VandyMania Speaks one on one with Coach Collen
VM: When you come into a new situation like this, where there's an already existing team, you come in with your philosophy offensively and defensively, and you've got a group of players who were recruited by somebody else. How do you go about taking the team over in terms of developing plans?
Vanderbilt Head Coach Tom Collen: Well, one of the things that I've done throughout my career even as an assistant is that I've brought new ideas and thoughts to the table with every head coach that I've worked with. This is the first time I've done that as a head coach, and so I had a philosophy in place offensively and defensively that's been very very successful for us. But this is a new situation. This is a different team with different personnel. And I think the thing that I would like to do is spend some time and take a really really close look at what Vanderbilt does well and assess whether or not it's the right thing to do to continue with the same philosophy. At the same time, I have some ideas of my own, so I welcome the opportunity to integrate those, and I think when the players see some of the things that we do at Colorado State, I think they're going to be excited about some of those things. I hope it makes us a better team. I hope we can continue on and be to some degree the type of team they've been here in terms of getting the ball inside, but I hope they're excited about being a little more up-tempo. I hope they're excited about the fact that we're going to step up to the arc, we're going to shoot the basketball a little bit and hopefully the blending of those two styles -- who knows, maybe that's the missing ingredient that will allow us to go another level.
VM: Here we have an active booster club, the Commodore Crew, did you have a booster club at Colorado State? Do you have any thoughts about whether you'll continue?
Coach Collen: Absolutely. I tell you, when I went to Colorado State, the first booster we got together had eight people in it. Over the five-year period, it went from eight to 300. I can tell you just from talking to different people, the profile of the group here matches perfectly with the group that I've got back there. And I can't wait. They are such a big part of the program. I can't wait to get to know them, find out what they do, find out what kind of things they'd like to do, and utilize them in any way we can.
VM: Is the trip to Europe still on?
Coach Collen: Yes, we are still planning on going. I think the trip to Europe is going to be a great opportunity for us because it gives us the opportunity to get some extra days of practice, to begin integrating the two styles, to go into an environment where we're not really under a microscope, find out how it works. I think it's going to give us an opportunity to get to know each other as people, see how we react under a little bit of pressure playing against teams we don't know anything about. And then we can come back and go back to the drawing board and kind of work out the kinks we discover over there, so when we raise the curtain here and the Vanderbilt team steps out on the floor the first time, we'll be a little bit more finely tuned.
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