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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/11/2009
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On resetting goals ...
"Certainly, our goal is to play in postseason play, but you can't get too hung up on that. It's at the point where we'd have to win, to finish over 500 you've got to win four games out of you last however many you have. Whether that guarantees you postseason play...who knows? That wouldn't be good enough for the NCAA Tournament, but I think if you focus on that right now...'we got to post season play,' I think that would be a mistake. I think it's premature for us. We know that we have to play well. You know your record. You know what is at stake. That stuff goes without saying. (We) played well against Cal. We talked about that. (We) played one of our better games as a matter of fact, but it wasn't enough. That part is discouraging because I feel like our theme this year could be `close, but not quite'."

"I just want our guys to play with a sense of urgency, battle their guts out, bring as much soundness as we talked about after the Stanford game, and see where that puts us, as opposed to the end of the year. And have that every game. And if that's good enough to get you consideration for postseason play, because we played well enough, then so be it. If it's not, I still want the quality of play to be there. That's quite honestly where I'm at instead of looking at numbers and records."

On any advantages of postseason play...
"I think it's different than football. It's maybe three or four more practices, maybe a week or two weeks. It's not a month; unless you're going to make a run to the national championship. Practices really taper down at that stage of year. I think the valuable thing about postseason play in my opinion more than the practices and all that is the experience. Nonconference to conference play is different. Conference play to Pac-10 tournament play is different. Pac-10 Tournament play to NCAA Tournament play is completely different. Those experiences for your young kids, for consistency of your program can really be helpful. So the practice part for the young kids isn't the main thing. It's just a chance to taste postseason play. It was big for us when it was eight teams only to be in the Pac-10 Tournament to get in there. And the seniors you love to see them go out on a positive note for what they've done for this program."

On Marcus Capers' offensive game...
"His off season development will be critical. Physical strength first, he's a nice athlete, he has a nice feel. He needs to really continue to work on his shot. That will be important for him to get some consistency with that. I think all of the young kids have more than they show at times, just because they are not quite sure and they're trying to figure things out. He can get to the paint, he's good in the open court and he's just trying to play his role, play good defense and be sound...He can do some stuff on the glass, some slashing and passing."

On the development of Klay Thompson...
"He's a freshman who has gotten triangle-and-two'd twice, which is quite a statement. He's adapting well...there certainly will still be some ups and downs. He's being more consistent with his shot selection, but he's also creating some of his own shots a little better off the dribble. He's been able to get some space and rise up and hit some shots off the dribble. He's continuing to work to be consistent in all areas, ball-handling, defensive soundness, shot selection, making shots with pressure on him and I like what I've seen certainly. He's coming in the right direction, but he's his harshest critic and I think he wants to just keep getting better and better. He's got a lot on him, but I think it's going to be significant for him in his future, here and then after that. As a young kid to be called upon to do all the things he's having to do, defensively, offensively, all that stuff, is a lot, but I think it's significant for him and I think it will be really good for him."

On facing a winless Oregon team...
"They have some similarities to us and other teams and that is the inconsistency. Playing 20 or 30 minutes of good basketball and then having some stretches that have really hurt them. They will be a team that is as hungry as can be. We played Oregon State last year in that same boat. We had a veteran, veteran team and that was a tough, tough game. Every game they go out, they're going to say, `hey, let's make this the one.' To us, it comes down to playing with a sense of urgency at home, and taking what they did against Cal and just building on that."

"They put on a show the last eight minutes last time we played. I think they'll try and get some stuff going quick, and you have to be ready for it. They can really score in transition and we've all seen (Tajuan) Porter get it going and they have some talented kids, just a bit inconsistent right now like a few of the teams in the league."

On the Pac-10...
"The league has shown itself stronger than even I thought it was. Not as good as last year, I'll go on record to say that. I think it's better than maybe a lot of the other leagues, the big leagues in the country. Maybe it's not number one, but it's sneaky good. As I've watched it and seen it, I think there should be some more respect for the Pac-10 without a doubt."

Washington State Cougars Athletics