Exclusive: McDermott Speaks Part Two

Yesterday CN gave you an inside look to how Greg McDermott wants to tackle the subject of recruiting as the Iowa State men's basketball coach. Today, in this exclusive CN interview, McDermott talks about goals, expectations and the progress of the players who stuck around from last years squad. Check it out right here only at CN.


Williams: Let's talk a little bit about the guys who are here already. Last year the big men were weak and small. They got pushed around a lot in the Big 12. Have you set any weight goals for these guys to get to over the summer?


McDermott: Now that they've been through it, I think Ross (Marsden) in particular understand that it was their first time through the Big 12. Now they know what a disadvantage that they were at playing against people who had superior strength. I think that in itself is motivating them this summer. Also, part of it is their build. They aren't necessarily broad shouldered guys who are going to weigh 250 pounds at some point and time that's just not their makeup. We have to put them in a position where they have a chance to be successful. If they're going to go one on one down there with somebody who is 7'0, 260 pounds, they're going to lose that battle. We have to provide them some help in our defensive scheme and that's what we plan on doing.


Williams: So what kind of summer conditioning program do you have these guys on?


McDermott: Well obviously the strength program is our number one priority. We have to get stronger as a group. That has to be our main focus.


Williams: Do you know when these scholarship guys are going to get here so they can start working out?


McDermott: It will be around June 10th, they'll start summer school on that Monday.


Williams: How much will Rahshon's (Clark) role change compared to what it was last year with Stinson and Blalock on the roster?


McDermott: He's going to have to assume a leadership role. I think that most people outside of our program view him as our top returning player. With that comes the role of the leader. It's something that he didn't have to do a year ago that will be a very important role for us this year. The six new guys are going to follow Rahshon's lead regardless of which direction he goes so it's important that he's really setting his ground with those guys. I think that Rahshon is genuinely excited about this.


Williams: I personally think that Rahshon will flourish without Stinson and Blaylock ahead of him. From what you've seen of him, do you think he'll do that?


McDermott: Well yeah but he'll have to work hard to prepare himself and I think he's committed to doing that. It's going to be a little different role for him because last year, I would guess that a lot of the times and I haven't watched enough tape to know, but he was possibly being guarded by the third best perimeter defender because of Will and Curtis. Now he's probably going to draw the best perimeter defender. He's going to have to adjust to that but what excites me about Rahshon is that I don't think he's even close to reaching his potential. He has so much room to grow as a player, from a ball handling stand point, a footwork standpoint, his consistency with shooting the basketball; there is so much room there for him to improve. You've got a very gifted athlete to start with, that's really exciting to me and the coaching staff.


Williams: How is Jiri Hubalek doing after this whole situation that has gone down?


McDermott: He's back home now until June 10. He hasn't had the opportunity to spend much time with his family so we allowed him to go home for three weeks to a month. I haven't had a lot of contact with him and we're still playing a waiting game on what's going to happen. We'll finish our own internal investigation and then it will be passed on to the NCAA.


Williams: How is Ross Marsden doing so far this summer?


McDermott: He's putting on weight and he's getting stronger. His work ethic has been outstanding since the day we arrived on campus. He really wants to be a good player and I think he will be because of that work ethic. He's been very committed to what we've asked him to do in the weight room.


Williams: Ross got thrown into the wolves last year. Do you think that will give him and advantage later on in his career?


McDermott: Yeah he probably could have benefited from a red-shirt year. That didn't fit last year's team. He needed to play. That can be very trying on a young player. Sometimes it can really damage their confidence. I don't think that has been the case with Ross. I think he's learned from it and he understands what he has to do better. He just needs to stay active in the weight room and get bigger in both an upper body and a lower body standpoint. I think he'll work hard to do that.


Williams: How is Jessan Gray doing?


McDermott: He's doing ok. He's really our only senior from a scholarship standpoint but he's going to have to step up and play an important leadership role for us. His ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter fits how we want to play offensively so I think there is going to be an opportunity for him to shine in our offense, if he can get strong enough to do the things on the other end of the floor.

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