Oct. 27, 2011
Q. I’ll start with the obvious question. I’m sure you get plenty of questions about Jantel and how your team changes this year. What is your team’s biggest strength when you look at obviously it’s a different dynamic, but you’re still Ohio State; what’s your team’s biggest strength this year?
Jim Foster: Our guards. Sammy Prahalis and Tayler Hill have improved significantly over the summer. They’re both playing great basketball. Amber Stokes is healthy. This is the first preseason she’s gone through. And Raven Ferguson is a pretty talented player, even though a freshman.
Q. They always talk about players getting the senior bump, and it’s kind of hard to imagine Prahalis playing with any more energy or spark than she does, but talk about her going into her senior season.
Jim Foster: Well, I think she is playing harder on a more consistent basis. Her defense has improved, and she’s very cognizant of the fact that she has to lead this team, and she’s done that through the summer and into the fall. I’m very confident that she is going to have a great senior year.
Q. As you approach the season, is it kind of energizing from a coaching standpoint to sort of have a different approach to the game, not just have — it’s great to have a Jantel Lavender, but it also means that the middle has got a lot of bodies in there defensively, offensively. Is it kind of fun to have the floor opened up at all?
Jim Foster: Yeah, it’s always fun. We are going to play differently. We’re going to be much differently offensively in how we play, style of play. I’m very comfortable that our post players are very good face-the-basket players and we’ll probably be more of a European look.
Q. In preparing for this season, who did you watch? Did you watch more European basketball? Were there NBA teams you watched?
Jim Foster: You know, I’ve been around a long time. There’s not much —
Q. I know, but I didn’t want to say that.
Jim Foster: I’ve seen stuff over the years that I like and put it in the back of my head, that when I have a team where that would apply, we would — I’d like to do it.
And this year I think the right group. Ashley Adams is an absolute terrific passer. Everybody talks about Jantel, but I think Ashley shot 73 percent in the Big Ten last year, blocks a lot of shots. She’s not as dynamically athletic as Jantel, but she’s a very efficient basketball player. And we’ve got some other post players that have really worked hard and are very good passers and make good decisions. I think we’re going to be a much better passing basketball team than we’ve been. I think the ball is going to move a lot more than it has.
Q. Four newcomers this year. Anyone in particular that stands out that could be that diamond in the rough for you or that you’ve seen some really good things that will make an impact?
Jim Foster: I don’t think Ferguson or Beach are diamonds in the rough, I think they’re diamonds. Both are very talented players and have interesting skill sets. Raven Ferguson on the low block is a very, very difficult player to guard. She can shoot the three, she can put the ball on the floor, but she’s got post-up abilities that will get us some of the post-ups that Jantel gave us. I think you might see us score some from the block with our guards.
Q. Before last season, you were really excited about Scullion and what she can bring and then the injury. How does she look? Is she healthy and how much of an impact —
Jim Foster: Well, she’s a little banged up. What I see of her, I really like. It’s nothing related to last year’s injury. She’s full go there. But I haven’t seen enough to have an opinion. But she’ll be ready.
Q. It seems like the last decade when we come to Media Day, Ohio State is picked to win. Now you’re not even in the top three. How much do you get a sense that your team is really embracing kind of this new position that they’re in right now?
Jim Foster: I told my team the first day we practiced, I said, this Goliath thing was a lot of fun, but I’ve got a lot of experience being David in my coaching past, and I’m sort of looking forward to it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports