Q&A: Tad Boyle

AUSTIN, Texas - Colorado Coach Tad Boyle met with the media Thursday to discuss his team and the matchup with Illinois in the NCAA Tournament.

AUSTIN, Texas - Colorado Coach Tad Boyle met with the media Thursday to discuss his team and the matchup with Illinois in the NCAA Tournament.

COACH BOYLE: Well, it's great to be back in the NCAA tournament. Great to be in Austin, Texas. We're excited. Our team just got done with a very spirited practice, our guys are dialed in, and hopefully ready to play well tomorrow.

Q. How does that change as far as Big-12, PAC-12, and do you think maybe the PAC-12 is even a better fit as much as you recruit California?

COACH BOYLE: Well, I think it's a good fit for our university on a lot of different levels, not just athletics. So we were excited about the move. We were certainly, it was bitter sweet, because we love the Big-12, had a lot of great history there. But it has been good for us in terms of opening up California recruiting and if you look at our roster, we have got a pretty heavy influence there. We still have a Texas influence, Andre Roberson, obviously, we signed Andre from San Antonio when we were still members of the Big-12.

But in the landscape of college athletics now, we're not the only school to go through it. So you got to make the most of it. I think we have. I think it's been a positive thing for our basketball program. But we miss the Big-12. It's good to be back in this country.

Q. How is the leadership of this team evolved throughout the year after losing the seniors last year?

COACH BOYLE: Well, I think the three guys that were up here preceding me is a good indication of how it's evolved. I think it's been a work in progress, sabatino chen being our only senior has kind of, was kind of our leader by default early. But he's really become more vocal as the season's gone on. Andre has really grown into that role. I think he's a guy that certainly in the locker room has everybody's ear, has their respect. And Spencer, I think, has made some strides in that regard as well. So I think that was something as we started this season coming off of last year's NCAA team and three seniors who were great leaders has been a positive thing for us. But it has been a work in progress and there's been some bumps along the road. With you but I think those three kids have emerged and we got some other guys capable of it as well.

Q. You've mentioned that Andre's going to start on Brandon Paul. What was the thought process behind that?

COACH BOYLE: Well, matchup. When Josh obviously starting our big guy and then Xavier Johnson, we'll start on their four man who is really a pick and pop guy. If they start -- if they go big with two post players, Xavier Johnson can guard him. So it really allows us, matchup wise, to get Andre on Paul and then Spencer can guard as well and obviously Ski will guard their point guard. So Spencer and Dre are our best two perimeter defenders and we're going to put them on their two best offensive guards production wise, so it really works out well. Obviously Jeremy and Sabatino Chen when he they come in, it will be kind of a rotating deal as the game goes on.

Q. What do you see on film that's the key to guarding Paul?

COACH BOYLE: The key on film is you have to be there when he catches it. He's got deep range, he's a he's got the green light. He'll let it fly when he catches it. So I think being there on the catch and the one thing Andre's got is he's got great length, he's got great athleticism. He's going to have to get through a lot of screens. He'll get some bumps and bruises tomorrow, but using his length and athleticism to be there on the catch and play Brandon's shot high is the key. Because he's got a quick release and he's a very capable shooter of getting hot and we want to try to not let that happen.

Q. As far as recruiting goes, how many top players do you feel like D-I players, Colorado in-state produces year and how do you sell Colorado?

COACH BOYLE: Well, Colorado I've always said this, is a, what I call a cyclical state. It's not like Texas, it's not like California, where you know year-in and year-out you're going to be able to recruit some blue chip type basketball players. Some years there's going to be more than others. There's always going to be some, but you don't know how many. Last year was a good example. Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon were two big time recruits, big time players we were able to get both of them. This year we didn't recruit Colorado very heavily in the 2013 class. Next year, there's some good ones coming. Following year there's some good ones coming. But there's not the depth in the recruiting classes that you're going to find in a state like Texas and a state like California.

That's why we signed Dustin Thomas a kid from Texarkana in November, we're very excited about him. So we'll always recruit Texas and California when we can't get the players that we need or that we want out of Colorado.

Q. How about for selling the school.

COACH BOYLE: Selling our school?

