SDSU Men's Hoops Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 20, 2012

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Opening statement:
Steve Fisher: First road trip, successful. And in our world you measure true success by did you win. So we came, we came home and we won. And even though Missouri State boasts about the third youngest team in the country, they had 9,000 people there and it was a tough environment and we found a way to win. Right now, if I'm giving a scouting report on San Diego State, pack a zone in, make us shoot from the outside. Or foul us and use your free throw defense to cause us not to make a free throw. I don't think that will last, but to me, that's how I'd play us. So we'll see what Arkansas-Pine Bluff does. I like our team. We guarded like crazy. We played really good defense and that won the game for us. Defense created some offense. We are unselfish and share the ball. Now we better start making some baskets and not making excuses as to why they're not going in. So that's the challenge for us and not play head games. I don't do that. We've got good shooters that haven't shot well. After a while that wears thin for everybody. We need to make baskets when we have open shots. The flip of that, that being said, when they cut it to four points, James Rahon, who struggled to make a shot and had just missed a wide open three the play before, came down and had a wide open three from the exact same spot. One, he took it. Two, he made it. The very next play, Chase Tapley had a wide open three. And he made it. I think sometimes when you make a basket, it helps you make the next basket. And that little six point flurry goes from four to ten, and we were never in danger after that. So I'm proud of what DeShawn brings to the table. Never complains, never does anything other than try to do exactly what we want. And he provides the energy and toughness that you win with. Forget about the bottom stat line. He helps us win games and he's a delight to have as part of this program. Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday. It's a game where they're traveling. That's all they're doing between now and January when their conference play starts, to get money for their athletic program. And we are their next stop. So we need to come excited, ready and not be thinking Thanksgiving as we're playing the ball game.

Q. Does the team have enough patience offensively to maybe get out of the turnover situation, and maybe because of the high turnovers in my opinion perhaps that leads to some of the other shooting problems you've had.
Steve Fisher: Well, you're spot on with the turnovers. Obviously we can't have 17 turnovers in a 60 point game. When you score 60 points, you can't turn the ball over 17 times. What we have had a tendency to do, and everybody has been involved. But your veterans can't do that. And Jamaal had seven turnovers, I think, and Chase had four or something. I don't know if that's exactly right. But your veterans have to lead by example. At times, we try to do things too fast. You need to slow down a little bit. And they're not trying to do it for themselves, so I'm not saying it's selfish, but it's trying to do things too fast. We've watched it on tape. We've talked about it. But we've got to do it. I don't know that that leads to the other part, but the turnover part, you can't win with 17 turnovers a game, for sure.

Q. What does it say about your team that you guys didn't necessarily play your best game but you were still able to win by 16, on the road, in a tough environment?
DeShawn Stephens: I think it just shows that we play with heart every time we go on the floor. When we have turnovers, we don't do it purposely or we're not playing around with teams. We just tend to go fast, like coach said, sometimes. And just make a couple of mistakes, but we still play as hard as we can every time we're out. So I don't think it was necessarily we just beat them in a tough environment and all that. We just played hard and just came out with the win.

Q. Coach had some praise for you and your style of play. Do you think that inspires your teammates to play that way as well?
DeShawn Stephens: I hope it does. I do that regardless because that's just the way I play. That's just the way I work. I work as hard as I can. I talk and communicate in practice and stuff with the teammates and try to get them to go a little harder when I see somebody down or we're not doing as good. So I try my best to do that. I'm not sure if they need off of it. They might. But I'm going to keep doing it until I see results, I guess.

Q. Coach also said that you never complain. But at the beginning of the press conference he just told all the opponents how to beat you guys. Are you going to complain about that? That makes life a little more difficult on you, I would think.
DeShawn Stephens: I don't complain about anything Coach Fisher says. Whatever Coach Fisher says goes.

Steve Fisher: He's a fast learner. Even though he's a junior college player, he's a fast learner.

Q. Coach, with the exodus in the BIG EAST football wise, we're hearing rumors that there's a possibility that San Diego State may stay in the Mountain West. If they were to do that, that would probably affect you guys. I'm assuming you guys would stay in the Mountain West as well for basketball. Do you have any thoughts on how it might affect you guys?
Steve Fisher: If my mom had not been 4'11 and I had been 6'7, I would be still playing in the NBA right now. We got enough to worry about with our own team and I'm going to let somebody else talk on the what ifs for the moment. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but you could talk till you're blue in the face. My job is to help DeShawn get better and our team get better and if we're playing good basketball and winning, then we'll be all right. So I'm not worried about what's going to happen in 2013, what league we're going to be in.

