Stew Morrill quotes 1-11-11

The following are quotes for Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to the Boise State game. Opening comments:”Last Saturday was a positive week for our team. We had a good week of practice and showed some character and some toughness by hanging in when we were down by 10 in the second half. We got out of Nevada with a road win. When you get road wins, they are seldom easy. You have to get them any way you can and that is kind of what our team did. We had a spurt in the second half where we made about every shot and made about every play and went from down to ahead in a short span of time. I had been pretty hard on them during the week in what we expected and not being satisfied in the weekend before. It was nice to see them respond.” “You get home late Saturday night, and we were fortunate we got home Saturday night, normally we get home Sunday afternoon, and you turn around and have another week where you go on the road. Back-to-back road weeks are tough, just from a logistics standpoint. We will leave [Wednesday] after having been out on the road. It will be really interesting to see what our team has Saturday night on the road. I always talk about Saturday night on the road and obviously there is a lot of emotion and excitement for the Boise [State] game and that will certainly be a challenge. I will be real interested to see what we are all about Saturday night on the road. Three straight road games and two straight weeks on the road, Fresno [State] will be playing their first game of the week at home. Will we be able to compete and match up and match their intensity and all that will go on that night?””Obviously before that Boise presents a lot of challenges. We knew that they would have a good basketball team this year; there was no doubt in our coaching staff’s mind. They return four senior starters, whether Greg Graham was coaching them and he recruited all those kids or Leon Rice who is doing a really nice job. I felt like they were going to have a good team. It is unfortunate for Greg that he isn’t getting to coach this group their senior year, and fortunate for Leon that he inherited some talent and some seniors that have been around.” “They have added some new pieces as well. When you start looking at La’Shard [Anderson], Robert Arnold, [Paul] Noonan and [Daequon] Montreal, you have got a lot of guys who have played a lot of basketball. Now they are having the most success of their careers, probably. The two big road wins they had. I think what is always tough in Boise is you are always trying to get some attention because it is such a football orientated place with all the success in football, and they are getting that attention right now. We, at times, have drawn big crowds when we go in there, sometimes double what they normally have. I would be surprised if that isn’t the case with us coming to town, and them coming off two big road wins. That should be fun. You are missing the boat if it is not fun.” “One of the things I have stressed to this team recently, our team, is that they need to enjoy the process of trying to win a fourth straight WAC championship, because there are not a lot of programs, and players, and teams that have that opportunity. So why not enjoy the process of trying to do that. What is the worst that can happen? Some guy is going to say you really screwed up, you only won three in a row. Let’s try and enjoy, for six of these guys it is their senior year so let’s try and enjoy it. Your careers are short. Try and enjoy what we have got going, try and get better because we need to get better. We needed to get better last week and we need to get better this week. We had a good practice yesterday.”On what Coach Morrill demands of his players:”I don’t know how to do it any other way. It isn’t phony, they are getting what I feel out there, and what I think we need to do to have a chance to win. There is fear of failure; there is urgency, whatever you want to call it. They [the players] have to decide how to respond to that. We have got a lot of really good kids, at three different universities, respond well and try and do everything they can to be successful. So you feel fortunate that you had good players in all of that. There are some days that I am a good guy. Maybe it means I am maturing. Maybe that is what it means if the edge and the craziness leave. What happened after San Jose [State], I don’t like that. I don’t like when I act like that, what a temper tantrum. I don’t like it and I feel like crap the next day, but it is real. It is going to happen sometimes, hopefully not very many times every year. If the edge goes maybe it means you are maturing, maybe it means it is time to be done, I don’t know. I still have got the edge, and I still plan on doing it for awhile.” On Boise State’s Paul Noonan:”He didn’t have the kind of year that he could have had. Based on back when he was a freshman, we saw him and went, ‘Wow, this is going to be a really good player.’ I think what is happening this year is maybe he is healthier; maybe he realizes this is his last year. The fact that he is playing two positions really causes you to concern. He plays a wing position and you are guarding him with a wing player, and then he goes to a post-position and it really is a tough match up. It is a match up like we used to have with Spencer Nelson where he has got a lot of wing talent but the posts have to match up with him. You have to find him quicker in transition. When he is in the post, the posts are not used to finding him. You have to get back to him quicker on ball screens. There are a lot of things. He is playing really well. You look at all those guys, La’Shard Anderson is player of the week in the WAC, Robert Arnold is really aggressive offensively, Montreal is an athletic, big post guy. So they have got good pieces.” On finding Noonan on the perimeter:”That is the first priority. He is a really good passer; he can use a shot fake and go by you. You have got to be disciplined when you guard Noonan. You can’t get easily faked out, easily distracted. You have got to have a disciplined guy on him. Tyler Newbold is the kind of defender who has a chance to guard him. Tyler is very disciplined in how he approaches the game defensively and he is very experienced. He has [defended] a lot of good players.” On Brady Jardine playing well at Nevada and returning to Idaho this week:”It was really good to see Brady [Jardine] play well at Nevada. He had not had a great start to league in the first weekend. He got a lot of minutes, Nate Bendall got in foul trouble, plus Brady was playing well. We could’ve played Nate a few more minutes but Brady was playing so well that we left him out there and he had a really good game. Boise [State] recruited him, he is an Idaho kid, and certainly when you play in the state of Idaho or anyone from the state of Idaho it is going to have a little bit of special meaning to Brady. I remember Greg Graham got a little bit of heat for not getting Brady. Brady belonged at Utah State, I will always believe that. It is a good place for Brady Jardine. He is married now, he found his wife here, it is just a good fit in the cultural and social part of the school.” On Brockeith Pane being more productive: “He is definitely playing better. He is taking better shots, he has settled in a little bit and understands what we expect from him. He is getting more confident because he is playing better. Brockeith has gotten to the basket, and I think the main thing is he has gotten a better feel for when to attack and when not to within our system. He has not been in a system quite like this and it is a big change. One thing I will tell you about Brockeith is he cares, basketball is important him. He tries to do what we ask and he is hard on himself. All of that, with some talent, gives you a chance to be playing well and that is what he is doing.” On Tai Wesley’s minutes: “Tai Wesley playing minutes is huge. I would like to play Tai, with all he does for our team, 34 to 36 minutes. I think he needs a breather now and then, he did get 38 the one game. I would like to leave him in the whole second half if we have enough timeouts, and if he doesn’t need to come out. That being said, the foul issues always seem to come up and it really helps when they don’t. He makes our whole system work better. He makes it easier on Brockeith because we can enter through Tai. We run a lot of our stuff through Tai. It is like having another point guard out there with all the things we run through our four-men, and we have for a long, long time. I hope that we can get players to continue to do that. Tai’s assist-to-turnover ratio needs to get back to where it was last year but he is an extremely good passer and smart player. One of the smartest I have ever had, he understands everything that you are doing.” On Tai Wesley doing a better job of staying out of foul trouble: “Yes, it still flares up now and then but he is really trying hard. It is a priority in his mind that [there are] no dumb fouls. That is where he gets in trouble. If you want to get into a physical thing with him, he often times responds. That is his nature and sometimes he needs not to respond because that is when he picks up a dumb foul. Just the ones here and there that he can avoid really helps us. Maybe we need to do some things too, we are trying to. Play a little more zone, sometimes we will do that if it is working. Or we will double the post if it makes sense against the team we are playing. We have got to try and do things to keep him out of foul trouble but it is not always that simple. He has a reputation. The refs know Tai, they know that he is a physical guy, they know that he is not going to hesitate to mix it up. If you cheap shot him, there is a chance that he will cheap shot you back. I don’t say that in a condescending way. I have always told players don’t back down but use some common sense.” On La’Shard Anderson: “He is the deal. He kind of sets the tone for how they play. Their style of play is about the things he gives them, but the other players then feed of him. In transition, they are flying down the court and he leads the break a lot of the times but it gets them playing fast. Making aggressive plays on ball screens, that is a big part of his game. Can we defend the on ball screen? He is really good at that. He shoots three’s, he drives it, he is one of the better guards in the league right now, no question.” On playing so many doubleheaders in league this year: “I have never liked doubleheaders, at home or on the road. Unless there is a gap there so you know when it will be. Like sometimes our women will play at three o’clock and that doesn’t affect anything with us. It is the same the other way around if we play at three and they play at seven, that just makes sense to me. You hang out a lot [with doubleheaders]. You don’t know what time the game is going to start, it is a pain. That is not a title nine statement. You have to qualify everything these days, I don’t do a good enough job of that. It is just a fact, whoever plays first there needs to be a gap, that is what I think. I don’t think it should ever happen in conference. When we are on the road, [the women] should be at home, when they are on the road we should be at home. The conference should have the same exact schedule. It just makes sense, why wouldn’t you? It just makes practicing easier.” -USU-

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