"We'd love to strike in transition, we always have. If we can score in transition, that is to our great advantage. They have always had tremendous freedom to push the ball on makes and misses that is something we always look to do. Sometimes those baskets aren't easy to come by, because teams play good defense in transition."
On not having a go-to guy this season
"Every team is different, some teams have a guy that is the go to player and everybody knows on certain possessions where the ball is going. Other teams are very effective when it is much more of an equal distribution. I think you can be effective in either case."
On other players stepping up
"I think we will have guys that will make plays and we have guys that have demonstrated that in the past. Some of our veteran players have made shots before. A lot of guys that have experience for us have made big shots in the past so it would be a misrepresentation where everyone says that James took all the big shots last year so what is going to happen this year? James took big shots and was our go to guy with Jeff, but some of these other guys have taken big shots."
On the new practice facility
"The biggest difference is our guys having a place to go and shoot and to work out. It is convenient it is available all the time. In the past when Wells Fargo was only available to them, with all the events that take place in Wells Fargo, they haven't had a place to call their own. It made working out in the offseason much more convenient for them."
On preseason expectations being low
"I have not spent a lot of time on that and haven't talked to them on that subject matter. I don't think we need to rely on what other people say to motivate us; I think the only meaningful motivation is what comes from within. Hopefully, especially as the season starts, we don't have to go there to get our juice. I think the juice is flowing anyway. It is a new season and everyone is excited about the start of things again."
On Derek Glasser's improvement
"In my mind, Derek is as improved as any player in college basketball the last three years. He certainly finished last season playing his best career basketball. In the Pac 10 and NCAA Tournament Derek was outstanding. He tied with Darren Collison for the best assist to turnover ratio in the Pac 10. He clearly has made tremendous strides and has established himself as a really good Pac 10 player. In my mind Derek is a gamer. He has just enough of whatever it is you want to call it and when you type it you have to put hamper stamps and dollar signs, that thing you type like that and it allows him to go to the free throw line and make big shots and make big baskets."
On improved athleticism
"I don't know how to grade it in terms of athleticism. I think athleticism, though important, can be overrated in our sport. It is still important to have guys that are skilled, can dribble and can shoot. As you know, I don't spend a lot of time trying to compare teams or players that are all our own. We have a good amount of athleticism on our team right now but I think it is complimented with a good skill level too."
On the team finding their identity fast
"It can. Our guys have already started to come together. Every year is different, even if every player returns. People are always changing; you always have to work at coming together even if you have been together. I like this group, they have good character and I think they genuinely like each other. It is not real hard for them to get along and hang out. They are naturally connected."
On if he will coach this team differently
"I coach every team differently. I am always trying to evaluate who we are. I didn't coach last year the same from beginning to end. We were always trying to do different things to help our guys achieve. Part of it will present itself as we go through it together. I don't go into any season with my mind made up or any conclusions made already. I used to mistake doing that for preparation, try to get as many things in place before tomorrow starts as possible. But in order to do that before tomorrow starts you have to be acting on a lot of preconceived ideas about your team. Some may be founded, others may be more speculative. A certain amount of coaching has to be about what you see. We'll get out there and practice and things will present themselves in a way for us to make better decisions than things that you hear or you thought was going to happen. I really try to the best of my ability to go into the season with an open mind. We have enough a foundation that we can start but we have to be aware of the story being told."
On replacing James and Jeff's defensive ability
"I'm really not looking at it that we are replacing James and Jeff and trying to find two guys to insert in their positions. I'm looking at it from the entire team's standpoint, as opposed that we lost two so we have to plug two in. This will be an entirely different team. It will take its own shape and form and there won't be a lot of value in us spending a whole lot of time trying to differentiate ourselves from last year."
On Eric Boateng
"I'm really excited about Eric. I think he is poised and ready to have a really good season. I expect Eric to be really good this year. I'm looking forward to what Eric is going to show. He has worked hard every step of the way and has improved at each station and is going to have a really big senior year."
On differences inside plays between Jeff and Eric
"I don't know if there is going to be a tremendous amount of difference. The things we did with Jeff we will do with Eric, as well. Last year we didn't have two different systems for Jeff and Eric."
On playing more man defense with more depth this season
"We could have mixed it in the past; it is just a matter of philosophy. I think we have a couple of questions we'll have to answer in the next few weeks in terms of what direction we'll go. All in all, our defense has been good to us."
On the preseason NIT and the ability to play at MSG
"Like we always do, we will take them one at a time and try and win them. If we are fortunate enough to win our games here it would be a great experience to go to Madison Square Garden and play there. It would be a really good thing for our team and program."
On changing the culture at ASU
"I don't know if you could just wake up and change the culture. What you can do is attend to details and every task that you have on a daily basis knowing that if you do that consistently that you could have a resulting change in culture. You just try to grind it out one day at a time focusing on the task before us and just believing that if we keep showing up and chipping away that more of the more seismic changes will occur."
On if last year was the peak of the program
"The great things about sports are you have to play the next game. So we don't know. In our confidence and our belief, we certainly don't want to say that was our peak. We would also say that it is going to take a lot of hard work to maintain and improve on that. It is easy to say things; it's harder to do things. It is not always going to be linear like that, I don't know if any sports team or company has that trajectory all the time. We are making progress and moving in the right direction."
On ASU fans expecting a lot after last year
"Our fans are on top of things, they realize we lost two NBA players and we are going to have to re-configure ourselves this year. I don't think our fans are just focused on the tournament, number of wins or finish, I think our fans they really appreciate great effort. Our fans have told me that they love to see our guys diving on the floor, taking charges and pouring their hearts out. As much as everyone says that you have to win championships for fans to come. I'm a sports fan and sure, I want the team I cheer for to win, but at the end of the day what matters is if they gave great effort. We all don't fall too far from that."
On what freshman will contribute right away
"I don't and if I did I couldn't say. I think there has to be some sense that what we do in practice matters and that coach doesn't come in here with the starting lineup and rotation picked out. If I was a player and the coach said before practice what the starting lineup was and I wasn't one of those guys, I'd be like what is going on, I don't like that. We are going to have great competition and coach is going to look at things objectively and try to come up with the best rotation to help us win."
"He is an amazing young man. He is the consummate gentleman; he is the perfect student athlete. Athletically he is very gifted; he is going to be really good for Arizona State in many ways."
On Rihards Kuksiks improving on becoming a complete player
"As well as he shoots the ball, when he gets to be able to blow by defenders coming at him he will become an even better shooter that will create more time and space for him to get his shot off. He showed flashes of doing that last year. He continues to move in that direction."
On the improvements Boateng made
"Eric started playing basketball late. The more he plays and the more he practices and the time he has under his belt he is in position to have his best year. What an easy guy to cheer for? How can you not cheer for Eric? It is easy to want him to do well. That is what I love coaching about those guys."