Stew Morrill quotes 2-25-2011

The following are quotes from Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to the Idaho game. Opening statement: “Another game is here. Obviously, it was a great win for Idaho last night. They come in here with some momentum and I am sure they are excited about where they are and how they are playing. We have been here for a full week without a game. It allowed us some practice time, which always helps. Our guys are anxiously ready to play. There are a lot of things out there as far as trying to have a good senior night and trying to defend our home court. What we need to do most of all is focus on Idaho. They definitely deserve our attention. We understand that after having lost to them up in Moscow. We are looking forward to this game. It is hard to believe this is our last home game, and it is hard to believe that these seniors are wrapping up their careers. We are done at home after tomorrow.” On Utah State’s six seniors: “They will be glad to get rid of me from their daily life. It is kind of hard to describe how good of a job they have done. They have done it with high-quality character. You can just count on them, and you know what you are going to get from them. I am constantly harping about practice habits, defense, rebounding and screening, and these guys understand why. They are just battle tested. They have been through the grind. They have been awfully fun for me to coach. It is without question a special group. When you get six of them it is overwhelming to look at what they have done and what a loss it will be when they leave. You can go through each and every one of them and give them all accolades and all sorts of positives. We don’t have time for all that, but as a group I can say that I can’t imagine a group of six guys doing a better job.” “I think I had seven seniors one time, but I don’t remember when that was. You are used to senior night being one, two or three guys. We are going to have to start our ceremony a little earlier than usual with this many. I think it is a real test for them to make sure that it is a celebration and not a funeral. I have said that for a long time, ever since I have been here at Utah State. You have to realize that this is a really positive part of college basketball. Guys are finishing up degrees or have degrees, and they are finishing up a very successful career here. They have four WAC Championships, which is what you strive for. You want guys to go through your program and be this successful.” Best memory of these six seniors: “I couldn’t just come up with that off the top of my head. My memories of them are just more day-to-day. Day-to-day they show up. They are everyday guys and I don’t have to worry about what they are doing off the court. There has been a mistake or two made, but there always is. For the most part there are no worries there. They like each other and they respect each other. You don’t really appreciate a team like this until you have a team that you don’t like. I have had 25 teams, and I have had a couple teams that I haven’t liked very much. I’ve liked most of my teams at Utah State.” “When you have a guy that has been in your program for seven years like Matt Formisano and Tai Wesley that is a large amount of time. Spencer Nelson was the same way. When Spencer left, it was like, ‘Wow he has been here the whole time.’ It is more than just one year with these guys, it is multiple years.” On which seniors start Saturday night: “I don’t know what I will do. I will think about that tomorrow. You can’t start six, Jerry Tarkanian did that once and got a technical foul. I won’t do that. We have enough trouble beating Idaho without spotting them points. I don’t know quite what I will do yet. I have thought about it a little bit, but I haven’t decided.” On keys to the game against Idaho: “We need to make open shots and not fall in love with the three pointer. We were 5-for-28 from the three-point line in our last game against Idaho. A lot of those shots were open looks. They kind of ‘Utah State’ed’ us up there expect for throwing in a box-in-one on defense. Their defense was pretty much what we have done for years, and what we did for 15 years when Coach (Don) Verlin. You mix man defense with zone and some presses. They threw in a box-in-one, which we will probably see again. We handled it okay, but we just missed shots. We cannot shoot the percentage we shot and win. They are good defensively. Their man was good and they are playing their zone well, which they use more on the road. We didn’t make shots, but you also have to guard their players. If they make 10 three pointers like they did at Nevada, then obviously you have a problem. They are leading the league in three-point shooting. It is not hard to figure out why they are having a real nice year. They are right there with us defensively in this league, and they lead the league in three-point shooting. They have solid personnel and obviously Coach Verlin is doing a good job coaching them.” On Idaho Guard Jeff Ledbetter: “He is a really confident shooter right now, first and foremost from the three-point line. He is also a little bit like Brian Green in that he can do some other things. He can shot fake and drive to the hoop. He gets out on the fast break and does some things off the dribble. He is just a very confident senior right now that is playing really well. We actually did a pretty solid job on him up in Moscow, but we struggled defending the post. Those things being said, if we would have played some offense it would have been a closer game. It was fairly close, but it would have been closer. We just struggled offensively. Hopefully we will do a better job of that.” On Idaho’s players and team: “They bring one of their best players off of the bench. Kyle Barone is a handful, but he didn’t have a good night at Nevada. Shawn Henderson and Deremy Geiger are capable shooters and their post guys one-on-one in the block are a handful. Luiz Toledo is really long and scores over you and Brandon Wiley being left-handed gives you a different look. They have a real solid team that has gotten better as the year has gone along. Coach Verlin tells me that a bunch, and that has been a huge thing for them. It is like I said, and I think Coach Verlin would agree, that they had more talent last year, but they are a better team this year. That says something about their chemistry and character. There talent isn’t bad this year either, it’s actually pretty good. They had some guys last year that had been first-team all-league , but this group is just much more cohesive.”

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!