Frank Martin Preseason News Conference — 10/2/19

(mechanical rooster) – Obviously, I’ve been excited about this team since last year. I saw the possibilities because we had a bunch of
these guys in practice, even though they didn’t
play in games last year. So, I had a feel for what it can be. We’ve had, I can’t remember it might be the first summer where our roster was intact, where I wasn’t running around
trying to recruit somebody for a scholarship. A roster was intact all summer. We had great leadership
on our team last year, which I remember calling a timeout, not calling time outdoors,
play late in the game last year and me asking Hassani like How’s it feel? And he’s trying to get me to
tell him what play they’re on? And I said, “No, no, no, forget the play. How does it feel?” He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “How does it
feel to finally listen and be a good teammate, and good things happen
for you as a player?” He just started laughing. And he went and called his own play. I didn’t tell him what to call and he called the right thing. And it worked. And it’s because of all
that growth between him, Chris and even Trey Campbell,
as the season went on. All those young kids learn from them. And they’ve been great this year. So does that mean we’re
going to win any games? I got no idea. But I know I’m excited when
I go to practice every day. – [Emily] Questions? Dave? – [Dave] Frank, going on
into your eighth season now. Have you been as excited
about any other team as you are about this one going into it? – Yeah, I’m always excited, Dave, I don’t go into seasons.
concerned with the awards, it goes back to what I’m about. I don’t worry about what I don’t have, I worry about what I do have. And I don’t get more or less excited. I just think that this team has the possibilities of growing, the ceiling for growth is, there’s a lot of room there
before we can even see the ceiling and so the excitement, the enthusiasm
for me never changes. It doesn’t change. I don’t care what the situation. My first year here, I knew we had some limitations as a team. But I was excited to get
out there and see growth. My enthusiasm is always for growth. It’s not for wins and losses. I’m revved up and ready to go. And because I didn’t have to, and this is the truth about the business. I didn’t have to exert
countless hours of travel and energy on our roster in the summer. I’m actually well-rested right now. And I’m sleeping better. Seriously, I’ve been battling
a really bad shoulder and it was hard sleep for
the last couple years. And I’m sleeping better. So I don’t know if that’s
good or bad for our players. But I’m well-rested right now. – [Interviewer] Frank, I guess, what were conversations like with Mike coming out of last year? And what have you seen from him through the first couple
weeks on the court stuff that makes you feel he’ll
take another step forward? – Yeah, Mike didn’t handle– The last two years have
been the opposite with Mike, he didn’t handle the beginning
of his sophomore year great. But I thought he played
better as the year went on. And then his junior year, he was playing pretty good early. And then he just went in the tank. And Mike’s biggest obstacle
is self-confidence. And I never figured that
one out his freshman year, because he didn’t have
a lot of responsibility his freshman year. And you don’t really
find out about people, how they manage stuff
until they have a lot of responsibility. There’s a reason why the
person who makes copies makes a lot less money than the CEO of the company. There’s a reason why the department head makes a lot less money than the principal at a school building. How you handle responsibility determines what you’re capable of doing. And I didn’t understand that
when Mike his freshman year because he didn’t have
a lot of responsibility. I’ve tried to figure that
out the last two years and he’s in a much better place. He’s actually, I’m not going to say it because I know I’m going to
jinx myself and our team. But he’s doing some things on the court that he’s never done since he’s been here. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. Mike has been an unbelievable
young man to coach. He’s been an incredible
representative of our program. Who he is, every day in that practice, in the community, in the classroom. The times you guys have interviewed him, the way he speaks, he deserves to have a
real good senior year and I’m excited to help him so he can be the best
that he can possibly be. [Emily] Andrew. – [Andrew] Frank, you said obviously, this team with the room for growth that could get better as the year goes on. Last year’s team got
better as the year goes on. Didn’t get off to a great start. Well, how do you feel about this team from the get-go with blending in some new faces and how you kind of navigate
those first two months, the two months that ended
up kind of biting you the most last year. – You know, Andrew, contrary
to popular belief around here, up until a couple of
years ago, in my history, my teams always get better. They never get worse. Frank Booker’s year, we weren’t very good earlier in the year, we’re pretty darn good
at the end of the year, the final four year,
everybody was concerned because we lost a couple
of games late in the year, but I was happy because we
were playing better again. You keep going on down the line. You know, our teams always play better at the end of the year. It’s who we are. You have to because the good
teams that you play against, they get better too. They don’t get worse. And at the end of the year, whether it’s in a conference tournament or it’s postseason turn whatever, you’re not playing bad teams, you’re playing good teams,
