay, what combinations best work?' And that combination may not be the same from game one to game two. So the players have to understand that. They have to compete. If we'd all deal with it in an appropriate fashion, it should be really positive for us. They're all going to have to know that minutes won't be quite as many for anybody, and that's no disrespect. That should be a good thing rather than saying, `okay, you've got to play 35 minutes, we're going to be able to get you out and rest you for five minutes here and five minutes there.'

Q. Coach, Xavier said you probably have something up your sleeve to deal with weather or wind or something like that. Will it affect what plays you can call and what things you can do?
Steve Fisher: Playing outside when I was a kid, not when you were a kid. For sure not when (Xavier) was a kid, they don't play outside. So I don't know what he's talking about in Sacramento playing outside in winter. I know he hasn't played outside very much. It will be different. For sure it will be different. I keep referencing last year, Michigan State was 2-for-22 from three point range. So Syracuse is going to make us shoot some threes, so hopefully we'll make a few of them. But we're going to have to do more than just shoot threes. We'll have to be a basketball team that plays. You can't worry about the weather. You can't worry about the wind. You have to go out and play. If we get a wide open 15 footer, we have to shoot it and make some of those. But we also have to be able to rebound the ball, and guard, and do the things that it doesn't matter where you're playing that win for you.

Q. Do you worry about sun light? This is supposed to be a 5 p.m., kind of dark and then 1:00 o'clock is really sunny out. Going up for rebounds, is that going to be a problem?
Steve Fisher: I did worry about it, but our younger coaches, Tony Bland, especially, has Ray Ban wraparounds for the coaches and black under the eyes for the players. So I don't think we'll have a problem with the sun. We're going to be okay with that.

Q. Is Syracuse changing their travel plans at all? Are they coming in Saturday as opposed to Thursday?
Steve Fisher: Syracuse is coming in Friday night. I think they get in early evening Friday. So they have had to change their plans, yes.

Q. Has this preseason been different at all from the previous ones whether it be due to anticipation or competition with other players?
Xavier Thames: Not really. We just have the game with Syracuse. That is the main thing that changed. Everybody's looking forward to this game. But as far as practice and competition, we always have competition and practice. We just always go hard at each other, so nothing really has changed besides the Syracuse game.

Q. For the two players, is it going to be strange to wear eye black during a basketball game?
Steve Fisher: That was tongue-in-cheek when I said that. We coaches may wear sunglasses, but the players aren't going to wear black under their eyes and have the 619 or 916 area code written on them.

Q. Coach, have you talked to any players about red shirting yet, or is it going to be all hands on deck this evening?
Steve Fisher: We have not spoken with anyone, as we speak, about redshirting. FastScripts by ASAP Sports