Preseason Interview: Skip Prossser

Wake Forest had its Media Day for Basketball on Friday the 13th and we had a chance to sit down with Coach Prosser and talk to some of the players as well.

When asked how it felt to go from an experienced team to a bunch of youngsters for this season Prosser responded "sometimes we are going to feel like Fred Rogers". He also noted that he has "to be a little more patient."

Q. How important will Kyle Visser be this year?
"Kyle and I have talked about this many times and the only person who usually stops Viss is Viss. He's big enough, he is athletic enough and he has good enough touch but sometimes his confidence wanes."

Q. Who do you see as the competitors for the 2 and 3 spots?
"I think you have a situation where you have Mike, Harv, and Anthony probably at the 2. Mike is in reality a returning starter. At the 3 you have Cam, you have LD and we will also play line-ups where Harv is the three for a while and where Mike may be at the 3 for a while."

Q. With so many young players, do you find yourself more is a teacher mode than an x and o coaching mode?
A. "Your point is well taken, so much is so new to so many of these players that you probably do have to slow down a little bit."

Q. Can you tell us what contributions you expect from each one of them?
"Kyle Visser has to be a defensive presence as a shot blocker and someone who, at the back of our defense, he has got to be a little bit like a catcher in baseball directing things. He has got to give us a post presence we have to have an inside game you have to have a good balance Mike Drum has got to be at least a good defender, got to make outside shots and give us a steady performance which he did at the end of last year Cameron Stanley is now in his third year in the program and it is time for him to be productive as opposed to having great potential. He should be a long armed good defender, he should be a very good rebounder, especially on the offensive end, and on the offensive end he has got to be more of someone who attacks the basket as opposed to someone who settles for shots around the perimeter. Joe Dukes started five games for us last year and was given the opportunity to sink his teeth into the starting point guard job but he was unable to hang onto that. His biggest challenge is going to be to a point guard from the neck up both defensively as well as offensively. To run a team and take each possession personally. Harvey Hale was very good at times and not so much so at other times. He can really shoot the ball, he has really shot the ball well down in the Bahamas and shot the ball well in the workouts. He is going to have to be a guy to take a page from somebody like Redick who worked so hard to get open and learned the nuances of getting open and he has got to be a good defender who guards the tremendous guards in our league sticking his nose in there and doing some things like that. Kevin Swinton was inconsistent as he started 6-7 games last year. At times when he came off the bench he was a ferocious rebounder but not so much as a starter. Consistency will be his challenge as well as everybody else. David Weaver is physically mature, his redshirt year was great for him because he is much stronger, he is wider, but has never played one minute of a Division I game. I have been impressed, he is very active and had a very live body down in the Bahamas with his shot blocking and things like that. He can be a big help for us. Ish Smith pushes the ball up with great rapidity, doesn't understand changing speeds, changing direction but that is our job to teach him. I think he can put good pressure on the point and can put the ball up quickly which is how we want to play. Anthony Gurley has always been a great scorer but he needs to learn, like Harv, the nuances of how to get open from the 2-guard position. He has got to lock in on how to learn how to guard guys because usually the toughest thing for these kids to learn is how to play defense at this level. L.D. Williams I think is a truly, truly gifted athlete...I think he has the mentality to become a very good perimeter stopper. He is strong, he is athletic, and he has that kind of a mindset of locking guys up mentality. Jamie Skeen has a good blend of athleticism and skills and size. Again learning how to play, learning how to play especially on the defensive end will be his challenge. Chas McFarland is long, blocks shots and gets his hands on a lot of balls, rebounds the ball well and I think his skill set is better than most people probably would have believed. He can shoot the ball, he can pass the ball, and he may look like Ichabod Crane but he is not afraid to stick his nose in there as well. Casey Crawford is a guy who can't be a sort of a one trick pony just to shoot the threes. He has got to learn to do other things such as on the defensive end and on the glass. If your whole identity is just to shoot threes, then it is tough to justify a whole lot of playing time."

Q. What type of tempo will you play?
"We have got to rev it up, there is no question we have to rev it up. Basketball often times is a game of made lay-ups and cheap points. Last year we did not get enough points from lay-ups in transition and in all candor we did not keep the other team from getting enough lay-ups in transition. Last year we were very mediocre from the foul line and we need cheap points there. We left way too many points at the foul line. This team is sort of like a blank slate and we have to teach them how to screen, how to come off screens, how to read screens. That is an exciting challenge because we have to make sure they develop good habits."

Q. Do you think you will get back to your high level in stages or in a big leap?
"My preference would be to take a leap. I have never said this is a rebuilding year, never, ever and I am not going to say that now. We are going to try to win as many games as we can with this team, this year, and not worry about what is going to happen 2-3 years from now."

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