good teams get better. Last year was one of the funnest
years I’ve had in coaching. Because of all the adversity
that was thrown at that team, the youth on the team. And yet they’re, what’s the
word I’m looking for here, the resilience, the relentless
pursuit of improvement, not allowing anything to
kind of get in their way. And I’m not going to say I’m defeated, but I’m a human being, when AJ got hurt in that Alabama game. I went home that night
and I was like, “Why?” You know, went from
extinction to win that game, we’re in the NCAA tournament conversation. And all of a sudden, you know, boom, and now you’re sitting
there saying, “Why?” And we went out and played at Missouri on quick turn against a team that they just had
unbelievable depth at guards. And we had two guards and we
had to play a certain way. And even though we lost that game, I realized like, our guys
got some fight in them, I got to do a better job
coming down the stretch the last couple games and
they helped me grow last year. And that was fun to be around. And so I’m excited the way
these guys approached things that they’re going to
keep fighting to grow and help each other. And that’s why, the last two years, I’ve had an unknown, relationship with my team. What do I mean by that? Well, the guys that were
returning from the final 14, they had small responsibility. I didn’t know how they’re going to handle more responsibility. And then we had a bunch
of first-year guys. Then we obviously went through
a transition that year. And when I said new guys, I’m not about grad transfers
West March right book. So now you get change on your roster, a couple of guys that we
brought in didn’t stay, you got graduation. And now you get the
last year and last year we were couple guys were really old. Majority of guys were really young. And you go through that
challenge in that growth. And this is the first time in
a while where I have a roster where I have a pretty
good feel for everybody. So that’s also, I don’t know if that’s excitement, but having an understanding of how the guys I’m with are
going to manage challenges, gives me a sense of peace. – [Emily] Mike. – Right. Thank you, guys (laughs) – [Mike] Frank, what have
you seen from AJ Lawson that you’ll have liked this off season? Where does he take his game now after one year of college basketball? – He’s a really good player. And after two practices,
if you walked into the gym, and you’d never seen our team, you would not be able
to see who AJ Lawson is. That’s how good the
other guys are playing. There’s not a huge
difference between guys. He’s got to shoot it a little better than he has the last two weeks. He’s worked too hard at it. He’s good. He’s not getting– Here’s what else is, this is an adjustment for him in practice, which is only going to help him. Our guards are not driving
to the rim and getting shots. There’s some balls getting beat up when people go to the rim. We haven’t had around here. And we’ve been a one-man
blocking crew with Chris Solo. So in practice, if Chris was not where he
can go get a blocked shot. There’s nobody else we
got guards blocking shots. We got bigs, like playing over the rim. That’s a good thing for him because AJ is real good, perimeter shooting. And at the rim. His growth has to be in
that area in between. and he’s gotten better at that. But when he goes to the rim, it’s getting really hard
in our practice right now. So you know, which is a good thing. but he’s an awesome kid. He, got to shoot it
better than he’s shot it the last two weeks. We’ve had two practices and two one hour team
practices and individuals. And he’s he hasn’t made shots
the way he’s capable of, but he will because he works at it. – [Mike] Going off the AJ
Lawson theme right now, what do you think his
experience with Team Canada did over the summer? And how much does that
help with his experience? Yeah, as players, it’s always
you’re looking for growth, growth comes from confidence. Confidence comes from
growth, it’s all connected. And his growth, when he
played with Team Canada the summer before 18 and under, I believe was the age group where I was actually
recruiting them at the time. He scored for them. But he was not as involved
in ball handling decisions. on that team, Andrew, was it Mahnert? I can’t remember who it was. There’s somebody else that was
the predominant ball handler and there’s another guy that
handled the ball a lot more. Then he comes here last year. And then that became part of
his maturation as a player, is being more involved with
the decision making with the basketball, not just a guy that shoots layups and dunks in the open court, becoming a more consistent shooter. He worked at those things,
he got better at them. Now he goes back out with Team Canada. And what happens because
of the work he put in, he gained confidence. And now he had a different
demeanor on that team, which allowed him to play
efficiently at a high level, not for a game, but
for a whole tournament. And I was watching. I think
they played Australia, in the second round of that tournament and they’re out two in Australia
they were called timeout. And it was inside a minute ago, and I’m sitting at home watching the game. And they went at him. They didn’t you know, that’s when you know, when everyone said, “Well, you know, they’re going at him, “They’re going at him. During the flow of the game,
you’re not going at people you’re trying to win games. When the game’s on the line, and you go with the best
matchup you can get. And he was guarding their best player. I’m sitting there saying AJ’s guarding the best player on the other team. This is interesting. And they went at him. And they tried to screen him, on two different occasions, and he refused to get screened. I said, that’s a young
