Oct. 14, 2004

Head Coach Thad Matta
On the start of practice Saturday
“That’s what’s exciting about this weekend, to begin to teach our system and see what these kids are all about. They appear hungry.”

On how his team will develop over the season
“That’s one of the things we are going to find out. How we handle adversity, how we play on the road – those things we will have no idea about from practice until we actually get in that situation.”

On bringing the team together as one
“The number one thing is we want to think the game the way we want to play the game. We all need to be on the same page. I want our players to have toughness and play as a tough team. That’s our challenge – to get our guys to believe in that.”

On his coaching style
“We’re a hands-on staff. We want to be close to these guys. That will be a year-long process.”

On how his early season practices will be different with a new team
“Normally when we’ve coached a team for awhile, the early season is about building the foundation for how we are going to play that season. This year we have to teach our system and try to keep things simple.”

On his excitement of coaching at Ohio State
“For me, it’s invigorating to wake up every day and go to work at Ohio State. I look at it as a great opportunity to coach at Ohio State and it’s a great honor to be here.”

On how we will go about coaching the Buckeyes
“It’s going to take time. I’m not too concerned about the offense. We need to get the defense established and get guys understanding what we need to do defensively.”

On his offensive priorities
“My biggest focus offensively will be taking care of the basketball and taking good shots.”

On if he’ll adapt to his player or if his players will adapt to his system
“They’re going to have to adapt to it. I know we have a good system and I’ve seen it work and that’s what we’re going to teach.” Junior guard Ricardo Billings
On his teammates
“I have a lot of good guys around me. We all help each other and I really feel like we’re on the same page now. We are ready to get going.”

On if he needs to remember last season
“We need to remember what happened last year but stay focused on this year.”

Senior guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham
On preparing for the season
“Right now we are trying to learn about each other more and learn our coaching staff. Coach Matta is about us being a team and acting like a unit. Right now he has been pretty nice but in two days (when practice begins) we’ll see what he is really like.”

On team chemistry
“We have grown as a team and have gotten better. We have to prove to ourselves we can be a team. It’s really a fresh start for everyone.”

On the offseason
“We weren’t organized and I think it was a confusing time for us. Once the new coaching staff came in, they talked to us as a team and then talked to each player. Since then we have really been coming together.”

Junior center Terence Dials
On the team
“I think we definitely have team chemistry. We have played a lot of open gyms in the summer and the fall. All the guys are starting to play well together.”

On last season
“When you have a losing season like last year it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. We want to get back on the court.”

On the freshmen
“When they came in they looked impressive. I don’t remember being that good when I came in my first year. They all have the skill to be good players.”

Junior guard J.J. Sullinger
On the team’s success
“We have no where to go but up. We just have to do what we need to do and take care of business.”

On the coaching staff
“They expect us to work hard and work on doing things the right way. They want us to be mentally tough. The great thing about the coaching staff is that they are with us all the way and that means a lot to us.”