Oct. 19, 2004
In the spirit of the departed Craig Kilborn, here are five questions for Dick Davey following the first couple days of practice in preparation for the 2004-2005 season.
Dave Lewis: To get the fans up to speed, based on your personnel, how would you describe the style of play this season?
Dick Davey: "You kind of have to have an adaptive style based on who you're playing. Our style of play would not be exactly the same for North Carolina as it might be for Middle Tennessee or some team like that. So you kind of adjust based on who you're playing. But, I think we're a little more athletic than we've been and we have some more depth along the front line than we've had in the past. I think we have a couple of people who are able to play some off the dribble and break you down a little better than we've had in the past. There are some areas of the game where maybe we aren't as good as in past years. But there are some others where we might be a little bit better."
DL: In previous years, you'd identify a concern at the beginning of the season. For example, a couple years ago, it was defense and rebounding. What about this season?
DD: "I think our number one concern is to keep our guards healthy because we think they're the strength of the team and we don't have a lot of depth in that area. So, that would be a major concern. If Kyle and Doron stay healthy then our chances are significantly greater than if one of those two were to go down. Another concern would be for us to shoot the ball a little bit better than in past years. We haven't shot the ball extremely well and in order to win games you have to make some baskets. We spend a lot of time in the spring and summer working on shooting and shooting under duress. I'd like to think we'll be better in that area this year. But, practice yesterday wouldn't have indicated that."
DL: Some of the games where you didn't shoot it well were extra surprising based on having guys like Rhode, Rohe and Kyle. In terms of personnel, do you have enough guys who can make shots for you?
DD: "I think it's more of the personnel we have being able to make improvements. We felt that when the pressure was on or they were in tight quarters, our players weren't as effective as they needed to be. There was some sloppiness in our execution and we need to do a better job of concentrating as we as making tough shots. Those are the kind of shots you are going to get, particularly around the basket. Our shot selection needs to be a little bit better than it's been and the people who are shooting it and where they're shooting it become an issue. All those things are factors. But the key is to have the personnel we have become better at shooting the ball."
DD: "With Brandon, I'm 70-30 he's not going to play this year but I'm still hopeful. We have to wait and see what kind of improvement he makes. I guess the disc in most cases protrudes when they jam together and his inverted so it is a little bit different than most in that regard. He can't sit down in a classroom for an hour and has to stand up to alleviate some of the pressure. Right now, we don't know when he's coming back.
With Jordan, it's a case of getting his strength back. He's starting to feel a lot better but he went through a month or so where he lost everything. He was in really good shape and was stronger and bigger than he'd been in a long time. Then he lost weight, got sick and he's just now starting to get it together. He's playing about an hour a day in practice but he feels he's doing better health wise and hopefully that continues. The doctors ended up finding out at the end after a battery of tests that he was psychologically becoming distraught because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. The final analysis was that the doctor indicated Jordan had the worst case of sinus drip he'd ever seen and it was affecting his lungs."
DL: After the great run to the conference semifinals and with most of the team back you're picked 4th by the coaches. Can you understand the rationale in that forecast?
DD: "I suppose that's because there are three teams they think are better. I don't think it means too much but people like to read and analyze. Truthfully, I did not see that and hadn't thought of it until you mentioned it. Somebody else may have mentioned it but I never pay attention to those kinds of things. I couldn't tell you who the odds-on favorite is. I think Saint Mary's could win. I think Pepperdine could win and obviously, so could Gonzaga. USF has improved and I think we have a chance. There's a long way to go."