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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/03/2009
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On his impressions on teams half way through conference play ...
"(The league) is certainly more balanced than last year. That is a situation where you have to try and make the most of it. The cream usually rises in the second half. You're not going to surprise people. There will be certain wrinkles, certain adjustments teams will make, but you've seen each team, you've watched them play a few more times. Hopefully younger kids become more consistent and it comes down to... as my father used say, `It's a neck up game.' So much of the second half becomes the neck up kind of game, or the mental aspect. You really cannot beat yourself."

On what has pleased him the most...
"I thought they battled hard. I think they've understood, for the most part, that when they've had some bad slumps, their defense can hold them in there...even when they've been struggling, they've stayed competitive because they haven't given up on the defensive end."

On playing on the road...
"It's frustrating when you look at our home record. We've been in every game at home except maybe the first one, Washington, at the end. Some guys have started playing better for us. (Aron) Baynes has really stepped up his game the last few games, I've been impressed with that, and Taylor (Rochestie). Sometimes kids relax more on the road, they know it has to be about them and their teammates and us, and they play a little more focused and relaxed; whereas at home, sometimes with younger kids, there's more distractions. You're playing in front of your friends and families. I think that stuff goes out the window when you get to the second half. That's just a theory though."

On what to expect from Stanford this time around...
"They've got veteran players, and you're going to go into their place against a team that's lost a lot of close games with veterans and they're going to come at you. They're going to be so hungry. I think you're going to see a team that is playing...with its back against the wall and you're going to have to execute and match that. Will they do anything differently against us? I don't know. Aron (Baynes) got some good stuff, I don't think you can change your whole philosophy, but I think they'll pay attention to Aron. Certainly our `big three,' Klay (Thompson), Taylor (Rochestie) and Aron; those guys are certainly going to get marked pretty hard."

On concerns about Taylor Rochestie wearing down...
"He played a lot of minutes last year. With that CBS game we played against Arizona, we had such long timeouts, and those were two teams (Arizona and Arizona State) that played zone. It's a little different when you're going against teams that you're always playing zone offense. Certainly have to watch it, but he is going to play. I told him that, I said, `You know, I'm probably not going to be pulling you out too much.' I try to, if there are matchups, get him a minute or two here or there...Every coach right now is tapering down and adjusting, doing what they can to keep their teams as physically and mentally fresh as possible. That's what we have had to do the last two or three weeks and hopefully that will pay dividends. As a fifth-year senior, though, that's where you want to be and we need him on the floor, that's obvious."

On the development of James Watson during his redshirt season...
"Those guys, and even some of the guys that aren't in the rotation or playing as much, they lift a little different. A guy we know is redshirting will lift an extra day and at times we will have them play after practice, either some 3-on-3 or they come in on their own, or come with a coach and get some shooting workouts. Just trying to get as physically strong as they can, get them skill development and the extra lifts. Those kinds of things and try to focus academically and get themselves established...he hasn't traveled with us this year. You try to take advantage of those situations, that if you were traveling or playing you wouldn't be able to do as much...He's kind of a four who could play some three and perhaps some five, he's one of those kinds of guys. That's where it's at with him...In practice we have him just get after a guy like Klay or guard multiple guys and wear him out that way. That's really an advantage. We use him in different roles with his athleticism and that's been helpful for us too."

Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball