Hey, Longhorns fans!
Right now, it’s the final week of summer school classes for our athletes, so they are busy working out and finishing up papers and studying for final exams. With the on-road recruiting period over for a while, our staff is finally able to get together daily to work and get organized for the preseason and for all the recruiting visits coming up this fall. The positive energy and momentum in our office suite is wonderful as we all are hard at work to mold a championship program.
Finally off the road now after that long July recruiting period, I am able to reach into the Internet “mailbag” and answer more of your questions. They are thoughtful, warm, humorous and, as I’ve mentioned each week, so very supportive toward our new Longhorns staff!
This week, the questions range from asking about my game and teaching philosophies to the new interest in hula hoops (!) that’s being generated by new assistant coach Mickie DeMoss -- after she was photographed in a local newspaper and Internet story working hard on her hula hoop moves and skills prior to starting her new position here!
I’ll check in again next week.
Bill S. of Dallas, Texas
Coach G, We are all so excited to have you as our new coach! I have been a season ticket holder for many years and also make the treks to and from Austin, almost weekly, and to the road games as well. Two part-question: What differences can we look for in half-court offensive schemes, and do you feel that a team's ability to hit the "3" is an important part of today's game? Thanks so much.
Bill, thanks for your support and hope to see you often in the stands this year! I believe it is very, very important to have players who can hit the outside shot. The 3-point shot has really changed the game over the years, and that’s an area that we are working on diligently. In half-court sets, we will share the ball and try to insure that everyone on the court is an offensive threat.
Eric of Natalia, Texas
Hey, coach! I live south of San Antonio and I love to attend the UT women’s games. What was the number one thing that The University of Texas had to offer that sold you to the program? Hook 'em!
Thanks for the question and your support, Eric! It was the challenge and the opportunity to re-establish the Texas program as a national contender that was the driving force behind me taking this position. I really wanted to challenge myself to come to a new place and a new way of life and to push myself to build another championship program. Every day, I feel so blessed to be here in Austin and have this wonderful opportunity to be at The University of Texas!
Wade from Manhattan, Kan.
Coach, I have noticed that the energy level has really picked up for women's basketball and the season is several months away. Do you feel the momentum picking up? I am so excited for your style of play. Good luck!
Wade, thanks for writing from Big 12 Conference “north” school territory! Whether on campus, around town, across the state of Texas or on the recruiting trail, I feel tremendous energy and excitement about our program and the things that we are going to do. I’ve talked about the fact that we’ll have a running, pressing, up-tempo style of play, and we are going to work hard and have fun!
Susie of Tallulah, La.
I haven't any questions at this time, but just want to say good luck with your new team and that I'm very pleased with the recent hiring of Coach DeMoss, who just happens to be my sister! We are delighted to see her coming to Texas as she is now closer than ever to home (in Louisiana)!
Susie, thanks for taking the time to write! We are SO excited to have Mickie be part of our program. Her background, expertise and championship success is well-documented. On a personal note, I am thrilled to have her chef skills around, as she’s been cooking some of that fine Louisiana Cajun cuisine in Austin! She is a great cook as well as a great coach, and I am fortunate to count her among my staff and my friends.
Jacque from Austin, Texas
Hi, coach. I recently read the great article on Coach DeMoss in the Austin American-Statesman [July 29]. It seems that Mickie and our unique city are a great fit. Please let her know that if she wants to hula hoop in Austin, most of us would love to join her!
Jacque, you know the slogan and bumper stickers you see around the city, the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, to help give Austin its unique cultural identity? Well, I can tell you that Coach DeMoss is definitely going to do her part to help!
Coach DeMoss is a tireless worker and teacher and a unique, fun-loving individual, and nothing will surprise me!
We are working on plans to have Mickie hula hoop at halftime and start a new Erwin Center tradition and bring back the old craze. OK, I’m just kidding about the part of having Coach DeMoss leading the way, but we might have something in store for our fans when it comes to game promotions concerning hula hoops. Stay tuned!
