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@oregonstatembb Holds Local Media Day

Oct 1, 2013

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The OSU Basketball Center was filled with several cameras, notepads and cell phones (for tweeting purposes) on Tuesday when Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson and every player on the 2013-14 men’s basketball team were available for interviews at the Beavers’ annual Media Day.

Below are some of the quotes from Robinson and the players as the team prepares for the upcoming season with the first official practice scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Head coach Craig Robinson

On how close the program is to getting over the hump and making the NCAA Tournament…
“I want to say right now that I believe we are close. But we are still at a point where everything has to run perfectly. We have talent, we have competitiveness, we have athleticism and we have facilities. We have something to sell people. So we are close. But that isn’t to say our goal isn’t to get there. Our goal every year is to get to the NCAA Tournament.”

On how close Angus Brandt is to being back to 100 percent…
“I’m the one who isn’t 100 percent with him. I don’t want to risk anything. He trains so hard on his own, I just don’t want to risk him coming down on somebody’s foot and twisting an ankle. I know that might sound a little bit immature, but I’m being extremely cautious. He could practice right now, but we probably won’t have him go until we get to the middle of October.”

On how anxious the team is for the upcoming season…
“They are really anxious. I’m trying to sort of ease them into it, and it’s hard to do because they are extremely excited and have high expectations for themselves. But, with all this time, I want them to be peaking in February, not in October. So I need to sort of cool things off a little bit and bring them along slowly. I need to temper them and make sure we are raising the bar every single day.”
 
On the length of suspensions for Devon Collier and Eric Moreland
“Devon will be back for the Portland game (second regular-season game) and Eric will not be back until the Stanford game, home here in January (15th regular-season game). I will go on to say that both of these guys since their suspensions have handled them probably as best as guys could, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. Both of them have been hard working, they’ve been team players, they know what they’ve done has sort of put us in a little bit of a bind. But I feel really good about the way they are tackling their suspensions.”

Senior guard Roberto Nelson

On stepping into a leadership role this season...
"Well, I have the same expectations that I had last year. I just want to try to maximize my potential and be the best I can be. We have a great senior class. Angus (Brandt) and I have been here the longest and have the senior leadership. We're definitely pushing the team to do all the right things since we know what needs to be done at this level."

On whether the depth of the team is better this year…
"I would definitely agree with that. The freshmen that are coming in are competing. You will see them going out and getting minutes during the game. With the way that they are playing, as well as the upperclassmen, we have a really good team." 

On the team chemistry...
"We do a lot more stuff together. We go to different sporting events, we go support volleyball and soccer and all those different things. I think that says a lot. Having this practice facility here also helps out a lot. We come out here all the time and having shooting contests almost every night. It's always fun to come out with your buddies and play the game and have fun while doing it. I think that builds a lot of chemistry and friendship."

On the progression of the team in the offseason…
"I just think everybody's hungry. Everybody is approaching the season with the same goals. I don't think anybody is going off track with that. We’re just working extremely hard in games and in practice to make sure we are achieving the goals we set for ourselves."

On the impact of the practice facility…
"You always know you'll run into somebody here. It's great having someone in the gym every time you come in. You can just have fun and play competitive shooting games and continue to build friendships because that's what it's all about. We're a family and these guys are my brothers. Seeing them makes my day and going out there and trying to beat them is always fun and I love it."

Senior center Angus Brandt

On being limited in practice until fully healthy...
"Yes, I am chomping at the bit to get going, but I understand where he (Coach Robinson) is coming from and I know that it's the smart thing to do to come back later rather than earlier. Right now there's really no pressure for me to come back and play five-on-five. When I come back, I think I'll get back into the swing of things pretty quickly."

On the team’s chemistry...
"I've been able to watch on the sidelines when they play five-on-five and it's incredible how often guys are looking for the extra pass, even when they're wide open and should probably take the shot. Guys under the rim get rebounds, and rather than go back up with it, they are looking for their teammates more than their own shots. That's something that will only lead to positive things out there."

On the depth of the team…
"I think our freshman class this year is one of the strongest we've had. Those guys are really impressing the coaches and I right now with what they can do on the floor and how hard they work. It's something I haven't seen from a freshman class since I've been here. Having freshmen that are trying to take minutes and earn their spot on the team is going to push the older guys to play better in practice and ultimately better in games."
 
Junior guard Challe Barton

On taking over as the starting point guard...
"I'm just trying to talk a lot more out there on the court and show that I'm a leader. We've got two freshmen coming in that play like professionals already so I'm not too worried about it."

On trying out for Swedish National Team...
"I played with the U25 team at first and I got to shoot a lot and create a lot of plays, which boosted my confidence. Then I played with the senior team, with players I've been looking up to my whole life, which was a unique experience. I didn't make the team in the end, but I did my best and I don't have any regrets."
 
On feeling pressure to shoot more this season...
"Yes, of course. We lost both Joe (Burton) and Ahmad (Starks), so we lose a lot of points there. We need somebody to fill it up and I think I can do it. Maybe not score like Roberto (Nelson), but maybe 10 points a game."

Senior forward Devon Collier
 
On the team’s depth…
"It's good. We've got a lot of talent. We have good incoming freshmen. (Daniel) Gomis and Angus (Brandt) are back, which is a huge help for us. The sophomores are progressing right now, so I really think we've just got to show it on the court."

On the team’s chemistry…
"We have good team chemistry. We've started working out together and playing pickup games and everyone has learned their spots faster than previous years. We try to play a lot to learn each other’s moves and make sure everybody knows each other and it has gone smoothly from there."

On the play of the freshmen…
"The freshmen have been impressive. We've got Hallice (Cooke) who is a great shooter, Malcolm (Duvivier) who has great energy and knows where he's supposed to go, and Cheikh (N'diaye), a 7-foot rebounding machine. As soon as we get them strong, healthy and ready for college game speed, they'll be good."

Sophomore forward Daniel Gomis

On being completely healthy...
"Yes, I'm feeling much better. I can't wait."

On expectations for the season…
"We're really excited. We have some great leaders and people are ready to go. We have a good class of freshmen, and they work as hard as people who have been here three or four years. Hopefully this season will go well."

Freshman guard Hallice Cooke
 
On adapting to college level basketball...
"It's all about the hard work you put in and how dedicated you are to it. If you see me in the weight room, I'm always the hardest-working guy and I'm always there after just trying to get bigger. I'm focused on eating a lot and stuff like that. That's probably my biggest deficiency right now; I need to get bigger and stronger."

On his hard-working mentality...
"My work ethic came from my parents. Just seeing my Dad get up for work every day and work hard, and seeing my mom doing things around the house and keeping the family together motivates me. I try to transfer that to the court, off the court and in the classroom."

Sophomore forward Olaf Schaftenaar

On possibly being an NCAA Tournament team...
"I think we have all the pieces to the puzzle. We have great talent with bigs, guards and forwards. We've got a lot of potential."