Ricardo Patton: I'm excited to start another season. We've had some really outstanding practices. Our trip to Vancouver was a great success and we're looking forward to playing in a very tough and demanding conference. Our guys are focused at this point and determined to prove our critics wrong and we're better than a ninth place team.
On the team's preseason trip to Canada
RP: The things I liked best about it, about that experience, was that before we went we were allowed to practice 10 days prior to it. We put in a lot of new things, so now when we started our practice on the 14th at seven o'clock at night, our guys could get started and we knew what we were doing.
I saw a lot of good things in Andy Osborn. A fifth year senior has come back for us with a lot of focus and determination and has played some outstanding basketball. We had a number of different guys speak up, both in terms of showing some leadership and if that continues, we'll be a very good basketball team.
On Richard Roby not named to Pre-Season All Big 12
RP: There are so many good players in this league. Maybe Richard will let that serve as motivation. I don't think it's a slight, I just think it speaks to how good of players there are in this league.
We don't worry about that, I know I don't worry about that. I don't know if Roby has, we haven't discussed that. I think if he has a good year, all that will take care of itself.
On success against Texas in 04-05 season
RP: One of the things I think is a little bit misleading about the two wins we had against Texas was arguably the best two players on their team were out. One was because of injury and one because of academic reasons. It will be a much different team that we will face this year in a conference game at their place. I imagine they'll be waiting on us, (Texas Coach) Rick Barnes will remind them that we beat them twice last year. That'll be a great first test. They will be much improved with the addition of the two players that were out last year.
On carry-over from last season's finish
RP: We certainly will talk about that. Our guys will remember how we played those last two games. So now it becomes a matter of being able to sustain that effort over the course of the entire season. The other piece of that, Julius Ashby, played a big part in how we played down the stretch. And we'll miss him the first half of the season. It will take him some time to really get back to that form.
On Ashby's absence
RP: Our guys who are playing like Andy Osborn, Chris Copeland, and Marcus King-Stockton, we have to do it by committee. Those guys really have to do a nice job of getting better, on post defense primarily. Offensively, Andy Osborn and Chris Copeland cause some match-up problems for post players. I think it's going to be imperative that our guards help in the rebounding category. We cannot rely on the post players we have to do all the rebounding. That's an area Richard Roby has to get better at and Jayson Obazuaye and so far we've seen the evidence of our point guard Dominique Coleman being able to rebound the basketball.
On G Dominique Coleman
RP: When we set out to bring in a point guard, we wanted someone who could really compliment guys like Roby on the perimeter and take some pressure off him. We wanted a player that could create his own shots and a player that could certainly distribute the basketball and I think that he can do all of that. He has a chance to be a really solid player in this league.
Q: Do you expect Coleman to have early success?
RP: It's going to be interesting. I think he has a level of maturity game-wise, not unlike what I saw in Roby. I felt that Richard would have some early success because he had what we call a mature game, and I think Dominique fits into that same category. He's a guy that if you can play, it doesn't matter how old you are, doesn't matter how small you are, he has shown the ability to do a lot of different things. He passes the ball well, he gets to the basket, he's as athletic as anyone on the team and when you have a guy at the point position who can do a number of things, and can also create for his teammates, he can have a chance to succeed.
On 10 seniors
RP: It makes practicing a little easier. For the most part, even when you're putting in new things, they catch on very quickly. I think we have set a tone in practice, where guys are working at a certain intensity level and that's attributed to the guys being around for four years or two years. The only thing to worry about as a coach, with some of the seniors, is if a couple of guys start to be more concerned with individual stats as opposed to team goals. That's something as a coach that we have to keep an eye on and make sure that the guys are playing as a team and not playing for post-college basketball.
Q: What are the teams to beat in the Big 12 this year?
RP: You've got to start with Texas. Oklahoma, I think is another team that's very talented. They may have the best combination of post players in Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout. Teams like Texas Tech. And I think Missouri is very talented. They're my darkhorse pick.
Q: What kind of role do you see for freshman Calvin Williams?
RP: Initially we recruited him with the idea of redshirting him his freshman year. But he's played extremely well, so now we don't know if we'll be able to redshirt him. I think he can do some things that'll help us win some games.
He's a guy that can play some small forward and also some power forward for us. He's just really a great athlete. Very raw right now, but has improved every day.
On Richard Roby
RP: Richard is working extremely hard, but he always did, and the thing he has to realize is that most teams will gear their defenses to limiting his catches. They know who he is now, as opposed to last year as a freshman. He has to know that he's going to be facing each team's best defender night in and night out, but that's where he has to have some help from his teammates in a lot of different ways. This year he will have more help on the offensive end and on the defensive end. I see him in practice every day trying to be a better defender. I thought he may have been our worst defender last year. I've already told him that.
Q: What's it going to take for Colorado not to be picked 8th or 9th every year?
RP: I don't know. Two years ago, we finished fourth. We were 10-6 in our conference, 18-9 overall. And we were not selected in the field of 64. I don't remember reading anywhere how unfair that was.
That's one of the things that has to happen. People have to step up, other than the coach. If the coach complains, he's whining. But the people that could make a difference have to speak up and talk about how unfair that was (5th place Texas Tech was chosen over CU that year).
On CU being criticized for its non-conference scheduling
RP: Last year, we finished 27th in the RPI after our non-conference schedule. That's not been highly publicized by the media. The most things that I hear are complaints by the media. But, in fact, for the past two years, we've played the likes of Richmond out of the Atlantic 10, Oregon State, Cal, Utah, Colorado State. I challenge anyone to find a non-conference schedule anywhere in our league for the past two years that's tougher than that.
On a national perspective, they judge us to have the 27th toughest schedule in the country. But then we lose Andy Osborn for 28 days. We lose Julius Ashby for a month. And we never could find our post identity after that point.
So I think we've done some good things with our scheduling. And I challenge anyone to find our scheduling to be any different than anyone else in the Big 12. But, of course, that's not what we hear or read about.
On changes in offense
RP: We're doing some different things on offense. One of the things that's allowed us to do that is to have a person at the point guard that can score. Then you've got guys like Andy Osborn that can cause matchup problems. At any time we can put three guards on the floor, and we can run off of ball screens off those two guys. If the ball screen is doubled, then you pitch back to those two guys and they can shoot the basketball.
I think we'll fast beak more this year. We'll get out and push that thing a little harder than we have.
Q: Do you have any idea who your starting five will be?
RP: Right now if we threw it up, it would be Dominique Coleman, Richard Roby, Jayson Obazuaye, Chris Copeland and Andy Osborn.