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November 11, 2008Head Coach Larry Eustachy' Media Day Quotes November 10, 2008
On the new facilities...
"It makes all the difference in the world. It just gives you so much more. It's not like we went from a smaller building to this beautiful building; we came from a trailer. We went from a one to a ten instead of a four to a ten. So I think that impacts us more than anything. I've been to a few places, and this is as nice if not nicer than anything. You combine it with the gym; this is my favorite gym that I have ever coached in. It's perfect; not too big; not too small. You add that to recruiting, and it changes you attitude. It uplifts you even more, so it's a good situation."
On whether the team has arrived...
"I think we've arrived, but next year, we'll be even more talented, and the year after, we'll be even better. I really feel that this is our best team, and next team we'll be even better, and so on. Now, that's projected and an educated guess. But I really feel that. And it's all about the players. The talent level that comes in here is improving every year, so that's why I feel like we've arrived. We're pretty deep this year, but we'll be even deeper next year. I'm looking at this long term even though this is my fifth year. I feel like this is my last job, and I really want to do it for a long time and get that consistent winner.
"We've got our top seven scorers back. Jeremy Wise is better, Courtney Beasley is better. R.L. Horton has to pick up right where he left off. Andre Stephens is better. We've got more depth on the front line. We're obviously a better team."
On Conference USA...
"Whoever goes 9-7 in this league is pretty good. I think if you go 9-7 you'll play in a postseason tournament. A 9-7 team this year is going to be far better than a 9-7 team last year. The conference is deeper this year. Everyone talks about Memphis, but it wasn't just Memphis last year, they just got all the attention.
"I think UTEP has every bit the talent as Memphis. I really do. UTEP, UAB, Tulsa, you can throw us in that category. Marshall is going to make a huge move. So there are several teams that can contend. I don't think that Memphis is moving backward. I think that other teams are just moving forward and closing the gap."
On Jeremy Wise...
"I think Jeremy Wise is a big part of what we're doing. But, he's a piece, and he'll probably fit the piece of the guy that leads us in scoring every night. But he's changed in a lot of ways. He's showing a lot more leadership than he has in the past, and giving a lot more commitment. But we've got a lot more players than just Jeremy. He's a big part of the overall scheme, but is the rest of the team."
On the front-court...
"I think we'll be better on the front line. Again, I think Andre's (Stephens) better than he was last year. Cory Smith will help us. I'm more optimistic about Gustavo Lino everyday. He just seems to be getting better. Sai'Quon Stone is turning the corner, getting in shape. So we'll be better, but I think the strength of any team is your guard play. I think our guard play is going to have to play well, particularly because they will be keyed on, much more than they were last year."
On the forwards...
"I think it's a misnomer that you have to have a big inside guy. Our best post player has been Courtney Beasley, so why not post him up against a guard. You're not always going to shoot it well from the perimeter, so you have to get better percentage shots. We can post our guards up. Jeremy Wise can get lay-ups. All of our perimeter guys can get to the rim. So we can spread the court a little more, but we can't settle for jump shots. We've got to be more aggressive and get to the rim. But we've got more scoring options. I think Cory's going to be better than what we've had scoring-wise. I know Andre's gotten better. Sai'Quon's also a threat; at least he'll get fouled. So I think we've got more of a presence inside than people think. If Gustavo can give us some minutes when we go against some bigger guys, it would help."
On Andre Stephens...
"He's probably right where he should be. I don't think he's an all-conference player yet. But that's something that this season will show. He went over to China with some of the all-stars in this league and played well. So he belongs in that category, but he has to prove it. His freshman year was awful with injuries, but he had a solid sophomore year. Now he has to step it up. I think he's close to having big nights, but he has to do it consistently."
On the newcomers...
I think minutes could go down for everybody. We took a big hit when Jerome Clyburn broke his foot. He was playing really well, and I was surprised because he is just a freshman. He'll be back in mid-December, but I thought he could push some perimeter guys for some minutes. Rodney McCauley is pushing some guys for some minutes, which tells you we've got a good perimeter. Some of those guys are pretty good. But that will help us, because the way we play, we've got to get guys some rest.
On Rodney McCauley...
"He's probably more of a four-man than a two. He's not overly skilled, but he just plays really hard. He doesn't look like a freshman because he plays so hard. At times, he's our hardest practicing guy. He just makes a lot of mistakes, like all freshmen. But once he learns how to execute, and channel that hard play into real execution, I think he'll help us.