Head Coach Rodney Terry
"We are heading into the Mountain West and starting practice is always a great time of year. We started last Friday, and been working for a week now. We have a lot of work to do. A lot of work in the lab, focusing on our team and addressing things that we need to continue to get better with before the following week. We've got a lot better guys this year, we are excited about that, and more depth than we had a year ago. Even with having a full allotment (of scholarships) this year, we've already got nicked a little bit compared to last year, so I would like to address that head on. Kevin Olekaibe got nicked up a little bit in the preseason for us. We are going to bring him along and he'll be out in an indefinite capacity for us along with Robert Upshaw, who got nicked up a little bit as well in the last couple of days, and we will look forward to having those guys back in the near future."
"It's a great weekend. I mean we have an unbelievable contest in this building tonight. Volleyball, Lauren (Coach Netherby-Sewell) has done an unbelievable job with the volleyball program this year and what they are doing right now in the Mountain West, playing for first place tonight against UNLV. We would love to have a lot of people coming out to support what she's doing and how they are doing. Tim (Coach DeRuyter) has done a fantastic job this year in football with an exciting team to watch play. They have great leadership on that team. There's a big ball game this Saturday against Wyoming, so please come out and support those guys and continue to help push those guys to winning a Mountain West championship this year."
"We have Red and White Hoops Night coming up on Tuesday night. We would love to have you come out and take a look at our guys for the first time. There's a lot of new faces."
"We have our Tip Off dinner, which is part of our support club, the Timeout Cub at Pardini's on the 28th. That's something that starts at 7 p.m., with dinner. It gives you a chance to meet the team and hang out with some of the guys. The next day our Mountain West single game tickets go on sale, on the 29th. So come out and support us."
(On injury updates)
"I would like to establish that with both guys it is kind of an indefinite situation. I think that KO is probably a little further along right now that Robert's situation. That is something we are going to have to continue to gauge with our training staff on when his availability is going to be for us."
(On what injuries mean to the team)
"It gives another guy an opportunity to step up. We would love to have them right now in this stage of the season. The learning curve right now and what we are doing for them, and the concepts that we are implementing right now. We would love to have them but sometimes that's out of your control. Right now it's in the trainers hands and getting them ready and getting them back out on the court when time permits."
(On injuries affecting playing time for the Bulldogs' season opener at Texas on Nov. 9)
"It affects it a little bit, but we got some other guys who have already been through it. We are so much ahead of where we were a year ago in terms of how we want to play on both sides of the floor that I think we will be fine. It gives other guys opportunities, gives young guys opportunities to step in and get more reps, our big guys and perimeter guys at this point.
(On number of players in rotation)
"I think anytime in our game if you can get a rotation of eight to ten guys for the way you want to play it always works for you. But again, the players dictate that, they dictate who plays and how much. I like where we are right now with that, if the team stays healthy we are looking to play a couple different guys in a number of different combinations."
(On Braeden Anderson's status)
"He is on track right now (to be available at some point in December). He is a guy that is getting the chance to practice with us right now. We can learn and get acclimated to what we are doing right now and how we want it done. He's a young player, a freshman who really physically has great tools and will be guy who continues to develop as a player in our program over the years, his skill set and just being coached. He's a guy who's been probably a bigger kid; he's competed against, and really learned a skill set. As far as the eligibility set, he is on track for fall. "
(On the new players blending into the system
"It's been good. Our older guys have been really good with our young guys. Really trying to bring them up to speed in terms of the pace of the game, how hard they have to play, the details of the game. It's been really good, and I think having some older guys back who have been through it and understand it, it has really helped our young guys and really trying to bring them up to speed. We have really good chemistry right now."
(On getting married and his wedding ring)
"You know what, it's a permanent fixture. I don't have to worry about it flying across the gym, so it's been good."
(On returning to Texas, where he coached for nine seasons, for the Bulldogs' season opener)
"It will be a great situation for us, and it's one that I think as we sell our brand and sell our program to youngsters who want to be a part of our program. We are about playing big time basketball and big time basketball games. Anytime you have a chance to go up against a program that's experienced and have success like they have over the last decade, I think it's only going to help our program and understand what this is all about. Because that is what we are going to see on the nightly basis in the Mountain West, one of the best conferences in the country."
(On how Fresno State stacks up in the Mountain West
"We've got a really good league this year. We have a league of teams that have a lot of experience returning from having successful campaigns a year ago. We have two teams in the top twenty-five right now and two teams on the cuffs of being in the top twenty-five. There were four teams that had post-season runs last year, which have a number of guys returning. Aside from that, you get to the middle of the pack and down out league, there isn't a night off. Air Force is returning four starters; they had a great end to their season a year ago. So every night you're going to have to bring it. For us you take it game to game, you take it day to day and continue to try and improve. I think again, we can control our effort, we can control how hard we play, how hard we compete, our preparation; and every night we are going to try out best to bring it no matter who we are playing, whether its the best team in the league or middle or whatever you want to say in terms of where guys are ranked in the league. We are going to compete, and I think we will be very competitive, and we are going to play to win."
(On differences without longtime mentor Jerry Wainwright, who returned to the Midwest to be closer to his family)
"The only thing different with Coach Wainwright gone, is he just isn't here physically, we talk to him just about every other day, and those are lengthy conversations when we do have conversations. Coach gave us a great year a year ago, came in and really helped us lay the foundation for how we wanted to do things on a daily basis; whether if it was on the court, off the court. I have a great staff to begin with, Michael Schwartz a very bright young coach, does a great job of game preparation and things of that nature. Bryon Jones, another experienced veteran coach as well. We brought in a young man, Kenton Paulino, who played for me at Texas and was a great player for us. He has made the transition to being a coach, really good with our young guys, really understands details of how we want to do things and get guys better. My main focus with the coaching staff when we looked to replace coach Wainwright was we wanted to maintain what we set last year as the standards, everybody being on the same page. One voice and great chemistry, and I think we have been able to do that."
(On Allen Huddleston's role)
"I think Allen has really stepped his game up. We challenged him a year ago to not take a year off in regards to not playing in games. Practices last year were games for him, and I think he did a great job of attacking. We challenged him last year to be more than a scorer, be a guy who can distribute the basketball, be a facilitator, and be a guy that can run the team. I think he's really done a good job at that, from the spring, summer and what he's done this pre-season, I think he's put himself in the position to be a guy that we count on as a leader for this team. A guy that is a dual threat in his position, to be able to run a team on the floor for us as well."
(On transfer Cezar Guerrero)
"Cezar is guy who is going to have the chance to be a really good player in our program, in this league. The challenge for him this year is to come in and same as Allen's situation, a guy who can really score, really good with the basketball, really good with the ball in his hands. He's got to take the next step in making the other guys around him better, being a two-point guard, or being a guy who facilitates and creates for other people. If he does that and really takes ownership, and not only be a threat when he has the ball to score, but to be able to make other guys better, he has the chance to be a really good player for us in the future."
(On comfort level as a head coach)
"That's a great question. I addressed my team yesterday, as a coach you want to coach learn-it-all players, you don't want to coach know-it-alls. I think as a coach whether a first year coach, second year coach, been coaching for thirty years, when you reach a point when you think you know it all, it's time to move on to another occupation, do something different. I think you are always learning, you're always tweaking, always trying to find different ways to reach your team. I do feel that I have learned a lot, I'm always learning, always watching tape and trying to pick up things from guys. Watching different teams play. As a coach, you really try to watch the best in your profession and how they have done, and what's really made them successful. You continue to try and make yourself better. It is no different as a player, you watch the best players and you try to imitate those guys, and try to be as good as them, you are always trying to constantly improve. I do feel that there is growth everyday."
(On Kevin Foster's learning curve)
"We have really challenged him to be in unbelievable shape this year. A lot of Kevin's slow part a year ago was really conditioning, it took us a half a season to get him into the kind of shape that we needed to get him in. We challenged him over the spring and summer to come in and have that type of conditioning from the very start. He has worked very hard at that, and he is off to a really good start for us right now. We asked him to take on some leadership for us this year, being an older player, a senior in our program. I think he's put himself in a position to get himself off to a good start."
(On the team's injuries)
"It hasn't affected us at all. Our main thing is that we are trying to get better every day as a team and the guys on the court are the guys we are focused on. They'll get better as the season continues and as time progresses our main focus is to get better."
(On his role on the team)
"Be a leader. I have to work hard every day and lead by example. We have a lot of younger guys and I've seen a lot of guys come and go from this program. I am really excited about the guys we have now on the court. My job is to be a leader, focus on getting better myself and focus on the team getting better."
(On Army ROTC Boot Camp)
"Boot camp was pretty tough for us. It really challenged us. It was mentally, physically and at times emotionally challenging. We had a lot of young guys and I can't imagine how it was for them to go from high school to ROTC Boot Camp. It was tough, but we had to do it as a team and we got better."
(On the Bulldogs' schedule)
"We love it. I was looking at it the other day and it is very competitive. We play three top 25 teams. As a player you look to play the best and we are definitely getting to do that. Our schedule is no joke so we are ready and we are working hard every day to prepare for it." (On benefits of schedule in new conference)
"It definitely does. Last year, our schedule wasn't easy as well. We played against top schools too so we are used to it. We know that our non-conference schedule is going to play a big part in our success in the mountain west and we are up for the challenge. We are going to keep working hard to get those wins. "
(On Red & White Hoops night high flyer)
"Our high flyer on the team is Tyler Johnson probably, but we have some guys that are extremely athletic so we'll see. It depends who feels good that day. It depends who has some juice in their legs that day. Hopefully everyone does. It all depends on our practice schedule. It will be tough, but I'm going with Tyler."
