Coach G Meets the Media

On Tuesday, July 6, Duke women's basketball coach Gail Goestenkors sat down with the media to talk about the 2004-05 upcoming season, the hiring of Shannon Perry as assistant coach, the 2004 Olympics and other issues. Here is a transcript of the press conference.

On the hiring of Shannon Perry:
"My assistants both know her from summer recruiting and I'd heard great things about her as well. I started to call some of her references, people that I know and friends that I have and everybody gave her glowing recommendations and said that if we could get her as our third assistant, it would be a steal. She's been a second assistant for the last four years and after talking with her and bringing her on campus, I knew they were right. I feel very fortunate to have her coming on to join our staff."

On the challenges ahead in Athens:
"I think it's a tremendous challenge and a tremendous opportunity-one that we're all looking forward to. We have basically the same team that we did two years ago when we played the world championships in China. We've added some other great players as well. Van was the coach then. He's an incredible coach and I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him. We're incredibly excited and expect to win the Gold."

On the differences of being an assistant coach:
"Not being a charge. For someone that likes to be in charge and likes to be in control, it's a different feel. I really enjoy that opportunity to step back and let someone else run the practices and do whatever Van needs me to do to help the team win. It's a different feel. When you're in your own practice, you don't hesitate to say exactly what's on your mind, but when you're an assistant, you have to step back a little bit and wait for your turn. I think it's helped me empathize a little bit more with my assistants here."

"It's the same intensity; I'm just not as verbal because I have to let the head coach speak. I feel just as intense and just as much pressure to win because those are the expectation. Those feelings are still there, I just can't respond the same way that I'm used to."

On Olympic team expectations:
"We should be excellent. The only problem is that we only have five days to practice because they're all in the WNBA season right now. Van and Anne Donovan, the other assistant, took the team out in the winter on several European tours so a good majority of them have played together and understand the basics of this system. He said that we may need to prepare the day of the game and get an extra practice in during some of the early rounds to get our chemistry where it needs to be."

"All of the other teams play together all year round and really start playing together when they're 14 years old on their junior teams. Their very best players come over here and play in the WNBA, but the core of their teams play together all year round."

On what Goestenkors will bring back to Duke from Olympics:
"Any time you have the opportunity to be around different people, different coaches, and the best players in the world. I'm heavily involved in scouting as well. We're looking at 11 teams right now that we have to prepare for and every time you have to do that, you're learning and I hope that I can bring those skills back and help my team here in some way.

When I was with the world championship team, there were several quick-hitting plays that I liked that we ran with the USA Team, but also that some of the other teams ran as well, so I've been working on my scouting report. They sent me the tapes of all the tapes that they've played and I saw some fast breaks that I like and some continuity offenses that I like that some of the foreign teams play."

On number of potential Olympic qualifiers from the area:
"This is a great area for basketball in the triangle, but for all sports as well. I think this just proves that we have the very best in the world right here in our own backyard."

On changes to Duke squad for 2004-05 season:
"I think it's an exciting time for us. I know Mike talked about challenges yesterday and I feel the same way-this is a great challenge. Anytime you have to face a challenge, you can see it as an opportunity, which we do. I think the team is excited for the opportunity to build its own identity. For so long, it was the Alana Beard show and considered Alana's team. I think everyone knows that they need to step forward this year and they're excited about that opportunity. We've talked to all of our players about how they need to step forward on the court, physically and as far as their leadership. I think it will be leadership by committee this year."

On the transfer of freshman Brittany Hunter:
"We all knew that she had a rough year with the injury and that it was a long, hard comeback for her. When she realized that she wouldn't be able to play next year and have to redshirt because of her knee, it was very difficult for her and I think she felt like she wanted to go, if she had to sit out anyway, to go somewhere else and get a fresh start."

