SDSU Men's Hoops Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 14, 2012

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SAN DIEGO --

Opening statement:
Steve Fisher: It was nice to see the ball go through the basket against San Diego Christian. I liked not only the fact that we won the game, but I thought we competed at a really high level which was extremely important. (We were) far from perfect. At times we tried to do things defensively that probably you are not going to be able to do against really good teams. Our effort and energy and togetherness and willingness to move the ball and do the things that good teams do to win were there and evident. I'm proud of that fact. That was good and now we have to make our first road trip, which even for veterans, road trips are different. None are easy. That will be our next challenge, but I felt good about last night.

Q. Will the loss to Syracuse still sit in your mind as the season continues?
Chase Tapley: Definitely, it really grounded us. It really made us measure our team vs. a top-ranked team like Syracuse. But like I said before, we just look from that experience of playing Syracuse. A lot of teams aren't going to be like Syracuse in our league or teams we play on. So we just got to learn from that game and just go for it and keep playing hard like we did in that game. Just keep going for the boards and really attacking the team with that height and size again.

Q. Have you had the chance to look at Missouri State?
Chase Tapley: Not yet. (We) haven't looked at film yet. At practice today, I'm sure the coaches will have us prepared for Missouri State.

Q. What are some of the challenges of traveling to Missouri State?
Xavier Thames: Like coach said, it's our first road trip. For the new guys and transfers as well, it's going to be new. Also for us. So we just have to go out there and play hard and I'm sure coaches will have us prepared.

Q. What did you learn from previous road trips that were early on in the season?
Xavier Thames: Chase, Jamaal (Franklin), (James) Rahon, DeShawn (Stephens) and I, like coach said, are leaders of the team, but coach will have us prepared. (He'll) have us ready for the road trip against a good Missouri State team.

Q. Is the timing of Winston Shepard's suspension good considering you'll have him for later games against USC and UCLA?
Steve Fisher: The timing is never good when you have players that you're counting on who can't play. What it does is it allows more opportunity for others and that's good. If we win, it's good. So hopefully, we will find ways to win with our without him. We're hoping we'll have him, but if we don't have him against Missouri State, we won't have him on Monday against Arkansas Pine-Bluff. So we will just play with the ones that we have. It makes my job easier in substituting. We have one less guy to get in the game, but it makes it harder for everybody because he's a good player and he's an integral part of our team.

Q. How was it to get the win on Tuesday over San Diego Christian?
Chase Tapley: It's always nice to come back home to the fans, the community and the family in the stands and get a good victory with receiving our rings and seeing the banner unveiled. It's just a great feeling.

Q. How was it getting your championship ring last night?
Xavier Thames: This is my first ring ever. I didn't get a ring in high school or anything like that. So it was a very special moment to me. I was just blessed to be on a great team from last year. I just want to thank God.

Q. Does it make you want to achieve more?
Xavier Thames: Definitely. Especially with this team and the Aztecs here at San Diego State. We always want to go out there and achieve the best and get championships and that's what we're going to try to do this year.

Q. Who on the team has impressed you thus far?
Chase Tapley: I would say JJ (O'Brien), but it's something I already expected from last year. I really have to say Dwayne (Polee II). He's really impressed me with his activity, with his defense and his energy. When he gets on the court, he gives 110 percent. But I have to say everybody has been improving from the freshman to the transfers. We all are just jelling and everybody is just making improvements. So we have to keep on doing that each and every day in practice, keep on getting better.

Q. How was it seeing the players receive their rings last night?
Steve Fisher: It never gets old to acknowledge and recognize success. It was a very good season that we had last year. It was fun and most of our kids had a glimpse of what their rings looked like, but they hadn't held them in their hand. It's a nice, special moment and it will be something that they will be able to reflect back on with great pride as time goes on. We talked about this needs to be added incentive to have this not be the last, that there is more to come. But it was fun and I'm sure all of us reflected a little bit on a moment or two as the banner was unveiled. Something that happened a year ago that allowed us to be able to hang that in a tough league right down to the wire to be able to do that. So it was neat.

Q. How do you prepare for a team that has lost three of their top four scorers?
Steve Fisher: They have a young team. In what little I've read from publications, I think they're the fourth or fifth youngest team in the country. They have two redshirt freshmen that are very good. So you can't really count them as freshman. I think that adds a little bit to the deceitfulness of it. Even though they're freshman, they're not freshman. They were there last year. They have two true freshmen that start that are good. They have a good, young nucleus that they are very excited about. They have three guys who are returning that started last year at the end of the season. If you look at how young they are, they have experience coming back and they have a couple of them that are listed as freshman, but they were there last year. It will be interesting to kind of see how we play. I'm anxious to see that myself.