Basketball season can be called a success now, BYU players say
You can get a lot done on a four-hour flight from Salt Lake City to New York City. Like transcribe comments from the BYU basketball team and coach Dave Rose. Saturday, before leaving for the Big Apple, the Cougars and Rose talked about their NIT run, and what they expect at Madison Square Garden from the Baylor Bears (Tuesday, 5 p.m. MDT, ESPN2). Rose and selected players will appear at a news conference Monday, and I will have fresh comments and notes from that. In the meantime, here are some of those comments from Saturday:Nate Austin on how three games later there is a different way to look at this season:"I am glad we got the chance to play in the NIT. If our season had ended, I think most people would say it was kinda of a disappointment, almost. But our team stayed together, we are pretty tightknit, and playing for each other. The season has been turned around a little bit, and I think it is more of a success than it was before, for sure."Austin on getting over the disappointment of the WCC loss and how long it took: "I think coaches tried to run it out of us pretty quick. Our first few practices and workouts were pretty tough. I think guys were pretty disappointed all week until Sunday when we found out we were going to play Washington that Sunday. Once we found that out, our mindset was we were past the San Diego game and on to the next one. But it was tough for everyone."Tyler Haws on playing Baylor the first time in December, a 79-64 loss to the Bears:"It was a weird situation. Usually I am aware of how many fouls I have, and unfortunately I got my second and had to go to the bench. I think I have learned from that experience and done a lot better job the rest of the season. So it will be a different outcome the second time around."Haws on the start vs. Baylor being pretty good: "We did [start well]. We got off to a really good start against this team. We know we can play with them. So hopefully we can do that again and put together a full 40 minutes against them." Haws on scoring 90, 90 and 79 in NIT, and whether this is team they thought they would be: "For sure. We are playing our best basketball right now. Everyone is sharing the ball. We are playing fast. And so we have hit our peak at a good time."Haws on why the Cougars are shooting better as a team:"I think we are just playing fast and free. We have got nothing to lose, so guys are just going out and playing as hard as they can, and kinda letting it all hang out."BYU coach Dave Rose on whether he has been to Madison Square Garden: "I have been in it and been around it, but never played in it. I think that that's ... anytime you get an opportunity to do something that is a little bit different, or a little bit new, the greatest thing is to look forward to the opportunity and try to take advantage of it. I have talked to a lot of guys about playing in there. The teams that seem to play in there a lot seem to be the most comfortable and play the best. It is an interesting setting, to we will get in there on Tuesday afternoon. We don't get to practice there on Monday, so we will have a shootaround on Tuesday, then play Tuesday night."Rose on what practices have been like:"We have kind of dialed down a little bit. I thought the turnaround was really tough on these guys as far as a Monday game, and the trip to Miss. and get them back. Today's practice was really good. It was really spirited. Our preparation is good. It is a game plan we don't have to start at the beginning at. There are a lot of changes we have made in our game plan for Baylor from the first time that we played them. But I thought our guys really got after it today. It was a really good practice."Rose on who gets credit for turnaround in postseason: "I believe that the most important thing when we came home was to make sure these guys had a real strong belief that their coaches thought that this was a good team. I think we were really positive with the guys. We addressed some real issues, and the guys responded to that. But this is a real reflection of the character of these guys, of the character of the leaders of this team, the character of the seniors. I mean, Brock and Craig and Brandon, when you take their three collective stories and their careers at BYU, it is tremendous. But then you break it down to their individual stories, of how they made it here, and what they have been through, and how they have responded to all kinds of adversity. And they have had great things happen to them, and how they have responded to those successes that they have had, I think it is an inspiration to anybody who would like to hear their story, because they are all three unique, all three different, but I think they have really put their stamp on our program, especially this team." Rose on winning on the road and the satisfaction it brought: "I have told you guys before: the feelings that you experience, the highs, the lows, there is nothing more exciting and just satisfying as being able to go out on the road and beating a really good team in a hostile environment. When you walk out of there, the feeling of satisfaction in bringing your guys together, your staff together, to execute a game plan and come out of that arena successful, it is way better than winning at home. And I love winning at home, but winning out there on the road, especially with a sellout crowd, we had a challenge. It was a real satisfying win for our guys."Rose on what they need to do better this time vs. Baylor:"Well, rebounding will be a real big issue. They were really dominant on the boards. I think that transition defense is going to have to be a lot better. They had a spurt there where they just kind of blew the game wide open. We had a hard time controlling Pierre in the full court. And then [Brady] Hislop got loose, hit some 3s. It is an issue. Cory Jefferson is a great rebounder. Isaiah Austin is a guy that is really long. So we will have to be better in those areas."