Oct. 10, 2002
Head Coach Jim O’Brien
On his team’s strengths and weaknesses:
“I think we have to make up for the production of (Brian) Brown and (Boban) Savovic more than anything. We have our frontcourt returning. We don’t have Tim Martin, who was a role player. We don’t have (Will) Dudley. I think Shun Jenkins, (Charles) Bass, (Matt) Marinchick can offset some of their (production). I think our frontcourt is going to be a little better than a year ago, but the question is going to be on the perimeter. We lost (Brown and Savovic), so where are those numbers going to come from? Hopefully (Brent) Darby will improve upon his numbers. (Sean) Connolly has to do better, but then what? Fuss-Cheatham is going to have to play better. Sylvester is going to have to get healthy. Emonte Jernigan is the next factor. I think he’s going to be a nice player for us.
On the team’s depth inside:
“The emphasis (last season) was on the guard play and a lot of things were structured for those guys. You take two of those guys away (Brian Brown and Boban Savovic) and now you have to evaluate, `where’s the experience now?’ Zach (Williams) has had a pretty steady career in two years here. I think he is ready. We’re hoping that Terrence (Dials) is going to come on from where he left off last year. Velimir (Radinovic) is now a junior. Shun Jenkins is a new player, but he is a junior who is mature. So we have some guys up front that maybe we have to go to more than we were ready to go to a year ago.”
On the 2002-03 non-conference schedule:
“Our schedule continues to be very challenging and demanding. We think its pretty challenging before we even get into the conference. We may have to be ready to play at a higher level earlier. I wouldn’t change who we’re playing, I would just change when those games fall. Our second and third games are against Alabama and Duke and you can’t play at a higher level than having to play those two teams early in your schedule. We’re going to have to be a bit more prepared early than we would’ve liked.” On Brandon Fuss-Cheatham:
“I talked to Brandon a lot about what’s going to be expected of him (this season). How much he plays is going to be dependant on him. Clearly, he has the ability to have a much better year than he had last year. If you ask Brandon, I think he is probably disappointed in his performance a year ago, but in my mind, it was understandable because we had the luxury of not having to have him play through his infancy, because we had mature guards. He is going to have to play this year. He has worked on his shooting and I think that’s going to effect a lot of what he does.”
On Matt Sylvester:
“He has had a long time (since he has played). He sat out all of last year and didn’t even practice, and then he broke his hand this summer. He has been on the shelf for almost a year. I think it’s going to be awhile, but we need to get him in the fold because we’re short on numbers in the backcourt. If he gets back to playing how he’s capable of playing, then we have a pretty good player because he’s a perimeter guy who is (6-foot-8) and we need to get some size in the backcourt.”
On his team’s work ethic and conditioning:
“I think they’re going to be a fun team to coach. They pay attention. They are all on the same page, which I love, and I know that they’ve worked when they’re in the weight room. We’ve had a good conditioning time in the preseason. I haven’t had any negative reports. Everyone seems to be tuned into working hard. I think a lot of guys have worked very hard and that is encouraging.”
Scouting the Big Ten conference in 2002-03:
“I do know that Michigan State is supposed to be very good. I think Minnesota is going to be a very good team this year because they have a lot of guys back and we had a really hard time playing them last year. Wisconsin is a co-champion from last year and they return virtually everyone. I think they’re going to be good. Michigan has to be improved. Indiana is going to be very good, even without (Jared) Jeffries). I don’t know where we fit in because I think we have a lot of question marks, but I think on paper, there’ll be a number of teams that across the board are picked higher than we are.”
On the possibility of changing from the team’s normal three guard set:
“We’re going to play (with three guards). That is the way we play, so we’re just have to find someone to get the job done. We’re not going to make changes.”
On Terence Dials:
“Terence is definitely someone who can contribute a lot to this team this year. His development over the summertime has been good and he’s gotten a lot stronger.”
On the team’s leadership:
“Brent (Darby), for one, is a guy who has really taken it on his back to fill those shoes in the leadership role as far as (former Buckeyes) Brian (Brown) and Boban (Savovic). Sean (Connolly) has been here for a couple years now and he knows how his team works .We have a lot of young guys looking up to us so its up to us to show them the ropes and provide leadership.”
On shooting from outside:
“I’ll leave that up to coach (O’Brien). I worked on my game this summer and got comfortable at around 15 feet. So, with the confidence that he throws at me, it should give me my chances.”
On the team’s depth inside and playing three forwards:
“It would be a big front line. It definitely would be a plus if we can work that out, but anyway (Coach O’Brien) draws it up, I know we’ll be able to be successful.”
“I am proud of this team and I know that we will and can make it to the next level of competition,” Williams said.
“I am excited about getting the opportunity to lead the Buckeyes, I am ready and looking forward to this season,” Darby said.
“We have a very competitive schedule and I feel confident that our team is more than prepared,” Darby said.
“I contributed a lot to the team last year and this year I am expected to contribute even more,” Dials said.
“I think Brent Darby and Sean Connolly will help us a lot in the back court and the front court. I feel confident that Zach Williams and Velimir Randinovic will also help the team be successful,” Dials said.