Media Day: McDermott Part Two

Greg McDermott talked to the local media on Tuesday. Find out what the new coach had to say right here in part two of the Greg McDermott Media Day presser report.

Q: With only so many practices so far, have you been able to gauge who some of the key guys might be or your starters might look like?


A: I haven't really thought about that yet. We're really limited for these exhibition games with Mike Taylor's suspension and Jessan Gray still up in the air with a wrist injury. That really takes us down to maybe eight players who are ready to play. We're still experimenting with a few of the walk-ons who have shown signs that they might be able to help us in situations. We're still feeling our way through that. The guys you would all imagine, Corey McIntosh, Dodie Dunson, Rahshon Clark, Wesley Johnson has been a positive. He's done some good things. Ross Marsden probably understands everything we're doing better than anybody on the team in terms of where to be, where to screen and the positioning parts of it. Cory Johnson has made good strides. Jiri Hubalek can play in exhibition games but he can't play in the first six. It's really, in some ways been hard to really put together a group. We've fought some injuries. Mike Taylor missed three days of practice, Rahshon missed three days of practice with an injury. Jessan was practicing with us for a while but hasn't practiced for the last week. We really haven't been able to settle in on eight or nine players working together because we haven't been able to have that group together the entire time.


Q: Have you stressed to the guys the importance of spending time with each other off the court to build chemistry?


A: They would probably argue that they're spending enough time together on the practice court right now. We've had a few long practices because we have to. We have to spend some time. There's that fine line between being fatigued and making sure that we have our legs when it's time to play. We're walking that line right now and we have to address that this week in practice. I'm just seeing some things and interactions like at football games walking around the parking lot before a game, or over at my house for some recruiting event that we might have that I didn't see this summer and I didn't see early when school started in August. I think we're making some strides and I think that they have a feel for each other. Chemistry, that's a process as well. That doesn't develop over night. You have to get a feel for one another and we're moving in that direction.


Q: Coming in as a new coach, does it help that all of the guys are on the same learning curve?


A: Yeah they are all on the same learning curve; I'm not sure what advantage there is to that. Part of coaching is teaching your team your terminology, techniques and what your expectations are. Then, as new players enter your program, they reinforce what those techniques and what those expectations are to the younger people in your program so as coaches, you don't have to do all of that. Right now, we have to do all of that until everyone understands exactly where we're coming from and what we expect in certain situations. That's going to continue to be an uphill battle. In terms of a clean slate, I don't know if I'd approach it that way. I don't think that any coach ever would step into a season thinking that we need to get this over with. We want to put our team in a position to win. There are some challenges with that, but it's our job to try and figure out a way to at least put us in a position to have a chance to be successful.


Q: What's it like coming into this bigger atmosphere and the new Hilton renovations?


A: The changes that we've made are positive changes. All you have to do is sit here and see how much brighter it is here with the ring, and I'm not a big fan of that photo [huge picture of McDermott on scoreboard] but other than that, everything is good. They worked all summer on these new seats. I think that our administration in general has done a great job promoting the season and making the necessary chances to this facility to make it even more fan friendly.


One of the things that I didn't have to do when I got to Iowa State that was different from Wayne State and UNI was that we had to build a program in all aspects of the program there. We had to recruit fans, we had to recruit the student body, we had to do everything that we could to try and get people interested in our program. That's already in place at Iowa State. We've got a great fan following. Our students are awesome. They always have been here. I sit right next to them at football games so I see what they are capable of over there. They do a great job. I think that some things have been done inside to make it better for all of our fans. We'll have more students closer to the floor. It should make it an even tougher environment, tougher than it already is.


Other Notes:


  • Wes Johnson is a true SF, but will play PF and probably start there on Friday due to the lack of depth and the need to get him on the floor.
  • Dodie Dunson and Mike Taylor can play any of the three guard positions and will more than likely see time at all three. Look for Taylor to backup Corey McIntosh at the point when he's out of the game.
  • Mike Taylor's academic progress is coming along well, and he's done everything that the coaches have asked him to do.






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