Ole Miss Coaches, Players Take Part in SEC Basketball Media Days
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Ole Miss basketball coaches Andy Kennedy and Carol Ross and players Todd Abernethy, Bam Doyne and Armintie Price spoke with the press Wednesday at the 2006-07 Southeastern Conference Media Days at the Birmingham Marriott. Click on each coach's name to hear audio from Media Days, and quotes from the Rebel coaches and players are below.
AUDIO: Andy Kennedy
AUDIO: Carol Ross
Head Coach Andy Kennedy
"Our expectations are high internally, maybe not so much externally. That is the great thing for us. People don't realize how special this is for me, being a native Mississippian. This is just a wonderful opportunity for me."
"I just left a perennial top-20 program. I think Ole Miss can get back to greatness again. Looking at the past, they have had success with Rod Evans and Rob Barnes. They had a great mixture. We just have to find that again to be successful."
"We have changed the approach. We are going to play pressure basketball. We are going to get after the ball, as well as take it to the basket. I believe that in life, you don't take a backward approach and allow yourself to be backed into a corner. We are going to take that same approach."
"I hate to give the coaching speak, but that is what I have to do. I want to see daily improvement. They (the players) are learning about us just like we are learning about them. You have to find out what the other is like. You don't want to stick a square peg into a round hole."
"That is why I wanted to bring the two seniors in Todd Abernethy and Bam Doyne. They are not used to winning like they want to. I want them to experience that. I think that it is unfair to look four years down the road at expectations and not be able to include these guys."
Senior Guard Todd Abernethy
"We are going to be a better team this year, and there are a lot of reasons why. The number one reason is our new coach, Andy Kennedy. He is an awesome teacher, an awesome motivator and a great coach. He has given us a lot of confidence this preseason."
"We only lost one senior, and we have a lot of guys coming back. Dwayne Curtis broke his foot, but he will be back with us shortly. We are also very motivated because we saw two SEC teams go to the Final Four that we fought hard against and could have beaten. We only lost by eight points to Florida, and we had two chances to beat LSU. We are capable of winning against teams like that. We have a different style this year. We are playing a different tempo. We are hoping to pick it up on offense and defense."
"There is a lot of excitement because of the coaching change, and I have been really impressed with practice. Our guys are excited to practice, and practices have been fun and competitive. We all know you have to practice hard to win."
Senior Guard Bam Doyne
"There is a totally new outlook this year with our new coach. We believe in him, and he has shown us things that will help us this season. He has taught us how to approach the game in a different way, and he has shown us how to scout the other teams. He has made us believe in ourselves."
"We are motivated because we saw two SEC teams make it to the Final Four, and it would be a great feeling if we could make it to the Final Four. The SEC is all I know, it is a big conference and all of the teams are strong. Every night is a battle and anybody can beat anybody on any night. You have to give it your all every game."
"It is exciting to play at home with the home fans and feel the excitement in the air. It is great to represent your school and town."
Head Coach Carol Ross
"We are all great in October. It is a coach's favorite time. I think that we are a team that is hungry. Last year, we went to the NIT, and that is not the place we want to be playing in March."
"We have great players with experience. Players like Armintie Price, and we have surrounded her with players like Jada Mincy and Ashley Awkward. They are great leaders both on and off the court. In all, we have nine returning players, and five feisty rookies that are hungry."
"When I got here, we were not used to winning. I think last year, I might have over-scheduled and we spent our energy too soon in the season. We had great wins in December over teams like Rutgers and Texas Tech, but we spent our energy. As a coach, I'm not used to that, so I didn't really know how to prepare for that. That won't happen again."
"A player like Armintie Price, people see her on the court, but they don't see her passion and intensity. She comes to work everyday, and that really makes it easy on the coaches. She comes to practice everyday, and she is ready to work everyday."
"This league has gotten bigger, that is for sure. When I left Florida, I went to the beach for a year. When I came back, I was like 'What happened?" Everything changed. Now we have 6-5 guards and centers. It changed the way we play, the game, recruiting, everything."
Senior Guard Armintie Price
"I am grateful for the honors and I am grateful for everything everyone has picked me for, but we keep playing hard and I let them know that this is a team. Everything I get is because of them. I can't pass to myself so we just keep playing hard and recognizing the honors."
"I think we have great leadership. Ashley Awkward, senior, Jada Mincy, senior, and myself all came in the same year. Just been ready to roll every since and now it is our turn to step up and we have five great freshman coming in and ready to play. I think they have all experienced a championship in their high school days and they came in very aggressive the first day of practice."
"I have a sense for the block. When someone shoots the ball, I can exactly tell where it is going to land, how it's going to bounce. It is just a superwoman power I think I have. I'm just very quick to the ball, I just react and know everywhere that it's been passed and know everywhere it's going to be shot and just try to react first."
"You never know what is going to happen. Hopefully you will just give all you got and leave it all out there on the court."
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