Martin, Players Talk about Friday's Opener

Jordan Henriquez had a double-double in the exhibition win over Fort Hays State on Sunday.

Nov. 9, 2011

Head coach Frank Martin
On practice today…
“It was alright.  It wasn’t one of our better ones, but it was okay.”

On Charleston Southern…
“The four guards they space you out.  They will dribble-and-drive you.  Their power forward is a power forward, but they use him as a guard. They’re athletic and quick. They have two freshman who supposedly are going to play major minutes. They’re replacing their point guard who was their leading scorer last year. They will use a lot of ball screens, and will space you, drive you and shoot it. They do a great job sharing the ball.”

On if there is a Big 12 school with a similar style…
“They’re a little bit like Nebraska, when they had Ryan Anderson at the four-spot.  They space you and drive you, and will take threes at four different spots.”

On Jordan Henriquez…
“He’s willing to listen and be coached.  He’s taking pride in representing our team and program.  He knows it’s his turn now, and that’s what good players do.  They don’t sit around and tell everybody how good they are, they do their job every day, and when their number’s called they are ready to go.  And we’ve called his number.  Let’s see how he reacts to being a front line player on a consistent basis.  I think he’ll do well in it because he’s prepared for it, but that’s a little bit of an unknown.”

On if Henriquez’s weight increase is where he expected him to be…
“Absolutely, he’s actually ahead of where I thought he would be.  I always thought he could be somebody that could grow to 250 pounds because of his frame.  He’s anywhere between 240 to 243, almost on a day-to-day basis.  He’s learned that you don’t lose weight during the season. That you got to eat and that you’ve got to take care of your body.”

On if Rodney McGruder shows a noticeable difference from last year…
“Absolutely, he’s been completely different, but he hasn’t been good the past couple days in practice.  He had a dunk today in practice that he would’ve had no chance ever having last year because his legs weren’t under him.  He shot the cover off the ball in preseason.  Then in the exhibition game, he missed some shots, but he took good ones.”

Junior Jordan Henriquez
On how practice went…
“It was not great, but the upperclassmen have to pull it together and make sure the young guys know what is going on.  We have to pick them back up when they make a mistake, we cannot make the same mistake twice.”

On if Coach Martin is more agitated after a bad practice…
“You will not be able to tell the difference.  Frank is always going to be Frank if he is in a good or a bad mood.  He is always going to be himself and he is never going to change.”

On if there’s a difference with Rodney McGruder since he’s healthy…
“He is a lot more athletic.  I hope he dunks on a couple people.  He does it in practice, so I hope it transpires in a game.”

On the main thing he wanted to improve on during the summer…
“I need to do a better job of facing up against guys who are a lot stronger than me, plus using my right hand a lot, and being more physical.  Being 7-foot, I have to be a lot more physical compared to being a soft guy that people tend to know me from last season.”

On how much better of a finisher he is since March…
“I would say a whole lot different.  I’m a lot stronger, a lot more physical, and a lot more aggressive.”

On why he’s known as a soft guy…
“Sometimes I will read reports on other players.  They can be 6-foot-9, 250 pounds and the coaches will say he is a soft guy, and just a big body.  I can just imagine them just saying that about a guy who is 7-foot and 230 pounds (like me) although I am not.  I want them to get that impression that I am physical, I am 7-foot, have a 7’6 wingspan, and I try to block every shot and be as physical as I can be.”

Junior Rodney McGruder
On practice today…
“It was a good practice today, guys getting after each other and competing, just a regular practice.”

On Charleston Southern…
“They are a team who tries to dribble-drive and get to the basket and a lot of guys try and create shots for themselves.”

On his ball handling…
“I worked on it every day over the summer, it is something I knew I had to become better at to become a better player.”