The following are quotes from Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to the Utah Valley game

Thoughts on Utah Valley:”They are similar to Cal State Bakersfield in that they are a lot better than they were a year ago. They went to Oregon State and got a win, and they are 3-1 at home. They are playing pretty well. When you watch them on film they are solid. They will come out and defend you, and on offense they run good motion and other good stuff. It is a good challenge for us to go down there. For all the trips that we have made down to Orem to play this is probably the best Utah Valley team we have faced.” On the challenge of playing at Utah Valley:”When you play teams like Southern Utah and Utah Valley on the road it is a challenge. I think that this game will give us a good idea of where we are at coming off that second half against Cal State Bakersfield where we didn’t play very well.” On making improvements as the conference season approaches:”That is certainly our goal. We would like to improve our play as we get closer and closer to conference. There are a lot of things that you work on when you have a few days to practice. The only problem with that this week was that the team had finals so we had to shorten practice a little bit. You don’t end up watching quite as much film because we want to make sure our guys have time to take care of their academics. We are trying to execute a little better offensively. We are 7-2 primarily because we have defended and rebounded pretty well. I think everybody feels like we are going to get better offensively as we go, hopefully that is the case.” On what the team focused its extra practice time on this week:”A lot of different areas. We added some different things and we did work really hard on our execution offensively. It’s not that it has been horrible, it just hasn’t been as sharp as I would like. We are getting pretty good shots and we got a lot of extra shooting in this week. We haven’t had enough time to get shooting in so hopefully the extra practice will help us. We certainly did not want to neglect the defensive end, that has been pretty solid for us. We worked some on pressing breaking. We did not handle the press very well against Bakersfield. We worked on a variety of things, but those were the primary areas.” On Isiah Williams and other Utah Valley players:”Number one, he (Isiah Williams) is real dangerous from the three-point line. Their whole team is. They shoot 40 percent from three and they take quite a few of them. They get a lot of those shots in transition as does he. About half of his shots come that way. Anytime you are shooting 42 or 43 percent from three, you are a very good shooter. Also as you close out on him to chase him off the three-point line he has the ability to drive around you. He is impressive. He is a new guy and it is not very often you expect a new guy to come in and lead your team in scoring. He is a very confident scorer. All you have to do is look at his three-point percentage and his free throw percentage to know he is a pure shooter. They do come at you with a variety of guys. Jordan Swarbrick has always been a tough competitor who is scoring in double-figures. Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird are two Utah kids that are older freshmen that have recently returned from LDS Missions. I have always said when you have freshman that are returned missionaries it is a different thing than having true freshmen. (Justin) Baker hurt us last year and he is coming off the bench at the post spot so that tells you they are pretty deep there with Aird and Geddes Robinson. I think they probably feel pretty good about their personnel.” “Holton Hunsaker was a guy you watched (out of high school) and really liked how competitive he is. He is real feisty and will play real physical and take charges. He is always out there looking for steals and those kind of things. He was originally scheduled to go to Louisiana Tech and I don’t know all of the particulars on why he didn’t, maybe being away for two years on a mission made him want to be closer to home. That has to be a positive for coach Dick Hunsaker to have his son home and playing for him. He gets to see him everyday in practice. Ben Aird is a real skilled big body guy that everybody watched (out of high school) and took a look at. I think he is a guy that many people may take a look at and say we might have missed on him. He just does a lot of things with his size and skill level.” On starting Brockeith Pane and Pooh Williams:”We will start both Brockeith (Pane) and Pooh (Williams) after they didn’t start last game. They will both start. At the point guard position we have had an interesting week of practice. I think that Brockeith is the guy there and hopefully we can get him playing like he can play.”

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