BASKETBALL: Report from SEC Media Days

SEC Media Days began yesterday with Florida on the first day's slot for interviews with the media. Read on to see what the coaches and players had to say about the upcoming basketball season.

Head Coach Billy Donovan

On teams to look out for...

"Our league is an incredibly gifted league and we are nationally underrated. I am expecting a lot out of Alabama because they have Kennedy Wilson who is a very good player. LSU also has a lot of their starters back and I expect them to be a top contender. Tennessee, who is being overlooked by many, also has all five starters back and I expect they will do well this season. Arkansas will also do well because they have a lot of young talent. They have recruited well."

On having all five starters back....

"We are fortunate to have a very gifted offensive team. We have our three guys who shoot very well, and when they are on, we are hard to beat. When those guys are having an off night, however, we are very vulnerable. They can not carry the team by themselves. We are working on stepping it up on defense. With or starters returning we have a good base to start with, but we need to fill in that base with good defense. If we can become a good defensive team, then we will go far."

On the freshman players...

"Fans and others seem to think we have a team of superstars just because we have highly recruited freshman. The truth is, those guys have to make the jump from high school to college which isn't easy and it takes time. Usually freshmen are not great players right away. They have to get used to the higher level of play and faster tempo. It just takes time."

Forward David Lee

On the upcoming season...

"For the first time in a couple of years we are not being looked as the young ones on the block. We have a good mix of older and younger guys this year that will help our season."

On the strengths of this years team...

"Our strengths would have to be our defense and rebounding. At the first practice of the season Coach (Donovan) showed us the depth charts and we were ranked first and second in the rankings, and that is a strong thing. We need to work on our shooting and then continue to concentrate on ensuring these fundamentals. If we do not shoot the ball well, we will have to depend on these techniques."

On winning important games this year...

"We are one of the top ten teams in the country, so throughout the season we will have to continue to play unselfish and stay focused. With the good mix of guys we have on this years team, each game will just be a matter of people stepping up at the right time and playing the role of a leader. I believe that if we do that then we will definitely be successful."

Head Coach Carolyn Peck

On the returning team...

"[The team] has played and practiced with intensity, excitement, and worked extremely hard. We have five juniors that are here that began as freshmen. Some say that it is hard to learn on the job but that is what that these girls did."

On the Western Division...

"The SEC is the toughest women's basketball conference in America."

Forward Tashia Morehead

On the upcoming season...

"Words cannot describe the feeling we had last year when we went to the NCAA tournament. Coming into this season we know we want to get back. We conditioned better this off season and really think we have a good attitude about our team and what we can do this season. Coach (Carolyn) Peck is a big reason why we feel like this could be a great season. She always stresses us being close at a team. We do things together on and off the court. We have just become a big family and I think that helps us play better as a team."

On SEC play...

"It is the best league in women's basketball. Every time you go out you have to bring your A game or you are going to get beat. It does not matter if you are playing the best team or the worse team. Everyone in the SEC comes to play and I think that it what makes this league so exciting."

Forward Bernice Mosby

On being awarded the sixth player award last season...

"It is a great honor to be chosen for the sixth player award. Coming off the bench is one of those things that can be difficult because you can get discourage that you are not starting. I look at it as an advantage. In coming off the bench I am able to see what everyone is doing before I get out there. So when I do get into the game I can really take advantage of the problems they are having."

On SEC play...

"The SEC is tough week in and week out. When you look at the WNBA and Olympic teams you see a lot of people from the SEC. I think that is the reason why we have so much great talent. Players come to the SEC because they know it is competitive week in and week out."


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