(On Coach Terry's comment about his growth as a basketball player)
"I really do feel that I am way better prepared than I was last year. I am in way better shape than I was last year around this time, so I think it is going to set me up for a great season this year. "
(On the competition)
"It makes us work harder than we did last year. We worked hard last year, but we're working even harder now. We know that last year it was just us, but now we know that if we don't work hard, the team won't be a good. We have younger guys and we know that if we work hard and bring them up to speed with us we will have a great season and team."
(On not being the biggest guy on the team anymore)
"It doesn't really matter to me but I am kind of excited that there is someone on the team that is larger than me. A 7-foot guy is good help. Now that we have bigger guys it will be a lot easier for us to guard people and post all of that. It takes a lot of stress off me knowing that I have help. It's a good thing."
(On the schedule)
"You can thank our coach for that. We are really excited about that and we know we have to perform ourselves to compete in this schedule and we are excited about that."
(On advice for hurt players)
"Just stay positive and continue to get treatment three times a day and work hard towards getting better."
(On this being a leader this season) "One thing I'm excited about is our chemistry. We have people who talk this year. Everybody is talking. Even Aaron is helping people out. Aaron is a good vocal player, too. I think that all of us blend together, it will be a good thing. You just have to bring some people up to speed. As older players got to help out the young guys and tell them what's coming. They're coming in as freshman into a good conference. So we just got to be there for them. We have to all challenge each other in practice and make people better."
(On Robert Upshaw)
"I think that Rob is a great player, still has some things to learn. I mean everybody does. I think that Rob being down there opens up more things for us. Me and Allen, Marvelle's a shooter, we have a lot of shooters. So I mean teams will have to pick their poison where they want to double or contest us, and that's kind of a hard thing to shoot, so I think that it will open up. It will be better for us running the floor, too, because he can also run the floor."
(On difference from last year)
"I think it will be different this year, from our intensity from all the preseason workouts we did. We ramped up everything from last year. The freshman coming in are very good right now, they are really up to speed. They're going to help us. Last year we didn't have a lot of bodies. I'm not using that as an excuse, but we have a full team roster. We have pieces that are in place."
(On what was learned last year) "Just the style of play that is expected of us, the accountability that Coach Terry has for us, and just playing with the guys. Even though I didn't play in the games, I was able to practice all year. So I learned the offense and it got me a lot better and I really worked on my point-guard skills, and hopefully I can put them to use this season."
(On Robert Upshaw)
"He brings in a real big dominant inside presence. Teams, like KO said, will have to double down. We have shooters on the outside so we can kind of hit them both ways. They have to pick their poison, whether they want to shoot or score inside. So it will give us dual threat."
(On running the show since high school)
"I don't know if that's the way I like it. It just kind of fell that way. I played quarterback in high school, so it kind of comes with it. In basketball it just came with the territory, I guess. It doesn't really bother me or matter to me. If that's where the chips fall, they fall."
(On being vocal)
"I'm learning to be more vocal, I'm not as vocal as I should be, according to Coach Terry, but I'm learning and I'm trying to pick that up and really add that to my game because it helps out the other guys, you know. Putting them in the right spots, telling them where they need to be, help defense. Letting them know where they need to be on the floor. I'm learning, getting better at it."
(On what you've learned from the older guys) "You have to play hard because they've done it all before and we're new to it, so we just know we have to play hard and keep up with them if we want to make the team better."
(On what made you chose Fresno State) "For me, it was kind of the same thing. The coaches, they really made me like the school and the program, and I like the system. And then, I ate at the Dog House Grill, so that, too."
(On Texas opener)
"It's going to be crazy at first, but it's nothing that we can't handle. We just have to focus and play hard."
(On the returners)
Me too. They were all welcoming. They welcomed us in and they made us feel like at home. It wasn't like they didn't want us here. They want us to get better to make the team better. Whatever they can do to help us, they're doing it.
(On room to grow)
"Yes, I do. I really want to take my game to the next level, and the coaching staff, they've been getting me into the gym shooting. Anything I can do to get my game better."
(On favorite player to emulate) "Well, one of my coaches, Coach Schwartz told me I remind him of Gilbert Arenas, so I've been watching film on him and seeing what he does to make him as good as he was."
(On what you've learned)
"The coaches always emphasize just to play as hard as you can and just be physical and that's also what the older guys taught us to do, too. "
(On remaining with Fresno State)
"For me, it's how much they stayed on me. They showed that they really wanted me to come to the school. The coaching staff was something that interested me and made me commit and stay here."
(On ROTC bootcamp)
"It was nothing that I expected. I didn't expect to come in and do some Army workout. It was a good experience for me being able to do that and say that I did it. I'm happy about that."
(On surprising people with size and ability to shoot)
"I think so. A lot of big guys can't shoot and pull the defense out, and I think that if I develop my game over the years, I'll surprise a lot of people."
(On Texas opener)
"I'm excited about the atmosphere, about being able to play in front of a whole bunch of people at a top school in the country. I'm excited about that."
(On how you've meshed with teammates)
"I think we've meshed pretty well. The older guys try to talk with us and make everything a lot easier for us, just because we are coming in and new. I feel like we're meshing pretty well, and I think we will have a lot to show on the court as being a team."
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