Update With Coach Bruce Weber
Coach, having talked with the current players they feel they're more athletic and should be a lot better than last year's team. What's your opinion on that?
Well, I think our strength comes in numbers compared to last year's team, so that should be a positive thing for us. I think our athleticism could be strength also. If we have depth, numbers and athleticism we should be a better defensive team also. Now we don't have to depend on someone going thirty-seven or thirty-eight minutes a game; now we can rest someone and have a fresh body to come in and put more pressure on someone and play the passing lanes. One of the things this year we're going to try and emphasize is energy, deflections, getting loose balls - all those types of things. So having that depth and athleticism should be good for us this year.
The knock on this year's team may be your team's inability to shoot from the perimeter, but your players seem pretty confident that's not going to be a problem this year. Your thoughts?
It's a question mark at this point - whether it's the media, fans or the coaches (laughing). It's one thing we didn't do well last year. Do we have any knock down shooters? I don't know. But the key will be to piece some guys together and just get the guys to make the easy play, get the open shots. It's a lot easier to make open shots than it is to make contested shots. That's going to be something to emphasize on offense. We have some guys that put some time in this summer and fall that's when you improve your game, and work on things you're not strong at.
What are your expectations of Brian Randle this year? He's been injured most of his career at Illinois.
One, I just hope I'm not expecting too much, I just feel so bad for him. I hope he can stay healthy. I hope he can gain some confidence and I hope he can get a smile on his face. If all those things add up he will be fine. I know he has the ability to be a very good player. If those things happen for him then the key will be consistency throughout the season. He's been the highlight reel - he's had the dunks on people, the big plays, the blocked shots. But I want him in the consistent reel, which I know he can do.
Thanks, coach. Good luck this season.
Thanks. No problem.
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