Oct. 22, 2008
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Find out what coaches and players from both Vanderbilt basketball teams had to say about the upcoming season during Wednesday's SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Ala.
Men's Head Coach Kevin Stallings
"It's hard to take three senior starters and have them walk out the door and have one of them be the best shot-maker in college basketball last year and the school's all-time leading scorer. We can't sit there and think we're going to start off the season being better than last year's team was. Seven of our fourteen have never played in a college game. We have no seniors. You're going to be hard pressed to find a younger basketball team in the country than we are. However, we think great things are on the horizon. We just don't know how long it's going to take us to get to the horizon."
"We're excited about this team. One of the things I said is this is going to be a very exciting team. One of the things that's exciting is we might throw a lob pass 12 rows up in the bleachers, but that same guy might also catch it and dunk it. We've got a very fun basketball team to coach, because they're hard workers, good people that like to be coached and we have a great player to build around."
"A.J.'s a terrific player. We have a very solid point guard who knows how to take care of the ball and knows how to win games. We just have to integrate some young guys and get them involved and get them to understand how to play and how to win."
A.J. Ogilvy * Sophomore * Center
"This is going to be a fantastic season. The SEC East is very competitive. It's the real story, they have some great guys. Vanderbilt is tough though, and competitive as well."
"It was a great first year. Coming in now, I know the expectations of the game and what the players expect. The experience will help me to have a better year."
"It's not really a culture shock being in Nashville. It's great, and of course you are surrounded by country music. It is definitely not Sydney though."
"No one likes to lose. Obviously losing the first game of the NCAA tournament hurts a lot more than losing a nonconference game. I do hate to lose. I always walk off the court trying to figure out what went wrong, what I could have done better. I wouldn't consider myself a sore loser. I understand you can't win every game, although I'd like to."
Women's Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
"We've never been in that position before. We are always the underdog trying to fight the big dog. Our players are excited to about the opportunity in front of them. We have trying to move forward from last year. I'm happy to have most of the team back."
"We have two seniors that were our leaders last year, Christina Wirth and Jennifer Risper. The team in general is grounded, they are all mature and are excited about the season. We want to be competing for the championship in the conference."
"One of the things we have tried to do is get better defensively. In the past we have had tremendous offensive stats. Last year we began to get a little less offensive and a little more defensive. I think for a championship team you have to have a happy marriage between the two and I think that is where we are going as a program."
Jennifer Risper * Senior * Guard
"It wasn't fun not advancing, but it was pretty cool to get to the Sweet 16. I think that we can take a lot from that experience to learn from. This year we have a lot more experience and we'll have another go around for us as seniors."
"We're excited about being picked number one. It's a great opportunity. We also know that the most important rankings are the ones that come out at the end of the year. Even though we're excited, we know that we haven't played a game yet."
Christina Wirth * Senior * Guard/Forward
"I think that we're a lot more experienced this year. We had high expectations for ourselves last year and not many others did. I think that this year will be different. Other people will be expecting us to go farther than we did last year. I think another major difference is that each year our team gets more athletic."
"We're both (Wirth and Risper) in shock that we're already seniors. Like any seniors, you want to go as far as you can and keep everything going. We've been here a long time, we know the program, and we just want to be leaders and keep things moving smoothly this year."