Randy of Decatur, Texas
Why doesn't UT schedule games at SMU, North Texas or TCU (which are Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex teams), so the alumni here can attend a woman's basketball game? It is sometimes difficult to get to Austin for games.
I do not know what that answer may be, but that is something that we will be looking at in the future, Randy. While at Duke, we went to TCU several times, and I know Texas went up to Fort Worth a few years ago to play TCU and also went to Denton to play at North Texas as well. If you check our newly-released schedule, you will see that we are traveling in-state on Dec. 8 to play at non-conference opponent Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, so we are keeping options open for the future.
I can understand the difficulties of driving to games in Austin from the Metroplex, especially on weeknights, and I appreciate those who can do so. As a suggestion to those fans who can’t always get to Austin: you can listen to all of our basketball games via the Internet (through subscription-based Yahoo! Sports College Broadcast) or watch home games on TexasSports.TV via the TexasSports.com Web site. We’ll have all that information posted before every game! Thanks for writing, Randy!
Allen in Austin
Welcome to Austin, Coach G! All the fans that I know, including myself, are super excited to have you on board. You have addressed recruiting, to some degree in previous email chats, and I realize that you are not at liberty to speak on specific recruits. My question is: In addition to the two previously-signed recruits for 2007-08, has your staff been able to pursue any additional players to keep our roster filled for the upcoming season, such as junior college players?
Allen, thanks for writing! The only two newcomers we have this year are the two freshmen who signed National Letters of Intent in November -- Texans Kathleen Nash and Rachel Rentschler. When I got the Texas job, it was in April, and that was too late to pursue any of the top players who remained unsigned during the spring. So our priority and focus is on the high school recruits.
Chris from Austin
Hey Coach, I'm extremely excited about the upcoming season and as a member of the basketball band, I was wondering what your favorite instrument and song are. Thanks and Hook 'em!
I’ve heard great things about the Longhorn Basketball Band, and my staff and I are looking forward to meeting everyone!
Chris, both my brothers played the trumpet, so I am partial to that instrument. However, if there is an unattended drum set and I’m in the area, you will find me there, banging away! When I was at Duke and we’d go play at Virginia or Virginia Tech, they’d have the drums set up in the band area when we came in for our shootaround time. Before practice started, while the players were stretching and warming up, I’d always go to them and do some drumming and play the cymbals!
As for my favorite song, that’s a tough one, since I love music so much. My favorite used to be "Devil with the Blue Dress On," but no longer! I’ll find a new one soon, I promise!
Star-Asia H. of the Bronx, N.Y.
Coach, I just wanted to ask how do you feel about the new transition from Duke to Texas? Do you still have friendly relationships with the remaining Blue Devils players? And what advice do you have for a guard who is trying to become a great player on and off the basketball court? Thanks, Coach G!
Happy to answer your questions, Star-Asia! First, I still have -- and always will have -- great relationships with my former Duke players, past and present. They are wonderful people who I know will always have a special place in my life!
Now, for your question on being a great player, off-court and on-court. As a guard, you need to be a tremendous ball handler who is able to handle the ball equally well with your right hand and left hand. You need to be a great shooter -- a three-point shooter and someone who develops a good mid-range game, able to hit the pull-up jumper. You also need to be an excellent passer who can locate the ball well, who can pass ahead in the transition game and also be able to get the ball inside to your post players. Great guards have great communication skills as well. And, as good as you are offensively, you need to be even better on the defensive end. So, make sure you focus on working extra hard on the defensive end of the floor!
Chris from Waco, Texas
Welcome, Coach G! Glad you are here. My question centers on the Big 12 Conference and the Big 12 coaches. What do you think about your peers in the Big 12, and do you think it is one of the more competitive conferences in women’s college basketball?
Chris, I’ve always been impressed with the coaching in the Big 12 and with the strength of the Big 12 from top to bottom. It is an incredible conference and I feel very honored to be part of the coaching ranks in this league. I know I will be challenged every night to have our team prepared to play because of the outstanding coaches and teams in our league.
That's all for now. I appreciate the emails. Until next week...