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November 13, 2013

Steve Fisher

TIM SIMMONS:テつ Thank you for being with us early this morning.テつ Coach, with the early start to practice this year in late September, has that been a benefit to your team?
COACH FISHER:テつ I believe it's been a benefit to every program in the United States.テつ You are able to start earlier.テつ You have 30 practices in a 42‑day span or something like that.テつ Normally October 15th is the start date.テつ We were able to start in September.テつ You can have practices where you give them two days off a week, which is valuable, so you don't wear them out and go six straight days.テつ You can practice a little less lengthy early, which is a benefit.
So I think everybody is experimenting how do you use it, when do you start it, when do you give days off, how long do you go.テつ But I think 99 percent of the coaches would say it's a positive for everybody.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ With all this time to practice, has there been any players that have been really standing out in the practices that have benefitted from the early start?
COACH FISHER:テつ Everyone benefits when there is structure and organization.テつ Good players want to be in the gym, but when they can be taught, it adds to everybody's benefit, when you can put‑‑ start putting the team together but also increase individual skill development.
It particularly helps your new guys blend in, fit in, learn what's expected, how things are done.テつ So for us, we have two true freshmen, a red‑shirt freshman, and a transfer.テつ So four of our top eight or nine are first‑year players for us.テつ So I think it benefits us more than a veteran team that have all been there, done that together.テつ But everyone benefits, and we have taken advantage of it not only with those four new guys but with everybody.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ You've got a pretty tough game coming up in Arizona.テつ Is that going to give you a good read on where your team is entering into the Wooden Legacy?
COACH FISHER:テつ Arizona is legitimately a top‑five team in the United States.テつ They have the look, and then they have the pedigree of past performance with a lot of these same guys.テつ So they will present what you would see if you're good enough to not only make the NCAA tournament but make a Final Four run.テつ They're that good.テつ We've got them at home; huge advantage when you play in an atmosphere like we have in Viejas Arena.テつ We'll have 12,414 strong, and the majority will be Aztec fans.テつ That will, without question, help us.テつ We will have to play great basketball.テつ We have been very competitive and very successful the last three or four times we've played them.テつ I think we've won three in a row before we lost in the diamond head last year at the buzzer when Chase Tapley had a shot blocked by Nick Johnson, who came out of nowhere to block a shot that would have won the game for us.テつ We lost a one‑pointer.テつ They were 12‑0, rated fifth in the country, we were 11‑1, rated 17th.
So this year they have that equally high rating and we're not rated because we lost a great deal of players, of our players, but we feel like we've got a competitive squad that will come out and play good basketball, but we know how good they are.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ Your fans traveled very well to the Honda Center in California last year when you played UCLA in the Wooden Classic.テつ What's your thoughts about playing in the tournament this year again with John Wooden's name on it?
COACH FISHER:テつ We are proudly representing San Diego State and the Wooden Legacy.テつ We've played when they had just the double header before three different times, and I stated then, anything that has John Wooden's name attached to it you want to be a part of, and you're humbled to be a part of it.テつ He's the greatest coach of any team sport in the history of sports.
We will go up with that type of pride, and it's a great field, and now it's an eight‑team tournament.テつ So I think it will be tremendous for our fans and for every fan.テつ We will travel well; I agree with that.テつ We basically filled up the Honda Center when we played UCLA last year, and I believe we will bring a lot of San Diego State fans to that venue again.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ Any thoughts about Charleston, College of Charleston, your first‑round opponent?
COACH FISHER:テつ I have not put a whole lot of film watching into College of Charleston yet, but I know they're good.テつ They are a potential NCAA tournament team.テつ They played at Louisville recently, and with four or five minutes to go in the game, it was a three‑point game, and then Louisville kind of got them at the end.テつ But they were very, very competitive for most of that game.テつ I'm good friends with Bobby Cremins, who had been the coach there, and I know the program that they've got.
This will be a really good challenging first‑round game for us.テつ They're a talented, experienced team.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ And in the second round you've got either Creighton or Arizona State.テつ Any thoughts on that?
COACH FISHER:テつ We have played Creighton in the past.テつ They are very good, led by McDermott, the coach's son, who's a legitimate First‑Team All‑American.テつ He's a hard guard, and they are a good team.テつ Arizona State with Herb Sendek, we arefirm believers that they will be an NCAA tournament team this year led by their point guard.テつ They've got a seven‑foot center and they've got a transfer from Penn State who started at Penn State, averaged about 15 a game.テつ So that will be a first round game between the two of them, and whoever we would play will be a stiff challenge.
You look at the field we have to work through, there will be no, well, this won't be too difficult.テつ They're all going to be very challenging.
We are very much looking forward to the event, and I think it will be great for everyone as we get ready to come into that tournament, the Wooden Legacy.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ With the Honda Center hosting the regionals, the Western Regionals, do you think you're going to get a little preseason practice in there?
COACH FISHER:テつ I will cross my fingers and hope.テつ That would be pretty neat if we did.
TIM SIMMONS:テつ Good luck, Coach.テつ Thank you very much.

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