By Liz Alper
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
February 28, 2017 (San Diego) - With the Aztecs' last home game of the season tomorrow night against Air Force, head coach Steve Fisher and three of his seniors, guards Dakarai Allen and D'Erryl Williams and forward Matt Shrigley, sat down with the media today.
"Tomorrow is a special evening in honoring our seniors," Fisher opened with. "...win the game. That is the motive. It will be very nice to see families come and participate in the last home game for this group of really, really important seniors.”
Coach gave the scouting report on Air Force. “We play a team that beat us at their place. They have struggled since they beat us. We’ll have to score the ball. We have to come out and guard, guard like we did the first game, maybe a little better, and put the ball in the basket like we did for the first 16 minutes in the first game."
Williams is a pre-med student. Fisher talked about his dedication to basketball and to his studies. "He’s done extra. He’s gotten in the gym by himself. He’s done all the things you can do to do to stay ready and stay prepared and still perform in the classroom. He’s been unwavering in his commitment to himself. He came here for basketball. I don’t know that he knew coming in that he’d be going to medical school. He might have, but most people change their minds 10 times. Once he got committed; ‘this is what I’m going to do,’ I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t become a doctor as we move forward. Again, it’s a focus, it’s a concentration, it’s a commitment of what you want on the basketball floor. He’s providing on the basketball floor and in the classroom."
Fisher was asked to reflect on these last two games of the season and look back at what has happened over the course of the season. "We’re saying you can’t take back what has happened, but you can learn from it. You can be determined, and when close games present themselves, which they will, find a way to take a deep breath, know that you are good, be confident you’re going to be successful, and make the appropriate play. Like we’ve done, but not often enough. Like we did at Fresno State, like we did against Nevada. And you have to be able to perform. As we speak, we have three practices (left) in our regular season. We’re not going to change the world with what we do on the practice floor. But you’ve got to have a concentration, belief and a commitment that you’re going to do everything you can to be successful. And confidence is paramount. You have to know that you’re going to be successful. We at times say close your eyes, play the game, play it successfully. You have to be able to do that. If doubt creeps in, it will show. And it’s happened for us at times."
Shrigley talked about what Senior Night means to him. “We’ve seen all the seniors before us do it. All have been here for at least four years. It’s an important moment, just a time to kind of stand there and soak it all in and get ready for the game.”
Allen's take: “I’m just trying to downplay it as another game. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot, honestly. It’s one last chance to go out there and perform in front of our fans and hear them go crazy, so we have to make sure the crowd is into it.”
Williams: "...now it’s really here. So I just want to take advantage of it and just go out there and play hard and have some fun with the seniors for one last time.”
Both Shrigley and Allen said that their favorite SDSU memory was winning three rings. What was Williams' favorite memory? "Mine would probably be the comeback win vs. New Mexico (in 2014). The atmosphere, I’ve never seen anything like it. Everybody but the people in the arena thought we were going to lose that game, and it was surreal just seeing the whole comeback happen. The energy in that building was never like that before.”
SDSU faces Air Force at Viejas Arena on Senior Night at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night. You can watch the game on CBS Sports Network and listen on The Mighty 1090.