Jan. 29, 2007
Q: After having some time to look back on the season, how would you assess the 2006 campaign?
A: I thought it was a great start, we overachieved at times, our kids played with a ton of passion and they worked hard every single match. There were times where we couldn’t execute, there were definitely some missed opportunities down the stretch and that’s a bit of a regret, but hopefully we’re changing some of those things this spring so it doesn’t happen to us again. It was a small, positive step forward and we’ll improve upon it going into 2007.
Q: Has the success from last season helped you with your recruiting?
A: I think people noticed where we were at the beginning of 2005, how we finished 2005 and the season we had in 2006 and I think people definitely see we’re up and coming and we’re not far away from being an elite level program. A lot of people want to be a part of that so there is no doubt we’ve gotten the attention of a lot of people across the country, recruits across the country and a lot of people want to be a part of what we’re doing right now.
Q: What improvements are you looking to make for next year?
A: Ball handling is always something we need to improve upon. We’ll really look to improve our ball-handling skills, not only in the gym, but also by whom we’re recruiting, making sure that their ball handling is at a higher level. That will be the one thing we’re trying to do.
Q: How do you replace the leadership of the departing senior class?
A: Obviously that’s something we’re looking at and trying to develop everyday. You need to put them in situations where their leadership skills can shine through, put them in situations where they have to make tough decisions; you have to challenge them to do the right thing, to make the tough decision, to not necessarily make the popular decision. They need to realize when you’re a leader you’re not part of masses anymore, you’ve separated yourself, you’re leading a group of individuals and that’s our biggest challenge this spring.
Q: Brianna Barry led a talented freshman class and was on the ACC All-Freshmen team, talk about her impact and what the class needs to do as a whole to contribute more next year.
A: It’s a huge time for them and they know that. We’ve talked to each and everyone of them about that as a group and individually. The growth that a student-athlete makes during their short four-year career at any university, the biggest part of that growth is seen between the end of their freshman year and beginning of their sophomore year. That eight-month period from now until the end of summer is huge for those student-athletes, both as student-athletes and as people because the growth is tremendous. They need to be disciplined in their training, they need to make sacrifices, they need to make this program one of their top priorities and it has to be one of their top three priorities. They need to hit weight room with a vengeance, that’s also a priority for them. They need to do the right thing on and off the court. If they are doing all the right things and they’re training hard this is going to be one of the better classes this program has seen, but they’re still a long ways from that. Brianna needs to control her frustrations. When she controls her frustration and plays with reckless abandonment she’s going to be a force, not only in this conference, but in the country.
Q: You brought in Ashlee Moon, a libero from Orange Coast College, this spring how is she going to help your defense?
A: Ashlee is a high-energy kid, she has high expectations, she establishes big goals for herself and does anything she can do to attain them. She came here for a reason; she knew we needed to improve our ball handling and she realizes that her role will be a significant one if she works hard over the spring and summer. She definitely has the potential to help us, she passes the ball well, she reads well defensively, she has a nice defensive range so I think if she continues to work hard she’ll be a significant help for us in that area.