Weber Speaks On A Variety of Subjects

Head coach Bruce Weber talks about a variety of subject with Sports Extra's Mark Janssen.

April 10, 2012

This feature story appeared in Tuesday's edition of K-State Sports Extra.

By Mark Janssen

In a visit with `Sports Extra', newly named K-State basketball coach Bruce Weber was tossed a number of subjects that he responded to.

SE: AAU basketball ... for it or against it?
BW: It has its positives, but what I don't like is winning doesn't matter because you're playing so many games.  And then the kids play too much and don't work on skills.  If you could find an in between, it would be great.  What it does is give kids a chance to compete against top quality kids, but if you do it too much, then it becomes a negative.

SE: Junior college recruiting?
BW: We've done it at times to fill spots, but only to fill a need.  They only have two years, so you want them to have immediate success.  I know when I went to Southern (Illinois), I got the job on May 15th and they told me I had seven players.  The others were all gone for a variety of reasons. We had to fill a roster just to have practice so we took some junior college kids.  I don't know why it is, but the junior college kids have not had great success in the Big Ten, and I can't tell you why.  Maybe it's because of the style of play being possession basketball.

SE: The one-and-done rule allowing players to go to the NBA after one year of college basketball.  Do you agree?
BW: The NBA was going to look at it, but I think it got lost because of everything else they had going on since last year.  I thought they were going for two (years), or maybe even three, but it didn't happen. There's a rare kid who can go straight to the pros, but so many need more than one year.  Even the NBA coaches will tell you that they don't want to coach immaturity.  They don't feel that it's their job, but in college we're trying to help them.

SE: Your philosophy on defense?
BW: I've always been a man-to-man coach, and that's our pride and joy.  If you look at our stats, we were always among the league leaders in the Big Ten and Missouri Valley.  I'm sure you could ask coach (Bill) Snyder and he would tell you that the key to winning championships is a good defense.  If you can have both, that's when you're really successful.

The people at Illinois got mad at me because I didn't play much zone, but to me with a man-to-man defense there are rules and if there's a breakdown, you know who did it.  With a zone, there are gray areas where there can be finger pointing, and I like definites.  In a man-to-man, you know where you should be because we practice it.  But sure, a zone can be good as a change of pace.

SE: And on offense?
BW: I like to attack teams through transition, or attack with good movement on offense to make it hard for people to guard you.  I'm known as a motion coach, and I do clinics on motion offenses, but I'm also smart enough to know if you run motion you better have people who can pass and dribble.  Today if there there's an area that is lacking, it's in young players not knowing how to pass and dribble.

SE: How excited are you to be a part of the Kansas State - Kansas rivalry?
BW: I'm excited about it.  I was part of Indiana and Purdue and I know how much it means to a state.  Obviously, Kansas is on quite a run and that's how we should look at ourselves.  You get into this business to play the best and be the best.  They were in the championship game last week and are one of the best teams in the country.  I've never coached in Allen Field House, so I'm looking forward to that.

SE: The Big Ten to the Big 12.  In style, how do they compare?
BW: I think the Big 12 is a little more of a transition league and a little more of an offensive league, where the Big Ten focuses on possessions.  That started with coach (Bob) Knight and coach (Gene) Keady.  A lot of us were in the league as assistants, and we've continued that.  I think they're similar, but the Big 12 is a little more open (offensively).

SE: You said that some of your friends encouraged you to take a year off, but you just couldn't do it.  Why?
BW: I just don't think I was ready to get away from it.  I don't have a lot of hobbies.  I like to go to the beach and relax, but I need basketball.  I love being around the kids and the competitive part.  I love the practices, but I also love the games.  To watch kids develop as players and people is just so great, and then if all of that happens, the real fun part is the success in the games.

K-State fans sold out Bramlage Coliseum for the second consecutive year in 2011-12, becoming one of just 14 schools to draw over 12,000 in paid attendance for every regular season home game over the last two seasons (Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan State, New Mexico, Vanderbilt, Creighton). Fans interested in joining the season ticket wait-list may call the K-State Ticket Office at 800.221.CATS, or visit www.kstatesports.com. Ticket availability will be determined after the season ticket renewal period in June.