Interview With Tim Welsh, Part 3

In part three, the conversation turns to a discussion of player development and the program's new recruits. This interview with Tim Welsh is being made available to the fans of Providence basketball subscribing to Friar Insider. Sign up today and get the best coverage on Friar hoops!

Part III

SH: Coach, Brian McKenzie is a player that is still a bit of a mystery. He showed promise as a freshman due to his energy, athleticism, and reputation for being a shooter. While contributing his solid rebounding, energy, and his play in the open court, Brian seemed to struggle some with his outside shot as the year wore on. Did he hit the wall or have a crisis of confidence at times? I ask because he came to PC with the reputation as a great shooter.

TW: I think some freshman press a little, especially if they're not getting regular minutes, and they try to rush things. It's about being comfortable and that can take time. Now I think he some great games… there's no question that I think he won the West Virginia game at Providence for us. He made some great hustle plays and great passes, tip-ins, you name it. I just don't think he ever got comfortable offensively, and that happens when you're coming in and out of games. He wasn't being yo-yo'd, but he didn't always play regular minutes and was trying to get the most out of his 15-20 minutes a game. So, you can press a little bit out there or worry that if you miss a shot you might come out. Even though that's not the case or never said to a player, it's just a mental thing that a lot of freshmen go through it where it's difficult to make shots because you're just not comfortable yet. But, he's got perfect form, he's got a great release, he moves well without the ball.

SH: Do you think Brian rushes his shot a little?

TW: I think he does. He can rush it. I just think he is really going to be pretty good this year though. You can see how he's carrying himself out on the court and even walking around. He'll be much more comfortable and confident about himself this year. He was hurt too last year with the knee problem early and missed most of the preseason with the knee so now he's going full steam and he looks pretty good. I think he could make a big jump this year and will be a big factor for us. I love the way he plays because he has high energy and there is nothing like that out on the court.

SH: With the options you have this year on the roster, do you think there is a possibility of a red shirt this season?

TW: You know, that's always a possibility but as of right now we haven't discussed it. I think you need to get deeper into fall before you look at where everybody stands. Hopefully, everybody can help us one way or another this year. It sound goods that we have everybody ready to go this year and hopefully it will stay that way but a year ago I thought we had some depth too. All of a sudden, Randall is out for the year, Chuck is gone by mid year, Geoff tears his meniscus in the 15th game of the year, and so on. You look up and all of a sudden you're down to 7 guys. So, we decided you just have to keep all of your options open and that's why we decided as a staff to fill all our scholarships if we could. You'd like to maybe balance it out so that you'd have one more scholarship for this year with only one senior this year and six the following year. However, we just felt that with what happened last year with the lack of depth, we were like, ‘put your eggs right in there'; be ready at the beginning with everybody there and be prepared for the season with whatever comes with it.

SH: So would you say that the ‘future is now', so to speak especially with the talent you have right now?

TW: It always is...I mean you always want to plan for way ahead but you also have to understand that our league is so difficult that if you do have some injuries, you've got to have some back ups; you've got to have depth. As I studied the rosters around the league, mostly everyone was at their full thirteen scholarships. So we don't want to get caught short. Last year, we were one shy, and then we had Jeff Xavier sitting out so were down to 11 players even before we started the season. Have a few injuries, and then you're down to eight. Ray Hall for instance, was injured off and on the entire Big East. I think he was out three times for three weeks each.

SH: How is Ray Hall's health right now?

TW: Good. He had an elbow problem earlier but he's OK now. He's back playing right now and his ankles are both fine.

SH: Has Ray been able to work out with Kenny White on his weight and lateral quickness, etc…?

TW: Yeah, he's lost more weight and he's down to 260 now. He's working on all those things with Kenny and it's going to be essential for him to do that because it's the only way he'll play if he's in good shape. His endurance level was not where it needed to be last year, and really not through any fault of his, or the conditioning part of it. It was just that he kept getting hurt. He'd get hurt, and then he's be out for three weeks. He had three pretty severe ankle spares where he could just never get into a rhythm. Then when he'd come back, it's hard to play your way back into game shape when you're coming in off the bench in the middle of the season. I really think he can help us though; I think he's pretty good.

SH: Let's talk a little about the new recruits. You've got to begin with Greedy Peterson, who's viewed by a number of people as a Top 100 guy.

