Media Day Q&A: Coach Joel Cornette

Joel Cornette has been around Todd Lickliter for some time, as a player and coach at Butler. He is now one of Lickliter's assistants at Iowa, and he spoke with the media at Thursday's basketball media day event...

Q: Tomorrow is the official start for practice for you. What is going through your mind as you prepare for that first day?

Joel Cornette: It is a matter of taking it one day at a time. We have to prepare every day like we are playing for a championship, and getting these guys to buy into the system. They have done well in the preseason and I am excited to get them each day. It's different when you go twice a week. As smart as these guys are, they are only young men and they tend to forget something when they leave the gym. It will be nice to reinforce things each day and it will be great to get on the floor working with these guys.

Q: Has the transition been easy for you from Indiana to Iowa City?

Cornette: To be honest, it has been amazing. What has really helped has been the people. Everyone who works in the athletic department, to the coaching staff, players and the Iowa City community. When you are dealing with people that are hard to work with, it could be tougher. But we have been welcomed here since the day we walked in. We are undefeated so far, so it has been good.

Q: 11 players seems like a small number to work with, but what have you gotten from them so far?

Cornette: I think the reason we kept it at 11, we knew how bad we were as a coaching staff. Two more would have been tough. But our expectations are no different now than they were at Butler. We want them to work hard, stay focused and try to get better each day. The idea isn't to peak on October 13th. It's to be the best you can be headed into March. Some people have asked me how long it will take for us to get it where it needs to be. I tell them that it will not take a day more than it should. We will work as hard as we can to get these guys ready to compete at a high level, and prepare them to win. That is all that we can ask. We just want great effort out of these guys, a great attitude when they walk in the gym and I think we can give them a chance to do that.

Q: Coach Lickliter makes it sound like this is a selfless system.

Cornette: That is true. Basketball, I don't know when it was forgotten or not emphasized, but it's a team sport. If you want to do it on your own, go play golf or tennis. Nothing against those sports, but this is a team game when Dr. Naismith invented it, it's to teach teamwork. Why the NBA forgot that, I don't know. But look at the Spurs and Suns dominating that league. They tend to play it the right way. As a college kid, why would you want to go somewhere where you don't have a chance to be a part of a team, where guys pull for you as much as themselves. We had that at Butler, we are going to have that here in Iowa and we feel like the fans will embrace it.

I think they should, because from my short time here, that is the type of people they have been; selfless. I think they will appreciate that on the floor. We will need to win games. It's not just about having good guys who are good buddies, and then go get their butts kicked. We will have competitive guys who will fight and do what they can within the rules to win games. As soon as we get that, we will have something going. What we have seen so far, we are on our way. It is not perfect yet. We will work to get it.


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