Larry Brown Q&A
Q: How much different is this summer compared to last year?
LB: “We are all just excited to get started. I’m going to miss Nick (Russell) and Shawn (Williams). It’s kind of strange going to work out without those two guys participating. We do have Shawn in graduate school, which is kind of neat, and he is going to be one of our coaches. You can see a difference. Guys have improved. They understand more of what we are trying to do. We are excited for Yanick. He’s getting to go home and play in the World Championships. He hasn’t been home in a long time, so that’s great. Summer school is always a challenge, so that’s the interesting side.”
Q: What will the team miss most about Shawn and Nick?
LB: “They are both great leaders and great teammates. Both are really great defenders. When you look at the people Nick had to guard in our conference every night, it was an amazing challenge. I don’t know if anybody in the country had a challenge like that. When you got Napier, Boatright, Jackson, Dickson, Kilpatrick, or Russ Smith and some of them a couple times. Every single night, you are playing against a really quality player. Then Shawn is just so smart defensively. He had some key matchups. To replace those guys on the defensive end is going to be a challenge. We have a great group and I think our young kids have gotten better. They have had a great summer so far. I think we are all pretty excited.”
Q: What are the first steps of the teaching process when you get new talent in?
LB: “We have great coaches around here. I think to make them accept coaching and not look at it as criticism is always a huge step. The kids that have been here, the fact that they have been around us for two or three years, will help the new or young guys make an adjustment. We have to try to play like the Spurs: share the ball and defend. Everybody loved Miami and they certainly have had a great run, but from a coaching perspective, when you can point out why the Spurs won. It’s great teamwork and great defense. It’s a pretty good way to make a point with your kids. “
Q: Would you rather have Emmnauel Mudiay, Justin Martin and Yanick Moreira working out with the team this summer?
LB: “Emmanuel is coming in August. I’m fine with that. He has played so much and has pretty darn good background. Ray Forsett is an unbelievable coach. As for Yanick, I can’t imagine him passing up this opportunity to play on the national team against the best players in the world. He is going to get a lot more out of it than being around me. Justin will be fine. We will get that straightened out. These new rules with the NCAA and the fifth year seniors have taken time for a lot of the schools to adjust. He will be with us pretty soon and he is going to be a huge addition.”
Q: Is the teaching process different when you are dealing with older kids?
LB: “Jordan (Tolbert) came from Tubby, so you know how well coached he will be. Tubby is great. Justin has come from an unbelievable program. I think the values of Texas Tech and Xavier will be pretty much the same values we have. With Emmanuel, kids aren’t freshman anymore in terms of the number of games they play and the exposure. I watched Emmanuel play. He is a freshman and there is going to be an adjustment period, but he is going to be playing around some quality kids. I think that will help his adjustment and the fact that he played for a great high school coach with a program that played against really quality teams. He will be fine.”
Q: Has anybody come back in great shape and impressed you?
LB: “They have all been great. They all are excited. It’s hard after you lose you’re last game, but if you are smart about it than you realize how fortunate we were to play five quality games after our season ended. That certainly helps your progress. Also getting a taste of what tournament basketball is like. The excitement it brings will motivate these kids. Our schedule is great. When you go on the road against Gonzaga, Michigan and Indiana, plus our conference, it’s pretty special. We are playing against the defending national champs, which is challenging. We will have our new building for the whole year instead of our abbreviated schedule. That’s terrific.”
Q: Did Kevin Ollie call you about the NBA jobs he was linked to?
LB: “No, I mean, I talk to Kevin a lot. I just want what he thinks is best. I know how he feels about those kids and the tradition they have at that school. He is always going to be in demand because he is a great coach. I’m happy he is happy. That’s the only thing that really matters. I tried to tell him to go to Connecticut in the first place and I feel pretty good about that.”
Nic Moore Q&A
Q: What do you work on during the summer?
NM: “I’m still trying to understand what Coach Brown wants me to do. I’m trying to be more patient with my game and work on individual skills. We have team workouts everyday too. That gives us a chance to combine as a team.”
Q: What did you focus on improving this offseason?
NM: “The only thing going through my head is to play like Coach Brown thinks. Basically, seeing the next pass and where he wants it. I’ve been watching a lot of summer league and games like that just to better myself.”
Q: Who has impressed you this summer?
NM: “Everybody. Everybody is working hard. I feel like Sterling is the one that is most improved. He is a young guy that is going to keep getting better every year. Everybody’s working hard on the court, off the court, and in the weight room. It’s just been a better summer than last year. I think guys are excited.”
Q: Is the summer a challenge because of the free time?
NM: “We have class, so we don’t really have a lot of dead time. He doesn’t like all the down time we have to just play. I don’t feel like he thinks we are playing the right way when we have open gym, but I know guys are trying and the games are good, so that goes out the window.”
Q: Are the coaches approaching this summer different?
NM: “They are just really excited. Every time I see Coach Brown he has a smile on his face. Everybody around here is just excited for the upcoming season.”
Q: How much does the loss of Eric Snow effect you and what are you going to miss most about him?
NM: “It’s sad that he is gone, but we have so many great coaches. Just because is gone, that doesn’t mean I can’t talk to somebody else that has a lot of experience under their belt. I’ll miss his character. When things are going wrong, he makes you laugh. When things are funny, he is kind of serious. He just makes the whole mood right.”
Q: How much more of a leadership role are you taking on?
NM: “I’m trying to take full responsibility. I’m trying to better myself. It’s not about me. It’s about what my guys are doing.”
Q: Do you try to emulate what Nick and Shawn did as leaders last year?
NM: “Shawn and Nick were our seniors, but I still feel like they still looked at me as the head voice and leader on the court. Like I said, I’m just trying to keep everybody together and have fun. If I’m not having fun, they are not having fun. I’m trying my best.”
Q: How much does Emmanuel Mudiay make your life easier?
NM: “Once I start playing with him, it’s going to be a lot of fun. A lot of open shots. Everybody is going to be looking for him, not me anymore.”