TW: He's the real deal. He can do a lot of things out there on the floor. He had a very good year up at Notre Dame Prep, he was outstanding in high school in New York City, and I really liked him a lot last summer. I saw him at the Peach Jam in Augusta, I saw him out in Vegas and he's an eye opener. He can make some eye opening plays out there. He's a high level athlete, who can make some unorthodox plays where he can just barrel his way to the rim. While many players try to avoid contact, Greedy tries to draw contact and he just loves battling out there. He's a competitor.

SH: How would you compare Greedy's game to say Rob Sanders coming in as a freshman? They are both sort of athletic forwards.

TW: There are some similarities. I think Greedy may even have a better perimeter game than Rob did, and a better understanding of the game coming in. I would probably say he's also played against tougher competition than Rob did coming in so that's a difference right there. Greedy has wide, strong hands and will really be able to rebound for us. It's about how long your arms are, and how strong your hands are which account for a lot of rebounding.

SH: Where do you see Marshon Brooks playing?

TW: I think Marshon is a guard, and will play a guard spot. He probably won't play the point much I would think but he'll handle the ball in the middle of the fast break and I won't have to close my eyes while he's doing it. I think he's a guy who knows how to make plays. I think he's a good player and has great potential right now. I do know that veteran players don't really rave about younger players too much until they prove themselves, but they've been saying a lot of good things about him. They like playing with him because he makes plays, he's a good passer, he shoots the ball well, and he does some things that we don't have people to do. He gets a lot of deflections. He has quick hands, gets his hands on a lot balls, and he's sort of slithery out there. Marshon is all of 6'5 and long, his arms nearly reach to his knees so he plays like 6'7, or bigger. He also gets in the lane, he shoots that middle jumper, and he makes threes. He's a scorer who also finds people but he's got to get stronger. I think he's a guy that people are going to ask why he wasn't recruited harder out of high school.

SH: There just seems to be so much talent that comes out of states like Georgia. A fair amount of it often overlooked.

TW: In Marshon's case, he grew a lot because he was only 6'1 until the middle of his junior year. He was also a back up his junior year because there were a lot of talent players in front of him. I was very surprised when I went to see him down in Atlanta how good he was. I said to myself, why is this kid still off the radar? Why aren't bigger programs recruiting him? But, he wasn't on some list somewhere so he didn't get the looks from a lot of programs and we found him. He's qualified and should be fine so we're pleased.

SH: What about Alex Kellogg, another late bloomer perhaps?

TW: He got a college ready body, he's like 225lbs, 6'7, big shoulders, great blood lines. We hope he's late bloomer as well. He took up basketball late because he was a soccer player for most of his youth. His Dad said, "I never pushed my kids to play basketball. He loved soccer so I let him play soccer. I always let him to do what he wanted to do, as long as it was the right thing." He played on some travel teams that went to Europe and such so he never really worked on his basketball until the last couple of years. He's only turning 18 at the end of July too. So, he's still got a to learn but he played for a good program and a good Catholic school out of Columbus. He's a worker, he's extremely smart, he's a tough kid, and he wants to good. He wanted to play at the highest level and that's why he came here. Recently, it seems like players with the good blood lines like the Ewings, and the Horfords and the Noahs have all worked out great, so we're hopeful that the trend continues.

SH: So he'll be a power forward?

TW: He's a combo forward right now. He's very comfortable out on the floor. He doesn't really shoot the ball much, but he handles the ball very well and he's a very good passer. His body is along the lines of Ryan Gomes, but his game right now is more along the lines of Charlie Burch's. The first game I saw him play was the state quarter finals. The other team pressed the entire game and Alex brought the ball up the court without a problem along with his brother Nicholas, who is very good.

SH: What is Clark Kellogg's take on all of this?

TW: Alex's father has been great. We spent a lot of time with him when his dropped his son off and his father is supportive of whatever we do. He just wants his son to be coached and he's excited that we've had some success developing late bloomers here and he thinks Alex could be one of those guys. Alex certainly has got the attitude to do it. He's done some work with Michael Redd and his trainer prior to coming here so we're happy he's here with us and ready to work with him.

SH: What's the biggest thing he has to work on?

TW: He needs to learn to become a more fluid scorer I think. He needs to become a guy who can just knock down a shot, so he's going to have to shoot the ball better. That will come with repetition and we will want to work on his footwork as well, which is very important. We'll work on all of those things with him and he should have a bright future here in Providence.

End of Part III

Part four begins with a discussion of the progress on the program's facility upgrades, the schedule, and how the Big East coaches need to promote the New Big East more in order to get the proper consideration at tournament time.

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