James Whitford: Jesse Perry is another guy, like Kyle, I would say is having an unbelievable spring. He is really working on refining his perimeter game in particular and gaining strength with (Chris) Rounds. He has gained a lot of weight in the spring and is really getting stronger, working hard in the weight room. He is not only shooting the ball better, but his footwork and ability to put the ball on the floor, his balance on his jump shot, and a lot of stuff you would ask a perimeter player to do, he is doing.
He obviously plays the four for us, but he is a face-up four man. He can score in the post, but does the majority of his work facing the basket. The better his ability to shoot the ball, the more he is going to be able to go by you, which is what he does best.
WildcatAuthority.com: Is he pretty much what you guys expected?
James Whitford: He gave us as much of a boost as we thought, which was a big one. We weren't in the Elite Eight if it wasn't for Jesse. He has a junkyard dog mentality, plays really hard, and he is always one of the toughest guys on the floor and one of the hardest playing guys on the floor, but he is skilled and athletic as well. I would expect him to make another big jump to his senior year.
WildcatAuthority.com: Will he have a bigger role on offense?
James Whitford: I would expect him to. If you watch him in the spring, he is really getting more skilled and better. He is becoming a better player and that is going to lead to good things for him as a senior for sure.
WildcatAuthority.com: How has Kyryl Natyazhko been doing considering how well he finished the season?
James Whitford: Kyryl is kind of taking the momentum from the end of the season and he is working really hard. He is putting in a lot of extra work and working on defining his low post game, trying to score one-on-one in the post and he has made great strides in that. He has to have a great offseason, great spring, great summer, which he is doing. Losing Derrick, we are going to count on Kyryl a lot next year.
WildcatAuthority.com: He did not really look to score last season, is that something he will do more?
James Whitford: He did not look to score last season and I think quite frankly that was a lot because of the role we put him in. He played in small minutes and in the role he had, he was asked to defend, rebound, and screen and next year we are going to ask him to score in the low post and he has to work on that in the offseason, but that is something we will expect of him next year.
WildcatAuthority.com: What do you see Brendon Lavender's role being next season?
James Whitford: Brendon is a great shooter. He and Kyle are tied in the spring shooting workouts in percentages. He is doing what he always does. He is a hard worker, he is a humble kid and a total team guy. Although he definitely wanted a bigger role, he did a great job of sacrificing and accepting his role and doing a great job within that role. For Lav's case, his goal is to be one of those guys that emerges in the offseason.
WildcatAuthority.com: Similar to Alex Jacobson?
James Whitford: I would put Tree in the same category. He did not play a lot, but he accepted his role for the betterment of the team and he is in a position where we need him. We lose 32 minutes per game at the five spot with Derrick and we are going to have to bring some legitimate bodies and Alex brings an experienced, hard-working team guy that can play some good minutes in the low post for us and that is the plan.
WildcatAuthority.com: What does Lavender need to do to increase his minutes?
James Whitford: I think he shot around 35 or 36 percent from three this year and that is the best thing he does. He is capable of doing better than that and he needs to be a 42 or 43 percent three-point shooter and continue to get better off the bounce, which he is doing. We hope he is a guy that next year is going to be using ball screens and scoring off ball screens.