July 10, 2003
It's been a busy summer for the Bronco coaching staff. Between summer camps, recruiting, preparing for the upcoming season and the addition of a new staffer, it's been anything but quiet in the Leavey Center. Recently, SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with Santa Clara University men's basketball coach Dick Davey to find out his thoughts on last season, next season and several other Bronco-related issues.
Q: Talk about your thoughts on last season.
A: "Certainly, we have been discouraged that we haven't played at a higher level the last two years. But, there have been some unfortunate circumstances that have contributed to our lack of success. Namely, health has been a huge issue for us and was a major factor last season. We had more injuries last season than we've had at any time since I've been here. A number of guys missed significant time, including Kyle Bailey who played just six games for us. Not only did our injuries affect the guys who were hurt. It also affected those who weren't in terms of overextended practice time. On a positive note, players who might not have otherwise were able to play a lot of minutes and gain some valuable experience. Players like Ethan Rohde and Brandon Rohe proved they were capable of playing at a higher level."
Q: Did preseason conditioning have any affect on injuries last season?
A: "I really appreciate the job that Steve Schulz, our strength and conditioning coordinator, does for our program. One of the problems is the simple fact that we are on a quarter system and our players generally don't arrive on campus until mid-to-late September. That gives us only a month or less to get ready for practice. We are seeing many of our players deciding to come back early for conditioning purposes. I think that should pay dividends for us as we get into the season."
Q: What are your goals for this season?
A: "As it is every year, our goal is to win our league and advance to the NCAA Tournament. That doesn't change. I think if we stay healthy and things go the way I think they can, we have a chance to do that."
Q: How does the West Coast Conference race look this season?
A: "I think just about everybody would agree that Gonzaga will open the season as the frontrunner to win the league. They have three players returning who could all be considered conference MVP candidates. They have depth and experience at every position. After that, I really think the race is wide open. There are seven teams that can all jump into that second spot. Last year, there were three teams that hadn't had as much success in recent years that were much improved - Portland, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's. Each of those teams has a solid group of returning players and has gained confidence that they can compete for an upper division finish. Of course, Pepperdine, San Diego and San Francisco all have the talent to compete for a spot at the top as well."
Q: How important is the return of Kyle Bailey to this year's team?
A: "I thought our team last year was somewhat unguided in terms of having a true leader. Kyle has a chance to serve in that role. The players respect not only his basketball ability, but his work ethic, competitiveness and intelligence as well. Kyle will play both the point and shooting guard positions for us this year and he has the ability to be successful at both. I like the way he has matured and developed his game. He has worked hard during the spring and summer to become more under control on the court and understand the value of efficiency. He is an all-league player so obviously losing him last year made a big impact on our season. Having him back certain helps our chances for success."
Q: In addition to Kyle, how do you see the leadership evolving for this year's squad?
A: Without a doubt, Kyle and Jim Howell are the two leaders of this team going into the year. It is important that the younger players have respect for the older guys' work ethic and dedication. With Kyle and Jim, I think we have that. They are two of the most experienced players on our team and lead by example. They encourage the other players to work hard and play intelligent, which is a critical part of our program. I am really pleased with where we are in terms of leadership on our team this year."
Q: Are you pleased with the direction of the men's basketball program at this point in time?
A: "Despite our record the last couple of years, I really am pleased with where we are right now. We've had some unfortunate circumstances that have led to having consecutive sub-par seasons. But, we have a solid core of young players that give us a good foundation. I really like our last couple of recruiting classes. We have some tough-minded young players that can help us continue to build our program. We probably need a dominating young player somewhere along the way, but I think we continue to be headed in a positive direction with our program."
Q: Recently, you added Lloyd Pierce to your staff. What are your thoughts on your coaching staff as a group?
A: "I've said for quite some time that I think we have one of the best coaching staffs around. Steve and Sam are extremely organized, loyal and are workaholics. They are also strong teachers, which is of major importance in a teaching program like ours. Lloyd really has earned a great deal of respect from our players. When he was a player in our program, he was a gifted athlete and led by example. He still does that. I like how he can still do things by example and I think he will accept a strong leadership role. He has been a major addition already and I think he will become one of the bright young coaches around as he gets more experience."
Q: What do you think about your schedule this season?
A: "I really like our schedule. We get a solid test early with the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, where we get three games in three days. That tournament will give us a chance to look at a lot of players early in the season against some quality competition on a neutral floor. Then we return home for a blend of non-conference games against teams with a variety of styles and experience levels. As usual, Steve Seandel has done a great job of scheduling and we should go into conference having answered many of the questions necessary to have a chance for success."