Greg McDermott: I really think we are making strides but it's going to be a work in progress until the young guys get used to everything. Offensively we are coming and I think we will be a better shooting team this year.
CSR: What is one or two things that they must improve on in order to be successful?
GM: We are turning it over too much because we trying to do too much. We have to learn to make the simple play and we don't have try and hit the home run. Defensively, we have to do a better job guarding the ball.
CSR: This team returns two of the better young players in the Big 12 in Craig Brackins and Diante Garrett yet many national publications have predicted Iowa State to finish in the lower portion of the Big 12. Is this team being overlooked?
GM: I really never put too much stock in the pre-season predictions. We didn't have a great season last year so I guess in that regard the pick might fit from that standpoint but we think we will be better. We'd be very disappointed if we finish where they are picking us.
CSR: Some of the players have told me that the team chemistry is really outstanding. Do you agree with them?
GM: Absolutely and I think that it started to develop this summer and has just grown from there. I couldn't be happier with our team chemistry at the moment. I think the trip to Hawaii will only enhance it because we will be able to do some things that aren't basketball related.
CSR: How important is Lucca being healthy to the success of this team?
GM: I think it's important because when we don't have him we are a team without big wings. He is the biggest guard we have in the program and if he's healthy he'll be able to defend bigger guards and also help us by rebounding. People are going to be patient with him because he's never played a college basketball game and he's also missed a month.
CSR: Is there a newcomer that you feel could really surprise people this year?
GM: Justin Hamilton is definitely farther along than we had expected and that is really due to the strength that he has added. He could really surprise some people and Wes (Eikmeier) and Dominique (Buckley) are doing what we expected they would. They both will have opportunities to be on the court helping us this year.
CSR: How important is it for this team to get off to a good start this season?
GM: It's important every year but this year especially with such a young team. A lot of things have happened over the last year and some players have left the program for whatever reason. When we originally scheduled this three game tournament it sounded like a great idea. For us it might not be ideal but we will definitely find out a lot about our team.
CSR: Is there any change that you will redshirt one of your players this season?
GM: I would really like to redshirt one of the frontcourt freshman players. I'm not sure who it will be but I will likely have to make that decision this week.
CSR: The Cyclones will make the post-season this year if.....
GM: We have to stay healthy and limit our turnovers during games. We also have to overachieve rebounding the basketball. One other thing that will help us is that this team definitely has some spurtability on offense.