Q: How are preseason practices different than what you do in the offseason?
A: It's more hours. Right now in our September workouts, we're allowed four hours on the floor with a basketball, and the other four of the eight are with the strength coach. Four hours go by pretty quick. We do individual stuff, and then we do two-hour team workouts. Now we can go 2-2½ hours if we want. It's a lot more flexibility, a lot more freedom because we have 20 hours (per week) now.
Q: How do players react to the 6 a.m. workouts?
A: Every team, every year is different. We had them in the preseason, and they’ve been pretty good with them. Going into the season, I give them Sundays off, so it’ll be after a day off. We’ll see how they react. It is what it is. There’s not really a choice about them.
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Q: With all the new faces and players returning from injuries, is there extra excitement about this season?
A: A majority of our kids haven't played here because they were sitting out because of transfers or injuries. We have some returners and key pieces back, but we also have a lot of new faces. They're very anxious to get out there and really get rolling. Italy was great because we got that game competition and the feel for that, and we got some experience with the rotation. I think there's a buzz about starting up. I'm ready to get going. I know they are.
Q: What will be the strength of this team?
A: I think our depth can really help us. We've very deep. We have multiple players at each position. Last year, with injuries, we were down to six to seven players at times and just didn't have that depth. It caught up with us. I'm excited about being able to put different lineups out there and give different looks and maybe build some different things with more pressure because of that depth.
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Q: How many players do you like to play in a rotation?
A: My first year as head coach, we were very deep. Last year, we weren't deep enough. This year, we have 16 with our walk-ons. We kind of have the hashtag "16 strong" and are really trying to get them to buy in and get them believing this is going to be our strength and we need all 16 together.
Q: What was your starting lineup in Italy?
A: I changed it up pretty much every game. The first game, it was the biggest thing for personally as head coach. I'm looking down the bench, and man we've got a lot of people. Last year, I looked down and we didn't. It was for them to get used to playing with different people but for me to see what works and how we're going to utilize them. That's something I've got to figure out.