Media Day Transcript: Hawkeye Players

Cully Payne, Melsahn Basabe, Jarryd Cole, Andrew Brommer,Matt Gatens and Eric May weigh in on the season ahead for the Hawkeyes.

Cully Payne

On playing with Bryce Cartwright

"Bryce and I play a little bit differently, but I think we can play together once really look at it. They did that at Villanova. Scotty Reynolds and their other point guard were playing together all the time."

On having a Villanova connection "Yeah, we have talked a little bit about Villanova. I have been friends with Scotty Reynolds for a long time now."

On working on decision making with the ball

"That was definitely a big thing. As soon as he got here, that was the first thing he said [on deciding between passing or shooting]. I think that, with me looking to score that will open up everyone else. That will get Matt open shots, Eric open shots, so overall I think it will definitely be helpful."

On what he learned last year

"I think I learned mostly how to play. How to handle a Division I team. How to control a game, which is something Coach Jordan worked with me a lot last year. It finally clicked I know how to control the pace of a game, which is important when it comes to the role of a point guard."

Melsahn Basabe

On adjusting to Iowa City

"I am adjusting. I have been really enjoying my time here so far. I was here this summer so the start of school wasn't really my introduction to the city. I got to enjoy it this summer and I have been really embraced by the city and by the fans. People have been really cordial to me and with football, I have been loving the atmosphere. Basketball preseason, we have been preparing and working hard. New spirit and just getting after it for days and I'm just excited for the season to come."

On this time last year

"This time last year I was still taking visits, I hadn't even signed yet. I would have never guessed myself to be all the way in Iowa City, but I'm happy with the decision."

On being exited for his first year

"Well I have been watching Big Ten teams play on TV and watching all these great players and now that I am one of them and on the court and I have a chance to play, that's just really exciting."

On being a Hawkeye

"We are trying to get a new tradition, we're trying to bring back the winning ways. As far as embracing the program, all of them do it, and the coaches do. It's black and gold and we all embrace it, so, so far so good."

Jarryd Cole

On the team being a fast-pasted team and being able to run up and down the court

"It's going to be a lot of fun getting up and down and running. Coach McCaffery doesn't promise much but he will promise you that he is going to get us up and down the floor. He is going to try and get the fans in here and give people something to look at and we are all really excited about that."

On the transition to a new system?

"It has gone real well. The guys have taken it to heart. We are embracing the coaching staff and they are embracing us. It has been a very smooth transition and that's what we need right now. Hopefully, it will carry over into the season."

On what's it been like for the walk-ons this season?

"They have been enjoying it. We have been enjoying them and we are all helping each other out in practice a lot. They come out here and work hard and that's all that we can ask of them. They have given their all and their time will come."

Is there any difference in the atmosphere with coach McCaffery?

"I really can't tell yet. I do know that the guys are very excited and the coaches are excited for us to take the court. Tomorrow is the first day of practice and there is a lot of buzz going on, so we will know more a little bit later."

Talk about the complexities of the offense?

"The previous system was an actual system and Coach McCaffery's is a little less than that. McCaffery is a little more freelance and getting out of the old state of mind was a little hard, but the guys coming in are picking it up really well. The whole high school to college transition is what to work on with the newcomers but from my end, it's kind of like going from a stagnant player to a freelance player. We all are picking it up really well. We just have to see where it goes."

Talk about taking on a leadership role

"It's very important. That's what I have been doing since freshman year and it's what I feel comfortable doing. As long as coach keeps placing that ball in my court then that's the kind of job I'm going to have."

Andrew Brommer

Talk about differences of the old and new coaching staffs

"They are both good staffs. The style of play is going to be a lot different and I really like this coaching staff a lot because they give you confidence and let you do your own thing. They coach you up when you need to be coached up and they are going to let you play."

Is the weight room regiment different than it was previously?

"Yeah, we do a lot. With Coach Lickliter it was more about benching as much as you could or squatting as much as you could. Now it's more plyometric, a lot of reps and just more high intensity lifting."

Do you think this year is a new start to your career?

"I think it has rejuvenated all of us here. I think it's a new start for all of us. I feel I fit into this system really well and it's a good opportunity for me, so I'm going to take it and run with it. I feel like I can get up and down the floor really well and I'm a pretty versatile big guy. We get the chance to not run free, but we can push it when there is an opportunity and I think that it is going to benefit all of us."

Matt Gatens

On getting home crowd advantage back at Carver

"I grew up around here, and know how loud this place gets when it is packed. It gets wild. I think it's one of the loudest in the Big Ten and country. We've had a couple games packed here, but the more we can get, it's going to really help us. Hopefully, the fans will come out and enjoy watching us."

On getting healthy after last season

"I'm completely healthy. I slimmed down a little bit, as the coaches have been talking about. It's just a matter of those slight ankle injuries. They are going to happen, and you just have to move past them. Right now, I'm ready to go and as healthy as I have ever been."

On focusing on just playing the shooting guard position

"I hope it will help out the team and me as an individual. I think this is a lot more fun and easier for me to concentrate on one position and try to master that, and not worry about switching positions on defense half way through the game; which I still might do depending on situations. He (McCaffery) wants me to focus on the two-guard, and take it to the best of my ability."

On excitement level

"I think our bodies and minds have been focused on a slow it down and grind it out motto. To change your body and your mind regarding what the goal is with the ball, it's going to be really exciting for us. We've talked a lot about speeding it up, and making sure we're still able to work the ball through the offense and get a good shot. We're excited about it."

Eric May

On improving Iowa basketball

"We absolutely feel that challenge (to get Iowa back in the postseason). For every player on this team, that's why you come to play college basketball; to have success and get to that tournament. That's the goal on everybody's mind on the team.

On preseason efforts

"This offseason has been really important to us. We know how much there is to be working on right now. This preseason has really proved how hard we are working to achieve that goal (improvement)."

On McCaffrey's system

"This does fit me. It's the style of play I am used to playing in high school, and it gives me a chance to run the court and try to get some buckets in different ways than we are used to. I think we are all excited about it."

On conditioning

"It's been a lot different. The (conditioning) sessions this year have been a lot longer, and we are definitely getting something out of it each and every time. It's important to get that when you are looking at the system changes. We want to be able to play all 40 minutes of that system."


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