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K-State Addresses Media on Wednesday


GO WILDCATS K-State head coach Deb Patterson met with the media on Wednesday in the Legends Room of Bramlage Coliseum.
GO WILDCATS
K-State head coach Deb Patterson met with the media on Wednesday in the Legends Room of Bramlage Coliseum.
GO WILDCATS

Oct. 27, 2010

MANHATTAN, Kan. - On Wednesday afternoon, Kansas State head women's basketball coach Deb Patterson addressed the media in a press conference in the Legends Room of Bramlage Coliseum during the 2010 Kansas State basketball media day. K-State student-athletes were also made available to the media during the proceedings on the Bramlage Coliseum floor.

The following is a transcript of head coach Deb Patterson's press conference followed by selected quotes from the following players: Kelsey Hill, Taelor Karr, Jalana Childs and Brittany Chambers.

Head Coach Deb Patterson
Opening Statement...
"We are excited about the start of this season. It is the first season in a long time that we have not had a projected first or second-team All-Big 12 caliber player in the gym as we started so it is a little different for us this year not having Ashley Sweat but it has been fun with the energy that our freshman class has brought to our program early in the year and I like that they are quicker to pick up on intensity issues and the speed of the game issues that you need your freshman to grasp hold of early. They are a lot quicker than the freshman group that we had a year ago in that regard, so that has been exciting and has made it fun to be in the gym."

On the size and depth of the roster...
"It has been awesome day in and day out to walk into the gym with a lot of bodies and people that you can move in and out of repetitions, better level of competition day to day in the gym. It is more of a spirited atmosphere when you have more bodies I think and just the potential that you see and how you might be able to play different during the course of a 40-minute game instead of having to be so defined and so predictable, that makes it hard on players and I think it makes it hard on coaches as well. It has honestly been as fun for the players as well as it has been for us as a coaching staff to imagine and to change things up and to have answers. If you have a couple of players that are not necessarily snap, crackle, pop you can answer it with intensity and productivity from others. It has just been great and I appreciate how that feels. Even though we are young and not in any way, shape or form dominating in any phase of the game, but there is more of us and it is more competitive and more energized."

On the injury situation at the beginning of the season...
"I think that relative to last year, things are very positive right now with exception of Shalin Spani who underwent her seventh knee surgery a couple weeks ago, and she is currently out and will not look to compete throughout the course of this season. She actually had another major surgery this summer and followed that up with the ACL surgery here in September."

On the status of Shalin Spani coming back next season...
"I think that it all still remains to be seen and determined. I mean, obviously when you have a knee that is on its seventh surgery there is a lot of factors because in reality she has not competed for quite a long time aside from trying to rehab her knee. You not only have the questions about the basketball element of things but also the long term picture for her knee. So this is something that I think we will evaluate as the season moves on."

On the experience and depth of the back court...
"It has been great to be able to walk into the gym every day and know that Brittany (Chambers) and Taelor (Karr) have a lot of experience behind them and that you are not necessarily walking into the gym with two players that are going to play 35 minutes a basketball game that know nothing about their opponents, about the league, about the physical nature of the game or your system. They have been great coming in and taking a bit of pride I think understanding that as sophomores they really need to be a big part of the core of the leadership that we bring to this program this year and they have been very attentive and focused where as I think a year ago it was kind of a struggle to get them there just because they were so fresh and new and a year ago at this time I was anticipating that Taelor might be our point guard and Brittany might be our two, and two months into the season we flipped that. We have a better understanding of who we are and who they are and what they can do, and so do they, and that is a good feeling for all of us."

On the strengths of the freshman class...
"You know, I like their work ethic a lot and I think that they have bought in very early to the intensity and the accountability that we want in our gym as opposed to dragging our freshmen along and I really like even relative to the players in the gym on any given day I think that it would be tough in certain drill sessions to know who your freshmen were and who they were not. That is a good sign in one respect, in another you want your older players to be far superior and to stand out but I think we are all collectively young right now so it is a positive right now that most possessions you are not going to see any distinction from at least two out of three of the freshmen ."

On the progress of Jalana Childs...
"I think Jalana (Childs) is close to a 180 from where she was a year ago. A year ago she was a player with good intentions, she had good intentions mentally, good intentions physically but she was not consistently able to back that up. She did not have the confidence and the assertiveness that she brings to the floor now. I think we will specifically see her really want and demand the ball every trip up the floor. A year ago she deferred a lot to the seniors in our program. She might have thought that she wanted the ball but she did not necessarily understand what it meant to demand it or to work for the ball. She did not necessarily have the ability, whether she had a made or a missed basket to bounce back from that. A miss could throw her for a loop, two misses could throw her out the next ten possessions. Now she is competing with a greater confidence, maturity and toughness. If she misses a couple of shots she is not afraid to come back with three or four, make or miss she is going to keep competing every possession. What has really been impressive is that she is making the majority of her shot attempts and I think she is going to be a real offensive power in the league this year if we give her an opportunity for touches and I think she is also more willing to lead because she understands what leading is about in that she brings a presence to the floor every day and being about business and wanting to carry possessions and wanting to carry the team. She is not afraid to be the one to make the mistake or to make the play and I think that is the disposition of a leader, you have to want to have that responsibility. Jalana is showing that right now, on the floor and off the floor. She is just a more confident, more strong and more assertive Jalana. She has a great personality; she has always been good at that. She is fun to be around but at the same time I think she is bringing a seriousness that I think that in uninhibited by a player. A year ago she was so serious she was paralyzed in a lot of situations, a mistake would throw her off for a long period of time."

On switching Taelor and Brittany at the point guard and two-guard position...

"Well I think that we were fighting Taelor a lot in the early season a year ago with the idea that she could be a ball handler and that she would want to be a ball handler, but that was not true. She really did not feel comfortable at all, it was not about time or getting her there, it was about what was really her best strength and I think we have always had a program here where we identify very well trying to find a way to play at players strengths. I think with the Taelor and Brittany dimension we had a potential point guard in Brittany which was unlike anything we have had in a long time in that she looked to score before she looked to pass. So our instinct was, `Well let us take this scorer and make her a two guard and let us take Taelor and give her the time she needs because we think that is all she needs to be that ball handler.' Well what we found by the time we went up to the Las Vegas tournament was that is just not the right fit, that is not putting either one of those players in a position to play into their strengths, let us get used to the fact that we now have a point guard that is not as a young player an assist first point guard to a score first point guard, that is fine, let us take the responsibility for running the team and having to have the ball more than she wants to out of Taelor's hands. It was sort of a learning process for us and I think some of what we were evaluating early ended up shifting in a direction that early on it took us awhile to indentify which would allow those players to play to their strengths and in the end, way before the end, we found out what was best for those two. Now I do not think that we have any questions."

On the leadership roles and values of this team...
"Well I think that those two and Jalana are really going to be the core of our leaders and I think that as it relates to Brittany playing the majority of the possessions at that point guard position you have to be consistent, you have got to show up day to day and you have to be the hardest worker in the gym because you are dominating the ball on most possessions and you cannot take any possessions off at the point position, everybody is going to play off of you. With Jalana I think that we have always been most successful when we have had a real strong front line personality. We had that with Marlies Gipson here for four years. Now with Jalana complementing Brittany we now have an interior player who really wants to assume communication and ownership for that front line play and with Brittany having the potential to assume that responsibility of the perimeter and the chance for a good one, two combo there. With Taelor, I look for her to lead by virtue of understanding what high level competition requires day to day in the gym. She should be the player that wins every single sprint, every day in our gym, and she does not just win by a foot or two feet, she should win by ten yards every day and if and when she buys into that and she becomes that quality of player every day in the gym for us as a sophomore, maximizing her ability. When she maximizes her ability and she maximizes her decision on every catch when she is open to take a shot. When she begins to make those mature plays she will become the kind of leader we need for this basketball team. Our freshmen will play off of that, those around her will be able to play off of the great athleticism that she brings to the floor because she is a tremendous athlete. I look for her to be a leader by virtue of example and not just an example but a dominating example by the display of the toughness and competitiveness that she brings. If she can do that every day, then that mantle of leadership does not need to extend any further from her than just to be that. With Brittany and Jalana, I think there has to be sort of this presence that they bring in terms of their communication both on the front and back line of our offense and defense. With Taelor I think it can surely be by virtue of the example that she brings every day the work ethic, the expectations she puts on herself because if she goes all out and she buys into those everyone around her will have to play like no other to stay with her. She has the chance to be that good, but that is the challenge for her, if she does then some pretty great things are going to come for her and this team."

On the hesitancy of Brittany to step up and be a leader as a sophomore...
"Absolutely, there is hesitancy at this point but she still has got to learn that. She tends to be a more introverted person and when you are an introvert and you are strongly introverted it is stepping outside of yourself and giving up certain habits and giving up certain elements of yourself, which is the challenge. I believe in her ability to do that, I am seeing signs in her personality to do that but there is still hesitation, there is still a little bit of resistance and if we can get her to continue to grow and to grow faster than I think most sophomores should have to then we have a chance because she is very talented athletically. She can score at the rim, she can score from the three-point line, and she can run faster than anyone in our program 94-feet. There is a variety of ways that she can impact us on the offensive and defensive end of the floor and you could not have necessarily said that about a Kari Kincaid a year ago. You knew that Kari would defend, you knew that she would be the player that we would put out to defend people, but she had more of a finesse game and probably could not impact the game physically like Taelor Karr can."

On the role the guards play in the rebounding game...
"I love the fact that our guards are inherently good rebounders. They are small, Brittany and Taelor are both small, but where we have improved in our rebounding is with our freshman. Chantay Caron is going to rebound the ball, Brianna Kulas is going to go and rebound the ball. I think that we have Alina Voronenko playing at a higher level now than she did by far a year ago and she is not strong but she is tall and I am hoping that we can get some second-shot opportunities and finishes at the rim for Alina and that this can be a breakout year for her. So I think that having guards that have an instinct to go rebound the ball is huge. I have noticed the last week in practice that Mariah White is going and chasing down rebounds, she has got great quickness and the more we see those perimeter players rebounding the ball, big or small, the easier it is for us because we are going to have to fight to get second and third possessions and having that instinct is absolutely huge and we saw that for four years with Shalee Lehning leading our team as a rebounder and what a difference and an ignition that guard and perimeter rebounders can be to our offense. You do not have to be as perfect and we are going to be far from perfect in terms of scoring the ball so getting second shots and third shots and being aggressive are going to be critical elements this year for us."

Senior guard Kelsey Hill
On playing again after missing the 2009-10 season with an ACL injury...
"I'm so excited, I'm ready to get back playing and it's been great getting back in the gym with the girls. Running and jumping, it's kind of nice, I'm excited."

Sophomore guard Taelor Karr
On feeling like a veteran...
"Kind of, I'm only a sophomore but I feel like it's a couple of years under my belt now, I feel like I need to come in and just be a leader for this team with all the extra minutes I got last year being a freshman."

Junior forward Jalana Childs
On what she can do for the team...
"Provide energy and work hard. Practice and workouts this year have just been different from my freshman and sophomore year. I'm definitely stronger as a post player and I have worked on my jump shot a little bit as well."

Sophomore guard Brittany Chambers
On being comfortable making the adjustment from the two-guard to the point last year...
"Yes, I played both in high school, but definitely more point guard. But I feel comfortable with both, but I think this year I will be switching it up even more then last year which is pretty exciting because it allows me to play a couple of positions."