UT's Cuonzo Martin Talks About Rick Ray

Mississippi State University is set to announce Clemson Associate Head Coach Rick Ray as their new head men's basketball coach during a Monday afternoon press conference. Tennessee Head Basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin talked about Coach Ray and what MSU fans can expect to see from their new head basketball coach.

You've worked with Coach Ray at Purdue. What are your thoughts about him?
"I think it is a great hire. He is a quality, quality man. He has a tremendous work ethic, a tremendous passion to be successful. He really wants to see his young men be successful on and off the court. He's committed to them not only being great basketball players but successful off the court, getting that degree and having successful careers.

"He's a guy who will get there at 5 or 6 in the morning and work until midnight if necessary. He will do whatever it takes for his program to be successful."

The Xs and Os and recruiting are so vital to the success of a program. What are your thoughts about him in regard to those two things?
"Those are two areas that he is good at. If you look at his pedigree and the coaches he has worked with, all of those coaches were good Xs and Os coaches. He's really developed in that area and is very good at it. I think that is one of his specialties, along with recruiting. He'll always have his team in a position to be successful and win games."

How long have you known Coach Ray?
"I've known Rick for years. We worked together as assistant coaches at Purdue. But I've known him longer than that as an assistant coach on the road recruiting. I've been in this profession for about 14 years and I've known him for most of those years."

I've been told he's got that it factor. Did you notice that type personality when you met him or got to really know him?
"Yes I did. Some guys are born to do certain things, Rick was born to be a basketball coach. He loves being on the floor with his guys, he'll educate them, drive them, push them, get them ready for the game. All that stuff is fun to him. He's looking forward to that.

"You'll see how his guys will develop over time from start to finish. They'll continue to get better."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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