Adrian Wiggins (Courtesy Fresno State Athletics)
May 21, 2012
Video Q&A With Coach Adrian Wiggins
OXFORD, Miss. - After being hired as Ole Miss' women's basketball coach on March, 26, Adrian Wiggins has assembled a staff, held individual workouts with the team, hit the recruiting trail with his staff and started building relationships in the community.
Below is a question and answer session with Wiggins to see how things have gone during his first month-and-a-half on campus. For the video interview of the interview, click here.
You've been in Oxford about a month and a half. How has that time been?
"It's been great, to be honest with you. We've really enjoyed the process of getting to know the university. In the spring there have been some fun events that have gone on. The fan base here is very passionate and it's very traditional and that's fun for us to be a part of a college town. We have our staff on board and we are in the recruiting phase and we have been working out the players during their individual skills development. It's full go. We are trying to get our arms around what we want to do here in our women's basketball program. It's a big task but it's fun and we have been enjoying it."
In April you had some workouts with the team. How did those go?
"We've started our individual workouts and they've been great in the sense that we are trying to instill the discipline, the strategies and the philosophes that we have for our women's basketball program. It's something different, and that's OK, and the players have embraced that and they've been fine and we have been getting better daily. I think that's very important that day-by-day we take steps to be the best basketball program we can be. That doesn't happen overnight but it does happen with daily progression."
Since you've arrived on campus, you and your staff have signed two players for the 2012-13 season. What will those players bring to Ole Miss?
"During this signing period we signed Brandy Broome and Diara Moore both of whom are junior college transfers. Diara Moore actually was at the University of Kansas and started 18 games as a freshman but was looking for a different fit, so she went to junior college for a year and now we have her. She is a combo guard and you'll look to see her play on the perimeter on our four-out system. She's a defensive-oriented player, can move and add some much needed guard depth as will Brandy Broome. She is also a junior college player from Louisiana and she played at one of the best junior colleges in the country at Pensacola State College. She is an aggressive, defending guard and she really moves well. She can put the ball on the floor and create and that is really what we are looking for is the opportunity to create and add to what we have on our team which is a pretty forward-heavy basketball team and so some of this guard play should help us out."
Your coaching staff is now all assembled and in Oxford. What will they bring to your program?
"We are very excited about the staff we've assembled and a big part of us coming to Ole Miss was ensuring we could bring in quality people. Basically what we've done is bring in head coaches and I'm excited about that. Brett Frank is our associate head coach and he's been with me for nine years and has a very intricate knowledge of what we want to do offensively and off the court as well in our program the type of young ladies we want to have that will represent our community. He's very strong in that and will help send that message loud and clear to our players about what it means to play here and the type of tradition we want to build. We have Kenya Landers who is our recruiting coordinator. She has been a head coach at Trinity Valley Community College who won a national championship this past year and they went 37-0. She's worked in the SEC at LSU and she's worked at Oklahoma State in the Big 12. She comes out of the Dallas area which is a real talent area for women's basketball so we are looking to draw on her for some of that. We also have Rebecca Kates-Taylor as an assistant coach on our staff. Rebecca played at another university here in the state but her value is she understands the state of Mississippi. She knows the high school coaches and she will have a lot of value in helping get me introduced to the coaches and entrench myself in girls basketball in Mississippi. We really want to start from within and our work out way out and it's very important to buy into the traditions of that state and that region and that's why our universities are set up. We've really jumped in and embraced what we have going on here at Ole Miss. Michael Landers is our director of operations and he has been a head coach for many years. He's won two national championships on the junior college level and he's a great teacher beyond that. I'm relying on him to get this basketball program running the right way for us and what we want to do. Everybody is different and we have our own unique way of doing things and Michael is going to do a good job of making sure that is done on a daily basis. More than that, he is going to be great for our student-athletes in keeping them consistent on what it means to go to class, to show up on a basketball court and also be good in the community."
You're from Oklahoma and after spending so many years in California, how does it feel to be back in this part of the country?
"It's great. My accent is coming back a little bit. It's nice. What I've found is no matter what part of the country you live in, there are good people and it's really the way you look at it. I know there are good people where I grew up in Oklahoma. My sister used to live in Meridian my mom is from Atlanta so I have a lot of family out here so I know there are a lot of good people out here too. I had a good time in California so I am very proud of the state and country that I'm from and that I live in. We just want to add our porch light to that and we want to put something special out there that the University of Mississippi can be very proud that we have a light shining from over here in our BPF and we are going to work hard at that. At the end of the day, I hope the people in Mississippi really appreciate that and that we can really become part of the culture."
To date, what is your favorite thing about Oxford?
"Food. Great food. And the enthusiasm for sports. I really believe athletics has a strong hand in creating great character, tools for life, success in the business world and in your community, creating good citizens and Oxford gets that. They understand the demand it takes in athletics. They understand dealing with success and failure, at times, and how that builds character so I really have appreciated the people I've meet, the food we've been able to sit down and talk over and it's a neat town. It's got a lot of culture and I haven't stopped learning about it. What I've seen so far, I really like."
What are you most looking forward to in the next few months and this season?
"Over the summer months it's important as a coaching staff that we focus on getting better and we have to be prepared. This is the time of year where you really try and hammer down the strategic approach to the season. We really have to understand what we want to do on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Off the floor, we need to understand the rules and structure and policies that we want to have in our program so when they players get here they can be comfortable with the environment that we put them in. We want a nice umbrella around them so that they can succeed. I think it's important that our staff is getting on the same page with all the support staff we have here and with the different nuances you have in an athletic department. And that's always a nice challenge and it's fun to get organized and really feel like you are putting your best foot forward for your student-athletes. For them, we expect them to get better every day. And that's such a cliché but there is just no substitute for that. The reality is we have to learn how to work hard on a daily basis, on a level that makes us uncomfortable. We have to get out of our comfort zone, we find a way to inspire people, we have to get people want to come and watch us play because they are just so passionate about what we do and that is a process that starts this summer."
What is your style of play?
"Our philosophy in the game of basketball is it's a fast game that is played in a small area so you really have to be able to operate at a high speed and we'd like to create a pace that would be difficult for our opponent. That's easier said than done so that is something that we will work on. We believe in really defining our moments and forcing the issue and you should expect to see a defensive team that is really physical, that really plays a full court, that dives, that blocks out and that hustles. And an offensive team that shares the ball and takes great shots, which I think is very important. At this stage in my coaching, I really understand those are things we all want. The challenge as a coach is can we make it happen? I believe we have a staff that can make it happen, I believe we have players that are willing to do that and it's my job to keep everybody accountable on a daily basis."
"A big part of what we are calling the new Ole Miss right now is awareness. We need to grow together. We need our attendance to grow, we need our enthusiasm to grow. We want the Oxford community and the greater area to grow in women's basketball. It starts with us doing the right thing and we are going to make a big emphasis to grow the community right now and really put the new Ole Miss back where I think people enjoyed it which was going to Sweet 16s, making Elite Eights, having WNBA draft picks and All-Americans on your team. That doesn't happen overnight but I promise our staff and players will show up every day and we want our fans to show up every day and we are both going to grow and we are going to get bigger and bigger until we have something really special here."