USF basketball Head Coach Stan Heath
Is there anything that you've leaned about this team that you didn't know before the season started?
"Oh absolutely, I mean I was blind going into the season. You think one way as a coach when you work with your payers, during drills and practice, but to be honest about it, until the lights come on, you really don't know how the guys are going to respond to certain situations. I know a lot more about my team right now then I did before. I know late in the game the kind of things that we can do to put us in the situation to win. I know defensively we're more comfortable at man or zone at the key times, and I think the players know that there are certain things that were emphasizing and is really important to the coaching staff, and the guys are carrying out and executing a lot better now. There's a whole lot of growth not only with the players but with the coaching staff also, and everybody knowing each other and it shows."
What does the addition of Aaron Holmes being able to play affect the team?
"I think the one area we have, and I'm not blaming the players or the coaches, but the one area we have to develop and utilize better is our bench. We have to get more production out of our guys. I think Solomon Bozeman is the only one that has really been out there consistently for our team. It's kind of been a revolving door with everybody else. It's my hope, and that doesn't mean that it'll be his permanent role, but at first I hope a guy like Aaron Holmes will give us a boost off of the bench. He can help by not only just scoring but in defense and rebounding, because he's a pretty good athlete. He has the abilities to make us a team that can play at a high level for a longer period of time because we won't have that drop off in talent. He's done a great job in practice with his work ethic and his practice habits. Now again it all comes down to how he performs with the lights on."
Has your opinion changed about what will happen when the Big East portion of the schedule gets here?
"I feel that our players and what they've been able to do have improved to the point where I feel that we're a dangerous team, and on any given night teams are going to have a tough time with us. I feel like there maybe areas that we may be lacking in like the interior, but on the other side I think we're very difficult to guard because of our speed that we can put out on the floor. Not only the speed but the spacing we can create on the floor as well. I feel like we're somewhere in the ballpark and we still got to get better. This out of conference season, the last few games are more important in the way we finish. When we get to the Big East Season is going to be a bear but we'll get to it when it comes."
As a coach do you break the season into mini-segments during the year?
"I do, I don't look to far ahead. I just recently got the chance to take a peek at other teams in our league and get a chance to see them in some games, and that's only because I have been watching a little more TV lately. Other then that I'm really a game to game guy and I don't get caught up with how many games we've won recently or if we lost a few games recently. It's really just about where we're at right now as a team and what we have to do to give the team a chance to win."
How does having exams and a eleven day break in between games affect the team?
"We had a stretch when we had the tournament and we had a lot of games in a row, and then we had a little dead time in between. Now we're entering the period where we're out of school and have three games before we enter BE play. I feel now that without having school and classes, we have the chance to really get better as a basketball team. The total focus and concentration is on what were doing to get better and really look at each team game by game. This segment with the three games ahead of us with Wake Forrest being the most important right now."
Is making the Big East Tournament a team goal?
"It's on our radar screen and it's something that we're striving to do. When we get to that point and are in the BE part of our schedule we feel that it's something that we have a very good chance to achieve."
Do you notice that with the teams improved play that they're really becoming hard not to like?
"They play pretty hard and they play very unselfish. I think that we have an appearance that were a smaller team on the court and are the "David's" and not the "Goliaths" out there. But I really like our team. I like the efforts the guys give and all the different personalities they have. They are pretty unique guys and yet they're all fun to be around. Were all kind of enjoying each other and growing with each other, and it makes me feel better that other people are starting to feel the same way that I do about our team."
Do you see a difference in the fan base form the early games?
""I do and I think it's similar to what your saying. There were a lot of questions early on about this and that and how they will handle certain teams. I think we've answered some questions but we still have a lot more to answer. In the college basketball landscape there's a lot of parody across the board and I'm trying to see where we fit into the picture. I think were a smart team and smart teams win games. We're not trying to sneak up on anybody or stick our chest out and say we've arrived because we haven't, but if you don't respect us we can beat you. I do see some change, and would really love do really get the electricity in the building and piggyback off of what our football team has done. The crowds are getting bigger and we're making progress. I think once Big East play gets here, they'll bring their fans and our fans will want to come out and see some conference play."
What is your main focus at this point right now?
"My main focus right now is this stretch of three games ahead. Most important is the game at Wake Forrest right now. It's a big game and we'll get our first chance to see Aaron Holmes and how he'll help the team."
Read part 1 of the Coach Stan Heath interview
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