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Weber, Players Discuss Saturday's Game with WVU


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GO WILDCATS

Jan. 16, 2014

K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Head coach Bruce Weber and several players met with the area media on Thursday to discuss the upcoming game with West Virginia at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats and Mountaineers will meet for the fifth time on Saturday, including the fourth time in the last four seasons at 12:30 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. K-State owns a 3-1 record in the all-time series, including a pair of wins last season. West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, who laid the foundation for the Wildcats' current success, will be making his second trip to Bramlage Coliseum since coaching K-State to a 23-win season in 2006-07.

Head Coach Bruce Weber
On facing West Virginia...
"I think we are catching them after a bad game. They played their hearts out against Oklahoma State and they have had several games like that. Against Gonzaga, they led by double digits. They just were not able to grab victories. I think sometimes when that happens to you, mentally, you lose some heartbreakers like that, and there is no doubt that they did not play with the energy that they normally do at home on Monday. You have to give Texas some credit. They played lights out and made some shots, so we have got to expect a high-level game. They are going to play at a high level and they have three very good guards. (Juwan) Staten can get by anybody. His numbers against Oklahoma State were phenomenal and that was against some of the better guards in the country. (Terry) Henderson can really shoot the ball and (Gary) Browne can give you some different looks. He will post up sometimes, he will shoot it sometimes. The big guys are younger and not quite as experienced and as big as they were a year ago, but (Devin) Williams has gotten better, but it is Coach Huggins' team. He is definitely one of the all-time greats, so we have to come ready to play."

On West Virginia's interior size...   
"They are not huge, so that is a positive. They really do not have too much depth at the big-guy spots, so that also helps us a little bit, but we are also a little undermanned, size-wise. D.J. (Johnson), the other night, played 15 minutes and if you looked at his stat line, it was all zeroes. He did have three blocks but on the plus-minus chart, he was plus 14. So when he was in, he was doing good things that helped us go on a run. Whether it is him or Nino (Willliams), Nigel (Johnson), Jevon (Thomas), whoever it might be coming off of the bench, those guys have been very crucial for us."

On K-State's guard's ability to defend...
"I think the big thing is awareness. Will (Spradling) is not a pressure guy, but he is smart. We brought in Nigel (Johnson), who can pick up a little bit. Now you have Jevon (Thomas), who gives us a whole other element, but I think the other guys are key. On (Long Beach State guard) (Mike) Caffey, we said we were going to stay with him until he gave it up and we made other people make plays. However, West Virginia has three very good guards, so we definitely have to do a good job on (Juwan) Staten, especially in transition. We just showed highlights on him and it was just him going by people 1-on-4 or 1-on-5, just beating whole teams to the hoop, so that is going to be key."

On Juwan Staten's big numbers...
"That just means that he has the ball in his hands and he is making good decisions, whether he is getting to the hoop or creating and kicking.  The other day, they did not shoot the ball well, but that has been their thing, their 3-point shooting. For the most part, we have been pretty positive defending the three, getting to the shooters and getting hands up and contesting, so that is going to be important. But it starts with containing. Once you get beat, now everyone has to help. Oklahoma did not hurt us as much with the shots as they did with the offensive rebounds that (Ryan) Spangler was able to get and that kept them in the game for most of it and let them have scoring runs."

Senior Guard Will Spradling
On K-State's recent defensive efforts...
"We have done a great job defensively as a team, helping each other out. Obviously, we did not do a great job of that against KU, but other than that, we have done a great job with our defense."

On facing West Virginia...
"We have played a team similar with the quickness as Oklahoma had a lot of quick guards that really tried to get to the basket. That is what West Virginia wants to do. We did a good job of playing team defense the other night, so that is something that we will have to do again."

On K-State's defensive mentality...
"Everybody helps out. Whomever is guarding the guy who inbounds the ball has really been helping us a lot, especially making it so the point guard cannot catch the ball. That takes a lot of pressure off of us when they cannot even get the ball. When they get the ball, we just do a good job of trying to make it hard for them. We have three point guards who can come in at anytime and that makes it a lot easier."

On defending high-level guards in the Big 12...
"We might not be able to take them totally out of the game but we can wear them down. Some teams, like Oklahoma State, only have one point guard and we did a good job of wearing them down and getting them in foul trouble."

On West Virginia guard Juwan Staten...
"He really wants to get out in transition and go. He really wants to get to the basket. He is a good three-point shooter and has a really nice pull-up jumper, so it is going to be the same thing, pressure him in the full court and then once he gets into the half court, just try to contain him."

Junior Forward Nino Williams
On his personal improvements this season...
"I think the biggest difference is that I was sick early on and now I am just playing with a lot more confidence. I feel a lot better. Early on, I was kind of weak and down on myself. But Coach Weber had a talk with me in late November and told me to stay positive, that I would have my time and just help out the younger guys. If you help out people, good things will happen to you and I just think I have been staying positive and playing hard."

On what he brings to the floor...
"The main thing is that if we do not have energy, to bring energy and to get the crowd involved. I try to get a couple boards and to just bring a lot of energy and a lot of toughness off of the bench. My main focus is toughness and energy."