man, that’s gotten better because he’s bought into one of the things that we try to sell, which
is our defensive mindset. And they won the game
because a secondary player ended up taking a bad shot, and the guy they wanted to go make a play, couldn’t get the ball. And that showed me a lot
about AJ on the spot. [Announcer] Rick. – [Rick] Frank with all
the talent you have, how quickly do you think
it’ll take to establish the identity of this team? Or do you need to play some games? before you can do that? And with your experience, when a team’s identity is
challenged, a real good team, Well we get a team’s
identity is established with a real good team, do
they maintain that identity? Or does it fluctuate
throughout the season? – No, Rick, I think this team is going to have an aggression. A resiliency, the word that
was shared with me earlier, that comes from what we’ve lived together. What we’ve learned from each other from living together for
the last couple years, with the guys on the team. So I think those things
are going to be in place. I don’t think a team
changes its personality during the course of the year. I think a team grows more into who it is, during the course of the year, the challenges of the season makes you become true to
who you are to your core. I’d like that’s the biggest
difference between being a fan and actually being a team member, as fans we, because I’m a fan too. We react in different ways and want change every time
something doesn’t work. That’s not how life works. On the contrary, the more
difficult the situations get the more true to the
core we have to become. And that’s what the season teaches a team, is to believe in who you are and become that best version
that you possibly can. And I think this team is
going to have a personality for who we’re going to be from day one. The question is, how do we handle things that are eventually coming? We’re going to play a game
and everyone right now thinks you going to
play 30 minutes a game. There’s not a guy out
there thinks he’s playing the whole game. Well, unfortunately, they’re not all going to
play 30 minutes a game. The ones that don’t get to play that amount of time early in the season. How do they handle that moment? I’m not sure. They’re great teammates,
they’re fun to coach, But that’s a real moment
that’s coming for us. How do we handle that? Do we understand, not accept, understand, maintain our focus as a teammate to do what I’m being
asked to do so we can win. And then work harder to force
my coach to play me more? Or do I kind of get self centered and break away from what
we’ve worked so hard to build, and start worrying about
myself and not work as hard because I’m going to pout rather than, I tell players all the time, they know why they play and don’t play, it’s not potluck every day. They know because I tell them. If they’re not playing, and they pout, their chances of playing
becomes less and less. If they grow, then they’re putting
unbelievable pressure on me to manage a moment. It’s easy for me to handle pouting. It’s really hard for me to handle guys that are committed to doing things that I’m asking to do. Because
then I have to play them. So that means I got to
manage things differently But when they pout, or they blame, they made my job easy. You’re
never playing, you know. That’s the moment that, that’s the unknown right now because that’s where every team’s unique, even though we have returning players. Last year, we were down to seven guys. They can do backflips as they dribbled I couldn’t take them out of the game. Does that make sense?
what I’m saying I mean, it is what it is they didn’t, they handled it like champs. Which brought tremendous joy to me. But this year we got a bunch of guys. So when guys have bad breakdowns, the next guy’s going to take their minutes and that’s a good thing. I
don’t see that as a bad thing. It’s how we handle when that moment comes, that determines what the
best version of us can be. [Emily] Dave, Colin, John and the Andrew. – [Dave] Frank. is everybody healthy, ready to go and practice? ready to go and practice? – Even no headaches. Everyone’s good. TJ Moss tweaked an ankle Monday, but he was back in practice yesterday. I think he missed the last 30, 40 minutes of Monday’s practice. It was a normal role of an ankle, but he went through the
whole practice yesterday. – [Dave] And also with Henry, how do you pronounce his first name? – McKay. – [Dave] McKay? – I got Mike, M-A-I-K-. I got Mike, M-I-K-E. And I got Mikea, that goes by Mike. (laughter) So we’re going Mike, Coach R and K. That’s how you pronounce his first night. – [Dave] How was he
looked since he got in, and how is he adjusting to
the style and the pace here? – What I enjoyed when I watch them on film is that he played with a physicality at the rim that I enjoy. I enjoy coaching guys play
with that physicality. He is who I thought he was. He’s making an adjustment,
he’s been playing for the last Whatever it is, four years if
you include the Redshirt year, majority of the time against teams that everyone’s
six, seven on the front line. So he’s got to learn how
to make quicker decisions because there’s so much
sighs not just on our team, but in NFCC games, that
you don’t have as much time to try and score when you’re near the rim. You got to make quicker decisions. But he’s strong. He plays with aggression. When you throw him the
ball, he catches it, which to me is like an epiphany. We had a couple of years here now where we throw the ball in there and guys look at it like,
