Dougherty Ready to Begin 2003-04 Season
Nov. 6, 2003
What have you seen so far in practice that is different from last year and where do you stand at this point in the year?
"What I've seen is a much more attentive basketball team. I think that they're trying to play harder, which is very important, but they're also trying to do more things, more exactly. They're trying to execute things in a more precise manner, and I think that explains a little bit of where we've come in our understanding phase and it comes along with a bit greater detailed expectations of what they're trying to put together."
"What I see with the team right now, is a lot of guys who are still trying to find their way around TCU with the new faces and then some other people who the light is slowly starting to slowly come on, in terms of starting to feel more comfortable. 'I understand what you're asking of me now and now it's just up to me to go do it.' So there's a little bit of a blend there."
"In terms of where they are individually; as a group, it's been a lot of fun so far to work with them because we do have their attention, they are working hard, and they're competing. Basically, we just tell them, 'I like the direction that we're headed, but let's all understand that we're not there yet. Let's try to continue to keep the process moving."
How long do you think it takes a team to achieve the level you want them to?
"I'm not going to put a timetable out there for them or this program, because I think we need to continue to address things that you have to get better on the court, you have to get better off the court. All of that comes together and helps our kids get at a level or attain success, whatever we're going to mark as that entrance into the successful area. I don't know what that timetable is. I just like what I'm seeing now and when we get there, we're only going to want more anyway, so there's no need to throw a prediction out there for this group or any other group right now."
How do you feel about the effort they put forth in the off-season in the weight room?
"I am happy. Again, it's the direction we're heading. Our strength coaches have done a very good job with the players. The players have made the commitment to improve their strength and conditioning. That's not the fun part of basketball, but we all understand and they have since last season, spring, summer, up until now, worked very hard at being stronger and faster. So now, I think Corey Santee mentioned it earlier, if we can stay healthy, where they can continue that type of training, we're only going to get better."
What is your opinion on the movement of the schools to the Big East?
"To be honest with you, the climate for college athletics is such that everyone's getting in line for something, everyone's got their own agenda. I would hate to lose them from a basketball standpoint, because they bring such credibility to our conference."
"It's not just the programs, it's the coaches. I look forward to, and I think our players look forward to playing against Louisville with Rick Pitino. If it were Louisville and someone else, maybe that takes a little luster off of it. We are losing some marquee programs, but we're losing some marquee names as well, when you're talking about a coach like Rick Pitino."
"Where does that leave me, or our program here? We've got so many issues just here locally that we're still trying to build on that we haven't had a lot of time to think about that. We're trying to make sure that TCU is better, and that we're doing what we need to do to put ourselves in position that we can be one day that type of program that everyone wants or what the player wants to be associated with or likes. That's what concerns us right now more than conference realignment."
Do you see a correlation between the new facilities and recruiting?
"When you build up facilities, you are in a lot of ways showing a renewed commitment to that particular sport. Here in basketball, with the things going on with the new facilities, I think it's clearly stated that they want a good basketball program here. Now what we've got to do is continue to recruit. We've got to work and do all the things that we can to make sure that not just TCU people understand that, but people throughout the state, and throughout the nation understand that there is a new era in basketball in TCU and it looks like they're serious. That's the message that we want to send out."
Do you feel that it's necessary to recruit in-state?
"We have a plan to be very big in terms of recruiting in the state of Texas. I don't want to say exclusively to the state of Texas, but I think when we hit the ground here, it was a situation where we needed to establish a recruiting presence in this state. I think this state is loaded with athletes and the track record has been that they run for the border, so I think that what we need to do immediately is close the border down and slow that exodus as quickly as we can. If you want to take a look, and I do, I have for several years--the number of kids out of Texas who play in the NCAA Tournament would blow your mind. The number of kids (from Texas) who play in the NCAA Tournament for non-Texas schools is even more astounding. That trend needs to be reversed, and if that happens, TCU, along with some other Texas schools, may find themselves in the tournament more often."
Why do you think most kids go out of state for basketball, is it because football is the more dominant sport?
"I think the perception that we all have becomes reality. What you guys (the media) write sometimes becomes reality, whether it's the truth or not. Perception in this state for several years has been that football is king, and I'm a huge football fan, everyone that knows me understands that. However, basketball and football can co-exist in this state. We've got NBA teams all over this state, so I don't understand why college teams can't be the same way. The NBA World Champion team came from this state.
"Outside of Texas, people of have used that against this state for several years. 'Come play over here where you're appreciated for what you do.' It's kind of the call in college basketball. That perception needs to not only be beaten down, but eliminated, because it's not true. It's certainly not true anymore because I think what we represent here at TCU is another option for these kids to stay right here in front of their friends and family, play a high-quality level of basketball, enjoy it and put TCU in the tournament."
