Coaches Corner: Alford On 20 Days of Practice

Iowa Men's basketball coach Steve Alford is taking an 'open door' approach to practices this season, and he allowed the media to sit in on Monday's session. Coach Alford met with the media prior to the practice session today spoke about three weeks of playing against one another, the play of several players including Greg Brunner and Ben Rand who have flashed, as well as several other key performers for the 2003-2004 season.

Coach Alford:

Talking about open practices to media - We've just got to see how it goes. If this is a normal game tomorrow, I don't know if I want to be doing it the day before when we're doing heavy scout stuff. But I think it will be great for you guys. It's great to develop relationships with the team that way too. They see you a little bit more. But I've got to be careful because if we're playing Michigan tomorrow and it's in the paper tomorrow that Mike Henderson's riding the bike instead of practicing today, I don't need that advantage given to the opponent. If you could just kind of watch practice, get a feel, and that type of thing, that's one thing. But if you're giving them distinctive things for the other locker room to feed on, then that's a whole different thing. So, we'll just see how it goes.

I hate to bring up a negative to start this off with, but we understand that Sean was, I don't know if arrested is the right word.

We're looking into it. Something happened over Halloween, apparently with a parking ticket. He didn't follow through with what he was supposed to do as far as that parking ticket being paid. So, I am still looking into it and trying to get more details. They obviosuly have not showed up yet for practice. We're still trying to get information on exactly what that is. (Sonderleiter did practice on Monday.)

You questioned the leadership of your juniors at times last season. What indicates to you that they are ready to take on that leadership now?

Australia really helped us. All the seniors have done a much better job, not just through vocal leadership, but doing by example. They understand the system; what we're trying to do offensively and defensively. You see them doing a lot of teaching in practice situations of talking to the young guys.

On the play of Mike Henderson -He's going to be a pretty big part of what we're doing. In the Black and Gold Blowout, he was, by far, the biggest surprise. I don't know if surprise is the right word, but I just really enjoyed watching what he did defensively. That's something that we didn't have last year.

Have you made a decision on maybe redshirting Ben Rand?

I don't think so. We like everything that we're seeing, and that's always been a player's decision, even if it's something that we bring up. Obviously, we haven't had too much success with redshirting (laughter). It's just a different culture in men's basketball versus football.

How has Pierre's move to the wing worked out?

It's been great so far. Now, we haven't played any games. But in Australia, it was really good, and through 20 practices, he's really comfortable there. He gets to run. He's a very good slashing guard. And then to throw out something different, and give a different look, we can put him at the point. And now, you've got a 6-4, very strong point guard. And it relieves some pressure from Jeff. Last year, it was 40 minutes almost of Jeff running the point.

What would you like to accomplish tomorrow?

After today, we'll have 21 practices. We think we know some of our weaknesses. But what I want to get accomplished is "Let's play against somebody else and let's get a measuring stick of where we are nearly two weeks before we have to open." Then we'll get another great test on Sunday with an Athletes in Action team that is very, very good.

On the battle between Worley and Brunner for playing time at PF - Glen's been out. So, obviously when you've only got eight or nine practices under your belt of the 21, that gives you a little bit more of an indicator. I think Bru has just really been playing well. Regardless of that situation, they're both going to get a lot of minutes. They're both playing well. They're both doing a lot of good things. Glen is the senior, so probably it's going to be Glen. Both have earned that right, but we've only got so many spots. But whichever one doesn't (start), the other one will probably be first or second in (off of the bench).

On there being enough shots to go around - I think it's an unselfish team. A Jeff Horner can score 20 a game. But Jeff's just as pleased getting nine a game and getting eight rebounds and 10 assists. Pierre is a big time scorer. But if you look at our stats from practice, he's been one, two, three in assists through 20 practices. Jared is a very good big man that can pass out of the post. I've got a lot of guys that can score. But I don't have guys in that locker room saying "Boy, I've got to get 20 points a game. Or boy, I've got to get 15 points a game. They've got a very good mindset right now of winning games. You've got to play some games to figure out how to win. Hopefully this team can do it early in the season.

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories