THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER
Media Day II
There was a question raised about the style of play that Rutgers will employ. Coach Waters said that last year about 25% of his play-book was installed. He is hoping to put in 50 to 75% of the play-book gradually. He expects to extend the defense for 94 feet and play defense from baseline to baseline. When you extend the defense, you don't necessarily need a big stud in the middle. He noted that there were not a lot of really outstanding big men in our conference.
Someone raised a question about this year's goals. Coach Waters indicated that Rutgers needs to have an outstanding year in the RAC. The team was something like 15 and 2 at home last year. It's going to be tough here but great. He feels that he wants the team to play 500 ball in the league. Coach has set a goal for Rutgers to go to the post-season and in order to that he wants his team to play 500 on the road. Last year the road wins consisted of LaSalle in an out of league game and West Virginia at the Coliseum. The road losses were easy to analyze.
In order to win on the road you cannot turn the ball over, you have to shoot the ball, hit your free throws and rebound. Just look at Pittsburgh last year, they did everything except hit free throws. They made up for that because the free throw percentage was less but they hit the same number of free throws by taking more free throws than the opposition. Our goal is to do better in all these categories.
The day after Midnight Madness most of the other teams were out on the floor but we were in the classroom. We want our players to be students of the game not just basketball players. Coaches are conservative by nature. We are looking to control tempo and the game. I am not talking about slowing down the game but controlling it. We are going to have to execute better on the road. Athletes tend to elevate more at home. They have the crowd into it and everything else going on.
As a team we averaged 17 turnovers a game. At Kent State we were one of the top four teams in fewest turnovers. At home last year we averaged 14 turnovers so you go figure it out. That has to be close to 20 turnovers a game or 6 more turnovers on the road. Many of our drills have to do with taking care of the ball. The guys got to grow. Turnovers mean you sit, you don't get to play or you run in practice.
One of our strengths as coaches is working with point guards. I think we have one of the best in Kevin Heck. He has been working with Sherrod and Mike is getting better. Now he had a good year last year but he is going to be better. Even his shooting is getting better. Now Mike is a tough kid. We go out to Notre Dame and that point guard burns him. We sit down and talk to Mike and a week later Mike shuts the kid down.
What about recruiting? Last year we held a coaching clinic and got about 40 coaches. This year we had about 400. We got to get the state behind Rutgers. Isn't Rutgers the State University? In the mid-west everyone wants to send their kids to the State University and we have to get things to change here. Our success last year let us get into some houses. Now they have to get past other things, issues that are long standing. You know personal issues or issues they have with the school.
Our team didn't feel good about itself at the end of last season. We had guys who were excited to be in the NIT and other guys that just didn't want to be there. They wondered what we were doing playing Yale.
It was also a tough year on Herve. He hadn't played ball in a year and a half. Now remember, he's from a foreign country and had a word association problem. He brought some of the pressure on himself. Last year was an eye opener for him. He has dedicated
himself to being a better ball player. He's got a lot of talent and now he understands that he has to work hard for his talent to prosper. He is working hard. He is one of the first guys at Breakfast Club everyday. Last year it was where is Herve now it's not like that. If that is an indicator, it's a good one. Last year Herve played on emotion, now he playing on intensity; he's playing hard. He is trying to adjust to playing in the Big East and his knowledge of the game is developing.
Mike and the Big Dog LLC.