HOOVER, Ala. – The Ole Miss basketball head coaches, men’s head coach Andy Kennedy and women’s acting head coach Brett Frank, traveled to Hoover, Ala., Thursday morning to meet and talk with members of the media during the SEC’s annual basketball media day.
Kennedy enters the 2012-13 season having led Ole Miss to five 20-win seasons and five postseason berths. Frank’s 2012-13 team will be led by 2012 All-SEC Second Team honoree junior Valencia McFarland and seniors Courtney Marbra and Maggie McFerrin.
Below are quotes from both coaches. Video interview can be found by clicking on the link at the top of the page.
On Frank Martin stating you have the best team at Ole Miss you’ve ever had: “The pieces are in place for us to have a good team, when you return four starters and you have the most experienced frontline in the SEC it’s not a bad place to start. Some things have to come together for us, but it’s the deepest team that I’ve had and I’m anxious to start the journey with them.”
On the senior’s having a sense of urgency after close calls with the NCAA tournament in past years: “For us it’s about consistency, and that’s what I’m trying to preach to our guys. When you get into January and February and you have a bad weekend, then you can be on the outside looking in. If you have a bad week, then you’re out. I think this team based on the fact that we have more quality as it relates to depth, hopefully we can overcome the injury or sickness that will occur over a six-month season. The fact that we have seniors that have produced and been there done that so to say, I think we are in much better shape this year.”
Thoughts on the frontcourt with Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner returning: “It needs to be our strength, when you talk about the most experienced frontline in the SEC returning as it relates to minutes played and production that’s where you start. We need those guys to produce like all league caliber players; they’ve been on the cusp. If they can have that breakthrough year, I think our team can take the next step.”
On scoring output from Reginald Buckner, and keeping him on the floor longer during games: “A lot his minutes issues is foul trouble. I think he’s capable; my challenge to him is to be a double-double guy. Buckner is the leading returning shot blocker in the SEC; he’s a senior leader. If he doesn’t go out and lead our league in blocked shots, in my opinion he hasn’t done what he’s capable of doing. Couple that with now he can score a few more points in the post, make his free throws, and average three blocks a game. I think if he does that, our team will have a little more wiggle room than we’ve been accustomed to.”
On getting his team focused on the positives: "Our team is a resilient group. They’ve been through some challenges but I think they’ve bonded together and really believe in each other. We have a real family atmosphere right now and it’s amazing how close they’ve become over the past few weeks. They’re ready to compete and we’ll be ready to take the floor on November 9."
On the team’s emotions during the controversy: "I think they’ve experienced every emotion imaginable: from hurt, to shock and everything in between. I think they still understand that they still have a job to do. They still have a responsibility. They’ve all decided to unite and put this behind them as best they can and really focus on the things we’ve established as our goals from day one."
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