How excited are you for this season?
"I'm very excited. I get excited about every season, though, so I don't know if I'm the barometer that you want. It thrills me every day to go down there on the practice to work with the kids. I love it, if for nothing else but it gets me out of my desk and answering phone calls all day that I don't necessarily want to deal with. I'm extremely excited not only because it's basketball season again, but, in particular, with this group."
"I think, in our second year, we have a lot of things that we need to do better, but we're starting to understand what those things are. There's a lot less frustration, just in terms of coaching a basketball team, so it's been a lot of fun."
What are your first opinions of the new players, who do you see starting to stand out?
"I like to talk about them more as a group, than as individuals right now, because they haven't done anything. You'll see them soon enough and make your own opinions on that. As a group, the new kids coming in, I would call more in line to be gym rats. They stick in the gym constantly. They're in there shooting, or wanting to do something all the time. This new building can't open up fast enough for them. I think the more and more we get that type of kid who can not only get things taken care of in the classroom, he can't wait to grab a ball and get into the gym, too, our program is going to reflect that in terms of wins and losses. That's what makes me more excited than ever is that I see kids eager to get to the gym now."
What has it been like coaching your son?
"It's probably too early to tell, but what I think of, in terms of over the years, just watching him play and answering his questions or him observing me at a practice, whether it had been at Vanderbilt, South Carolina or Kansas. I think there's an understanding there that is a big benefit, because with a look from me to him, or him to me, we understand what we're thinking before we even say it and that helps. He is also able to do things that he knows I'm thinking about and the other players pick up on that. So it's early to tell just what it's like because we haven't gone through a whole lot of things where it's ups and downs: he hasn't struggled, I haven't struggled, those kinds of things yet, to get a really good full player-coach relationship that anyone who has done this has with any player, let alone their son, but it has been fun so far."
How do you take being picked 11th out of 14 teams at the Conference USA media day and how do you use that as motivation?
"First of all, I'm too competitive to accept 11th. Realistically, I need to make sure that my own personal thoughts don't set expectations that this team cannot reach. I think you if you asked each of these players, they would probably jump through this microphone and say,'11th, my foot.' We still, as a program, need to go out and prove where we do belong."
"I've been on the other end of those preseason predictions where you were picked at the top and didn't think that we really were quite that either. We don't have to stay 11 very long if we don't want to. We'll have our chances to prove whether we should go 10 or above or 12 or below. That'll come here shortly."
What do you think of your conference and non-conference schedule, and how do you think it will be in the future?
"I think our conference schedule is very good because of where we are in conference. Our non-conference schedule is very good right now for a couple of reasons. We're trying to schedule that way because we have to do something to generate some interest recruiting-wise, it helps a lot for exposure-all those things tie together. I think that a lot of times, a great non-conference schedule can reflect that those teams think they can come here and win. I'd like to think we can still get those schools to play us when we become much more of a threat. We do go to (Texas) Tech. Coach (Bob) Knight's been extremely good for us. He's promised me that he will play us and play us and play us. I hope we will continue to do that. I think that's a healthy game for TCU. In addition, I think our philosophy of scheduling, we're going to continue to play Big 12, hopefully we can play someone from the West Coast, hopefully we can play someone from the SEC or even the East Coast every year until we can figure out what the formula is of what type of schedule we need to play particularly with our conference alignments changing. We need to know what that formula is so we can constantly have a power ranking good enough to get NCAA consideration. That's what you're really trying to figure out here when you set up your non-conference schedule. We have Vanderbilt, Kansas and Tulsa all coming here. Then we go to (Texas) Tech and to Washington State and that should make for some exciting basketball."
What do you think about playing Kansas without Roy Williams as coach?
"I think it would probably mean a lot to me personally if Coach (Roy) Williams was there. It's also really tough playing against people that you're that close to. For 40 minutes you're trying to rip each other up, then you're going to go have dinner later on. That's really tough because only one guy's going to be really happy at the end of the day. That's tough on a relationship, but when we set the game up, I was really, really looking forward to looking down that bench and seeing Coach Williams and in a lot of ways kind of tip my hat and say, 'Thanks a lot.' There's no way this game would be going on without some of the things that he's done for me personally and so that part is eliminated, but the game itself still holds a lot of interesting things. Those kids that are on that other team now were part of Coach Williams, myself, and some other people, so there's still some of that element there, but obviously with Coach (Williams) gone, it loses a bit. But come game time, that won't matter. It wouldn't have mattered even with him here."