Oct. 27, 2004
ON HOW THE TEAM HAS IMPROVED:
This is a team of much improved understanding, of much improved will to succeed, and a much more physically prepped team to handle a tough college basketball season.
ON HIS EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS SEASON:
Our basketball team as a whole is high on itself. The overall feeling of our basketball team is that we are ready to expect more of ourselves and each other, which is something you would like to have going into every season more so than the previous. The coaches and players alike, expect more of ourselves.
ON HAVING A FULL ROSTER AND HOW IT AFFECTS THE TEAM:
This is our first year that we have 13 scholarship athletes. That means a couple of things. Number one, our practices are more competitive because we have more able bodies. Number two, when you translate that into games, it means that we can change our philosophy in how we approach not only one particular game, but our season. That allows our team and our system to be able to do the things that I envision us doing.
ON THIS YEAR'S STYLE OF PLAY:
We'll be able to extend our defense out. We'll pick up the pace offensively. We're going to get up and down the floor and play all 90 feet a lot more often than we have in the past when we had to be concerned about fatigue and foul trouble. I think both of those elements have somewhat backed up for our team because of the depth that we've added.
ON HOW THE TEAM HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS:
It takes some time to establish certain things. My first season here, I felt like I spent more time establishing the tone of how our program was going to be run and perceived. That includes all phases, academics, athletic, and even socially in terms of setting guidelines and rules for our team. Last year, we focused a little more on the basketball side and what we expected out of each other commitment-wise and effort-wise. This year, our understanding has kicked in and that's important because once you understand what you are being asked to do, you are able to just make the play in front of you.
ON LEAVING CONFERENCE USA:
I'm kind of sad that this is our last year (in C-USA). I was excited to become TCU's basketball coach but I was also excited to be a part of C-USA as it exists today. I don't think we could be where we are at this point without the benefit of being in a conference that was capable of putting six teams into the NCAA tournament last year.
ON BEING PICKED 9th IN THE CONFERENCE:
For us to be picked 9th (in the conference), basically means that others aren't going to take TCU lightly this year but we still have to prove it to them. That's fair because I think we have improved but if we are going to do anything better than 9th, we are going to have to prove it to people. The last year here, I expect us to have to earn everything we get.
ON HOW THE TEAM IS BETTER THIS SEASON:
Basically, we have the entire team from last season minus one (Nucleus Smith) in terms of understanding what I'm asking them to do. We add four players, Nile Murry who practiced with the team last year, and then three new people, Brent (Hackett) Reese, Neiman Owens, and Judson Stubbs to a roster that's already full of people who have great understanding.
ON WHAT THEY WORKED ON DURING THE OFFSEASON:
The two things we talked about all spring and summer were that we are going to be a better motion team and a much stronger team. There is absolutely no question that this is a much stronger team. Physically, I feel like we are more prepared, we have more depth, and we have more understanding. Even before we play one game that makes us a better basketball team.
ON THE TEAM'S INCREASED CONFIDENCE:
The confidence that they've added in the weight room and with their conditioning has made them a much more aggressive basketball team and players individually.
ABOUT THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF PRACTICES:
When the bodies collide now, it's a thunderous collision where before it was almost like a gentle touch. The bodies smash into each other quite a lot now. When the ball hits the floor, the bodies hit the floor right after it. If you watched us last year, the first thing you will notice is that things are happening quicker with much more strength. There is a physical nature to this team that was missing.
ON TEAM CHEMISTRY:
I have not been around a team that knows more about each other off the court than this group does. They don't miss a chance to tease each other and I think that's key. They have balanced that very well because we can now have a very intense practice and as soon they hit the locker room somebody's going to talk about someone else and it's going to get pretty funny. That's very important and missing in way too many locker rooms. We've got very good chemistry and it's important to me, now and forever, that we don't add anyone who takes away the type of team chemistry that these guys have established.
ON THIS SEASON'S GOALS:
Last year, we weren't going to be left out of the C-USA tournament. This year that's just not going to be enough. Everyone in our locker room has a serious goal of reaching some sort of post-season play and then sticking around for a while. I expect at least 250 other teams to have a similar goal, so we've got our work cut out for us. There's not one practice where we haven't talked about what we have to do to be one of 64.
ON THE SENIOR CLASS:
Their biggest strength is that they understand what's expected of them now.
ON Marcus Shropshire:
You're not going to find a kid in our conference or any other conference that has the knack for getting himself open and making big shots. We have great confidence in his ability to do that.
ON Aaron Curtis:
He has made a huge adjustment between the end of last season and today. He has now got his feet firmly planted on the ground here at TCU and is playing up to his capabilities. He is a very athletic person who can shoot the three and get you baskets down low either by posting up or offensive rebounding.
ON Corey Valsin:
With him you have mismatch potential at the power forward slot. Defensively, he can deny anyone the basketball anywhere on the court. Offensively, because he is able to shoot the perimeter jump shot and put it to the floor, he becomes a very difficult guard for a bigger, slower, power forward.
ON Marcus Sloan:
He has made huge strides from last year to know. Most of those have come in regards to physical stature. He did a remarkable job in the weight room and is a much more confident player because of added strength and weight. He is the most active player in practice every day.
ON Corey Santee:
He has a chance to be the top, in 101 years of TCU history, in scoring and assists. Corey's capable of a lot of things. He can create shots for himself and for his teammates. He has the ability to bail a team out of a jam. If the shot clock gets down to four or five, Corey can go get a shot. We value that greatly.
ON Judson Stubbs:
He adds depth. He gives us another person with a nice physical frame who has offensive capabilities around the basket.
ON THE OFFENSE:
Last year we depended much too heavily on either perimeter jump shots or either trying to get Chudi (Chinweze) open around the basket. Judson (Stubbs) along with a couple of other people who have improved their offensive ability will make us a much more balanced team. We've got a lot of people who confidence-wise feel like they can go score a basket in the paint.