Bigger Picture

With the Buffs preparing to travel and play at Iowa State Tuesday, CU head basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik spoke to members of the Big 12 media on Monday.

Q: Can you talk about the success that a program like Baylor has had, especially in the wake of the tragedy from years past?
Jeff Bzdelik
: Obviously, their basketball staff, their administration and their school have done a great job of being positive and being patient and supporting the staff's efforts. To me, those success stories, like Texas A&M who was 0-16 in the league five years ago, Baylor, schools like Washington State, Arizona State and Herb Sendek. Those kind of situations give us a lot of hope and faith here at Colorado.

As far as Baylor is concerned, again patience and support have gone a long way.

Q: Can you talk about coaching against (Iowa State coach) Greg McDermott? What do they do as a team that you like as an opposing coach?
Jeff Bzdelik
: He does an awesome job. His teams play as a team, they play hard, they cut hard, they play with great energy, they share the basketball.

They don't beat themselves, they're very fundamentally sound. Defensively, they do a lot of nice things. They're a basketball team that has a great upside, and they're going to do very, very well.

Q: Obviously, you've got a transition year here. How are you hanging in there personally and how easy or difficult is it for you to maintain perspective that bigger and better things figure to come to the program?
Jeff Bzdelik
: I'm really excited about the future, and that's got to be the focus. We're playing competitively now. We just need to continue to grow as a basketball team.

As I've said before, I had both eyes open entering this situation here. Could we have four or five more wins? Yes, we could. But wouldas and couldas and shouldas don't count. We have to play for 40 minutes. Depth is a problem, size is a problem, learning a new system is a probable. But we're slowly getting through that — learning the system.

And the focus has to be on the bigger picture. It has to be. I get caught up in wanting to win so badly immediately that I just have to take a step back and count to 10.

Q: Jeff, after seeing Michael Beasley last week, how close is he to being able to contribute big numbers in the NBA?
Jeff Bzdelik
: If his head and his heart continue to be right — and I don't know the young man — his physical tools are there for him to have a long and productive NBA career. After 17 or 18 years in that league I can tell you I saw a lot of guys come in with a lot of talent but get sidetracked with stuff. And never be the play that they should've been.

And I've seen the opposite – like a Bruce Bowen. I remember when I was with the Miami Heat, he was aspiring to make the team. He was an unsigned free agent in camp but he willed himself to be the player that he is.

But this young man has the talent? Does he turn out to be a Derrick Coleman or a Tim Duncan type? That comes down to his head and his heart.

Q: Did he do anything in the game against you guys that surprised you?
Jeff Bzdelik
: His quickness – he jumped in passing lanes a couple of times in an explosive way.

Q: Going back to talking about the frustration – is it easier to take over a program that you need to build up, or to take over a program that's almost right there and take it to the next level.
Jeff Bzdelik
: I think there's a lot of satisfaction if you can take a program that's down and build it up. We're doing everything here, from facilities to player development to changing the culture.

I think changing the culture is as difficult as winning basketball games. We've been in position to win a couple of games here and haven't been able to bring it home. It being so close is frustrating.

But in answer to your question: It's what kind of pressure you put on yourself. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to win now. Whether you inherit a great team, or one that you're building up, to me it doesn't matter, I want to win now.


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