Junior forward J.J. O'Brien and senior guard Xavier Thames addressed the media during Tuesday's press conference.
Sept. 24, 2013
PRESS CONFERENCE | #AZTECMBB PRESSER QUOTES
SAN DIEGO -
Senior guard Xavier Thames
On how eager they are to start practice this Friday:
"We're all excited and ready to get going with practice on Friday. We're ready for a big year. We're excited."
On if he is ready for a bigger workload with some of the other guards leaving:
"Yeah, I am. I'm going to have a bigger load but I also have to depend on my teammates as well. It's not just going to be me it's going to be J.J. O'Brien, Winston Shepard, Josh Davis and other guys as well. I'm looking forward to it so we'll see what happens."
On how they replace their "go-to scorers" and if they feel like they should take on a "go-to scorer" role:
"That's something for Coach to figure out, but I would like to. I'm sure (O'Brien) would as well, (Shepard) as well, (Davis) as well...that's something for coach to figure out, and we'll just see when the season starts and when practice starts what happens."
On if they like starting practice earlier than usual:
"I kind of like it. We get it going early with practice and everything. We've been practicing for a long time with hour-workouts in the summer and things like that. I think everybody will be ready to get it going really soon."
On what they can expect from Josh Davis and how good he is:
"Josh is really good. I'm very excited to see him play. He's about 6-foot-8, but he can handle the ball. He's been working on his jump-shot. He can rebound. I think he averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds at his previous school. I'm really excited for him. I think everybody else is, too. He's going to bring a lot to the table"
On what they think about Winston Shepard:
"Winston has matured this year tremendously. I'm looking forward to a big year from Winston. He's been working hard all summer back in Texas with Hakeem Olajuwon and different things like that. He came back to school with a different mentality. I'm really excited to see what he does this year."
On if he has taken some of the freshmen under his wing:
"I kind of took D'Erryl Williams and Dakarai Allen under my wing. I've known them since they were seven or eight years old. They're like little brothers to me. They've been adapting very well. They're getting used to the college lifestyle and practice and stuff. They're getting used to everything. It's going good. Dakarai is doing good and D'Erryl is doing good as well. I'm pretty sure they'll get more adjusted as practice goes on."
On what he has seen from D'Erryl Williams as a point guard:
"He's doing really good. He's a good defender. He's really strong. He gets through a lot of screens and different things like that. He gets to the basket really well and finishes with the big guys like Winston and Josh and J.J. He's coming along. He still needs to learn a few things but as the year goes along he'll get a lot better."
On if he felt like the same player after he returned from his back injury:
"Not really. Towards the end of conference play I started getting back into my groove, but when I first got back I wasn't the same but I just had to fight through it. This past offseason I was working with the coaches to get my back stronger and doing different things to prevent injuries this upcoming year. Those are the main things I did this offseason is just to get healthy and get my back a lot stronger."
Junior forward J.J. O'Brien
On if he feels like he has more responsibility and the need to take on a bigger role as a returning starter:
"Yes, definitely. I don't think it will be as much of a problem as replacing a 34-3 team who lost a lot of players and the next year won a conference championship. Chase Tapely and a lot of other people stepped up. I think that people will step up and play their role."
On what he is excited about with this year's team:
"We're a hardworking team. All of the years have been hard-working teams but we have a good group this year. Everybody is really sound and into their role. They accept their role and we just have a really solid team. I think we're going to be good."
On if they like starting practice earlier than usual:
"The sooner we can start the better. Starting practice this Friday gives us a chance to get better sooner and get us ready for the big games we have this year. We have a lot of them. I'm excited and I think everybody else is, too."
On what they can expect from senior forward Josh Davis and how good he is:
"I think at Tulane he played center, and I think he's going to surprise people with his guard skills. He does a good job handling the ball and getting to the rim. He's not just a big man back-to-the-basket rebounder, although he's a great rebounder. He can do a lot of different things on the floor. He's pretty versatile so he's going to be great this year."
On how Coach Fisher likes to use versatile forwards:
"I think that's his thing. He wants fours and forwards that are going to bring mismatches to the other teams. We can guard the other teams four but also step out and dribble and take them to the basket. I think that's a part of his style that he likes to exploit what the other team ... that's what Josh does. That's what he's going to do this year."
On if he feels like the strength is going to be in the front court this season:
"No not really. I think we're pretty even and balanced team this year. We have a good guard attack as well as a big-man attack and forward attack. A lot of people are going to be playing a lot of different positions. I don't know if all of us are going to be labeled as a forward or guard or anything."
On what they're expecting from redshirt freshman Matt Shrigley:
"Matt's going to be good this year. He got a lot better this past year sitting out. He can shoot the ball. He's going to shoot the ball for us but he can do other things, too. He's a smart player with a high basketball IQ. He's going to be a big asset to our team."
On what he has worked on specifically this offseason to improve:
"I worked a lot on my jump shot. My jump shot has gotten a lot better. Mid-range to three-pointer...I worked on my ball-handling but other than that it's just the same old stuff: getting stronger, faster, but mainly it was my jump shot. It's gotten a lot better."
On what he thinks the personality of the team will be like this year:
"We're a pretty quiet team this year. I think everybody just does their job. There's not a lot of hype surrounding the team this year. There's not a lot of extras or anything. Everybody's here to play basketball. Everybody is going to do their job and I think that's going to be our motive. Everybody is going to be out there playing hard, doing their job and accepting their roles."
On if having less attention on them will take some of the pressure off of them:
"The outside pressure can get to you if you let it. We do a good job of just having our own goals set and trying to accomplish those. From the outside perspective it's going to take pressure off of people. People probably aren't expecting as much. Within the group we do a good job at just staying level-headed and keeping our own goals. I think we're going to be fine this year."