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MBB: K-State's Weber, Player Talk About The Start of Practice - KOAM TV 7

MBB: K-State's Weber, Player Talk About The Start of Practice

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Press Release Kansas State University:

 

Transcript from today'smedia session to preview the start of men's basketball practice at KansasState.

Head Coach Bruce Weber
On getting underway so soon…
"Obviously they changed the rule. Women's basketball has had it, I believe,the last two years. It is something that I have been part of fighting for us tohave for many years. We went from two hours of basketball to 20 hours ofbasketball in a week over night. The injuries, the fatigue, the bad play earlyin the season – we just kept asking, ‘Why can we not do something different?'And I am not sure who came up with the idea, but it's great to finally be ableto have it. I like it. I think it is a question mark – it is like anything.Change is hard and new. Everywhere I went this summer that was the first thingcoaches asked, ‘What are you going to do? How are you going to handle it?' I amnot sure there is a right or wrong, but the whole point is to ease the guysinto it and not kill them or go twice a day for two weeks and try to play anexhibition game, then the third week try to play a game like we did last year.My goal is to go a couple days then a day off or three days then a day off. Youhave to give them 12 days off before the start of it, and if we have a littlestretch where we get some injuries or something, I will give them two days offin a row. We just have to be a little flexible and see what happens, but I amexcited for it and I do not think there could be, for us, a better timing ofit. I looked at it and I think we have seven extra days of practice than we dida year ago, so with a young team with half our team being new people, we canuse all the days we can get especially with the tough schedule early. For us, Ihope it ends up being a benefit, obviously I think it depends on how we use itand how the guys adjust to it."

On Shane Southwell's role this season…
"Last year, we never went to him, per say – well, I should not say that becauseat the end of the year we had a couple little actions where we knew we coulduse him if they had big guys on him, we could run him off some screens and dosome things that we had not done earlier in the season until he gotten more andmore confidence. We have been watching how we can use him, little looks anddifferent things, reviewing our actions from last year, our motion concepts. Hecan score and if he can shoot 42 percent from three again we have to go to himand make sure he gets shots. We have to get Will (Spradling) some shots. Earlyit is going to be a little tough for Will because he is going to have to be thepoint guard. We are going to use Nigel (Johnson) a little bit and then when Jevon(Thomas) becomes eligible, it will change a little bit. I know this summer Willplayed point guard overseas and I got calls from the coaches saying howvaluable he was and how great he was, but he only had four or five shots everygame. They won all of their games and the other team that played the same teamsdid not win all of their games. I have said it many times how valuable Will is,but as it goes on we have to find him ways to get some shots also."

On a specific newcomer showing major progression thusfar…
"Marcus Foster is good. He is strong, he is solid, works very hard and isvery consistent. We were very fortunate to get him. He was the 3A player of theyear in Texas, an MVP of one of their all-star games and the leading scorer in,I think, both of their all-star games he played in. And you know there are someplayers down there, some good players going all over the country. Wesley(Iwundu) is kind of a hidden gem. He grew late. Coach (Alvin) Brooks is fromHouston and his dad said we might want to check this guy out because he justgrew five inches. He played with the Harrison twins in summer basketball, so hedid not always get a lot of looks, but he is very athletic and can do a lot ofthings. Nigel (Johnson) is a little tougher than I had thought. We still do notknow if he is a point guard, a two or combo. He can make some shots. And thenJevon (Thomas), we cannot really be around him, but he is good. There is nodoubt. With his situation, probably not being eligible until the holidays, it isgoing to be a little tougher with him to blend in. And Jack (Karapetyan), hereally has not played since he got here. He broke his foot in the summer andhad it operated on. We are just kind of waiting and I know he is very anxiousto get going. I know we are way more athletic. Those guys are way moreathletic. We are a lot quicker than we were, we definitely replaced that. Wedid not replace [Jordan Henriquez's] height and length and that is one thing weare a little bit leery about, there is no doubt. But for the other twonewcomers (Brandon Bolden and Justin Edwards), obviously there are going to bevaluable members of practice, but they need to have a good year, so they areready a year from now. Justin is super athletic as far as jumping ability, it isjust amazing. Brandon is long and maybe would give you a little bit of whatJordan did – he is long and athletic, runs and blocks some shots. He's just gotto put some weight on, there is no doubt about that."