“Why you pass it to me?” “You know, we got to go catch it. “They’re throwing it to go get it.” And so I think he’s going to be– He plays strong. That’s my biggest thing is he plays like a graduate transfer. He’s strong… He’s had two real good practices for his first two years here. First two practices during his first year. You know there’s a competitive fight at the rim every play this year that we haven’t had since I’ve been here. Whether it’s Mike, excuse me, Coats R. I don’t want to confuse you
like I am in practice every day. Whether it’s him whether it’s Jalan, whether it’s Weldon’s, Alonzo. I mean, you know, K, I
mean, it’s unbelievable. There’s a physicality at the rim that we have not had since I’ve been here. Chris had it. But no one else has had it. Carrera had it. You know, Mandoza tried, but he weighed 205 pounds. but now we’ve got guys that are 240 pounds playing with the physicality, it’s fun. – [Reporter] Frank, you kind of talked at the end of last season, you weren’t really sure
what this year’s team could look like offensively. I think last year was the fastest group tempo-wise you’ve had since you’re here. Have you thought more now
that you’ve been around them a little bit more what
this identity offensively could look like for you guys? – Yeah, there’s a reason why I reached off in the off season. And I spoke to a
journalism class yesterday. And they asked me, how much do I pay attention
and all that stuff? And I told him the truth. I said, “I read and listen
a lot in the off season. “Once I get in the season, “I don’t want to be emotionally attached. “But I got to understand the people “that I’m engaging in conversations with.” And let’s be honest,
we’re all human beings. We don’t do our jobs
differently every day. However, you guys manage Will and Mark. It’s the same way you going to manage me when I’m in my season, your line of questions
going to be different words, but same angles, which is
cool, that doesn’t hurt. That doesn’t piss me off or anything. It’s who you guys are, I’ve got to understand that. I said last year that we’re
going to be the fastest team I’ve coached, okay. And we had five guys, I
believe, out for the year. I believe that’s five red shirts. And I was reading something
in the off season and said, “There’s Frank again. “You know, last year he promoted “they won’t be the fastest
team, blah, blah, blah.” If you actually go to the
data, which I don’t care for. We played at a faster rate than any team in the SCC offensively with seven or eight guys, majority of the second half of the season. So I don’t say stuff to just say it. When I say stuff, it’s what I see, and I’m trying to share
the truth with you. I thought last year’s
team was really fast. I think that was shown with the data that we played faster than
offensively in any team I’ve had because we lead the SCC, everyone raves about
how fast Auburn played Oh, my God, the fastest
basketball I’ve seen. I bet we played faster than that. You know, but nobody wants to report that. They want to report that I hold players back and that I play slow and that I get mad at guys
when they don’t play defense. So this team appears to be
faster than last year’s team. Two days in. And part of the reason that
I think it appears faster is because there’s more guys. And because there’s more guys, there’s an unbelievable
competition to get on the floor. So everyone’s got their
pedal to the metal, and they’re going right now. And we’re older. So we got guys that
understand what we’re doing. So they’re playing more aggressively. So long-winded answer to kind of tell you that this team can be even faster. The athleticism on this
team is pretty is unique to any team I’ve been around
in college basketball. I’ve had teams that are deep. I’ve had teams that are fast. I don’t know if I’ve had
as many athletic players on one team as we have right now. – [Reporter] If you have three Mikes, and two of them are seniors, how did the freshman earn
the right to be called Mike? – It’s like, you know, people
I walk up on the street because they hear people
I live with every day call me Frank, “Frank,
Frank, Frank, Frank.” I don’t mind. when they’re rude, I’m like, “Yo, man, I’m not your friend. “Slow down with how you speak to me here.” You know, you understand what I’m saying? The older guys and I have
a better relationship. So you know, they probably
call me different names that I don’t want to share
with you guys right now. So I can call them with
different nickname too. And Greens like all freshmen,
they’re freaked out. So if you say anything, but his name, his eyeballs are going
to pop out of his head. So you know, so I figured he’d be the one to keep his normal name. – [Reporter] You mentioned
that Scott Greenwald told you that this was their
best off season program. How have you seen that kind of
manifest itself on the court? I know you’ve had limited practice, but some off season workouts too? – Yeah, it’s by far the
most productive summer we’ve had since we’ve been here. Our roster was in place the
comradery amongst our players because majority of them
were on the team last year. There’s a respect and a unity there to help the first year guys. What they did in the weight room the work ethic of this team’s real good there’s an enthusiasm
for work with this team. We’re no different than every other team across the country in any sport. We’ve had a couple of guys
that like the game day but didn’t like the work that
takes to be good on game day. And right now we’ve got a team
where they all enjoy to work. They push each other they’re competitive. You know in the weight
room they’re competitive and community service hours
we took the team paint balling the other day I couldn’t go.
