Countdown to Tip-Off: Summit League Media Day
Teleconference Replay (Part 1)
Teleconference Replay (Part 2)
Preseason Poll/All-League Release: Men's | Women's
Men's Media Day Notes
ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League held its annual basketball media day teleconference Wednesday with the men's and women's head coaches from all nine teams fielding questions from media.
Audio from the entire teleconference is linked above. Each school had an approximate 10-minute time block in which both their men's and women's head coach were made available. The order of the call was alphabetical (Fort Wayne, IUPUI, Kansas City, North Dakota State, Oakland, Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois).
Selected quotes from each coach are available below.
The 2012-13 basketball season begins on Nov. 9 with Summit League play opening on Nov. 29 for the men and Dec. 28 for the women. The 2013 Summit League Basketball Championships are March 9-12 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Tony Jasick – Men's Coach
"We're going to be extremely young. We return Frank Gaines who is one of the better players in the league and having a good fall. Our team is going to be in a little bit of flux over the course of the year with as many newcomers, but I do think we have a chance as the year goes on to be competitive in the league."
On Frank Gaines:
"I think Frank [Gaines] had a breakout junior year and was a key ingredient for us. Going into his senior year, I think his expectations are still the same. I think he is going to be a focal point of our team. We have more pieces around him this year that maybe we didn't last year, so I'm not sure his numbers will stay the same. Fortunately for us, Frank is more concerned with winning than he is in his individual statistics. I think he has had a great summer and early in the year he is further along than maybe he was last year in the process."
Chris Paul – Women's Coach
"We're young. This is the first time I've ever been part of the team that didn't have a senior on it. We have nine freshmen and sophomores and four juniors, so we are going to be going through a lot of this as well early. I like the young players that have stepped up toward the end of last year and really started producing, Amanda Hyde, Erin Murphy, Rachel and Stephanie Mauk. We have a lot of teaching that we are doing right now but I am also excited about the team that we have to work with and the possibilities of having a really good season this year."
On who will take the reins of this young squad:
"I know the reins of the team will go to Amanda Hyde. She had a really good year last year. That gets overlooked because we had a couple seniors who have done a lot over their years. Amanda was a 10-point, five-rebound kid last year, shot the ball really well, played defense. She is going to be our focal point. She is our leader. Erin Murphy is another junior who had almost 10 points a game last year, so we know she can score. The thing that I like most about this basketball team is we have a lot of interchangeable pieces. Last year, I felt like we were a little hampered when Stephanie Rosado was not available due to injury or foul trouble. I didn't really have anybody of size that I could go to and this year we were able to bring in four players six-foot or bigger, so we can give teams some different looks. If one's performing, well we can leave her in, if she doesn't, we can go someplace else. We can get back to trying to get five players in double-figures as opposed to maybe just a couple people carrying us. It will make us a better basketball team in the long run.
Todd Howard – Men's Coach
"I think this always signifies a great time of year. I know by now schools and programs have a few practices under their belt, start to see and get a feel for their identity. We are very pleased with the progress we've made from summer to fall and into our practice season. We are really happy with our depth, we've gained some experience. We were awfully young last year most of the time on the floor. Those freshmen and sophomores are now a year older and in addition to that we added John Hart. He is coming off a great experience at Purdue. He had a year of eligibility and graduated and joined us to play right away. His impact has been felt immediately. In combination with those other guys, their experience and what they learned is definitely showing on the floor and off the floor as well. It is a good group to return six or seven rotation guys."
On losing one of the greatest scores in Summit League history, Alex Young
"In part, I like the versatility that we have and I like that fact that I feel we can have five scorers on the floor that would be tough to load up on. Certainly, Alex could score in a variety of ways, that was part of his DNA, but I do feel I like the speed in which we are playing. It is very reminiscent of a couple-year period we had a few years ago, where we returned a lot of the same guys and we emphasized playing a little bit faster, driving the ball a little bit more, passing it a little bit quicker and with the same personal we went from a mediocre to decent three-point shooting team to leading the nation three-point shooting. Some of those concepts have been part of our teaching, promoting and encouraging and the guys have really bought in. They see that and sure they're smart and they know that we did lose Alex but I think they see an opportunity for them with where they fit in the offense and within their specific roles to help us grow as a team. We have shot the ball well all fall and have done a good job of distributing those opportunities to score and replace that essentially in parts".
Austin Parkinson – Women's Coach
"Well, we are obviously excited as the season's getting underway here. It's been a good group so far and we're really trying to build upon the improvements we made last year as a team. We have quite a bit of our basketball team back from last year led by Kerah Nelson, who was a preseason first-team all-league selection and has had quite a career at IUPUI, and we feel like we've added some depth. For the first time since I've been the coach here, I feel we have depth at the perimeter and we should be able to play at the speed I've always wanted to play at."
On the upperclassmen leading the team – specifically all-league selections Kerah Nelson and Katie Comello:
"Kerah's been with me for three years now and so has Katie so it's nice to have an inside-out combination that can put the ball in the basket. Obviously, Nevena Markovic is coming back and she has put on some strength in the weight room this summer so she doesn't get shoved around as much on the block. We feel like we have a good core and fortunately we had a kid sitting out last year in DeAirra Goss that can really play. She gives us a different element and the question will be our point guard play. If our point guards play well and run the team effectively, we could have a pretty good season."
On the progress the team has made over the last three years and where the team stands today"
"I think the kids got a taste of what it felt like to play in The Summit League semifinals last year in front of that crowd in South Dakota. That taste that they got to experience has pushed them forward and kind of changed their goals and I think they have the idea that now we want to compete for a championship. We're excited about this year and having players in our system for two or three years now - that are familiar with me and I'm familiar with them - gives us a lot more comfort heading into the season."
Matt Brown – Men's Coach
On the potential new rivals in the league:
"I think as the landscape of the league has changed, it gives our fans the opportunity or the families of the young men on our team to see the games. I think having closer teams now with South Dakota and Omaha as well it will obviously create a lot more rivalries for our program."
"To be able to drive four or five hours or whatever it may be with the distance between South Dakota and Omaha, it is so much better now in terms of rivalry. I think having the availability now to get in a car and drive a couple hours, those new rivalries can actually be created."
On filling the leadership role of Reggie Chamberlain:
"Reggie was one of the better three-point shooters, I think he finished in the top 10 in the country in three-point field goal percentage. Reggie was the only senior we started last year and the majority of the starters last year were sophomores who are now juniors. I anticipate all those guys that got significant minutes last year, Estan Tyler, Nate Rogers, Trinity Hall, Kirk Korver and Fred Chatmon, to step-up and fill that void. I think we may not have a person that scores 17 or 18 a game like Reggie Chamberlain but I think we will have four or five young men that are capable of getting double figures. Our biggest weakness on our team last year was defense and rebounding and we have brought in three junior college players that I think can really help our basketball team. This is also the first time I've had three post players. We'll be deeper and have more options. We won't be so one dimensional as we have been in the past with Reggie Chamberlain."
Marsha Frese – Women's Coach
"We're excited for the new energy that has come in. The program has had a great history and they have been building in the last couple years. I feel like our girls are really ready to take it to the next level. This team was honored to be picked in the preseason as high as we were, but I think our upperclassmen especially are really conscious about that fact that it is a new team and new season. Those honors that come in the preseason have as much to do with last year as anything else. They are ready to move on and realize there is a lot of work to be done and they are ready to put that work on the court and see where it goes."
