Having It All (almost)

Andy Landers is entering his 28th season as the women's basketball coach at Georgia. He has everything except a national championship. He has won close to 700 games, he has 5 Final Four appearances, 7 SEC tiles and 4 SEC Tournament titles. He is also a 4-time National Coach of the Year winner. He has led future olympians and WNBA superstars. This week I talked to the man who almost has it all.

Dave McMahon -- This is your 28th season as head coach, what do you remember about your first season?

Andy Landers -- I remember being excited about getting something started. I was excited about building a top-5 caliber program. I also remember the first game. After practicing man-on-man all fall, I had to switched to a 2-3 zone 5 minutes into the game. We had never practiced that before.

DM -- What has changed the most in your time here?

AL -- Probably recruiting. 28 years ago that is something women's coaches didn't do. They had tryouts and auditions. You never went outside your state nor region to get players. Now you have to.

DM -- Moving to this year, this looks like a very strong team, but the main thing is you have to replace what was an excelent backcourt...

AL -- It will be tough replacing them. But we can't be worried about that. We are going to replace them with some younger players. They will make some mistakes early because they are young, but they will come along.

DM -- Speaking of replacing players, All-American Tasha Humphrey is suspended for the first 6 games this season, how do you overcome that?

AL -- The great thing is that this is a team game. If I wasn't coaching tennis or golf it would be different. You can appeal to the rest of the team and do what they do well.

DM -- You have Rutgers and Stanford early on and a brutal SEC schedule, this is something Georgia has always had, difficult schedules...

AL -- If you are the best, you should play the best. Good players like to be challenged. Blowouts are fine when you play a good team.

DM -- Angel Robinson was a high school All-American, she had to sit out last year due to injury, now she is back, what can she do?

AL -- The first half of the season, I expect her to play like a freshman. She will have some rust. As the season progresses she will make Georgia better. She can run, score, block and rebound. She is a tall presence in the post.

DM -- Rebecca Rowsey also comes back from injury, what about her?

AL -- She brings more height and experience. We need all the experience we can get. She is a player, that people enjoy playing with. She is a big team player.

DM -- Back to Tasha, you have had so many great players in the past, she is part of that group isn't she?

AL -- She is one of the most talented and productive players I have coached. I have had talent and not productive before. She uses all her ability and skill. She has always played with a nagging injury, too. She is an excellent passes, sometimes she over passes though.

DM -- You have a terrific class coming in... one of your players is Jaleesa Rhoden from Ontario... is getting the best basketball from Canada sort of like getting the best hockey player from Mexico?

AL -- (laughs) She is a legit SEC player. All she lacks is competitive experience.

DM -- Tennessee and LSU will be tough again... tell me about the rest of the SEC...

AL -- The SEC is so much better in the middle now. So many middle teams are better. Programs like Kentucky and Auburn are coming on. There is so much talent in the SEC.

DM -- Why isn't the Detroit Shock of the WNBA called the Midwest Bulldogs... they have 3 former Lady Bulldogs on their roster... how special was it for you watching in person as Deanna "Tweety" Nolan won the MVP in the WNBA finals?

AL -- They should be the Midwest Bulldogs. They should at least wear Dawg collars. It was a big thrill. I enjoy watching the girls reaching their dream.

DM -- Thank you coach for your time and answers and good luck reaching your dream.

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