Q&A with Coach Gaudio -- Part II

DeaconSports sat down with Wake Forest assistant coach Dino Gaudio to talk about the Demon Deacons' 2004-2005 season as well as the future of the Wake Forest program.

The following is part II of DeaconSports' Q&A with Coach Gaudio:

DeaconSports: The defense, last year that was one of our weak spots you would say. We scored enough points, we just sometimes had trouble stopping the points. Do you think the philosophy will change or will we do a better job doing what we already do?

Coach Gaudio: I think the philosophy will stay the same, we just need to do a better job of bowing our neck and guarding people on the defensive end of the floor. I think it's a pride factor, I think guys have got to want to play good defense, and I think that coupled with our job as coaches that if guys aren't guarding, we're just going to have to sit them down. There's no greater motivator than the bench. I think one of the things we will try to do is play guys before they catch the ball. The players in this league are so good that if you let them catch, they can score. Guys like Redick can shoot the basketball. It's a little easier for us to play post defense, believe it or not. We front the post and then if it does go in there, we double. That puts a little more pressure on our perimeter defense as well. There's no question, we understand that's a problem for us. I think when you play as fast as we play, there are a lot of possessions, there will be more points scored. Our big thing is keeping field goal percentage lower than it has been.

DS: Do you feel there is a possibility of throwing some zone traps or full court out there this year as the athleticism seems to be coming up this year?

CG: Yeah, I think it's harder to play full-court 94 foot defense when you have guys who aren't real mobile. We want to make sure we don't put our big guys at a disadvantage. Guys like Eric and in the past guys like Vytas and even Kyle Visser, when you're pressing fullcourt the 4-guy has to be up on the ball or somewhere in the backcourt and that puts a lot of pressure on those guys. And the guards in this league the past few years have been so good, it's been hard to pressure guys 94 feet. When you've got Raymond Felton, Jarrett Jack, Johnny Gilchrist, and of course we had Chris PaulDaniel Ewing. It's hard to pressure those guys 94 feet. The guards are so good, they handle pressure, pass, and see the floor. We'll play some more zone but we'll be judicious in our fullcourt pressure.

DS: Do you feel like because of losing Chris and Vytas who are two of your better outside shooters, that you will see more zone on offense this year?

CG: I don't know. It'll be interesting. I think you are who you are. I think many teams have their foundations in man-to-man. Duke, N.C. State, Carolina, Maryland – I think most of those teams are man-to-man teams. I think it'll be interesting, but we'll see mostly man-to-man.

DS: Cam Stanley was injured last year of course and has some rehab time. Would he be 100% now both physically and mentally as far as his knee goes?

CG: I would hope and think so. I think towards the end of last year you started to see flashes of Cameron as to who he was when we started recruiting him. What people don't understand is that Cameron almost missed not only last year, but his entire senior year. He tore his ACL in December of his senior year. He really never played that whole season and didn't play last year so in that sense he is a little behind from a maturation standpoint in basketball. But, he's really come on. He's a tremendous worker. He spends an inordinate amount of time in the gym and in the weightroom. We're expecting a lot out of Cam.

DS: Is he a legit 6'6 or more 6'7?

CG: I think he's 6'6. I always undersize guys. When somebody asks me, when I'm in doubt, he's shorter – except for myself…It's all contingent in how they measure them. In the NBA, they measure the kids with their shoes off. It's funny, I think in the Portsmouth pre-draft camp, the big kid from Cincinnati, they measured him at 6'4 ½, Jason Maxiell. I think they might list him at 6'8. For four years at Xavier we listed a kid Derek Strong at 6'10 ½ and when he went to the Chicago pre-draft camp he measured 6'6 ½ so it depends on how you take the measurement…Skip always says you're as big as you play.

DS: Do you know if the coaches or staff reads the message boards?

CG: I'm almost embarrassed to say – Coach Prosser and I, and I speak for him too, we're almost computer illiterate. We're getting there though, we're getting there. But Coach Kelsey, Tim Fuller, and [Coach Battle], they read the stuff.

DS: Is there something you would like so we can clean up our act?

CG: You know, honest to goodness, the stuff that the kids put in there sometimes is so untrue or unfactual, it's amazing that someone has that venue to write what they want to write. I think everybody is learning that you have to take that stuff with a grain of salt – some stuff that the students and kids put out there...

DS: Right, we're trying to get it to where everything is good information and we can squash those rumors and where information that comes out may not be top secret, but it's good information.

CG: That's so important. I think it's great when you have a site like yours that people can trust – I think that in any relationship, trust is the key word. Whether it's coach-player or husband-wife or father-son…when you can go somewhere and know what you're reading is factual and truthful and trusted, then it's a very good source of information.

DS: Thanks coach -- now, do you want to be a head coach again?

CG: My next goal is to coach at the next level, I'd love to coach in the NBA. I think some of the things going on [in the] collegiate [game] with recruiting is incredibly frustrating. I think that might be the last bastion of pure coaching is coaching at that level. You're not recruiting, you're not dealing with some of the nonsense. That's what I would like to do.

DS: What is the hardest part of your job – is it that recruiting?

CG: I think the hardest part of the job is getting young people to get their priorities in line. I really do. I think the toughest part of the job is getting young people to have their priorities in line and know what's important and what's important now. Moving to a smaller scale, it would be the recruiting. These kids that are pretty good players, ACC level players since they were 10, 11, and 12, they have people telling them how good they are, how important they are, and the kids that keep that in perspective are few and far between. We're fortunate – and I can't name names – that we're involved with some very good students, have their priorities in line. That's why we're recruiting them for Wake Forest because it takes a special kid to come. Their academics have to be important, they have to want to get a degree, and they have to want to play basketball at the highest level. I think you see so many kids now, somebody is in their ear, whether it's a hanger-on or somebody that wants something. It's amazing the number of people talking to these kids who think they know what they're talking about. We no longer deal with just the High School coach and the players parents. Today 16-17 year old kids have huge entourages...Everyone wants to be involved and they feel they have a say in the decision, which is bad.

DS: Now as for you personally, I understand [your daughter] is a pretty good basketball player herself.

CG: Oh yeah, she's a good little player.

DS: Do you get to chance to make it to any games?

CG: You know, it's sad. That's another thing about the business. She played on a softball team this year that was 9-0 and went undefeated and won the championship. She's the second basemen. I saw three games. But I did see the championship, so that was good.

DS: Thanks coach for taking the time to sit down and do this interview with DeaconSports. Enjoy your summer and we look forward to watching the team this upcoming season!

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