â€œItâ€™s been a good summer so far. Iâ€™m excited about whatâ€™s going to happen in the fall and I hope our guys are going to do well. Iâ€™m really excited about their enthusiasm and their work. Iâ€™m excited about the upcoming year.â€ How different is this summer than last summer?
â€œThe players have a greater sense of comfort because there is not as much that is unknown.
Theyâ€™ve developed relationships with other players and I think they know more of what to expect.â€
You said that Patrick (Patterson) is farther along than you expected. Can you tell us some of the things that he has been doing?
â€œHeâ€™s working hard. He had surgery and he was going to be in a cast for six weeks and a boot for six weeks. They took x-rays after they took off the cast and they said the healing was farther along than expected. So, they put him in the boot and he is going in for another x-ray tomorrow. Heâ€™s been doing a lot rehab in the pool on campus in the underwater treadmill. Itâ€™s a great rehabilitation device. Itâ€™s probably helped him with conditioning and I think it may help him return a little quicker.
Heâ€™s been doing his rehab on the treadmill, but he hasnâ€™t been able to return to the court yet. I think that the treadmill will help him return to the court in about three or four weeks. It looks like things are way ahead of schedule as far as recovery.â€
Who do you think is going to be your on-court leader next year?
â€œOur on-court leader is probably going to be Patrick Patterson. Heâ€™s not going to initiate the offense unless he had a recovery that would allow him to be a lead guard; and that would be okay. Heâ€™s been our off court leader. His attitude is fantastic. So far I have not been a part of a group, as a whole, that is as determined and eager. Iâ€™m not making any predictions for the NCAA tournament, but I really do like whatâ€™s going on. As far as who is going to play the point guard position for us, that is yet to be determined. I believe that we have many options, but as far as saying, â€˜this is going to be our point guardâ€™, is undetermined. We have a lot of inexperience right now.â€
Any thought at playing Meeks at point guard?
â€œAs he progresses in his rehab, heâ€™s done well. They say the soreness is subsiding and getting better on a daily basis. I think that he does have some of those leadership qualities. Heâ€™s a fairly experienced guy just not at that particular position, but if thatâ€™s what we need to do, I think heâ€™s a candidate to do that.â€
You mentioned Patrickâ€™s off-court recovery. How central is he to what you plan on doing in the upcoming season?
â€œHeâ€™s very important and weâ€™re going to throw it in their a lot. Weâ€™re going to play off him a lot. I think that the post is an area where our team is going to be vastly improved. I think that weâ€™re going to be able to feed the post a lot better a lot earlier in the year. We obviously know that thatâ€™s where our bread is going to be buttered. Heâ€™ll get a lot of touches a game. Last year, the least amount of times that the post players ever touched the ball in a game was 84 times. The most they ever touched it was 125. In Patrickâ€™s last five games, he touched the ball an average of 68 times. I would assume those numbers will be fairly consistent next year.â€
I know you had an All-American player at Texas A & M. Are you going to find that kind of leadership out of Patterson not just on the court, but off the court as well?
â€œHeâ€™s a very special person. Heâ€™s a very determined basketball player. Heâ€™s determined in
everything he does. His reaction, response, and the way he is going about his rehab is great. He
might have actually lost weight during his rehab. Thatâ€™s one of the things a player has to concern themselves with is inactivity and gaining weight from it. His conditioning for not being able to do anything for a long period of time is fantastic. Heâ€™s working and his body looks great. Heâ€™s a very determined guy. Everyone knows it and everyone can see it. Heâ€™s been talking a lot with his teammates, heâ€™s played a great recruiter, and he is a great ambassador for the university, but to answer your question, heâ€™s responded to such a great responsibility so early in his career. Heâ€™s never let us down on anything.â€
There was some talk last year about Patrick possibly playing forward, but right now it
sounds like you would rather continue to feed him in the low post.
â€œIn those last five games, he got as many touches in the high post as he did in the low post. I think that this year we will probably be able to utilize him more in the high post because I think Perry Stevenson has really emerged. I thought that he had a really good season last year and I think that he has taken another step forward this spring and summer. He feels more confident and comfortable that he can be a really good player at this level and then have a great future after he gets done here. I think A.J. (Stewart) has really improved and heâ€™s maturing quite a bit. Jared (Carter) has had a good summer so far and a good trip over to Africa. Iâ€™m really excited about (Josh) Harrelson and what heâ€™s going to do. So, I think weâ€™re going to have an infinitely higher amount of options and flexibility than weâ€™ve had in the past; but weâ€™re not going to say that Patrick is a prototype power forward and let him play on the perimeter. Thatâ€™s just not going to happen, but he is going to be a versatile player. Youâ€™ll see him probably have a great deal more of success in the high post area as far as scoring.â€
Is Mark Coury coming back to play?
â€œAt the end of the year, he asked if he could — he wasnâ€™t on scholarship — and he asked if I would mind if he got a release to five or six different schools so that he could seek a scholarship and I said, â€˜Absolutely.â€™ The way I look at it, I want Mark back, and he hasnâ€™t decided if heâ€™s going to come back. He was an important part of our team last year, but if I canâ€™t give him a scholarship, or if I choose not to give him a scholarship, and he can get a scholarship somewhere else to pay for his school, I understand that totally. Heâ€™s in the midst of talking to some people.â€