How about that about that? This is how great the
assistant coaches are. And Scott them they send me recruiting and they go paint balling. How about that? So I’m getting picture
these guys paint balling while I’m sitting in the
gym watching bad ball. It’s unbelievable. But there’s a competitiveness
and a unity there. That’s been fun to be around. It wasn’t just in the weight room, Scott feels he had the best summer that he’s at with any of our teams here. I felt we had the best summer. And here’s apart that
goes on, you know, unsaid. I’ve had turnover on my staff. You know, three of the last four years I think that numbers correct
first Lamont then fig. So now I got Bruce, who Bruce work for me a
case date 11 years ago. You know, Bruce has to relearn
how I want things taught. Which is going to be different
than how Lamont did it. Players that were in place, they’re trying to figure
out how Bruce is teaching because it’s a different voice even though it’s the same theories. And then Fig leaves. And Chuck comes in. Chuck and I’ve been friends. Chuck has never been around
me in basketball practice. So Chuck has to learn what we’re doing. So now Perry, Chuck, and Bruce have to connect from
a teaching standpoint. I’m big on making our assistants teach. And now they’re better connected with what we’re trying to teach, which then allows the message to the players to be more
consistent and clear. So I think our whole summer
was completely better than it’s ever been. And September was pretty good too. Our on court workouts pretty sure. I was just watching film before I came over here
of yesterday’s practice. Given the fact that we’re a month and two real practices in
a lot of spacing things, which is the most important
partner offensive basketball, it’s pretty good right now. [Emily] Andrew. – [Andrew] You mentioned AJ is improvement in terms of kind of mid range game and how he kind of handle the ball may be more than he
had had in the past last year. How much specifically did he play as a point guard last year? And how much do you want him this year? And that’s kind of a loaded
question being a point guard/ initiating offense? Because you seem like you
do have other options, obviously, that will try here. How does he fit in that mix? And how do you look at
that position as a whole? – I think he said this in a
press conference recently, that he wants to cut
down on his turnovers. That’s part of my conversations with him. So if he said it, then I’m comfortable speaking about it publicly. Turnovers are not made
outside the three point line. If they are, those are bad plays. Those aren’t turnovers. Turnovers are not made at the rim. Those are field goal attempts. Turnovers are made in the mid range, because that’s where you
got to make your decisions Am I shooting? Am I dropping it to the big? Am I kicking to the
other side of the floor? So the decision-making
is in the mid range. If you’re putting players
that are not comfortable making decisions and mid-range, in action where they end up
in decision making situations, chances are they’re either
going to be on aggressive or they’re going to make bad decisions, which are bad place, okay? That’s a coaching problem. Part of my responsibility
with AJ is to help him grow. Get him to understand that
the game is a little deeper than outrunning everybody
and dunking the ball or shooting a wide open three. And that’s where his decision
making growth has to come. Well, there’s a growth process. That’s why a lot of freshmen don’t play because they don’t comprehend that moment. So you got a senior, it’s a lot easier as a coach to depend on that senior than try to teach that
freshman on gameday. You’re trying to teach them in practice. Because of last year’s team dynamic, he got on the floor a lot. Then we had to live with his
good and bad on game day. We didn’t have the patience to
wait as he practiced in group Does all that makes sense? He’s in a place now as a
last year’s a year we’re on, the better he got with that, the more I can give him the
ball against set defense, okay. Now, the way we play, if
you’re a running team, you don’t run because of one player. If you’re running team,
that means everybody runs. I say this all the time. In the NBA, I don’t watch it year round. I watch it a lot early,
and I watch it a lot late. Once I’m in the middle of season. I don’t watch it as much. But it’s my opinion
that in the open court, Russell Westbrook has to
be the most impossible guard in the NBA, and
guard meaning to guard him. But why doesn’t he get more attempts? If he’s that good in the open floor? Well, Paul George and the other guys don’t want to run their isolation players. So if Westbrook’s running on his own, it’s easier to stop him. All that makes sense? So like I like to play fast. The point guard and the two guard, they both got to think and
play like point guards. So as the season wore
on, we can advance it AJ, he made better decisions as he grew making his
decisions as I get set defence, I can put them at the point. So and then we can run stuff. And the way office works
point guard initiate, you try to get whatever
actions you’re getting, it ends up back in the point guard to make the play at the end of the clock. He’s your best decision maker. So you want the ball in his hands at the end of the clock. You don’t want the ball in my
hands at the end of the clock. That’s a problem. So as he got better then I
can play more at the point and he got better with
his decision making. His turnovers were early in the year like in a steep incline. And as the year went on,
they kind of tapered off. He’s getting better there and
it keeps getting better there. – [Reporter] (mumbles). – I don’t mean to be boring. I’ll use the Final Four. I’m not even going to go
deeper into my career. Sandero’s play point, Dwayne play point, Rotfeld did play point, PJ play point, I even threw Sania point for a couple days and I said that crap
ain’t happening anymore. So you understand what I’m saying? There’s a lot of guys that play point. And when we played in the NCAA tournament, I don’t know if we led the
NCAA Tournament scoring. But we were right up there with all the teams in the tournament as far as points per
