Vanderbilt coaches discuss upcoming season at media event in Birmingham
Oct. 25, 2012
Women's Basketball Head Coach Melanie Balcomb On if she was surprised to be picked third in the SEC: "No I think it is just based on what everybody has coming back."
On how she feels about her team: "Yeah, and to be honest with you I think Christina Foggie or Jasmine Lister. They had great years last year but they really spent the offseason getting stronger and working on their game."
On the league as a whole this season: "I think this can be one of the best years ever because of the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri. You mix that into programs that have just improved tremendously like Arkansas, South Carolina and Florida. All of those programs that have just gotten better. And then you have your staples in your Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, and Vanderbilt and that's kind of how it was when I got here. You wanted to stay in that top four. Now you throw A&M right into that and Kentucky, which they have gone past the middle of the pack in improvement and to the top. You improve those teams in the last two years and you add something to that, I think it can be, not just a deep league, but a really powerful league again.
On how her team stacks up: "I think offensively it could be one of the best teams that we have had. I think we could be very explosive offensively. I think we have all the pieces on offense. The question mark is going to be defense and rebounding and where those effort skills and heart skills come in, we have had some incredible years and I have coached some great teams because we had kids with great heart. This team is kind of untested on that and we will see where we go."
Men's Basketball Head Coach Kevin Stallings On the young players and how the team has practiced so far: "I think they've done well. We haven't had Josh Henderson yet in practice because of a reoccurring foot problem, but we're hopeful of having him here pretty soon. It's been a little bit of a makeshift thing, but Rod Odom has looked very good. Shelby Moats has had some nice moments. We're not as deep as we've been, but I'm hopeful that when Josh gets back, we'll have enough to do what we need to do to be successful."
On the coaching challenges of losing a lot of experience from last season to this season: "It's an entirely different proposition. We lost our top six guys. Our leading returning scorer averaged 3.5 points per game. It's just an entirely new proposition, but we've done this before. We've had significant turnover on teams in the past, so we know how to deal with it. I think the biggest difference is we have nobody on this year's team that will be in a role anywhere similar to the one they had a year ago. Everything is going to ratchet up for all these guys, and that's part of what makes college basketball coaching exciting because you do have some turnover. We're not as talented as we've been. There's no question about that. At the same time, I think these guys are excited to embrace their opportunity to be players of impact in our program. Even though the talent is different, the expectation is not. We have a standard that we've been able to set and identify in our program that's worked for us, and hopefully our guys understand very well that we're not going to compromise or lower our standard even though we've had a great deal of turnover."
On who in the backcourt has distinguished himself: "I would say Kedren Johnson has been the guy that, of our perimeter players, has essentially stepped forward and identified himself as a guy we can play through and go to. He's a talented offensive player. He has an atypical point guard body. He weighs about 215 pounds, and he carries that weight well, and he still runs and drives and can move the weight and move his body well. He's deceptively fast. I think Kedren is a guy that we'll be able to count on. He and Rod (Odom) will have to be able to play well for our team to have the chance that we want to have."