Oct. 12, 2006
Columbia, Mo. -
The University of Missouri Men's Basketball program hosted its annual preseason Media Day at Mizzou Arena on Thursday. Head Coach Mike Anderson hosted a press conference at 4 p.m., while each member of the 2006-07 Mizzou Basketball Squad met with members of the media on Norm Stewart Court.
MEDIA DAY PHOTO GALLERY
Below are quotes from Head Coach Mike Anderson and several of his players from Thursday's media outing.
Head Coach Mike Anderson
"Year one! What can I say? It seems like it was yesterday; it was March 26 at the press conference. I talked about going to work, and now we're at that point. My guys reported in, reported to school, and started to come in to work out. Conditioning started in September, and ask any of the guys that they're ready to get practice started. I'm ready to get practice started. They have all come a long way. I think one of the things that I want these guys to understand is that in order to be successful; you have to pay a price. That goes into coming in at 6 a.m., the workout program that we have going, the pickup games that they were involved in are all part of trying to get prepared. Are they ready for me in practice? I don't know; we're going to find out, but I'm excited about our guys and I know they're excited. I think we're going to put a team out that Tiger nation can be proud of; a team that's going to compete. I think we're going to leave it on the floor. It's the fastest forty minutes, but we don't use that anymore; its forty minutes part two. If you come to the practices early on, it may be twenty-five minutes of hell. The process has started, and I cannot wait to get on the floor to actually teach. It is getting all of our guys on same page, and that's going to be the challenge. As a coach, I'm excited about that. Now, the Big 12, along with our non-conference schedule, looking at that we have quite a few home games. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to create an atmosphere; number one, with our fans. Not only that, I think it creates a continuity and confidence for this basketball team. We all know that the Big 12 is no joke. It's a tremendous league. This non-conference schedule should get us ready to play (for the conference)."
On the new atmosphere of MU:
"I think the great part is getting back on the floor, get out to recruiting, and getting everyone in the state excited. I think I'm a great motivator, and that's credited to a great, great mentor in Coach Nolan Richardson; my experience as a player at Tulsa, then seventeen years at Arkansas. You look at how things went down there; lots of similarities with what we have now. It's what I expected. Basketball is important at Missouri, and I understand that."
On getting the team to buy into the system:
"Well, there's talking to them, and then there's actually getting them to something you want them to do. I told them, `Hey, you're going to have pay price!' You can ask any one of them right now. Even as we speak right now, they are paying the ultimate price, and hopefully there's going to be some reward at the end of it. But again, they have no choice in trying to buy into (the system). It's amazing because we have thirty minute workouts four times a week; I have to literally run them out of the gym in the morning! I think they enjoy that. That's why I know they're looking forward to practice. It's now time to get out there and put this thing together."
On Mizzou Madness:
"I think it gives an opportunity for our guys. I think it's an opportunity for the state to come out and have some fun. I think this is more of a fun night. That's how I look at it. It's something we did at Arkansas and it's more so for the fans than for our guys. But our guys are excited about it. When you look at all the things that are taking place, there's a sense of excitement, there's a sense of unknown. From a coach's standpoint, you just hope to get out of there and hope nobody gets hurt. It'll give them an opportunity to go up and down the floor for a few minutes, and to intermingle with the fans. This is going to be their team, and I want them to have an opportunity to meet and see them and know who these guys are."
On whether Mizzou Madness will be a distraction:
"I don't think so. I think they're looking forward to it. They're probably talking about it more. Even for the guys that have been here, I don't think they've been involved in one. I don't see it as a distraction because you know what happens? When we do this tomorrow, the madness takes place, we go home and go to bed, and then we get back up and go back to practice. We have two practices on Saturday. That's how I see it right there, it's not a distraction, believe me."
On talking to fans around Missouri and what he hopes his team will become:
"I think they're going to be a team Missouri fans will be proud of. As I go around the state and talk to people in terms of what took place before, this is a new day and a new era. One thing I want our guys to do is to go out and get better each and every day. I think as we do that, we're going to put ourselves in the position to have a chance to do a lot of good things here. That's all I want out of them, to go out and compete and leave it on the floor. That's the one thing I want our guys to do. As a coach, that's all I want. If they look at me and tell me coach, `I gave it everything I got.' If they can honestly tell me that, I have no problem. I think the results will take care of themselves."
