Ole Miss Basketball Press Conference
March 27, 2003
After the season, our players have had the opportunity to get their classes in order and get some rest. We're now in the process of spring workouts with weight training and conditioning drills and individual work.
We will work early next week because our coaching staff will be attending the national coaches convention at the Final Four in New Orleans. This is also a time of recruiting, and we have three scholarships available.
(Have you met with each player yet?)
(What's Trey Pearson's situation?)
(What's the status of Justin Reed and Aaron Harper?)
(What's the problem with Trey?)
Any time you have the type of year we had, there are going to be questions. We've been a successful program, so when you lose, there are going to be rumors. There were rumors about this program last year (2001-02). There were rumors last year that I was going to Arkansas (to be their head coach), yet no contact was made.
As far as Trey, I'm sure there was some uncertainty about him during the season. In our meeting, the talk of commitment came out. As far as a decision about Trey, we have reached one yet. What could be the problem? One is that we lost, and players want to be a part of a winning program. Trey is a freshman, and every freshman, including Rod Barnes, has considered transferring. What's going on with it? That's what we are in discussion about. Some people want to say the problem is all basketball, and it's not all basketball. Some of it has to do with what is asked of you to be in this program. It's going to class to meeting curfew. Most of the time when a player transfers, they think it's all basketball, and it's not the case.
(Talk about Richard Kirklin)
(Did Trey express specific concerns in your meeting?)
(Is this an unusual amount of talk of attrition for your program?)
(Do you attribute it to the losses and the frustration from the losses?)
(Are you still staying the course and not panicking?)
Again, I learned some things this year. I learned some things about our program. I learned some things about our kids and me. Over the past years, we've been able to retain some kids. We didn't this year, and we deal with it. Take a look at Kentucky. They had four players that they were depending on this year leave their program after the end of last season. That's not to say that we'll win the SEC with an undefeated record next year. But, this is not where you stop. You continue with your program and you go and recruit. You continue to work with the guys you have.
(Did the high total number of players you had have an effect on this?)
(What about other players' status?)
Aaron Harper is here. After talking with his mother, Aaron is here. In three weeks, it may be different, but today he is here.
I've always said and still believe this. If people want to play basketball at Ole Miss, attend the University of Mississippi and live in Oxford, then we want them here. If there is a person that does not want to be here for the right reasons, then they are free to go. We're not going to hold anyone here, and I'm not begging anyone to stay here. We've got a good program, and this is a great university and a great community.
(How have the meetings gone?)
(Are these normal end-of-the-year meetings?)
(Talk about Wayne Brent's head coach options at other schools.)
I was an assistant coach for five years, and I had aspirations about becoming a head coach. The opportunity came for me to be a head coach, and I wasn't going to turn it down. I am one that wants to help develop guys to become head coaches. If they have ambitions to be head coaches, then that's what I want to help them to do. I'm not just talking about Wayne, but any coach on my staff.
(Did Trey begin workouts?)
(What about Chris Rhodes?)
It happens more often now than in the past, and that's why the 5/8 rule is here now. I've not been concerned about the 5/8 rule until this year. The 5/8 rule was made because it was the thought that coaches were running players off. It is a rule that says you can sign only 8 players over a two-year period and no more than 5 in one year. The rule was made because it was seen that some new coaches were going into programs and running kids off or some coaches that were in trouble of losing their jobs were not keeping players that could not play and going out and getting a whole new team. I don't agree with this because there are a ton of reasons why players decide to transfer.
(What players are you trying to zero in on during this recruiting period?)
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