 

On the importance of Nino Williams and Omari Lawrencethis season…
"I have said this to other people before, but they are probably the ‘X-factors'– Omari (Lawrence) and Nino (Williams). Omari has not played a lot. He has hada couple of good games, one against Texas here last year and a couple momentswhere he helped us. But now it is up to him, he is a senior. Go beat thefreshman out. Do not even make it a choice for us, but he has got to do it. Hehas to earn it. It just is not given to you. Nino has lost some weight. We needhim to play smarter, have a little better motor, and be that undersizedmismatch guy. Nino has taken the challenge and we have been on him pretty hard.Obviously the end of the season was not real stellar for him, but those twoguys can be difference makers for us. I think Shane was your ‘X-factor' lastyear all of a sudden and now if we can have those two guys do that, it would behelpful."

 

On Marcus Foster's potential…
"Well, he is a quiet kid, a lot like [Rodney McGruder]. He has a lot ofsimilarities to Rodney. He can really score, he loves to score and score in alot of ways. He shoots it better than we thought. He has a good body and he ispretty athletic. But we did not know, and that is the question mark when youtalk about learning the game and concepts, things they never even thought aboutin high school. They did not have to. They just went and beat somebody anddunked on them. That was what their concept was. Now, [Marcus] has picked upsome ball screen action and some different things like that. He has been prettygood and he is taking the challenge of being a good defender. He has thephysical ability, the physicality to do it. He is good. I would be surprised ifhe is not on the court quite a few minutes, but if he is not then I will behonest, we are probably in some trouble because he is the one that can give ussome scoring that maybe the other guys could not."

 

Senior Will Spradling

On being a leader…

"I like the leadership role.Obviously, we had 3 seniors last year that did a great leadership job. This year,Shane and Omar have really stepped up and taken a big leadership role. Thomashas stepped in too, he is kind of more of our vocal leader; the three seniorslast season were pretty quiet."

On his role as the team's point guard…

"Yeah, I mean I played point guard early on in collegeand I am used to the position. It should not be a big difference from the past,so I will be alright."

 

On working on his point guard skills this summer…

"Yeah, the biggest thing that I did overseas was play allpoint guard over there and that helped out a lot and kind of got me ready forthe season."

 

On getting shots while playing the point…

"With the motion offense, you can get off of the ball andstill get in the shooting guard position. The motion offense opens up foreverybody, so I will be fine."

 

On his comfort level with the motion offense…

"By the end of the season, we were really flowing welland we looked good in it. The biggest thing now is getting the younger guysinto the offense and flowing with it also."

 

On who is going to step up…

"We have a lot of weapons. We have Thomas inside, we haveShane at the 3 and 4 spots, and they will look to me to score a bunch. We canalso look at some of our younger guys to step up a lot."

 

On the freshmen…

"They are all looking great, and they are all going tohave to play a lot to. I mean, we are not very deep right now. And they willget a lot of playing time."

 

On Marcus Foster…

"He is tough, he has got a good feel to the motionoffense; he has kind of fit in pretty well. He should fit right in to theoffense."

 

On this being the most athletic K-State he has been apart of…

"By far, we have not had athletes like this since I havebeen here. My freshman year, we had some good athletes, but not like this."

 

On surprising some teams…

"Yeah, I mean that is normally what we do. We are usuallypicked in the bottom half of the Big 12 and we normally come out and earnrespect by the end of the year. That is something we will just have to do againthis year."

 

On the role of the upperclassmen…

"We just really have to keep the team together especiallywhen times get hard. I mean, the freshmen have not been through college, or acollege season like this. When times get hard, you tend to break away and tendto kind of do you own thing. We have got to make sure to keep everyonetogether."

