VIDEO: Muhammad after ASU

Shabazz Muhammad talks about playing well against ASU while fighting his nagging pink eye ailment as well as a sprained ankle suffered in the first half...

Shabazz Muhammad after Arizona State:


SM: Arizona State is a really good team. We went to their place last time and lost by 18. But we really came out with a chip on our shoulder, and we got a good win.

Q: how's your ankle?

SM: it's good, I mean, uh, I tweaked it a little bit but I'll be fine and I'm ready for the Arizona game.

Q: which one is it?

SM: the left one.

Q: how did you do it?

SM: um, I don't know what I was doing. I was trying to jam off that foot and it kind of gave out, but luckily I had tape on it.

Q: when was it?

SM: first half.

Q: how excited are you that ESPN is coming into town?

SM: oh, we're really excited. I mean, they're going to give us 110%. I mean, coming off that loss against USC tonight, we're going to get ready for them. We have the day off tomorrow. I'm going to really relax myself. Get off my feet. And get ready Friday for this war we're about the have.

Q: you, Jordan [Adams], and Kyle [Anderson]… I think you guys scored like 80% of your points and kind of like 75% of your rebounds. Is this maybe your best collective performance you think?

SM: oh, I think so. I mean, I was trying to rebound. Score. I was even looking for my teammates a lot. They were doubling down a lot, and I was trying to look for guys. Got a couple of turnovers because of it but I'm just trying to be unselfish as a player. And it really helped us out tonight. We really did a good job doing that.

Q: does [ESPN] GameDay coming in here change anything? Add to the excitement?

SM: it doesn't change anything. I mean, it's going to add for the fans. I mean, but it's big-time that GameDay's here. And it just gives us another time to show ourselves on national television.

Q: what was it they were doing defensively that made you more of a playmaker down the stretch?

SM: [Carrick] Felix was doing a good job of trying to trail me and the guys were really doubling down and bunching up tight because they knew I was going to shoot the ball. That's when you know you've got to get your other guys involved. Like I was trying to get Dave [Wear] involved early, and he did a really good job. And even Kyle. So we did a really good job of being really unselfish and we need to really continue that.

Q: is that something you've been working on over the year?

SM: oh, absolutely. I'm always looking to make my teammates better. And I thought I did a good job today. 4 or 5 guys in double figures. That's remarkable.

Q: with Kyle getting a career high in points, did you notice him feeling a lot more comfortable out there?

SM: oh yeah. I told him. I told him the whole time, "That guy can't guard you." I was telling Kyle. He's had that confidence when he's scoring. Because I've seen him in the McDonald's game or everywhere else. He can score the ball whenever he wants. So I told him to just come out here and really play and he did that and just made an all-out great performance with passing the ball, rebounding, and scoring.

Q: do you think confidence is something that's affected his shooting especially with the poor start he had this season?

SM: yeah, I think so. I mean, yeah, he had a poor start, but like I said, he's been working… he's been in there with me in the gym working. And that's really helping him out a lot. And you could see tonight, he really played.

Q: was your eye an issue at all? In terms of contacts?

SM: not really. I mean, my eye was really open. So it wasn't an issue like the ‘SC game where it was really closed. Really got a good shot at the rim, and I thought my shot was really on tonight.

Q: Coach [Howland] said you guys kind of proved why you guys were the #1 recruiting class in the country. What do you say about that?

SM: I think he's absolutely right. If you look at it, I mean, Tony Parker. I mean, he was big-time again with that big rebound he had and put it up. But I mean, we're just here to do our job. I mean, I thought we did a good job, me, Jordan, and Kyle… and Tony did a really good job too. So we're just here to try to win as many games as we can.

Q: there's been a lot of talk about Arizona State coming in here, kind of playing for their tournament lives, what about you guys? I mean, you guys have a lot to play for here, trying to win a PAC-12 championship.

SM: oh, absolutely. I mean, Arizona [State]… you look on ESPN and they're among the first 4 out or the first 4 in or whatever. So I knew they were going to come in here and try to get a good win on us and like I said, we're trying to be the best team in the West to come out to the tournament. So that's what we're building for. We're really trying to get this PAC-12 tournament and win it.

Q: even though Howland says you don't look ahead, do you sense the urgency, knowing that this game, the Washington trip, you get to go home to Vegas, then it's the PAC-12 tournament, NCAA Tournament.

SM: oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We're looking at it. We're laying it out right now. And we've got to get ready for that. Like we're going to take it a game at a time. Playing Arizona, like I said, who lost to ‘SC. They're going to give us 110% coming here and we're looking forward to it.

Q: how exciting is it going to be to be back in Vegas for the PAC-12 Tournament?

SM: oh, really excited. I'm so comfortable there. And it's going to be a great environment for us and I can't wait to get down there.

Q: you're going to be [audio difficulties] for tickets and stuff?

SM: oh, yeah, absolutely. My dad's going to handle it.

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