Oct. 16, 2014
THE MODERATOR: Joining us is Ohio State head Coach Kevin McGuff. Coach, an opening statement and then open it up for questions.
COACH MCGUFF: Very pleased to be here in Chicago with all of you. Excited about the season. We’ve got a lot of really young talented players I’m anxious to see on the court. And ready to get going.
Q. You’re down a couple of players already to start the season but you’ll have a bunch of new players and one of them is Kelsey Mitchell. Can you basically start with her and tell us how she’s going to affect your team and then the other freshmen how they’re going to fit in?
COACH MCGUFF: Kelsey is a really special player. As dynamic a point guard as I’ve ever been around, especially she’s got great skill, obviously, but her IQ and passion for the game I think really make her special. So we’re excited to have her in the program. As we’ve tried to transition to a different style of play, Kelsey will be a big part of that and kind of like the engine that’s going to make things go for us. But I like our other freshman too. Asia Doss has been really good so far, and maybe a little further along than I expected, as is Alexa Hart. And they have really good talent, they’re young, and I know we’ll endure some growing pains. But I really like the kids we have in the program, especially our young players and feel like the future’s very bright with these kids.
Q. Now that you’re getting more of your own type of players, what kind of style would you like to see from this group this season?
COACH MCGUFF: As we evolve as a program, we would like to have a much more up-tempo style of play. And we’ve recruited to that style of play. We want to have one of the fastest most aggressive teams in the country when it’s all said and done. We don’t necessarily have the depth that I would like to have at this particular point to play exactly how we want to play. But I think you’ll see more of a team this year that fits that style of play and as we continue to move towards the future we’ll continue to recruit players that can fit in with that system.
Q. With Kelsey Mitchell’s development, how does that change how you plan on using Ameryst, and what can she do differently that maybe we haven’t seen in her in the last couple of years?
COACH MCGUFF: I’m excited about having Am and Kelsey getting to play together in the back court. It’s almost like having two point guards back there. Which I think will make us dangerous off the dribble. And they’re both so good, they can create shots for themselves but more importantly they make others around them better. And we struggle with that at times last year just our ability to break people down off the dribble, our passing and just making plays. And so to have two people as dynamic as Am and Kelsey on the floor at the same time I think is going to be really fun to watch.
Q. Last year one of the Achilles heels rebounding, is there something significant you’re going to be doing and who is going to be counting on the boards for you to do a better job?
COACH MCGUFF: We didn’t get necessarily any bigger with what we added in the off-season. We are faster. I think we’ll be able to be a little more disruptive defensively and have a chance to maybe create more turnovers and more points in transition, which we’re certainly going to October 16, 2014 visit our archives at asapsports.com Oct. 16, 2014 2 work at rebounding. But I think we’ll be able to do some things, even if we don’t get the rebounding where we want it, the things we can do with this team can offset that.
Q. You’ve added a couple of new teams to the league this year. And one of them is preseason favored to win the league and another one came off winning the post NIT division what do you think of the additions to the league?
COACH MCGUFF: Both great programs. Excellent coaches. They both recruit very aggressively. They have great rosters. I think they’ll really help raise the profile of the league and the Big Ten has been historically incredibly strong conference. We have great parity and one of the things we’ve lacked here recently somebody who adds the deep run. It’s great to add Maryland who just came off a Final Four appearance. I really do think it helps our league in terms of our national stature, and I also, I think with geographically where they’re located there’s a lot of talent in those areas and hopefully that helps some other teams in the league make inroads in those fertile recruiting grounds.
Q. Again, one of the kids you used sparingly last year, Lisa Blair, redshirt freshman, kind of a raw player coming into college, how has she progressed since last year?
COACH MCGUFF: Lisa’s continued to improve. My staff’s done a great job working with her skill development. Her size can change the game. She’s a real presence defensively. She gives us a little more of a chance to compete with the bigger people from a rebounding standpoint. So I think she will be somebody that certainly helps us this year. And hopefully she can continue to evolve and she has gotten a lot better and hopefully she can continue down that path. But she’s a great kid. She’s worked really hard to get to this point, and so I’m hopeful you’ll even see a more effective Lisa Blair this year.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.