Brady Looks Ahead to 2014-15

With his recruiting class complete, Arkansas State coach John Brady feels good about the future of the Red Wolves basketball program.

"This is the best recruiting class we have had since I have been at Arkansas State,'' said Brady, who will be entering his seventh season as the A-State head coach . "The size that we are bringing in, the perimeter players are very good, the depth of it is excellent. We need to address some areas, particularly around the goal and we feel like we did that. Some perimeter that we signed with it and the players we had sitting out, P.J. Hardwick and Sean Gardner are very good perimeter players. The depth of it and the talent of it are very good and I am very excited about it."

Because of the make-up of the roster, Brady felt the program needed to add more junior college players.

"We lost five seniors and I am not Einstein, but not the dumbest guy up there either," he said. "We needed to do it. And next year we have 3 scholarships and we are going to try and sign two high school players to come in and try and get the next best player out of the three scholarships next year and it will spread our class out some. We need to do that. We needed to do what we needed to do this year based on improving our team and I think every recruiting class has to improve the quality of your team in some way and this class at this particular time certainly met that goal. "

The Red Wolves did add a high school player in 6-foot-4 guard Connor Kern from Pilkington, Ohio. Kern, a left-handed shooter, had a strong senior year, including leading a depleted team to a third straight district title and earning top scoring honors in a tournament in Italy.

Brady said the schedule for 2014-15 is not yet completed.

"Every game you schedule is big," he said. "People look at our schedule and say that is not big. I don't care if it is Lyon College or whoever it is, lose it and see if it not big. They are all big.

"We are playing at Mississippi State and playing at Purdue. We are talking with Ole Miss about home and home and a neutral site somewhere. Trying to do some of that. I got to play to play another on the road guarantee game so we are going to Purdue. Mississippi State is another one. I like our chances at Miss State with our size and what we have coming in. We are going to continue to play UCA and some people that are close and try to create some other rivalries there which I think is important. Marshall is coming to our place; they are from Conference USA, which is a good game for us.

"We work on it every day trying to have as attractive a schedule as possible."

The Ole Miss series will not likely be on the upcoming schedule.

"We are still talking about when we want to start it, where we want to start it and where the neutral games come in," he said. "They want us to come there, and then go to a neutral site and the third year come to our place. Well I am for putting neutral on the back end. We will see how that progresses. "

With a roster makeover Brady is trying some new things in the off-season and for pre-season practice.

"I am going to really talk advantage of the 2 hour a week rule where we can work with them on the floor," he said. "A lot of times in the offseason we use that time as skill improvement and development but I am going to use it this year and I am going to get real involved with our new players. We have 7 or 8 coming in first semester of summer school and 11 there for the second session and I am going to really utilize that 2 hours of 5-on-zero and getting some offense in and camaraderie developed. And really get us started early.

The opening weekend of the season is on a Friday and we are not going to open up until the following Wednesday. I am going to use every 4 or 5 extra practices I can to get this team ready to go."

The Red Wolves signed 6-9 Ronnie White from Paris (Texas) JC in November. They added 6-8 Anthony Livingston from San Jacinto (Texas) CC and 6-10 Nouhoum Bocoum.

"They all know each other and that was one of the reasons we were able to sign all three of them," he said. "They have played together and they do know each other. They are very good players and they each do something well and they are excited about getting to play together. I think that is going to help us with the camaraderie and chemistry of the team."