K-State at Big 12 Basketball Media Day
COACH PATTERSON: Entering the 2012 Big 12 conference season, I think the number one thing on my mind is that we have the opportunity to bring to the floor one of the league's premier guards in Brittany Chambers. I think in the history of Kansas State, we have not had the pleasure of coaching the young lady that has a sophomore and junior was the first team all Big 12 in a long time.
I'm hopeful that we can put her in position through the course of this competitive season in this great league to continue to achieve at that level. I think she's the next level player and certainly will be the showcase of what we bring to the floor in the 2012-2013 season.
Q. There's been a lot of conversation all day long today about moving the tournament, and separating it from the men's tournament and coming to Dallas. I wondered what your thoughts, first of all, about separating the tournament from the men's, and also bringing it to a new area?
COACH PATTERSON: I'm always excited about Big 12 Tournament basketball regardless of where we're playing. I think Kansas City was a great host city and we certainly enjoyed our time there. I know we'll feel the same way here in Dallas.
I know whatever the Big 12 does as a conference, it is first class all the way. I think we have a lot of outstanding cities and communities to work with in our league. And I know Dallas is an extremely exciting city and an extremely exciting venue for us to have the opportunity to compete in. So I'm looking forward to that, just as I did each year in Kansas City.
As it relates to separating the tournament from the men, I might be in the minority, but I really appreciate the opportunity that we've had to compete with the men's tournament side by side, strictly because in communities and fan bases like those at Kansas State, I think it creates an opportunity for our followers to spend a week somewhere and to watch great basketball from two teams. So that's always been a positive for us at Kansas State.
But as always, I'm in support of whatever it is that the Big 12 or women's basketball may feel like grows our game. So I'm not extremely in favor of separating the two. But I'm sure whatever it is that we do will bring great success too.
Q. We've all watched Brittney Griner grow up. Talk about the difference you've seen in Brittney in her four years. With what Baylor has around her, coming off a 40-0 season in the National Championship and everybody back, it seems they're the team to beat, obviously, not only for this league but for the nation.
COACH PATTERSON: I think when you talk about Brittney Griner it has been very easy for people to just assume that she was dominant early and therefore she is dominant late just because she's Brittney. But it goes without saying that she has improved each year she's taken the floor. Her shot repertoire has improved. Her toughness, her physicality, her strength, her decision making, and I think any time you have someone that is literally a phenomenon, it's easy to miss the subtleties and the greatness in the developing attributes of her game.
Brittney, in my mind, has improved greatly as a player every year she's competed in this league and each season. I look for her to have something special and unique that she brings this year too. You can tell she loves the game. She's hungry, and she works at it.
Certainly Brittney Griner and the great supporting cast around her and the great coaching, the great tradition of success that Baylor brings to the floor in my mind makes them one of the favorites to win a National Championship. I think we should be extremely proud and extremely motivated by that in this league, because we have other great coaches and great programs that are just second to none in this league.
And it's not easy to win a championship when you come out of the Big 12 conference. If you win a Big 12 Championship, it's not because you played around one player. It's because you brought a great team to the equation, and they competed hard and well through the conference and a schedule that is tougher than I think any you'll find in the country.
Q. I wonder if you could give us your take on adding TCU and West Virginia? Is it possible the conference got tougher with those two schools coming in?
COACH PATTERSON: I think the conference did get tougher, honestly. In adding West Virginia, you've added an athletic, strong, physical basketball team that knows how to win and is extremely well-coached. From a league that has seasoned that program over the years. They have lined up against the likes of Notre Dame and Connecticut year-in and year-out and have competed toe-to-toe with those programs.
Short of having advanced to a Final Four, I think that has been a program that all of us that coach look at and go oh, my gosh. That's an Elite Eight, or if things roll the right way, a potential Final Four caliber team. As we all know, in the NCAA Tournament, you need a little luck, you need some great pairings.
But this is one of America's finest programs, and with TCU, you bring a great tradition of success. Coach Mittie has done so much over the years in that program in qualifying that team for the NCAA Tournament, and putting them into experiences and readying that team that's built, by and large around Texas student-athletes. We all understand they're among the best players in the country coming out of high school.
So we know we have a formidable addition to our league with both of those programs, and really haven't necessarily skipped a beat. It's not that in changing one team in and one team out that I think we've become weaker. I think we've sustained the great level of excellence that the Big 12 has always been known for.