game, not total points, because we played more
games than other people. But points per game. And a lot of that had to
do because we play fast. And you have multiple
point guards out there making decisions with the basketball. – [Reporter] How much of a team’s identity is built during sort of
this preseason practice? How much do you leave this
and start a season say, “I know what this team might be?” And how much of it is sort of built learning on the fly through
those first few weeks, maybe first month? – Yeah, there’s a lot
of stuff that might… I think a lot during three times, early in the morning
when I wake up, I think. When I work out, I think my staff knows when I’m working out better,
it better be life or death. If not leave me alone, because
that’s when I’m thinking. And then the last time is
when I’m on an airplane, because I’m disengage from this. And then I just sit
there, and I think a lot. So as I’m traveling this
summer, there’s a lot of things I think about that I
envisioned for the team. That sound great when I’m
sitting on an aeroplane, but when you actually get on the court, they don’t look as good as you thought. So you go through a lot of that. trial by error stuff with what
I think and what’s reality. And that’s how teams don’t develop this is I start feeling them
on the court every day because every team’s unique. Here’s why every team’s unique, because of what I just
told you about AJ Lawson, I can’t go into the season coaching AJ Lawson under the same parameters that I coach them when last year started, I understand him better, and he’s gotten better as a player, I have to coach them better and give them opportunities as a player so he can continue to grow. That might be uncomfortable for me. But for him to keep growing
because the more he grows, the more his teammates grow,
the better our team becomes. It’s not how smart I am. That’s how teams get better. And I got to do that with all the players. So you kind of asked
me a two part question that was the answer to your second part there as far as the things I think about and are they in stone? It’s kind of trial by error right now. That’s why early in the year, you see a lot of teams
and like final four team, those guys have played together forever. Those top four or five, six guys. They knew how to play. And then you think about Kim Felder and those guys early in the year, they didn’t help us much. Those freshmen helped us as the season went on the returning players
carriers early in the year. So we were a well oiled machine early. Then because of suspensions and injuries, I got to start playing the freshman more. We don’t play as well. But they got better. By the end of the year,
we had that we had an idea we’re going to play early. That thing had to change in
the middle segment of the year because of everything I just said. And then the guys who were playing, they started to earn my trust, and they got better by
accepting responsibility. So now when you start
reintegrating Sendeires, and then PJ and then whoever. Now we have to start playing a
little differently there too, because now it’s a combination
of more we’re things and so that’s the challenge is
a little bit trial by error. I know there’s a second
part to what you asked, I don’t know if I answered it or not. – [Reporter] You did, – Okay. [Emily] (mumbles). – [Reporter] In the in the
terms of the SEC pecking order, how do you think this
programme will be perceived at media days, and you think, you know, what you’ve been able to
do last couple of years will will help maybe a little bit higher in that preseason media
poll, or do you care? – I don’t care for a
single preseason poll. That’s done by anybody. And I can tell you this. And I hope nobody gets offended. But the media has yet to get
it right with my team one time. So whether it’s with players
think about this crystal ball wasn’t even first team all
league in the media voting. Think about that. Derek Dorn wasn’t Player of
the Year in the media voting. So you know, we’re not consumed
with with preseason polls. I think rather than preseason polls, the media should pull the coaches and ask them, which is the team you least want to play in the conference, and then rank them in that order. Such a school got nine votes,
such a school got five votes, then you can figure out who the coaches don’t
want to play against, which usually means those are the guys that that are really good. But it’s polls or polls, you
know, I’ve told you before, I’d rather be ranked than not ranked, even though it’s irrelevant, but it creates an interest
level for your programme creates an expectation,
which is all healthy. Expectations are healthy. Every time I left my house, there was an expectation to represent my family a certain way. You know, it doesn’t
mean I was perfect at it. But that means that when I messed up, I felt bad about it because
there was an expectation of how I needed to
represent my family’s name, and that continues to
today, it doesn’t change. So expectations are good. I’m not against expectations. But the most important part
is that we handle the season the right way, that we don’t run away from difficult moments
that we we learned to work. There’s only certain things
we control in our lives, who we are with our attitude
and our willingness to work. If we don’t work, I say this all the time. Everyone that complains like in today’s day and age
load management, this that’s. That’s biggest bunch of you know, who complains about being a shape, I said it over and over
guys who sit on the couch. Those are the guys that don’t want to run. The guys that are in great shape. They want to keep running. They never complain about
tired legs or load management. I have never heard of
such nonsense in my life. But you know, it is what it is. It’s what society’s become. But expectations are a good thing. Even though the media never
got it right with our team. I don’t have much regard
for preseason polls. The season’s ended, I’ve
never sat there and said, “Ha, I told you so.” You know, I’m not into that. You know, we got a hard,
hard responsibility to go win games in an
unbelievably hard league. I’m just happy that our league starting to get the
recognition it deserves. – [Emily] (mumbles). – [Reporter] Frank, with
