Quotes From ASU Men's Baskeball Head Coach Rob Evans

Oct. 21, 2004

Quoting ASU Men's Basketball Head Coach Rob Evans:

On Jason Braxton:'Jason is a very good defensive player. Jason is a guy who I think that this can be his year. Jason understands what we want of him. We all have strengths and weaknesses and Jason will play to his strengths. He and I have talked a lot and gone over a lot of film. We've shown him what we have to have from him.'

On Ike Diogu's decision to return:'No. Ike made it pretty plain this time last year that he would wait until the season was over with and make that decision after talking with myself and his family. One thing that I've learned over the course of two or three years of working with Ike is that Ike makes final decisions. It's not going to be the media, it's not going to be the fans, he's not going to be influenced. He has a good sense of what he wants to do with his life and when he wants to do it.

'He came in last year and said, 'Season's over with. What do you think?' I said, 'This is where you are. I've talked to a number of people and they think that this is where you are. You have a chance to make a lot of money.' And he said, 'Okay, I'm coming back.' I asked him if he wanted to call a press conference and he said, 'No, just tell everybody I'm coming back. End of story.' He called his parents and his dad told him to think about it and he said, no, I've made my decision. It would not surprise me if he left after this year. It would not surprise me if he came back. It all depends on what he senses his time frame is. Ike is having fun. He has fun with his teammates and he's enjoying college life. Nothing surprises me about his decision to stay.

On the expectations of this basketball team:'I always look at expectations for my basketball team. We will have a better sense in a month, but its not too early. When you are planning a basketball team and you take a look at things from a year ago, we added some key pieces. If those pieces mature and come along like I think they will, we'll have a very good basketball team.

'The one thing I've never worried about is what anyone else thought about me or my basketball team. I've told my players a lot that when I was at Mississippi, two years before I left we were picked last in the league. We won it. And won it by three games. We had everybody coming back, we had the player of the year coming back and signed two blue chips, and the media picked us eleventh again. And we won it again. The media predictions never phase me. It probably phases me, but it probably phases the players. But as long as they look at it as a challenge, I don't worry about it. I don't worry about high expectations, I don't worry about low expectations. What I worry about is what I can truly affect. The only things I can affect is how hard these guys play and how well they execute. That's the only thing I worry about. I don't have use it as motivation for the team. They read magazines and they see that. Anyone who has any salt would take that as a challenge. We have some guys on this basketball team that are very competitive and will rise to it.'

On Kevin Kruger's progress:'Kevin has matured physically, he's gotten bigger and stronger. He's a lot more confident and he understands this level a little bit more. He had a really good summer going to China nad playing there. Everyone I talked to said he played outstanding over there. Its not only Kevin, but this whole basketball team, has a lot more seriousness about them. He played with Chad Prewitt on a touring team and Chad said he shot the lights out.

'I don't see Kevin and JB being on the floor at the same time. But that's one of the things I like about this basketball team. I think that we can go a number of different ways with our combos in the backcourt. We have a pretty good shooting basketball team and we have a lot of guys who can play different positions.'

On Bryson Krueger:'Bryson can shoot the ball and make baskets. He's got to get tougher. We've worked hard on that. We pushed these guys during conditioning, and they'll tell you, its been the toughest conditioning that I've had since I've been at Arizona State. I think the biggest thing Bryson brings is that he stretches the defense. If you want to go double Ike on his side, go ahead. We will take three against two every time.'

On Keith Wooden:'Keith has gotten bigger, stronger, and tougher. His biggest thing last year was conditioning. He had no idea what you had to do on this level to be able to play and sustain it for a whole season. He has worked hard and stayed here all summer. He has pushed hard, he's still maturing as far as conditioning, but he's a young kid, and I feel like he can do some things offensively. I didn't want to reward him for lack of effort because when you do that, its difficult for a kid to focus. He's hungry to play because he didn't last year.'

On getting young guys playing time early in the season:'I'm going to play to win. We're going to get guys ready for conference play, but as I told them yesterday, every game is important for postseason play. In the end, that's what they're going to look at. They're going to look at how you did against the Western Michigans, how you did against teams like that. We have to make sure that we mature these guys, but first of all that we win basketball games.'

On Serge Angounou's recovery:'Serge looks good. I wouldn't say that he is 100 percent, but he's getting close. He's exploding with his jumping. He's running well and not limping at all. We knew last year that he was at 50 percent. His doctors told me he couldn't hurt it any worse by playing on it, but difficult to miss two years of play and still have skills. We wanted to make sure that he still had his skills and now he's much closer to being back into physical shape.'

On Tron Smith:'Tron has got a chance to be a good player. He has worked really hard to get bigger and stronger. The biggest thing for this team is for guys to understand what their strengths are. Tron is a good perimeter shooter but his strength is attacking the basket. We have to get him to where he is taking advantage of that. Again, I think that we have a lot of guys who do a lot of things differently, which will allow us to play some different lineups and I think that will let us take advantage of strengths.'

On Stevie Moore and his slump last year:'Stevie came out and we told him that non-league play is different from league play, because you've been scouted. Things that you do well ,they'll take that away from you. You have to adjust to that. Stevie had some outstanding issues family wise as well that really set him back. His mother was diagnosed with cancer and he learned that when he went home from Christmas and we didn't know that. Everything suffered and he went into a slump. We kept talking to his parents trying to figure out what was wrong and we didn't learn about it until April. His mother tried to hide it from him because she didn't want him leaving school and it just affected him. We've done a lot with him as far as counseling. But he had come off a situation where his sister had just been diagnosed as well. He had a tough second half, and some of it was because of his adjustments, but some if it was due to that. But if you look at him now, he's a lot happier and he's doing better, so we expect a lot out of him.'

On the point guard position:'We have three point guards. Jason has a lot of experience. He's a good defensive player and pushes the ball in transition well. Tyrone is very good and he shoots the ball well. He understands defense and can deliver the basketball at the right time. Kevin is the same way. He is a smart basketball player that stretches defenses. We can play two or three of those guys at the same time.

On the new faces:'You're not going to win at this level with seven new guys. We probably could have gone out last year and gotten some junior college transfers. In that case, we would have won 15 or 16 games, but at some point you've got to bite the bullet and say, we're going to try and get this thing stabilized, and hopefully we can do that with these young kids. I'd like to see how they respond.'

On Ike's work over the summer:'Ike worked extremely hard this summer. Ike stayed here for the first summer session and then went to camps in New Jersey. He went to Michael Jordan's camp. He worked all summer and came back and worked extremely hard this fall. He put in work on the court and off, talking to his teammates to make them understand what they have to do this year to reach our goals. This is his ball club and everybody knows it. He knows it. Ike is going to play well and the other guys are going to complement him extremely well.'

On the team's attitude this year:'When you are 17, 18, 19 years old, its hard to remember yesterday, let alone last year. They understand what happened to them and they understand why. That's the biggest thing. Why did we have the year we had last year? There are a lot of things: youth, commitment, understanding, giving themselves to the coaches. All of that comes with maturity. Their attitude is that we are good enough to win any basketball game that we play and that's what we expect to do.'

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