Huggins Previews the Start of Practice

Head Coach Bob Huggins

On his level of excitement headed into Friday...

“I’m ready to stop traveling. I have a thing to do tonight, then one tomorrow, then one Thursday night, then I’m done. I’m ready to get started. I’d kind of just like to go home and sleep in my own bed a couple nights. I’m doing clinics this week - just trying to get some contacts, open up some new areas.”

 

On his player’s level of excitement headed into Friday...

“Probably pretty excited. They’ve been lifting and running since March or April.”

 

On the short-term goals for the team in practice...

“Because we were able to get two hours a week in, I think we were able to introduce some drill things. Kind of the basis for what we do defensively and we spent a day throwing a little bit of offense in which they’ve probably forgotten by now. Just get better and see where we are.”

 

On recruiting...

“I haven’t been here. I’ve maybe had three times working them out or something like that. When you have to recruit half your team it makes it a little more difficult. We have to recruit six guys so I’ve been out on the road a bunch. We’re trying to get this recruiting wrapped up so we kind of know where we are and I can go down there and concentrate on coaching. I’d love to (sign them all in November). I don’t know that that’s going to happen but it’d be terrific if it’s the guys we want.”

 

On who has stepped up into a leadership role...

“Dave (Hoskins) has been really good. I think Dave has probably stepped up above everybody else in terms of his effort’s been very good but he’s also been a little more vocal. I think he’s kind of the guy that most of those guys look to. I think one because he’s played pretty well, but secondly because he’s worked so hard.”

 

On Cartier Martin’s contributions...

“Cartier has been great. Cartier is just not as vocal as Dave is. I think Cartier is probably getting more vocal but he’s not as vocal as what Dave is.”

 

On whether Cartier Martin is still suspended and when he might return...

“Yeah, for now. I would hope Friday.”

 

On Madness in Manhattan...

“I would hope we have 13,500. I’m like Oral Roberts, I don’t like to work to empty seats. It’d be great to have the place filled and I think it would give our guys a tremendous shot in the arm.”

 

On the depth at point guard...

“Jermaine has helped. Jermaine is more of a combo but Blake is more of a combo too. I think Jermaine being there has helped Blake tremendously.”

 

On the short-term goals for the team in practice...

“We can’t take shortcuts. If we take shortcuts its going to come back and bite us later in the year so we’re not going to take any shortcuts. I asked Al McGuire one time, when did he know that they had arrived at Marquette and he said when you walk into somebody else’s arena with no fear.’ We got that way at Cincinnati we didn’t care where we played or who we played. We’ve got to accept that same mentality if we’re going to be good. It really doesn’t matter. I haven’t seen any fans guard anybody yet or make a free throw. They just stand there and yell. That really shouldn’t bother you unless you’re playing on the PGA tour.”

 

On his impression with the team so far...

“They’ve all been fine. I really don’t have any complaints about any of them, they’ve all been fine. It naturally takes the freshmen a little bit longer because they’re not used to that. They’re not used to the intensity and the grind, but the older guys have been great. They had an advantage because they started in April where our other guys didn’t get in her until the summer. They’ve been great, they all have been. There isn’t one guy that I could tell you I’ve been disappointed in their effort. Their effort has been fine. It’s got to get better, naturally, but they’ve made tremendous strides.

 

“I don’t think they have any idea what’s coming. I think they think they got through the worst when they got through the weight room part of it. You have to maintain that intensity. I can’t come in and try to make them play hard because if I spend all my time trying to make them play hard I can’t coach them because you spend all your time and energy to make them play hard. Their part is they have to come in and play hard and then we can coach them and hopefully get them where we want to get them get them better.”

 

On the time table and pressure with the season rapidly approaching...

“You have to get a lot of things done. When you stop and think about it, we’re going to play Nov. 11 and we have to have a zone offense; and we have to have a man offense; and we have to have a press break; and we have to have out of bounds plays; and we have to work like crazy on transition defense because I don’t think that was strength that they had a year ago. You just can’t give up easy baskets. We haven’t been a very good defensive rebounding team. We have a couple guys I’m going to try here before we get really started to let them get a rebound just so they find out what it’s like. I think if they get one they might kind of like it. There are so many areas that we’ve got to get better at. If we’re going to press its going to be a whole different deal. The dynamics there are a whole lot different than getting back and playing man-to-man in the half court.”

 

On getting tougher and the benefits...

“If you’re going to have a good team, you’ve got to be tougher than people at most positions. We have gotten tougher. You can’t go through what Scott puts them through over there and not get tougher we have gotten tougher. You have to learn to play until you get the ball. Sometimes we think we guard and then your guy passes the ball and then you don’t have to play anymore. Well, then you have to get in a help position and then when you force them to take a hard shot then you have to rebound it. It’s a game of a whole bunch of really simple things that becomes very complex because they happen in very rapid succession.

 

“Your going to rebound if you go every time. If you go every time you’re going to get some, but if you don’t go every time there’s missed opportunities. We don’t understand any of that yet, about going every time to go rebound it.”

 

On getting excited about this year’s team...

“I haven’t had time. I know that’s hard to believe but if you knew my schedule, you’d understand a little better. I was in three states yesterday. My focus has been trying to do the best job we can do with this recruiting class because I think we have an opportunity to do something special. That’s really been my primary focus. Frank (Martin) and Dalonte (Hill) have spent a lot more time in workouts than I have. I’ve been there some I wish I could have been there more. When practice starts, I’ve never missed a practice.”