Eustachy Media Day Quotebook

Cyclone Nation caught up with Iowa State men's basketball coach Larry Eustachy at Monday afternoon's media day in Ames. The coach, entering his fifth year at ISU, hit on various issues surrounding his team heading into the 2002-03 campaign.

on lessons of a year ago:

"We really don't want to look back, we want to look forward. But you can also learn from the past, whether it's a championship year or a team that really struggled to win games but tried very hard. The measuring stick is always going to be wins and losses for the media, fans, my mom and my wife."

"I kind of view it differently. Did we over-achieve or reach our potential? I thought that happened last year. The record, what is different, is we had four exempt games last year so we had four extra games and were able to get two extra wins because of that. So sometimes these records can be misleading when you compare year to year, because of the number of games you get to play."

on making strides during tough opening to conference slate:

"It's going to be very difficult conference play for us and non-conference. We set it up where this young team can hopefully have some success early and gain confidence. We need to know we can play a quality of basketball that gives us a chance."

"We see what Dan is going through in football with his stretch of the schedule and I think ours is very similar, in opening with Kansas, going to Texas, coming back against Oklahoma, going to Missouri, playing a very good Nebraska team at home and going to Oklahoma State. I challenge when somebody's had a rougher run since this conference has been formed then that stretch. If a computer spit that out, I'd like to know the computer that chucked that thing out. It's going to be a difficult run."

"We've got to weather the storm for those early games and we will. We always have. We'll hold together and then the schedule swings our way if you can say that. We still have to go to Kansas. But that's going to be a big test for this season is that stretch in early January of those six games. Whether we win or lose, we have to come out better for it, be a stronger team and better executing team and move ahead."

on gauge he has of the team since opening practice on Oct. 12:

"We have practiced eight days now. I like to do media day now, because at least I have a little frame of reference. I don't know how coaches can stand up before they've even practiced and give you a great insight to their team. I won't find out about guys until it becomes very difficult, adverse, after a lot of early-morning practices, tough losses and halftime speeches."

"That's when you find out about where somebody really is. I like these guys. They're good guys and are solid citizens. It seems to me that we have a good chemistry and good core of guys that like each other. But time will tell. I think I know what I have in Jake Sullivan. But it's only been eight days for the new guys."

on how team can make more strides at end of games this season:

"I was pleased with last year for the most part. We battled until the end. Our final league game here we had Texas beat. We can learn from last year. We have seen the end of our games and we just broke down defensively and rebound-wise. We always scored enough points against those guys but couldn't stop them late. Some of that was fatigue. We played guys too many minutes.

"We can learn, but don't like to look back whether it's a championship year resting on your laurels or looking back on a year in which you struggled from a win standpoint. You move ahead, but can learn from the past. We look back a little bit to learn. I don't know what the future lies for this team. We can't take a major blow with an injury. We're that limited right now."

on team building similar cohesiveness that back-to-back title squads had:

"We have to keep in mind that there have been two championships won here in the last million years and they happen to be in two of the last three years. We've really raised the bar, as far as expectations. I've always had expectations to win conference championships everywhere we've been and we have. I see a character within this team, a work ethic and a team chemistry that only players can put together."

"We didn't have a total team chemistry last year. I thought we did as much as we could as coaches. There comes a time when the players have to take over in the locker room. We probably had it about as good as anybody last year, but we've always had it far above the teams we've played. I think we have the chance to do it this year, but time will tell."

on point guard situation:

"I hope it's a lot better. I think we'll be better. Tim Barnes is good. How good? I don't know, I haven't seen him stacked up against the best. Jake is better than he has been. Haluska's true position is the two-guard. Marcus Jefferson is better than he was last year. Ricky's improved."

"But it's the same old story. We have zero margin for error with injuries and fouling. We're going to have to play just right and get games close. Then we're going to have to win those games, which we were unable to do last year. We can learn from that. I told my team that we're not going to go back in the past unless it's a learning situation."

"We've got a film of six or seven games that we lost at the end. We wanted to say we didn't have guys that create their own shot, but our defense really broke down. Hopefully we can make great defensive stands late in games and win games."

on improvements in Sullivan's game:

"He's a better offensive weapon. When he got here he was a catch-and-shoot guy, but he's worked hard to take it at guys, legally get separation between them and shoot a fall away. He's handling it much better. He's playing with a lot more confidence."

"That European trip did wonders for him, to go with all of those great players and leave there the leading scorer. He's just a better athlete now and can dunk the ball. He's really a changed body. He's one year older and is coming into his own. He has a tremendous urgency to become the best player he can become and has had a better summer than anyone I've ever coached. Hopefully he'll stay healthy."

on how depth at point guard can match up in Big 12:

"Show me a good team and they've got a great point guard. We need a lot of stability at the point. That's probably the key to this team. I think there are a lot of candidates for it. Ricky is better. I think (Adam) Haluska can play one or two down the road. Jake can do it and handle it much better this year."

