Ask Coach D

We missed Coach D. due to the holiday last week and a recruiting trip... More info inside the story!

Sorry we couldn't hook up with you last week coach.

 

Sorry about that, I was out checking out Joel Box and Justin Holt after the Oregon trip to see how they are doing.

 

 Really, how did they look?

 Justin Holt

They played great, well I should change that, I saw Justin play and then I drove to see Joel and there was six inches of snow that day in Quincy Ill so the game was cancelled. I didn't get a chance to see Joel play, but Justin played well the night I saw him, he had 11 points and 13 rebounds and this weekend he had a game he had 21 points and 7 rebounds, so he is off to a great start, and Joel's numbers are incredible! He has had some huge games, he had 35 points 22 rebounds against Southeastern Iowa a week and half ago. They are both doing really well.

Joel Box

 

Lets talk about this year's team and the victory over Northern Arizona. You guys came out a little flat, but were able to get it all together and come out with a big victory over the Lumberjacks.

 

We came out a little sluggish, which you're going to have games like that through the course of the year. We had one Saturday, but I think the good thing was that Danny came out of the game with foul trouble and it didn't affect our team at all. In fact, we went on a 12-0 run when Danny came out of the game. I think that is a really good sign for our team that we can still play well even if Danny isn't in the lineup.

 

I love the way we played the first 10 minutes of the second half. We played great, I'm not sure we could have played much better. We locked them up and I believe they only scored 2 field goals in the first 5 minutes of the second half. Both came off of lay-ups off of our bad passes that we threw. Our defense was great, and we executed very well on the offense end of things in the first 10 minutes. All things considered it was a 20-point lead when we started going deep in our bench.

 

I noticed you guys go deep into your bench. Is it just to get the guys more playing time that practice harder, or just preparing them for the future?

Jeff Hart with ball

 

There's guys like Sean Phaler and Jeff Hart who work tremendously hard and deserve more minutes then they are going to get this year. So we try to go to them earlier and get them more minutes.

 

Is it guys that work harder in practice get some of that time, or are you trying to develop these guys more, I noticed the freshman got a lot of time.

 

You know Darren, Tony, and Boom are going to get a lot of minutes this year. Al is our 6th man, Darren, Tony, and Boom are seven, eight, and nine. It's hard to play many more then 9, and give them quality time. So you try to give guys like Hart and Phaler more minutes.

 

Coach, right now your turnover to assist ratio is nearly even, I notice it is your forwards that seem to be forcing the most turnovers, is it just unselfish play?

 

Yeah, I think so. Obviously we are very concerned about that. On the stat sheet that is the one number we look at and say, that has got to change. That isn't good. I think the first 4 games Danny was trying to force things in from the perimeter, and it led him into some turnovers. I think the last two games against Oregon and NAU Danny has played much better. You also have to remember that Danny and Dave are both facing double teams a lot when they are touching the ball there is a lot of collapsing. Even against NAU both Danny and Dave played very well, but NAU was packing it in every time those two touched the ball. So they are going to pick up some turnovers that way as well. It is definitely something we are working on.

 

The positive side of that is that your forwards are leading this team in scoring as well as rebounding.

 

(laughs) We rebounded very well this year, probably as well as any team, and you're exactly right, those guys are doing a great job and Al Neale has truly been a spark in that as well. Al is playing as well as he has ever played these past 6 games and it's made a big difference for us.

 

Coach you guys are 5-0 at home this year and have won 17 out of the last 19 in The Pit. I think you guys are really good right now at defending The Pit, but we have to talk about the road thing a little bit. Is there too much being made about this streak thing? This is a new team compared to your past 2 years, and we are curious as to how your team looks at this road losing streak; do they look at it as a big thing, or just one game?

 

I would say a little of both. The team obviously knows it and wants to change it, so we talk about it. Its not like a pitcher going into the 9th inning with a no-hitter where you try not to talk about it (chuckles) We talk about it a lot and our guys are aware, but at the same time one of the things we talk about is that last year's team has nothing to do with this year's team, and especially the first year. My gosh, that has nothing to do with this year's team. It doesn't really change anything it doesn't change how we prepared for Oregon, or how we will prepare for New Mexico State on Saturday.

 

Speaking of the Oregon game, Lobo fans weren't able to see that game, we could only listen to it on radio. Tell us about that game.

We were right there, in and in actuality we played a very good game, we just didn't shoot that well. We played a great first half, Oregon made the right adjustment at halftime because Danny and Dave on the inside were having their way with Oregon's big guys so they went to a zone, and we didn't do a very good job of continuing to throw the ball inside vs. the zone we just shot a lot of jumpers, and unfortunately those jumpers weren't going in. So we played a very good game but didn't shoot very well, and that being said we had the ball with a chance to tie it up during the last possession of the game. We're disappointed and frustrated and we want to get this streak over with, but I'm not disappointed in the way we played in that game.

 

Coach just to let people know how hard as a staff you guys work, what did you do this Thanksgiving weekend?

 

Well, we had a game Saturday. (laughs) On Thanksgiving Day I was flying home from watching Justin and Joel, practice and watching film on Friday. My family went up to Seattle for Thanksgiving so I unfortunately didn't get to spend that day with my family.

 

You guys work hard at this.

 

It's never ending. From mid-October to late March there isn't any days off.

 

Our final question today is sent in from Paul C.

 

Paul wants to know who are some of the players and coaches that you looked up to as a kid, a player, and finally as a coach.

 

Me personally?

 

Yeah.

 

Umm… That's a great question.

 

As a player, my playing career was very uninspiring (chuckles) so whomever I say was my inspiration might not want that credit.

 My favorite players growing up were James Worthy, Larry Bird, and everybody loved Michael Jordan.

 

As far as who I tried to pattern my game after, I was just a catch and shoot player that was all I could really do at the college level so guys like John Paxson and Steve Kerr, you know the guys on the wing for MJ were the guys that I had to be like because that is all I could really do on that level.

 

As a coach, I was very fortunate to play for the all time winningest coach in the state of Washington. He is a coaching legend in that area, he is still coaching and was the guy that made me realize that I wanted to be a coach. I wanted to be like him. His name is Ed Pepple.

Here is a great article on Coach Pepple

 

Since then in all honesty I would say Coach Mckay is my guy. He is my mentor, I played for him so I got to watch what he was like from a players perspective and no working alongside for seven years now. I can't believe it has been that long. He's been my mentor and the guy that I've learned from and the guy that I'm sure that when I get to be a head coach someday that I will look like him.

 

That is the ultimate goal, to be a head coach?

 

Yeah, yes definitely.

 

(Well coach I for one wish your ultimate goal, greedily I must say it isn't to soon, in my opinion you have really proved yourself as a strong recruiter and coach. Oh wait. Those are the exact things that will make you a good head coach someday…)

 

Coach D. had a message for all of you that enjoy this feature on TheRedMenace.com

 

"Tell the fans to keep asking questions, because obviously they don't get the chance to ask questions of the coaching staff. So tell them to please take advantage of this opportunity as I will be happy to answer any questions they've got!"

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