New Mexico vs. New Mexico State - Postgame Quotes
Dec. 15, 2012
Coach Steve Alford Quotes vs. NMSU
"Extremely pleased with our basketball team. After having a week where we're one off, enduring finals and finishing up on the academic side, our guys know how serious that is because of how we emphasize it. And we did not practice a whole lot. We had literally zero film until last night because that week is really set for them to finish what they have to do academically. And for them to respond with the effort that they gave tonight, [I'm] extremely pleased. I thought our energy was really good. I thought our concentration was outstanding. And we did the things that we've been doing. We out-rebounded a really good team. We took care of the basketball and we got to the free-throw line. And that's what's we've been doing through this stretch. And for them to continue that after a week off is pleasing."
On Alex Kirk's performance...
"I said it a long time ago: he's going to be one of the best centers in the west. And he just continues to improve and get better and prove those things right. I think he's a tremendous talent. You got to guard him, just not on the block, as you saw you tonight with the big fellow [Sim Bhullar] that they have. We just pulled him away from the basket and let him shoot shots, because he can make shots. He gets to the free-throw line. He's getting much better defensively. He's gotten much better defensively every game. He's doing a lot of good things."
On the Lobos' defensive performance, including 11 blocks...
"Our guys love challenges. I don't think we thought about having 11 blocks. I just soon have maybe six blocks and six charges. Be that as it may, 11 blocks are lot of blocks in a game. And it came from a lot of people."
On the performance of Chad Adams...
"Chad's been terrific. The transformation in him, the light turning on in him, has been one of the most rewarding things since I've been here. He's been through an awful lot. Please don't say much to him to disrupt that flow. I told his dad at practice-his dad stopped by practice-and I told him 'don't wish him Merry Christmas, don't tell him Happy New Year, don't do anything to disrupt his rhythm'. Because he's in a very good place right now. He's doing the job in the classroom. He's got his life in order. He's showing some responsibility. And that's equating to minutes and production out on the floor. You're talking about an individual who's played sparingly in three years and all of the sudden he's dropping double-doubles. He's just doing a lot of good things for us. And I thought a big key tonight was going to be [NMSU forward Tyrone] Watson. And Watson didn't get a field goal. And a lot of that was Chad Adams."
Where have you been for three years?
"Finding myself, it's been a struggle but I've just been focused on making a strong comeback and I think it's paid off."
Did something click for you?
"It clicked a while ago, but honestly I probably had some old habits and it was hard to break out of my old ways, but coach Alford has been great and gotten me on track with everything. I've just been doing everything he's been asking me to do and everything has fallen into place."
How important has effort been for you and how has that translating into rebounding and you getting these key minutes?
"Effort is really big for the whole team. I pride myself on effort and defense and I go out there and go as hard as I can the whole game. When you go hard you just end up at the right place at the right time."
Talk about blocking a guy who's 7'5"...
"I was trying to defend him and Alex got the initial block and then he got the ball back and I said to myself 'he can't get this shot' so I tried to swat it again and I happened to get it. I was just down there battling with him."
Being one of the few New Mexico kids that's on these teams does this game mean anything more to you?
"I think I understand it a little more. As a senior and I guy who has been around for three years and Kendall and Jamal have been around to let the rest of the guys know how big of a game it is. I definitely understand it more though, it's really important and this was my last time playing them in the Pit so it was really important for me and Jamal to come out with the win."
When you knew you were going to be the starter going forward what changed for you mentally?
"I wouldn't say that anything changed, but I definitely said 'okay you're getting your chance, make the best of it' so I try and stay humble about it and don't go out there and try and force my role. Everything is going really well."
Talk about the state of the team and being 11-0
"Everybody is happy right now. This is the happiest I've seen coach Alford in a long time. Everything is going really well, it's really fun and team morale and camaraderie is great. We obviously can't stay undefeated forever, but everyone is coming together to make it last as long as we can. It's a task and everyone is coming together."
Has it just worked out with this team where the pistons are going up and down?
"Yeah, I still think we're trying to get our flow, but we have a lot of weapons and guys are going to be filling in on different nights. It's an unselfish group too so if someone's feeling it we're going to help him out and keep feeding him. Tonight we had a lot of people click in and it was a good game."
Your thoughts on coach Alford being the happiest you've ever seen him in the time you've been here?
"He's definitely happy, but he's not complacent, none of us are. We still have a lot of improvements to go, but it's always nice to have a happy coach."
How important is rebounding for this team?
"It's a big factor, we get a lot of help from the two Aussies, and down low, but when other guys get in there and get their hands dirty it's good. We have 10 wins under our belt coming into this game so we didn't want to let this team come in and beat us."
Is it tough to not have the mindset of 'we're the better team' and go down there and have it be a letdown game?
"It's a rivalry so there's a lot of feel behind it, we hope they don't walk away tonight thinking they have a chance to compete with us wherever we play, but we need to be able to go there and create our own energy and feel. Every game is important especially on the road."
How is the pressure now that you're ranked and there's teams out there and want to knock you out?
"We've been ranked for a little while now, so teams are definitely gunning for us. As you go along, teams are going to knock you down, but I think that's good motivation for us to keep going and having that donut in the loss column."
What have you seen change in Chad?
"Just maturity, we all go through our process differently, but he's been working hard and now that he's received some attention how he's been able to handle it and understand his role. Still being able to prove himself and being a good friend of his I'm happy for him."