Giannini Post Season Q&A Part I

La Salle head coach John Giannini sits down with ExplorerHoopReport and discusses this past season and his outlook for the future of the La Salle program. While the Explorers experienced growing pains, Giannini expects brighter days ahead.

EHR: Have the struggles from this past season diminished your hope for the future of the program or forced you to re-think how to continue to build the program going forward?

Giannini: Struggles always motivate me more. I have never been more motivated. This is the 4th time in 18 years as a head coach that I have had to rebuild. In '98 at Maine we won 7 games, next year 19 wins for the third best turn around in the country. Then in '02 and '03 at Maine we had a lot go wrong and had two losing seasons, next year we won 20 and were in our conference championship game. Our first year at La Salle we won 10 games, then won 18 the next year. So, this is something I have gone through before. I am optimistic, excited and confident, but do get frustrated sometimes when other people don't understand how and why things get better or worse. I have never rethought how to build a program. It is simple. Get the best players possible. In one full recruiting class we were able to get a good group of mid-size players. When we get outstanding smaller or bigger players, we will adapt to them.

EHR: When you look back at the past season what were some of things that surprised you both positively and negatively?

Giannini: The biggest surprise was that I greatly overestimated our defensive quickness in the back court. There were no other major surprises. I also underestimated the adjustment that our freshman guards would have in handling the ball so much more than they did in high school and in our young front line players playing away from the basket more. In those offensive areas I think they are showing much improvement already as they are working extremely hard on their shooting in the spring.

EHR: You don't press very often, but when I watched the NCAA tournament some teams pressed with success. What is your position on pressing with regard to your team now and possibly in the future?

Giannini: We did press a little in most games this year to see how the opponent would react. I am intrigued with pressing more (i.e. being more aggressive in the back court) while being more solid in the half court. I am considering a lot of good concepts this off-season and will decide on a defensive package before the fall.

EHR: What were your thoughts on your freshmen's performances this past season?

Giannini: They all showed deficiencies they have to work on as well as great promise. Rodney scored, rebounded, shot a good percentage and was a productive A10 player. He clearly needs to work on his outside shot, defense and passing and he is working very hard on those things. Rubin also scored, shot well and improved his decision making. He needs to improve in all areas, but his ceiling is extremely high. He showed the ability to shoot, create, pass, and post, but must get better defensively and continue to mature. Kimmani really improved and was also a double figure scorer in the A10. He is very solid and dependable and will keep getting better. He was also solid defensively. Yves show great athleticism and heart. He defended and rebounded well. He must improve his perimeter skills. He already has made great progress this spring. He is going to improve a great deal. Brian just had a slow start not practicing full-time until November and then having some additional nagging injuries. He was not his usual self physically.

EHR: Will the team be on campus this summer?

Giannini: Everyone will be on campus both summer sessions. Our players are working very hard and will do so all summer.

Stay tuned as ExplorerHoopReport will bring you part II of our post season Q&A with Explorer head coach Dr. John Giannini in the coming days. A big thank you to all of the Cove members who submitted questions for the head coach.

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