On her philosophy and what to expect under her guidance:
"My philosophy is to be as adaptable as I can to the talent we already have. I have the benefit throughout my career for playing for some phenomenal coaches and learning from some of the best in the business. I certainly have a philosophy that I am hoping to get to in the next year or two, but in the mean time, it was real important for me from day one to adapt to the style of the kids that are here and find the best way to make them successful. We have got a variety of talent and different skill sets and a lot of diversity in their games. I didn't want to be one of those head-strong coaches. I want to put them in positions to be successful as some of them finish out their careers. The style on floor this year is really indicative of the style the kids are most comfortable and most successful in."
North Dakota State
Saul Phillips – Men's Coach
"The biggest thing that strikes me is how much this league has grown and the positive steps that it's taken in the last five, six, seven years. Our RPI was really at a high watermark last year for the recent past. You look at it and it's a testament to the job a lot of counterparts are doing. Some really solid programs, guys that have become entrenched at their schools and really taken the baton and run with it. I think we are one of the more underrated leagues in the nation. You lose Oral Roberts and replace them with Omaha and given their location and their resources they are going to be good. This league is really moving at a positive direction and I don't want to gloss that over. As far as our team goes we have a lot of experience back, a lot of people that have experienced positive moments in our league and a lot of guys that have had some struggles in our league, they have really grown up a lot. We are working hard and certainly depth is what we're trying to cultivate right now and that's the challenge in front of us.
On opening up at No. 1 Indiana:
"It is a historic moment for this program, to play a No.1 team in the nation and hasn't been done before. I look at it as you're walking in there and have a chance to do something really special. The reality of it is they're big, they're strong, they're fast. They have a terrific team. We played Kansas in the NCAA tournament four years back on a neutral court and this is going into Indiana, this is a tall task. I know one thing, our guys are excited about it and it is a great moment for our program just from the standpoint to play the No.1 ranked team in the nation doesn't come along very often.
Carolyn DeHoff – Women's Coach
"It's going to be a fun season for everybody with some of the returning players that are in the league and certainly the new faces that are going to walk the sidelines with some of the coaches that have joined our league. In terms of where we're at, there is great energy in this program right now. We had a great opportunity to hire three new staff members. Our players are excited, love the culture and what's coming to practice right now. A lot of that comes from our great leadership that is returning. We have six seniors with four of those having played significant minutes. One of them is Katie Birkel who comes back from an ACL injury, you add that with Janae Burich who made second team all-league last year and then Dani DeGagne who is just a versatile kid for us who plays many different positions, can do many things for us and then Hannah Linz. We're just excited about the leadership that they have brought, the commitment that they made this spring and summer and it is certainly showing up in practice right now."
Greg Kampe – Men's Coach
On losing Reggie Hamilton and the four returning starters:
"Our system always has somebody that scores a lot of points and it just happened to be last year it was Reggie. I haven't even thought about Reggie leaving or anything like that. We have a very young team, we have four starters back, one of those four guys is going to average 18 or 20 points a game probably. We always have somebody that does in our system. We don't sit here and think okay we lost this, there is a system and you plug people into the system and they play. Our system is one of high scoring, up and down. We don't play defense, ask anybody that. We just shoot and score, so somebody is going to make shots. I'm not worried at all that Reggie is gone, I don't even think, 'oh who is going to get these points,' somebody is going to get them. We have some really good players, they'll score."
On Duke Mondy:
"The only way I can describe him is I've never coached anybody like him. There is a point guard at South Dakota State that deserves everything that is said about him and I've said a lot of great things about him. One of the reasons he has had a lot of success in our league is because of his size at 6'3". Duke Mondy is 6-4 and I've never coached a point guard at 6'4" and it's been an interesting experience for me. He's really good and he is going to cause a lot of issues in our league because of his size. He is 210 pounds, he is 6'4", his arms are extremely long. I coached a kid named Johnathan Jones a few years ago that led the nation in assists and in practice I would tell you that Duke Mondy is every bit as good, if not a better passer than he is. We will see if that translates into games. He is probably the guy who will have the biggest impact on our team."