Q. On a general perspective on that question, when you see all these teams jumping conferences, and San Diego State is one of them jumping from Mountain West to Big West and BIG EAST, do you wonder where it's going to end up at some point in terms of there won't be any conference or there will be four conferences, four massive conferences or something like that?
Steve Fisher: When I have idle time, I think about it. And just also say that probably my shelf life won't see it. But inevitably change is here. And it does appear as if, you know, more and more are gravitating to the mega leagues with 16 teams in it. How many we have, how fast we get there, who knows. Nobody knows that. But you know, change is inevitable in life, and our sport gets front page above the fold when we have dramatic change. And when one domino falls, all the what ifs start to come out there, `well, what if, now what happens.' So we will see. I know that the leadership that we've got, and I'll start with Jim Sterk as the athletic director. He's not a neophyte to this world, to this business. He knows what he's doing. President Hirshman has been phenomenal with us in terms of how he has utilized his position to assist us with our athletic endeavors. They'll continue to do that. And we're too good, have too much to offer regardless of where we are, not to land on our feet and be one of the cornerstones for whatever league we're in. Mountain West is where we are right now.

Q. On the more practical note, coach, how does conference affiliation affect recruiting? Does it affect recruiting at all?
Steve Fisher: I think what everybody wants to know is who do you play, are you on TV? That's what everybody talks about. And a close second to that is how quickly can I play? So what we deal with is no different than anybody else, and with us the people have said, well, if they go to the Big West, it's a `bus league' and on and on and on, and we show them who we're playing and who we will play down the road and that's a pretty impressive field. So wherever we are, we'll make it work. We'll structure what we do surrounding the league that we're in. Kids today are pretty savvy. They look at NBA rosters where everybody wants to go and they see people from Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Louisiana-Monroe and Chico State and everywhere else playing in the NBA. So doesn't matter where you play. If you're good enough, you'll play.

Q. In the game tomorrow night, what would you like to see from your team? It's the evening before Thanksgiving. You've got a couple Pac 12 opponents ahead of you. What would you like to see out of your team?
Steve Fisher: We're hopeful that we will do what we've done. One, play hard. That has to be a constant and we've done that. And then we've got to play like a veteran team. And we've got some vets on this team. Play with some precision and play with execution. And then make some baskets. You have to make baskets. You always look better when the ball goes through the net. And if we can do that, it'll make everybody feel good heading into Thanksgiving.

Q. What's the status of Winston Shepard?
Steve Fisher: He will be back for USC. He's serving the final of his three games.

Q. How has he been handling the whole suspension thing?
Steve Fisher: He's been fine. You know, obviously he would prefer to have made the trip and played. But he called me. I called him. We talked before, during and after our trip, and he was very excited and happy that we won the game.

Q. This being Thanksgiving week, the big picture in your life, what are you thankful for this time of year?
Steve Fisher: You name it and I think that's how all of us are. I can start with family, and I'm going to have both sons home, Mark with his new wife of a little over a year (and a) niece coming in from University of Oregon. We'll dissect the Oregon football team while we're having Thanksgiving dinner. So you start with that. I'm at a stage of where I'm very appreciative of where I am and who I'm with, got a great team with terrific young guys at a university that's world class, in a city that can match that. What better life could a guy have. So I'm very fortunate and know it and appreciative of it.

Q. You guys played some small ball last game against Missouri State. Was that more foul trouble?
Steve Fisher: We'll play lineups with different looks. You might see when we get James Johnson eligible, play two big guys. So I think we have versatility to do different things. Missouri State was small, so we felt when DeShawn got the fourth foul, let's go smaller and see what that looks like, and we were pretty good with it.

Q. Was that more with Skylar Spencer being inexperienced as well or were there any group matchups that you guys have seen?
Steve Fisher: I thought Skylar played really well, had extended minutes. He had lots of rebounds. I like what Skylar is bringing to the table, and we need to continue to get him 15, 17, 18 minutes a game.

Q. Could you touch base on the two recruits you got last week?
Steve Fisher: We did get signed letters from our two recruits from Sacramento. We like both of them. We think they'll be wonderful additions. They're winners. And they wanted to be here. And they will fit in. They compete. So we're very excited about our two recruits and we have now officially said we're going to redshirt Matt Shrigley. So in essence, we'll have three first year players next year, a pretty good threesome.

Q. How much is it a mental game when the team struggles from shooting beyond the arc?
DeShawn Stephens: I'm not really too sure. I think mental play is a lot of it. It just depends on your confidence, how confident you are in your shot. Coach Fisher always says if you shoot with confidence it'll go in the majority of the time. So I think it has a lot to do with mental.

Q. What percentage would you give it when you start struggling? How much more mental does it become than physical?
Steve Fisher: I want you to watch our team when we play tonight and watch how many times when we miss a free throw, we get the rebound. Against Missouri State we had three offensive rebounds off of missed free throws for baskets. So sometimes that factors in a little bit. We're as good a rebounding team off a missed free throw as there is in the country. We've had practice at it, but we're good at it. We work at it, we call it x'ing off of free throws.

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