On the increase of transfers in women's college basketball:
"I think there are different reasons for all the players who transfer. Some transfer because they're homesick and want to be closer to home. Some transfer because they had expectations that they would start or play major minutes and don't get to. Some transfer because things aren't the way they thought they would be. There are so many reasons why kids transfer... I feel like we are in a fast-food society and people want things right away and are unwilling to wait and work. Many transfers come from people that feel that they should start right away instead of really working for that. I can speak to it all because every situation is different."

On Coach Mike Krzyzewski:
"I never thought Mike would leave, honestly. He's such a fixture here at Duke. It's so much a part of him and he's so much a part of Duke. I was very happy that he decided to stay and wasn't surprised in the least. He's a great teacher and he's something that he's very passionate about, the teaching. In the pros, I think it's more about managing than teaching. He has such a stronghold here at Duke even my players were very excited that he was staying and I'm sure all of the recruits were as well. It's not just about men's basketball; it's much, much larger than that. It's not just about women's basketball. It's about sports. It's about all that's really good about college athletics, I think."

On Monique Currie:
"I think Mo might graduate on time. She's scheduled to graduate on time. She's a very good student. It depends if she wants to go to grad school. If she wants to go to grad school, then she'll take the next year and start grad school here and play that extra year. As of now, I think she would probably graduate on time which means she would be a senior for us. But we're leaving that option open for her to see how she feels at the end of the year."

On keeping in touch with Alana Beard and Iciss Tillis:
"I IM [instant message] with Alana a couple of times a week probably we talk. Iciss, not quite as much. She's not very good at returning phone calls. They're both finding their way. Alana is playing excellent defense. She's having a hard time scoring, but I think recently she's playing a little bit better and gaining confidence. Iciss has had a couple of really good games lately as well. I'll be anxious to see how they do after the break. I think that time where they get a little bit of a break, get to rest a little bit and now then understand exactly what the WNBA entails. I think the second half both players will really excel."

On next year's team:
"I'm very excited. It's been a long time since we've been - I don't want to say the underdog because I don't think people will ever take us lightly - but the expectations, we're not going to be preseason ranked No. 1 in the country. The team is really looking forward to that, to kind of proving people wrong. I'm excited about the opportunity and the challenge."

"I think both Mike (Krzyzewski) and I love challenges. Some of his favorite teams and my favorite teams that I've had are teams that didn't necessarily go to the Final Four, but really exceeded expectations and really worked hard and worked together and really grew."

On the Olympics:
"I'm very excited and honored to be heading over to Greece with the Olympic team. We expect to win the gold, but we're going to have a tough challenge ahead of us. When we played in the World Championships gold medal game, Russia played us very tight. We actually had to come from behind to beat Russia so I'm sure that they'll be ready for us. We look forward to every challenge."

"I just know that it is going to be a wonderful experience for me and hopefully I'll be able to bring some new ideas and thoughts back to help our team for next season."

"I'll still be recruiting (while in Greece). I'll be calling the recruits and writing the recruits from there."

"I think that's an advantage that we have. It's very impressive I think to players in high school to get letters from and calls from someone that's on the Olympic staff in Greece. Hopefully that helps to offset the fact that I'm missing the first week of school. There's some give and take with it."

"I feel very blessed, very fortunate. It's a dream so many people have and very few get this opportunity."

"I would want to be the head coach. I don't think realistically that will ever happen. I don't think they'll have a college coach coaching the Olympic team because they're all pro players so the pro coaches are just so much more familiar with them and understand their style of play. I appreciate the opportunity to be an assistant."

On the possibility of signing additional players:
"We could sign one more player, but I don't know that that's going to happen. It's possible, but we're not pursuing anyone in particular right now. It would have to be someone that we see this summer that we didn't know about or who's improved a great deal."

"The last few years we've had between 10 and 12 (players) on scholarship. I know you don't need a big squad. I try to keep it down to 11 or 12 if possible. If we need to go up, we'll go up. This year we only have 10 kids now. It makes it tough. If you have injuries, you're really in some hot water."  

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