Tiger Rag Q&A: John Brady

Tiger Rag editor Matt Deville sat down with LSU coach John Brady earlier in the month and discussed a variety of topics including the upcoming season and a talented cast of newcomers as well as the 2006-07 season and what went horribly wrong a year ago

Brady also discusses his feelings about the Tigers 2007-08 schedule and what he thinks will happen in the SEC this season.

TR: What did you learn as a coach last year?

JB: Well, I never that we weren't doing the right things as a coaching staff. I would have probably scaled down some of the early media attention generated from the Final Four season with Glen Davis coming back and a couple of other players like Tasmin and Garrett that had some championship experience. I would have scaled down the media attention early on…we probably didn't handle that as well as we should have and we got the focus off the team which I think during the course of the season hurt our camaraderie and our chemistry. That's the main thing I'd probably do a little bit differently, is protect the team a little more from the media attention and channel it more to concentrate on what we need to do to better our team's play. Because a lot of times when the media comes in they focus on one individual and I think sometimes it effects the way the team is constructed and I would have done that a little bit differently.

TR: What will this year's team be like without Glen Davis?

JB: The difference is, we've had from Stromile to Jabari to Jaime Lloreda, Brandon Bass, Glen Davis…real power guys around the basket. This team is a little bit different. We've gone back to more of a five man flowing offense, we've got different guys who can play off the post, we have big guards that we're going to try to take advantage of off the post, we've got Anthony Randolph, Chris Johnson and some players who can shoot the perimeter at 6-10 so we're going to try to utilize those strengths. We shot 25 threes a game when we were in Canada, there were games a couple of years ago, one in Arkansas where we only shot two threes and didn't make a one. So, this team is going to be a team that's going to run up and down the floor a little bit and have different guys shooting the ball because I think that's one of our strengths, driving the ball to the goal and possibly getting fouled. A little different than running sets that go directly to the post and trying to score off the post. We're going to do some different things for some different people and I think it will be a fun team to watch and hopefully we can figure out a way to defend around the goal and I think this team will be fun to watch, as you said. Also a team, I think, that can win some games based on its ability to score the ball.

TR: Introduce us to some of the new players on this season's team.

JB: I get reluctant to talk about guys like that because I'd just rather them develop their own way by how they play and let people draw their own conclusions. But certainly Anthony Randolph was a highly recruited player, a Parade All-American, 6-10, long and can really run, jump, shoot it and with added strength and experience he'll be one of the premier players in this league. Bo Spencer is going to be a solid point for us. Quentin Thornton will be able to rebound, defend a little bit around the goal and find his role on the team. Certainly he's not a Tyrus Thomas, Glen Davis or Brandon Bass. But with the right mix of players around him I think he can add something to our team. Garrett Green is another 6-10 young man who I think is going to develop into a great player here. Marcus Thornton, with Anthony Randolph, are the two impact signees that we have. I think Randolph will do some remarkable things in terms of showing his athleticism during the course of games and I think Marcus Thornton is going to be an explosive scorer for us. The first game in Canada he had 19 for us in the first half and wound up with 30 in his first appearance ever, playing with a new offense and a new set of teammates. I think as we coach him and we progress in our development as a team, I think those two players will really have an impact on both ends of the floor for us. I think the improvement of Terry Martin and Garrett Temple's experience and Tasmin Mitchell's experience…I think those guys will give us a good nucleus to work with.

TR: Again, you guys have a tough schedule ahead of you. Talk about the big games that pop up along the way.

JB: That can be a double edged sword. We've got two teams from the PAC 10 coming in here in Oregon State and Washington and basketball fans here don't get a chance to see a lot of PAC 10 teams, so it's a different style of play and a different type of team. And hopefully people will come see that and be intrigued by two PAC 10 teams in the same season coming here. We go play Villanova in the Big East Challenge on their home floor in Philadelphia, which isn't a real bargain for us. We play Texas A&M at their place, we go to Wichita State and we even play Tulane in New Orleans. Then we go to Maui and open up with Oklahoma State and if we happen win that game we play Marquette and if we win that one we'll possibly play Duke. So it's a challenging schedule, and the schedule this year is probably a little more difficult than this team needs because we do have a new look and a different idea of how to play based on how talent that we have.

TR: And the SEC?

JB: On our side, Miss State has good players back, good experience back. Arkansas has their whole team back. They have a new coach. Auburn has everyone back. Alabama, with losing Steele for the year will hurt them a little bit. I think Arkansas and Miss State on our side are probably a leg up on everyone else. On the other side, I think Vanderbilt is good, I think Tennessee is awfully good, Florida had a great recruiting class but they'll be young. I think Tennessee and Vandy on the other side are probably a little ahead of the other guys as this point.

TR: What about Kentucky and Billy Gillespie?

JB: They're good. I think Billy Gillespie is an excellent coach. We've played them a couple of times at A&M and our teams have been similar in terms of how we try to defend and rebound and get a quality shot on the other end. I think Gillespie will instill a toughness in his team that Tubby did, who is also an excellent coach, and I think he'll recruit more aggressively than they have in the past.

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