 

Senior Shane Southwell

On the excitement for the start of the season…

"I'm very excited, I do notknow anyone who would not be excited. We have a big chance to prove ourselves;people are doubting us."

On the extra practice time…

"It is extremely big. We have Will coming back to playpoint guard, so that is big for him to get used to it. And also a good chancefor the new guys to get used to more game situations. Hopefully, it can getthem more accustomed, unlike last year when you only had two weeks to practice(before the first exhibition game). It should be a positive for us."

 

On his role this season…

"It is obvious that I will be more relied on to score. Ithink I am ready for that. I could have been a lot more aggressive last year,but the team's success did not really allow me to be that person. I know thatthey are going to look at me to score more and I am okay with that."

 

Junior Thomas Gipson

On his weight loss…

"I am light on my feet, I jump quicker, I am jumpinghigher. I am not as winded as I used to be running up and down the court. Ifeel lighter and a lot better about myself, and it is just boosting myconfidence."

 

On starting the season…

"I am really excited. I am ready to practice and everyoneelse is ready to practice. We are all on the same page for everything. We havetotally new different players, and a different team, so we are ready to see howwe are going to come together."

 

On the chemistry with this team…

"It is always a work in progress, we can always getbetter. Right now, we are pretty good; everybody has a good understanding ofeverybody else. We are going to come together as a team as soon as practicerolls around."

 

On the new players…

"I like all the freshmen, but I think Marcus Foster hasstood out the most to me. He is really good, I mean I am not comparing him toKobe (Bryant) but his style of playing is similar to him. He is electrifying,they are all good I am not trying to knock any of the other freshmen, I likethem all. I do not have a problem with any of them, they are all good. Theyhave all made great strides so far."

 

On being a leader…

"It is a lot of pressure; I was just talking to mycoaches about that. They just keep telling me to try and be a leader and stayon the right path and do the right thing. I have always been a leader, in highschool I was a leader. Last year, Rodney (McGruder) was a leader; he has alwaysbeen a leader. I think it is about time that I do step in and try to be aleader for this team."

 

On having more stamina with the weight loss…

"Yes, it is always better with more stamina withbasketball, but I mean I will always have my strength and my size that neverwent away."

 

On feeling pressure with the graduation of JordanHenriquez…

"Yes, it does. J.O was a great key to our team, he waslong. We are undersized but, we are all just going to have to play hard and wewill be fine."

 

On the team's athleticism…

"Everybody can dunk, everybody is quick, and everybody isfast. I think this is the most athletic team I have had been a part of sincehigh school. It is really fun, you do not know who is going to get dunked on,and you do not know who is going to dunk. But when it happens, it happens andit is really cool."

 

On the team's best dunker…

"Justin Edwards, he is not playing this year but I meanyou will probably see him at practices. It is pretty crazy. He probably has a45 inch vertical, so he can do whatever he wants."

 

On the importance of the two transfers…

"They are really important.I mean they have an entire year to watch and learn to see what they need to doand not to do before they actually even play. So they can use that to theiradvantage and we can be really good next year if they focus and pay attentionto the little things that we need them to do."

On D.J. Johnson… 

"He always plays hard. I think he improved most withtouch around the rim. The fact that he always plays hard is going to be goodfor him. Getting touches around the rim is going to be really good for him."


On the biggest challenges…

"The biggest challenge would probably be stayingtogether. I mean, we are always going to be together, but just always stayingfocused and not worrying about the little things on the outside. No matter whatwe are picked, we are always going to come out and play hard. I do not thinkthere is a big major focus on what we need to do. As long as we are togetherand we are doing the right things on the court and off of the court we will befine."


On the upperclassmen leading this team…

"It is really important because we have to show thefreshman the ropes, how to overcome adversity, and show them how to do thingsright on the court and off of the court. I think that all three of us arereally good leaders, so I think we will be good at that." 

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