On the high number of new coaches coming into the Big 12:
"I've never seen it, as I matter of fact, I don't think it has ever happened. You're talking about six new coaches. To me, it's kind of neat for the league in that there's a lot of uncertainty. There are a lot of unknowns, styles of play, people are going to have to make adjustments. It's not your typical, let's say your going to go play Nebraska, Barry Collier's team, you know what they're capable of, now you got a new coach. Kelvin Sampson and Oklahoma, you know this teams going to be hard nosed, you know they're going to be physical, now you don't know. Kansas State and Bob Huggins, there are a lot of unknowns and so to me, it's intriguing. Every game is going to have it's own character so to speak. It still goes to say, you got to come prepared each and every night."
On gaining an advantage with a new style of play:
"I hope you're right on that. We're going to work on the things that hopefully will benefit us. That's the most important thing. That's why I'm excited about getting on the floor and working with these guys and getting them to understand the defensive philosophy, attacking on offense, and again leaving everything on the floor. All for one, and one for all. As a team, they're going to learn how to win, and that's one of the most important things, to learn how to win, then it takes another mindset."
On the amount of home games this year and what it means to the fans:
"Well one thing, they'll get a chance to watch them play a lot, and they'll get a chance to see them develop. Confidence can come into play there. Heck, we can create an atmosphere. I want an atmosphere here. I don't want it to be a pit, when they come here, it really is `The Zou.' I think our fans will get a chance to see this team develop. They'll see some things take place. They'll see guys like Jason Horton, they'll see guys like Glen Dandridge in a different setting. For a fan, getting a chance to see the team, it's going to be beneficial. At the same time, we know were going to have to go in some hostile environments and play some games."
On what he hopes to do with the team in the next few years:
"I think this team's going to be an exciting team. I think TV's going to come in, and it's going to be one of the greatest shows in the Midwest right here. I said it this day, it's going to be one of the greatest shows in the Midwest, Missouri basketball."
On whether his goal is to reach the NCAA Tournament:
"My goal right now is hopefully put a team out that's going to compete, and compete at the highest level and give itself a chance. I think those things will take care of itself. I like to win, there's no question about it, but at the same time, I'm a realistic guy. You have to have a team that's going to go out every night and get better. As you see the team's confidence grow, a lot of things take place. I've seen it time and time again."
Quotes from Tiger Men's Basketball Players
Junior point guard Jason Horton
On 6 a.m. workouts:
"It's been challenging, but I think it's going to pay off in the long run. I think we're in a lot better shape than we were last year, and I think it's going to pay off in the games.
On "paying a price" for new style:
"I think we've already started paying that price by getting up at 6 a.m. for the last two months. But, I think it's good. Everybody is starting to get used to it. Everybody's body is starting to get used to it. So I think it's going to be fun once we start playing games.
On Mizzou Madness:
"I think it's good for the fans. I think it's good for the fans more than us. I think it's adding just another thing for us to do, but it's good for the fans. I think getting them excited about the season; getting them introduced to all the new players and new coaches. I think it's good for the program.
Junior Forward Kalen Grimes
On how he fits into new physical, defensive system:
"I think I get to use my athletic ability a little more now. Run the court, not just playing hop half court defense, we're playing full court now. I think, me being a little bit more athletic than the other big man, I think I can use that to my advantage.
On getting over the negativity of the past few years:
"I think when Coach A. came in, a kind of new feeling came in, and it kind of went away with that. We got a lot of good kids on the team this year, and I think if we just play hard and win some games, it'll all come back.
On change of coach:
"Last year was one of the most difficult seasons with Coach Q. leaving. A lot of people didn't know what to expect, especially the players, but now everything worked out for the best." This is a team that needs a coach like Coach A. We're not such a big team, we're more of an athletic team, and now we're just a team that can run the court."
Freshmen guard Keon Lawrence
On excitement surrounding Mizzou Madness:
"I'm real excited. It's going to be a good experience and I'm just trying to have fun."
On preparing to play in this system:
"I feel like it is a mindset. You have to be prepared to work once you step on that floor. You can't just walk out there and play in Coach Anderson's system. There's a lot of work that goes into it behind that scenes and that's what this team has been doing up until this point."