The following are quotes from Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to its Western Athletic Conference home game against Louisiana Tech Thursday night. Opening Comments: “One of the key things for this week is going to be trying to get our spirits up and trying to realize we have an opportunity in front of us with five straight home games. Coming off a disappointing road trip, where we were in both games, had a chance to win both games and didn’t win either of them. That can be very disheartening to all involved when you are putting in the amount time and energy that you do into a basketball season as players and coaches. The reality of that is if you let that affect the next time out it’s just going to compound your problems. The best thing we can do is try and get our spirits up, try and get ourselves prepared for two tough opponents coming in and we’ll see if we can do that.” On Louisiana Tech: “Watching Louisiana Tech, they just create havoc with their style of play. They double you and press you and cause you all kinds of problems when you are trying to execute offense against an unconventional defense at times. You go down to the other end and it’s a lot about individual drives and trying to make plays for each other. Not a lot of on ball screens and just trying to use their personnel, they do a good job of that. They play four guards a lot, they’ve got really quick, active players and they’re playing to their strengths. After starting out 0-3 in league play, they’ve done a real good job of winning three straight and being in every game. Obviously, we feel fortunate to have won down there, one of our few shining moments on the road.” On New Mexico State: “New Mexico State then comes in, quick turn around with a one o’clock game on Saturday. Their size and talent level presents lots of problems. We’re back to a big issue on the boards with their height and their bulk. They have a premiere player obviously in Wendell McKines. Hernst (Laroche) is a senior, does a very good job of leading their team. They’ve got size and athleticism. They’ve done a good job, right now in second-place in our league. On to the next week and you try to put the past week behind you, easier said then done.” On How Brady Jardine’s Career-Ending Injury Changes Things For Next Year: “You know, we were excited about having Brady back, obviously. We had recruited in the fall based on him being a senior and expecting not to have him next year. So it was just a bonus for next year and certainly not for this year that we were going to have him. The signing of Sean Harris was with that in mind, that Brady was going to be a senior and going to be gone. Obviously Sean’s got ACL problems and certainly that is a concern, but the fact that we looked at it that way in the fall gives us at least a power forward in Sean Harris and certainly in Kyisean Reed and Ben Clifford obviously playing there as well. Our first and foremost job in recruiting is trying to fill other needs besides the post right now.” On How Brady Jardine Is Handling The News That His Basketball Career Is Over: “It’s hard. It was hard on him, hard on our coaching staff. We meet with him and he was crushed by it and so were we. It is part of life I guess. The longer we all live the more we know it doesn’t always go the way we want it to. You coach a lot of kids in your coaching career when you’ve done it as long as I have and some you really worry about what they’re going to do when basketball is over, how they’re going to make their way in the world. I have no such concerns over Brady Jardine. Brady will be highly successful. He’s got the drive, the personality, the smarts and all that to make it happen. You can’t ever get your senior year back. He didn’t get to have his senior year and that will always be a huge disappointment, but he did get to have some awfully good years and that will help him I think.” Would Brady Have Made A Difference For This Team On The Road: “If he had been playing I would agree with that, I think it’s really hard when you’re not playing to be the kind of leader that he is. You’re not out there and you’re not out there at practice and all of that. Our road woes haven’t been a result of him not being there. Our road woes have been a result of us not getting it done on the road. Obviously, he’s staying a part of it as much as he can and will participate in Senior Night and we will celebrate his career just like the other seniors on that night.” More On Louisiana Tech: “Louisiana Tech just keeps coming at you with guards, tough match-ups and quickness. Trevor Gaskins is one of those guys. Raheem Appleby had 30 points against New Mexico State, he is a freshman and he’s going to be special if he isn’t already special. Kenyon McNeail hurt us down there, had a really good game against us. They just have a lot of interchangeable parts with the way they’re playing. They do have a couple big kids and they kind of play a couple of them at the five, sometimes Brandon Gibson is at the four, sometimes they go smaller, it just depends.” On The Team’s Improved Rebounding Heading Into The New Mexico State Game: “It was encouraging how we rebounded. Like I said, it just seems like it’s one phase of the game or the other that crops up, be it offense one night or defense another night, or lack of rebounding or turnovers. We’re close. Night in and night, we’re close. We’ve been very competitive, but competitive doesn’t get you W’s. We haven’t quite got over the hump.” Are The Turnovers From Trying To Hard? “Pressure. Pressure from the defense, pressure when the game is on the line, pressure is the word I would use. How do you handle pressure? We haven’t handled it very well and we’ve got to do a better job. We’ll be in some more close games so hopefully we can turn it around, lots of games left.” On New Mexico State’s Hamidu Rahman: “He plays 19 minutes a game and averages double-figures. He’s just a force inside. He demands a double team and that causes you problems. You go double him and how do you block Wendell McKines off? Wendell is the best rebounder in the league. They present lots of problems with their personnel. They have a 6-8 two-guard in Bandja Sy. Guarding him is an issue, he plays the two and the three. Then the freshman two guard (Daniel Mullings) that gets six rebounds a game, blocking him off is another problem. They really fly up and down the court. It will be a challenging game, both games will be. Hopefully we go into that one with a little momentum.” Will The Early Tip On Saturday Affect The Crowd At All? “Hope not. Logan is an interesting place on Saturday’s. People have lots of activities, lots of things with their kids and all of that, which I fully understand, but hopefully there is enough that can free up some time to come to the game. Usually, when there is national television involved that motivates a few. So hopefully that will help. Odd time, it was determined a long time ago. Television rules the world, they tell you when you are going to play.” On Playing On National Television: “Exposure is good. Exposure of our arena and all of that. It’s better when you win, exposure is a funny thing that way. I have always said I will play anytime for television.”
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