Link to video of Ron Everhart's interview
(Please Note: Any error in the transcription is yours truly who has found another job he's not suited for.)
Ray Cella, Atlantic 10 Associate Commissioner: I'd like to welcome Duquesne men's basketball coach Ron Everhart. Good morning, Ron. How are you?
Coach Ron Everhart: Good Ray. Good morning to you.
RC: Thank you. Do you know the names of all your players yet?
RE: I'm working on it.
RC: (laughter) For those who may not know, Duquesne has eight freshmen coming in. You and Saint Louis are actually the two youngest teams in the country. How does that change the way you prepare for a season?
RE: Well, obviously it's a real big challenge from a coaching standpoint. Right now, like Bobby [Lutz, Charlotte head coach] had alluded to a little earlier, we're trying to tweak and figure how we're going to play and what we're going to do because we have a bunch of guys that aren't as familiar with our system or the way we played in the past so we're just trying to work with them every day trying to be a little patient but yet demanding and see who fits in to what we're doing and who does not.
But, I really like our freshman class. We've got some talent in that group. We've got a group of kids who really like each other, that are really good kids and they're working extremely hard right now. And it's going to be very interesting to see how they respond when it's time to start playing against another opponent outside of ourselves.
RC: Ron, have you ever coached a team this young before and if so what did you learn from the previous experience of having coached a young group like this?
RE: Ray, I really haven't. This is certainly a first for me in terms of having so many freshman. There have been times in the past where we've had quite a few newcomers. But normally we've had guys with a little more college experience then where we currently are right now. So it's sorta like to see what the next day brings in terms of who's going to come to practice and work hard, who's going to remember what we talked about the day before. So it's been very interesting to say the least but it's been a lotta fun. These kids are, like I said, working very, very hard.They like each other.
And, we have a good group of guys returning from last year's team, and they've all contributed at some point in time whether it was two years ago or last year, in Aaron Jackson, Jason Duty, Jimmy Sherwood, Billy Clark, Damian Saunders and David Theis. Those guys do have college experience and they do understand at least what practices will bring in terms of how hard you have to work. So, a lot of younger guys have learned from those individuals.
Rich Fisher, A-10 Correspondent: Is it safe to say that this is one of those years where tangible goals go out the window and success is just measured by how they improve from one week, one day to the next?
RE: Rich, you're about right. I think that its sorta like what we're going through now in the practice phase of things. We had a real good preseason from September 15th on until October 15th. And we've had a couple guys that weren't cleared until later so we didn't have some guys during preseason so now we have those guys back. From a chemistry standpoint it's been a big challenge but guys are coming along every day and I like our improvement and certainly like the talent level of our incoming guys.
I think you're right. I think from game to game it's sorta going to be like where we are right now from practice to practice. Hopefully, we'll be a lot better though when the games start than we are right now.
RC: Ron, how have the older guys taken the younger guys under their wings to show them the ropes, to show them what practice is really about at Duquesne, and things like that?
RE: Well, I'll tell you. Aaron Jackson has done a tremendous job of that, just in terms of making guys understand how hard they have to work. Even in times during practice, maybe [when coaches are] getting on a guy if he doesn't dive on the floor after a loose ball or take a charge and things like that. I think that that guys that have experience that are returning really have helped the incoming guys quite a bit in terms of just how hard they have to work every day and what we're trying to do in terms of the way we want to play. And that effort is always the number one thing and that's been really, I think, one of the best things that's happened to us right now in our preseason practices that they've been able to teach the young guys that that's very important. And they've done a great job in the locker room. cut out all the typical freshman complaining and that type of thing. And obviously the young guys never understand the time commitment involved until it kinda hits them. So that's been a big key too.
RE: I think the league is going to be tremendous just like it was last year. I think your looking at another multiple bid year in terms of NCAA tournament participation. There''s a lot of talk at the league meetings that some of the teams have lost a lot. but when you really look at it, a lot of teams have got quite a few very good players returning. And also you look at the incoming freshmen classes in most instances are nationally ranked to some degree. So I think the Atlantic 10 is going to have another tremendous year. It's very evident that the guys at the top are going to be very, very good and guys who can maybe even compete for national championships.
RC: Ron, before we let you go, what kinda style can we expect to see from you guys this year? Is it going to be quite similar to the rotation you had in the past or are you looking to do something a little differently this year?
RE: Well I tell you Ray, we certainly have a lot of depth, especially with our young guys. So, I would hope that we could play a little like we played in the past. But then again I guess you have to kinda wait and see because our freshmen are still in that adjustment phase. So, I really don't know how we'll play or how we'll have our rotation, if it will be like in the past or not.
I think right now you can look at our team as having eight or nine guys that are legitimately guys that can come out and help the team every day. I think that before we start I'd like to see that we have 10 guys and hope that that's the case and if that happens then I think the rotation will probably be a little bit similar. If not, then we'll probably do things in in a more conventional matter.
RC: Ron we'll let you go. Best of luck this season and we'll talk to you soon.