"Tim Barnes is our best talent at it. The thing about Tim is he can really go down the court, pick it up, create havoc and bother people. He came in here weighing 155 pounds and has gained 15 more. In spite of his lack of size and weight, he's deceivingly wiry strong."

"You can never have enough of them by what we're recruiting and who we're trying to get in this early recruiting process. I feel better about it. I am concerned about the inexperience of it, particularly with who we have to go against. You have Quannas White and Hollis Price on a single team. Hinrich and Miles are also on a team. Those are experienced guys that we don't have."

on differences in Barnes' and Morgan's games:

"They both have a point guard mentality. Tim is just so much quicker and is probably as quick as most guards in our league. He can probably out-run anybody on our team, besides Haluska, with the ball and the other guy doesn't have the ball. He's that fast with the ball and is just an excellent shooter. There are some differences there. This is Barnes' fourth year out of high school. He got hurt his first year in junior college, so he's an older guy. He turned 21 yesterday. That's why we had the 5 in the morning practice, to make sure he got some sleep."

"Barnes is much quicker and faster with the ball and is a better shooter. He's just more of an overall skilled player and older than Ricky. Ricky is two years out of high school and Tim is three. He has that on Ricky, but Ricky has the experience of being in this program. It's a good battle and they're both competing. There's nothing saying that we can't play them together."

on what battle between Barnes and Morgan could do:

"I think the best coaching tool is competition. We didn't have a bunch of it last year. We don't have a bunch this year, but it's a little bit more. We're in a transition period and are not where we're going to be and then stay. That's part of it. It's a long process. I think we're farther ahead than we were last year, which is what you want to do in a transition period. But the competition does help and we have better competition this year."

on any effect Shane Power's departure will have:

"I told my wife that name would come up. I think this will be the last time Shane Power's name will come up. I think we're a better team when guys leave that don't want to be in this program or buy into this program. I look at it as a positive, whether it's players in the past prior to Shane or Shane himself. I firmly believe that people leave because they don't believe in what's being done. If you're excited where you're at, like your role and who's around you, then you stay. That wasn't the case, so I look at us to be better when those situations occur."

on Omar Bynum:

"He's a fine guy, a wonderful guy and is quite the team person and leader. He has to play within himself. We all have limitations and he is limited in some areas, but every person on our team is limited. Some have better limitations than others, but he's limited and has to stay within those limits. He has to accept a role, which he has in the past of who he has to guard and where his limitations are on offense. That's the biggest thing.

"When we first got Stevie Johnson, we had him out in the perimeter and he was doing things that he really wasn't as adequate as when he got around the basket. Omar is best around the basket and can come out and guard somebody and put it on the floor. He has to stay within himself and can't be so turnover prone. He has to impact winning far more than he did last season."

"He had a rough go of it with his arrest and situation. He's extremely embarrassed by it. If any good can come out of it, he's far more mature from it. He lost a lot because of it. You won't see his picture on the media guide and he won't play in some of these early games. Luckily nobody was hurt in the situation."

on intangibles of team:

"As a whole, what's going to determine our season is how tough our team becomes. My number one question about this team is how tough can we get mentally and physically. We've worked awful hard in the weights and are much stronger than we were a year ago physically. Mentally we have to match our physical strength. I think we can have some upsets and beat some teams that people say we're not supposed to beat."

on potential starting lineup:

"I can't answer that right now. (Jared) Homan's been very good. Vroman has been good. Marcus Jefferson has been good. Jake and Tim Barnes have worked hard. That's off the top of my head, but that's a daily situation."

on Jackson Vroman:

"I love Jackson. He's just relentless and plays every foot of the court on offense, defense and loose balls. He almost has to be wound down. You can't teach what he has. He's foul prone and that's because he plays so hard. I think he averaged four fouls in 19 minutes in junior college. I told him we're only allowed five here, too. We have to gear up his playing hard and get his hands away and not foul. We're trying to cut his fouling down. We can't have him on the bench.

"He's not overly skilled as a shooter and can improve on that. But I've seen very few that have been relentless in the first eight days I've coached him. He really rebounds out of his area like few people. He's competitive, feisty and is not afraid to fight. He's got a terrific mental makeup."

"He's a versatile player. He can play three, four and five. Most importantly, he brings a real toughness to this team that we've lacked and a real leadership that only him and somebody like Jake Sullivan have. He's one of our natural leaders right off the bat and that's something you don't see very often."

on this being season for Adam Schaper and Andrew Skoglund to emerge:

"You'd have to ask them. It's always been up to them. They try hard and work hard. Schaper had a Sullivan-like summer and they're both better players than last season. Time will tell if they can help impact this program. They've got to be out there to find out. I think the biggest mistake I made last year was not having Skogs out there at times. Schaper gets down on himself at times, but he's a good talent and is going to help this program before it's over."

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