the recent legislation in California, here in
South Carolina, Florida, wondering what your
thoughts are on pay to play. I know you’ve given us an
answer before you’re very, you know, pro athlete when it comes to that coming
out of high school, obviously, and going straight into
the NBA if they want to, but something that looks like this. Are you in favour of that? And what do you think that does to college athletics in the future? – Well, the way you phrased your question, I am completely against pay to play. There’s this thing called
professional sports. You want to get paid to play,
go play professional sports. So I’m completely against pay to play. What’s happening in legislation right now is not pay to play. It’s folks taking advantage
of likeness and imaging or whatever the nice words they use. I’m not educated enough to, anytime I speak with an attorney, they speak and then I like, “Can you speak English now “so you don’t try to sound intelligent,” and they use words that
everybody can understand. I don’t like to pass on questions. I like to answer questions. If you follow, because
I’ve been expressing what I think since my K state days, you can find what my opinions are. If I sat here and say I got an opinion or I can’t speak to you, then it goes against
what I’ve done before. So we’ve also we’re in a situation that I got to be careful here, I’m going to get myself in trouble. We’re in a situation where
politics have gotten involved, in collegiate athletics, okay. I’m all for doing more
for student athletes. I’ve expressed that publicly. I’ve never wavered from that. Change was coming,
regardless of what the people in California are trying
to take credit for, okay. Emily, do you think it’d be okay for me to kind of what I said
in the class yesterday as far as Title Nine. – [Emily] I can’t remember
exactly what you said, but– – All right, Title Nine, I’m going to get in trouble, why not? You guys remember when Title Nine. You guys remember Title Nine was passed. It was put through. My wife’s a former athlete, okay. So her and I have these
conversations a lot, not for me to convince your
wife football’s awesome. It’s for me to understand that dynamic of why track needs football. But yet track needs to be respected for being its own, women’s track, I’m talking about its own dynamic. When all that was passed,
you also saw a lot of sports, gymnastics, wrestling, that were huge part of collegiate sports. Out the window. There’s parts of the country
that don’t have baseball, there’s parts of the country
that don’t have softball, why Title Nine, ballot, out the window. So it’s diminished. Title Nine helped elevate some sports. But it diminished opportunities
for others and other sports. It is what it is, I’m not
here to fight Title Nine. I’m all for equality. This whole dynamic that
everyone’s like gung ho and pushing for right now, I’m privy to a lot of
meetings, change was coming. It’s not as easy as people
make it sound to be. Because once I give you something, you going to let me take it back from you? So it’s over. So I can’t give you something if it’s going to deprive him of an opportunity later on in life. And we are a nation of laws, we’re not a nation of do whatever. So we have to make sure that
we put certain things in place. So it continues to grow the opportunities and benefits for the young people. But it doesn’t completely ostracize half of what collegiate
sports is all about. I don’t know if it’s making sense or not. I’ve got opinions. I’ve shared them publicly before. So, you know, we’ve been asked to kind of be careful right now. Because there’s so many lawsuits
and so much stuff going on but my opinions are public. I’ve stated them before so they’re public you can find them my ideas
and I can’t run and hide. I have not deviated one bit from what my opinions were before. You know, a change was coming. Here’s what I can tell you. I represent the NCAA. I represent South Carolina. We don’t need no legislator to tell us that we needed to change. There’s been all kinds of voices going on. But you got understand. you remember Kurt Fulard? I was a kid. Phil, I know you remember. What? You and I are the same age? Jesus. Yeah, yeah, but think about what happened with free agency at the beginning. And here we are 40 years later. And they still trying to figure out how to how to handle free agency without bankrupting professional sports. That’s the truth, how to
continue to put a product on the table that the
fans are going to enjoy. And be willing to give money
and and let the players get a bigger piece of the
pie for lack of better words. That is 1970 something things continue to that’s keeps going on. And so we got to be careful. This is the one thing I will say. because politics is tried
to get involved in the NCAA you know what’s funny, the people that are
barking about the change that we should make in the NCAA those are the same people
that are barking the opposite as to how our nation should be running. That means that we’re mad because the top 5% earners in the world are being given better
benefits rather than sharing so people grew up like me
can have the opportunity to live, yet in the NCAA,
we’re saying Nah, screw them. We got to take care of
the top 10% or whatever. Is that make sense what I’m saying? So and it’s the same group of people that are arguing both in society, they’re arguing that the
rich are getting richer and no one’s paying attention to us. But in college sports were like, “Nah, we need to let the rich get richer “and the heck with everybody else.” That’s what makes me upset is
that that those two dynamics are being argued in opposite directions by the same group of people. It’s the same group of people. And so I don’t know if I make
sense what I’m saying or not, but change was coming. We didn’t need a TV show to tell us that they create a change. No, they didn’t. They’re looking for ratings. Change was coming. And it’s coming for the right reasons, not because of somebody that wants to sign a piece
of paper on a TV show. – [Emily] I’ve got two other guys. You’re the last one. – [Reporter] All right
coach, my question to you is you talk about the spacing
of this team offensively and you have a lot of
