MODERATOR: Coach Wayne Morgan will introduce his players.
COACH WAYNE MORGAN: How is everyone today? To my immediate left is Curtis Stinson, junior guard for us, all Big 12 player. To his left is Will Blalock, our point guard and a very, very good player also.
We're looking forward to this year, all excited about it. We started practicing last Saturday, like the rest of the teams across the country. We have tried to work extremely hard in those initial practices, we will all year. We think that we have a chance to be a really good team. I believe that our perimeter players Will, Curtis,Tasheed Carr, Rahshon Clark, John Neal, Anthony Davis comprise one of the best perimeters in the country, maybe not the best but I think they can play against any perimeter in the country.
This year would be the first time in my third-year career that I have coached a team with no returning player at the four or five position. We have got some young kids that we have recruited that are talented but we're working very hard to try to acclimate them to the rigors of the Big 12.
Q. Through these media days, a lot of folks have referred to you (inaudible) how do you see the other pieces fitting around them?
That's what we're really working on right now. Shawn Taggart is a freshman, he's
very good. Really pleasant surprise from was Ross Marsden, who is a freshman,
he's good. We have -- Mr. Evanovich came to us from
COACH WAYNE MORGAN: I think we can see what is in place. A lot of things have to happen, but if those things happen, I think we have a chance to be a good team.
Q. Can you talk about how Curtis and Will play together? Obviously they are both great individual talents, but how do you get those talents to mesh?
WAYNE MORGAN: It's
a very interesting story. They both played in prep school and Curtis
went Winchendon and Will went to Notre Dame. The two
schools are like 17 miles apart. So they both signed early to come to
They do most of the stuff that they do together. I think they spent so much time together and played together and talk about the game that they intuitively are almost like twins: One knows where the other one is or what the other one is going to do in the very next instant. They are terrific complements to each other. When they were freshmen, I knew they were both great guards. And both point guards, I wasn't quite sure how to do that. I remember telling them you guys work out who has the ball when, and they did.
Q. Can you two talk about growing together and learning what each other was about and how close those ties are right now?
CURTIS STINSON: Well, like Coach says, you know, we probably wasn't talking to each other, that made us even bond even close when it was time to get to Iowa State and play together. That's something that we just put behind us and just came together. We knew we was going to be teammates for four years and we just clicked.
I said, probably like an East Coast thing, I don't know, maybe that he knows how
glad have him on my team.
WILL BLALOCK: Since we have been at Iowa State we just bond so much all the time like as far as being home, we always talk about basketball and we always talk about what we should have done better this game or that game how we should have handled this or that possession. I think talking to each other socially he it got so much easier when it came down for practice and getting prepared for the next opponent that we kind of critiqued our mistakes I want to say ever since our freshman year and we always got better and we just got better every day. I don't know, it's just been working out for the better for us and we have got to keep it up.
Q. Having been through the Big 12 now and knowing pretty much who is got what coming back, what is it going to take for you guys to contend for that top spot?
CURTIS STINSON: Going to take hard work, team effort, you know, there isn't an "I" in team, so it takes a team thing to get the job done now. We know that teams have great players coming back and some teams have like the whole team coming back. All depends what the team do and how we play together to be successful. Only thing we want to do is make sure we leave everything on the floor every time we step out there.
WILL BLALOCK: Like Curtis said, it going to take a lot of hard work and that's going to come in practice and, yeah, me and him know what the Big 12 is like because we have been here for two years. But at the same time, like Coach Morgan told you prior to that question, the front court, we don't have any return or 4 or 5 men, so it has kind of placed on my and his chest to get the big guys ready for the Big 12 because they don't know the physicality of what the Big 12 is. Like the referees are going to let them play and our biggest guy is only 200 and maybe 20 pounds, we got to physically get them ready and we got to be prepared to battle every day in practice just to get them ready.