Nov. 14, 2008
On this weekend's World Vision Classic: We are all looking forward to this weekend. We have three tough games against excellent opponents. We've been preparing so hard all summer long and in the preseason, and I know our players are really excited to get started.
On the things she will be looking for this weekend: We're going to look to take care of the ball a little bit better than we did in our exhibition game. We'll need improvement in that area. I feel like we did a great job on the boards, and we need to continue that trend, because that is such an emphasis for us this year. Then, we're still trying to find our lineups. We're not for sure yet on who is going to start and who is going to be that first sub in on the perimeter and in the post. These three games will really give us an opportunity as a staff to see where the pieces fit.
On the Cokie Reed and Lauren Flores: We signed two players yesterday, Lauren Flores, who is a combo guard that can play at the point or anywhere on the perimeter. She's an excellent three-point shooter, so she'll help our three-point shooting. She can also get to the basket on just about anyone. She loves to run and loves to press. Both Cokie [Reed] and Lauren fit very well into our style of play. Cokie can be a dominant low post player. She's big, strong and physical, but she also has great touch from the outside as well. She can hit the three. I expect her to contribute right away. She can definitely dominate on the boards. Cokie has all the skills and all of the tools necessary to become a great college player. She's going to have a tremendous career here at Texas. I have no doubt.
On if the relationship between the current players and incoming recruits is important: It really is. We always tell the players that our job as coaches is to get the players to come visit. We develop our relationships with the recruits over several years, but once they come on campus, it's really about our own team. They know who they are going to play for, and now it's about who are they going to play with. I think their relationships with the current players are extremely important, and we try to match the host up as someone who we feel has a similar personality, someone they'll get along well with and someone they'll enjoy playing with.
On if it is difficult when a recruit turns down your school: It's difficult, because you develop relationships over several years. It's hard not to take it personality, but it's a decision and it is a business in a way. But, it's so personal because you have developed those relationships. It's tough to take. I remember the very first recruit I lost when I was an assistant at Purdue. I cried like a baby. It was so hard, but we've all been told "no" more than we've been told "yes," so you learn that it's just part of life and things usually work out the way they're supposed to.
On the World Vision Classic: We're going to be tested early, so we're really excited about having three games in three days. It'll be tough, but it'll be tough on everybody. We're going to have to rely on our depth. I wanted to know early where we were and what we needed to work on. Then, we have a little time off the next week to really prepare for the next wave of games that we'll have. I think this is a great opportunity for our fans because we have a five-game home stand. That does not happen regularly. So we've got these five games at home, but then we're going to be on the road for a long period of time, so we really need to take advantage of these home games, win these home games and learn a lot about ourselves in the process.
On if playing a lot of games early against strong opponents helps down the road: That's what we're hoping for. We know life in the Big 12, particular on the road, was really tough for us last year. We're hoping we can gain some confidence here at home and then take it on the road with us.
On scheduling tough out-of-conference games: I did the same thing at Duke, where we would always bring in strong teams and test ourselves early at home. We also need to test ourselves on the road pre-conference. We know how good the Big 12 is, and we know we will be severely tested there. We have to be prepared for that. You don't want to be shell-shocked when you get into the conference.
On her philosophy on recruiting in state and out of state: I would prefer to stay in state. We know we've got such great talent here in the state, however, there are a few special individuals and players that are out-of-state, and because of the Texas name, we can recruit nationally. We need to recruit nationally. Our bread-and-butter is going to be here at home, but I think there are a few special players across the nation that we would want to bring in to help us attain our goals, which is to win national championships.
On which state holds the most talent: Texas is number one for overall talent for women's basketball. It will be for the next several years to come.
On what sets Texas aside from the rest of the states: It's a very similar philosophy [to Texas football], in that they are getting the best coaching from a very young age. These coaches that are coaching Texas high school basketball are phenomenal coaches. Many times, they coach basketball and may have to teach one or two other classes. It's basically a full time job for them. I know in most other states, the basketball coach is someone who has another job that also squeezes in basketball. It's serious business here in the state of Texas and they take it very seriously. They take great pride in their coaching and in their high school athletic associations. It's paying dividends. It's really paying off because these players are very athletic overall and much more skilled than in other states.
On when Texas became one of the best states for recruiting basketball players: Indiana, long ago, used to be one of the prime states for players. Texas has always been good. But just recently, I would say over the last two years in particular, they've really come to the forefront. If you look at the national list for the next several years to come, we've got several players ranked in the top 10 nationally.
On if AAU basketball influences high school basketball in the state: It does. The AAU programs, again, are extremely strong in the state of Texas. We probably have more AAU programs in Texas than in any other state. So, the players are basically playing year round and they are getting excellent coaching year round as well.