interchangeable pieces with this team. Do you feel like this team is
going to be one of the teams that teams have to adjust
to or you can adjust to them because you have so much
versatility on the perimeter and inside as well with so many athletes? – Yeah, as a coach, we
there’s a fine line we fight, we have to have an ego about
how we want the game play. Because remember, we as coaches get hired, before any of the players get on campus. We recruit the players. So we have to have a set way of, “These are the most things “that we’re going to have in our program “every time we take the court.” You got to have an ego about that. You can’t keep changing day to day, then it’s like a butter
flying a windstorm, you just going to kind of float around and wherever you land your land. But then every team’s unique. And as the season unfolds,
there are certain things that I have to be able to… Here’s what I don’t do. player wants to be here, and
I’m asking him to get here, he refuses to step to me,
I will never step to him. Never, I was here before them. That’s just the way the world works. Just the way every business
in our country works. Now that player takes a step to me, I’m a run and grab him and pull him because he showed me the willingness to buy in to our culture, what we want to do how we want to play, once they step to me, then I start becoming
more willing to listen to what they’re saying. And when you know you have a
good team is when as a coach, you’re listening to your players a lot more than they’re listening to you. Because they already
understand what you’re doing. And then they’re sharing
with you what they see with they feel which means are mentally and emotionally invested into your system. So then I have to allow them to grow. And I have to listen to them because they’re so committed
to what we’re doing. So it’s a kind of a tightrope we walk or at least I walk as a
coach is I’m very stubborn. And I want stubborn players. But we have to eventually do this and when we do this, then I’m empowered to be
the best coach I can be because the players are
completely bought it. And so that’s kind of kind
of part of the excitement for this team is that I don’t have
any players resisting. They’re all taking steps to meet us and who we want to be. So it allows us as coaches to go grab them and help them even more. Yeah, we’re good. I got no practice today. I got to go workout when I leave here. been watching film. workout. That’s like young people do. – [Reporter] Competitiveness at the rim. You’ve you’ve noticed it? Where are those two freshmen
kind of fitting into that? – Ridiculous. That Jalan and Weldon, they
play with a physicality. I told you guys earlier, our guys drive to the basket. Wildons is coming to get it. Wildons don’t stand there and watch, he’s coming to get that ball. And when rebounds come off the rim. I’m used to seeing Chris
Silva’s hands over the rim. And let’s hope he didn’t get it. Let’s hope it lands in our hands. There’s multiple hands up there going after the ball right now. But the two freshmen are, you
know, they like all of them, You know, living in
structure is part of success. Success don’t come and live in and doing whatever the
heck you want to do. Living in structure comes with success is a big part of eventually
benefiting to success. They got to figure out our structure. And as they figure out our structure, they’ve got the intangibles, the desire, the competitiveness,
the athleticism, those are intangible. Those are things we don’t control. You know, you control your attitude, you control your mind,
you control your effort, your work ethic, you don’t
control those other things. They’ve got those things. So they make up for mistakes right now, because of those other
things as they continue to learn our structure, I think they can actually do
a lot of real good things. – [Reporter] And with Justin, how do you feel he’s
fitting back into this team now that everyone’s back on the court after a good freshman
season, and last year? You know, obviously, he wasn’t
present with the injury. – Yeah, well, his voice never went away, when he realized that
he was going to redshirt so the biggest thing I told him, I said, “Justin, you can’t just
be here and be sight unseen. “Voice unheard and expect
to show up in the summer “and start telling people what to do. “The reason that your
teammates are give you “the opportunity to listen to you, “and allow you to be heard, is
if you keep helping them now. “Because if you get hurt,
that’s part of the deal “that unfortunately, injuries
is part of what we do. “The guys that get hurt
and kind of go stand “in a corner by themselves.
When they come back. “your teammates don’t want to
hear what they got to say,” They’re like, “Yo, man,
I’ve been out here, “don’t come tell me what I’m doing. “You go back to riding the bike “or whatever the heck you were doing, “Don’t come over and tell me, “because when I was doing it
by myself, you didn’t help me.” And he did a complete opposite. He did what I kind of advised him to do, which was stay engaged with those guys. His teammates respected
the heck out of him. And now that he’s healthy, he’s out there doing what Justin does, taking open threes, creating
havoc with his energy, get on the glass and rebounding the ball. You know, he’s trying to
become a better player off the dribble because he wasn’t very good at that his freshman year he was working at it last year and then he got hurt so
it kind of slowed it down. He’s really trying to
become a better decision that mid range get back
to that to you know, I’m open for the three shooting that’s a pretty simple decision. I got past my defender
who’s helping where from, where’s the next pass? Is he helping up? Is he staying back? Do I shoot it? Do I make another move and attack the rim? Do I drop it on the big do I skip it? Once you get to that decision making area? There’s a lot of stuff that has to be processed
in a real quick moment. All that’s new to him. And so he’s working at that
and he’s gotten better at it but he’s still not great at it. He’s got to keep working at it. It’s my new friend. There’s nothing better when you walk in.

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