THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER
Thursday, October 17, 2002 was Media Day for the Rutgers Men's Basketball Team. Gary Waters addressed a gathering at the Athletic Center. The following is a brief summary of the address and question/answer session that followed.
Coach Waters started by welcoming everyone and then announced that Garland Mance had been made the Associate Head Coach. He gave some of the reasons he elevated Garland to the position.
Coach Waters then spoke about his summer and his experiences with the National Junior Team. He told everyone that he was still a student of the game. Gary had the opportunity to spend time with Hubie Brown this summer and learn from him. He said that he didn't think that being away had hindered the recruiting effort but that he would re-evaluate his position for next summer.
Spring and summer went well for all the players and they all worked extremely hard. Coach spoke about all the returnees and what each accomplished. He spent a lot of time discussing Kareem. Coach had a sit down with Kareem last March and told him that he had to lose weight or that he would sit. He gave Kareem an ultimatum, if you don't do it, you don't play. Wright responded by losing almost 50 pounds and going from a 46 to a 37 waist. His body fat has decreased 11%. Wright is committed to playing and winning.
Wright and Jerome Coleman have taken on the responsibility of the vocal leaders of the team. Mike Sherrod has tried to lead by example on the floor. Coach said that he still wants his players to be humble and know that there is a force stronger than them and that force is the Almighty.
Gary went on to speak about Shawn Windle, the new Strength Coach. GW emphasized that he stays out of Windle's business. He said that at Kent State everyone bench-pressed over 300 pounds. Now six players on this year's team can do that while last year only Rashod could bench press 300 pounds.
Someone asked about the NIT and the response was that the NIT was a great opportunity for this team to get started and involved early. The early date of Midnight Madness gave the squad an extra 4 days to prepare for the Columbia game at the RAC. His troops are not going to forget Yale. Columbia as a mid-major has this opportunity to shine and its Rutgers job to shine.
One of the reporters raised the question of commitment. Gary said, "We have a lot of young men who are committed". He felt that this is the hardest working team he has been associated with as a coach. Everybody is on the same page and working hard.
His response to a question about the season was "we're excited, I'm excited". We lost the best defensive postman in the Big East. His feet and hands were extremely quick. The loss of Kent and Dabney will be hard to makeup but he said that he feels good about his guards. He went on to say that if you like Coleman, you'll love Wooten. Calvin is the heir apparent to a guard position. He will apprentice under Jerome this year. People know who Jerome is and will be waiting for him so Jerome will have to adjust.
Adrian Hill is as good an athlete as there is in the program but it will take time to adjust to the Big East. He will have to develop because this is not a mid-level conference. Axani and Herve will be on the inside with Wright and they along with Harry Good will be the key.
Sherrod is better than last year. Coleman had a great summer and is better. Shields is ready to play and feels he has some things to prove. Ricky had a really bad stretch near the end of the season and feels there is some unfinished business to take care of.
Jason McCoy, Juel Wiggins and the freshmen like Cortez will have to give us something too.
PART I look for Part II this week
Mike & the Big Dog LLC
October 15, 2002