Q. Lack of basketball tradition.

COACH BOYLE: Well, we have got tradition, the problem is our tradition is spotty. We have been to a Final Four. It's been since 1950s. We have been to multiple NCAA tournaments, it's been since the 1960's. So we have had pockets. We have got Chauncey Billups, obviously, at the end of his NBA career, who led his team to the NCAA tournament and then the 2003 team. So we have had pockets of success, we haven't had sustained success. In terms of selling Colorado basketball, we sell the opportunity to come and make your mark on a program and leave your stamp on a program and build a legacy. I think you see the players in our team right now, Andre Roberson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Josh Scott, all the guys that are in our program that have come to Colorado to do that is appealing. If you've never been to Boulder, we have got a lot to sell. It's a beautiful place to live, a beautiful campus, a beautiful community. We have got everything we need to be successful at Colorado and it's just a matter of believing it and getting young machine and their families to believe it.

Q. The players were asked about how last year's experience might help them this year. Does that also apply to you and your coaches having been here last year?

COACH BOYLE: I don't know. I don't see it so much as coaches. You're preparing for a team that you haven't seen before, just like we had to do for UNLV last year. This year it's Illinois. And if you're fortunate enough to advance, it's a quick turn around. We have done that in Charleston and Puerto Rico the year before. So from a coaching standpoint I don't see a benefit of having been here before. I think that you're more familiar with what goes on and if that's helpful, it's helpful. But I don't think it helps you win games. I think it's just business as usual preparing your team and getting them to play well.

Q. With such a limited window of time to get acquainted to a foreign opponent do you really focus in on Illinois's big wins or do you kind of get a mix?

COACH BOYLE: We look kind of more at their recent games and they have had some big wins in there, obviously. You look at some of their close games where you know how teams that have played them close. But we have looked more at the last five, six games more so than going back to an early game. We watched the Gonzaga game, because obviously that was a good game for the Illini and beat a heck of a team. But mostly the more recent games is what we dial into. Not worrying about who it is. And you also look to see teams that play like you defensively and maybe offensively and see what worked or what didn't work.

Q. Talk about what you have seen in Brandon Paul and sort of, he seems to be -- some games he just dominates and other games he's not necessarily the scoring guy. What do you see from him and how do you try and deal with him?

COACH BOYLE: Well, he's a heck of a player, obviously. He's got great size. I think that one of the things you see with a guy like Brandon Paul is he's the focal point of everybody's defense. So I think that's why you maybe when you see him play every game you feel like, oh, there's some, maybe some inconsistencies there. Well, there's every defense that is going up against Illinois has got Brandon Paul in the forefront of their mind. And we're no different.

So he's a big guard. Again, he can put the ball on the floor. He can shoot the ball from deep. And they run a lot of screens for him. You got to be there on his catch and understand that he's a big shot taker and he's a big shot maker. He's going to make some tough shots and we know that. It's just we have got to try to make him work for everything that he gets and make sure everything comes over our hands.

Q. How does your Kansas background shape you as a coach and I understand you used to shut down Bill Self at Oklahoma State.

COACH BOYLE: (Laughter.) Yeah, Bill and I always joke that he liked playing against me because I was the only guy he could guard and I liked playing against him because he was the only guy I could guard. So we played against each other for four years.

But my Kansas background helped me having played two years for Ted Owens who recruited me there, really prepared me well and then obviously Larry Brown came in. It's helped me in my coaching background in dealing with young men. And usually when you take over a program, I took one over at Northern Colorado, as a head coach, and now at the University of Colorado three years ago, it helps you understand what young men are going through when they go through a coaching change. That's helped me a lot. It's given me a great understanding that Coach Owens, as successful as he was, and Coach Brown, as successful as he's been, Hall of Fame coach, two totally different personalities, two totally different styles. How you can be successful being yourself in this business. And it's given me a great background.

But I think the best advice I think I was given and I think Coach Brown gave it to me when I got this job was, just be Tad Boyle, be who you are, don't try to be somebody else. But those basketball minds, along with guys like Mark Turgeon and people that I've worked with coming up as assistant coach have helped form me.

Q. Were you a bit slow?

COACH BOYLE: I was slow. Yeah, I wasn't a step slow, I was two steps slow. (Laughter.)

Illini Inquirer Top Stories