Beckie Francis – Women's Coach
On the newcomers and players who are expected to step-up:
"Our freshmen are good. It is really refreshing, they are different type of class of talent from the freshmen last year. The freshmen last year had different skills set. These freshmen are just good."
On the schedule this season:
"We've done this a lot and it really prepares us for league play. We were on the road a lot last year so it's nice to have it all come back to us, just wish that we could spread out some of those games where we could have a couple more of those last year. It's going to be interesting, it's going to challenge us. I schedule like that for a reason and it always pays off in the end.
Derrin Hansen – Men's Coach
"It's an exciting time of year when you get your team together for the first time. We're excited for the first time with the league, I know we played some teams last year in the league but not a full schedule. There are still a lot of unknowns. It was an unknown last year because it was our first year of transition and it's an unknown this year because it's our first time in and out of every single arena and also everybody coming to our place."
On what people should expect to see from your team:
"A lot people probably remember us from the North Central Conference and I think we are different than that. Since we've left that league we tried to play faster. We've probably played some smaller lineups but now with D-I we are trying to get bigger and longer athletes. I think we can pick up the tempo a little bit more than what we did last year.
"Alex Welhouse is a 6'6" senior from Kaukauna, Wis., has been instrumental to us being about to play four out-one in because he is a forward who can really stretch it and shoot the basketball. Koang Doluony a transfer from Indiana State is going to help us play that way as well. John Karhoff is going to play a big part for us down low. He's not going to be the biggest post in the league by any stretch and I understand that but hopefully the skill level will be able to help stretch the defense as well. I think we try to play fast at times. We're not going to do that all the time but we're going to try to spot some things in there."
Chance Lindley – Women's Coach
"We're excited to be a part of The Summit League. We have a full D-I schedule, we know it's going to be challenging for us. We have a lot of young faces and new faces, so there's going to be a lot of transition for us early in the season."
On what people should expect to see from your team
"Our kids every night play hard. As far as points, stops and wins and losses I really don't know to be honest with you about my team or enough about the league. We're spending a lot of time on us. I think we hardly ever even talked about who's on our schedule, conference or non-conference. We're just trying to get better and worry about us and hopefully at the end of the day that pays off."
Dave Boots – Men's Coach
"We were happy to be in the league last year. As what I found out it was pretty normal that from the outside you don't really realize how good that league is until you get in it and start playing those people. A very good league, top to bottom. It is a challenge every night, certainly some great teams coming back and looks like another very good basketball league."
On balanced scoring and losing Charlie Westbrook and Louie Krogman from last year"
"Well, we are going to have to. Obviously, those two kids dominated our offensive production last year. We think we have to do it through a lot more guys. That has always kind of been our system in the past. We got caught up in that last year, maybe two guys having to do too much for us and we got off balanced. We are hoping the people we have now reflect that a little bit and spread that out a little bit. We don't have anyone that is going to be any big time scorer but we feel that we do feel we have a number of guys that can be some double figure guys on different nights and try to do it by committee to replace those guys."
On what they learned from their first year in the league:
"Every team was good. There were no nights off. If you played poorly you're going to get beat, if you play very well you still may get beat. It's a tremendous basketball league, there's no doubt about that."
Amy Williams – Women's Coach
"Such an exciting time to be joining USD right now. Being through the transition, there is just a buzz and excitement around our program. A new coaching staff, a lot new players a lot of new faces everything is new but the excitement that is around the program is something that you can't ignore. We are really fired up about that."
On Nicole Seekamp:
"Nicole is a special player and probably in my time of coaching being around anybody who is as intelligent as Nicole is and knows the game of basketball. She is the type of kid that can sit over on the sideline and watch and step onto the court and run almost any position. She has a lot of versatility, she is able to score in a lot of different ways so we certainly will be looking to Nicole to play a pretty big role for what we're trying to do this year. We are similar with graduation of Amber Hegge, Amber Roach and Jodi Boss. All three were big keys to this team a year ago, so hopefully Nicole will be able to step in a fill an offensive scoring role that we are going to be looking and needing her to do."
South Dakota State
Scott Nagy – Men's Coach
"We have high expectations this year. I've always said there are always expectations, there's either low expectations or high expectations and pressure comes with both. It's a different feel for what is expected of us and it will be interesting to see our kids respond to it. Coming off a year last year where we went to the NCAA tournament, a great experience. I think it just fueled the fire in our kids. We've had a great summer and a great fall. It's probably the most veteran grouped I've coached in terms of the amount of time that we are returning and the experience that we are returning. I expect a lot, I think they expect a lot. I will be interesting to see how our team handles the pressure."
On now being the consensus favorite:
"It doesn't change anything that we do in terms of how we play. I don't even know how much it changes the thought process and those things. You go into every game just focusing on that opponent and the old clique 'one game at a time'. It really is true regardless of whether people what to hear it or not. For us it has been the case whether we have been successful or struggled or whatever. It is to maintain humility and continue to work hard. You make the message very simple you don't have to make complicated, I think they understand that. The best thing is that we have been able to cut practices back because the players that we are counting on the most are kids that understand what we want and know how they are expected to play. So one of the big deals for us is to remain fresh physically, mentally and then to keep our guys healthy."
Aaron Johnston – Women's Coach
"We're looking forward to a good exciting year. We do have a lot of players back. It's a similar year in the sense that we lost two really good players, which we've done a few times in my career here. We lost Jennie Sunnarborg and Jill Young both were outstanding players and 1,000 point scorers. This year we've got some new faces that I think will rise to the occasion and fill out some of those spots that we did lose. It's also a year where I think we'll have a lot of new faces that people will hopefully be pleasantly surprised with when they see some of our sophomores that didn't have very big roles last year will be very good players for us, Megan Waytashek is back after missing a year with a knee injury. She is an excellent player in the sophomore group. Gabby Boever at the point is really healthy and last year she wasn't quite 100 percent at all, so now she's a new player. A couple of our post players Megan Stuart and Mariah Clarin are good sophomores. We're just really excited about the new group and our really good returners have been through this a number of times and understand what it takes to be successful and how those two groups are coming together and how it's made us a better team."
Jim Molinari – Men's Coach
"We understand the difficultly of The Summit League and the quality of the players and coaches. We are just doing the best we can to prepare and stay healthy. We are trying to get better incrementally, stay healthy and we will find out how good we are when we start playing outside competition."
On whether the approach to the season changes after last year's success:
"I think so, in the sense of there are more expectations. It is just about working to continually try to improve. I think hopefully we have more expectations of ourselves, there are more expectations on the outside. I think there is more buzz on campus. It's definitely a different environment than we have had here before."
JD Gravina – Women's Coach
"This year things have been pretty interesting so far. We have eight returners and eight new players, so that makes for some interesting practices. We are looking for our options to replace Valencia Kelly, Brittany Demery and Sadie Webb. There are a few times they would kill us last year but at the same time when we were able to step up and win games it was mostly due to them. We will definitely look to some of our top returners Saule Kontautaite was the Newcomer of the Year. Everyone knows she is a shooter and we think that she can do a lot more than that and she has kind of shown that so far in practice. Michele Salvatori if she continues to work as hard as she has been working and stay mentally tough as she has been, I think she can be a really good player in this league."
ABOUT SUMMIT LEAGUE BASKETBALL
Entering its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League features basketball teams from nine member institutions: Fort Wayne, IUPUI, Kansas City, North Dakota State, Oakland, Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois. Known as the Mid-Continent Conference until 2007, The Summit League enjoyed unprecedented success during the 2011-12 season. The men produced an all-time best final RPI ranking, the highest home attendance in league history, the most teams in postseason tournaments, a record total of all-district honorees and the NCAA scoring champion. Its women's teams posted record-setting league tournament attendance, the most postseason tournament teams in league history and the best RPI ranking in six years. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org and follow Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops.