NOLAN RICHARDSON BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY “Midnight Madness isn’t so much a showcase of our talent or what we are going to have. Midnight Madness is for the cans. I never will forget when I was driving and say a sign – will work for food. I thought that maybe basketball could help. “I talked to a guy at the Salvation Army and we decided we would do the canned food drive. The university and the basketball players have a chance to do something for the community. That is the whole reason behind Midnight Madness. “Allen Canning now matches every can we get. Thanksgiving is coming up and we can help people at Christmas time. That is what it is all about. I don’t want to lose that. “We will probably get out there an practice about 15 minutes. We only have 11 players that are available to play in the scrimmage anyway. I knew this had come of age, when I drove up and say a guy holding up two fingers, meaning he needed two cans. I knew then we were big time.
(Purpose of Midnight Madness)
(There has been some confusion on the status of Joe Johnson and Larry Satchell, is there anyway that can be eligible to practice?)
“That is something that I can’t touch with a 10-foot pole. These two guys are recruitable athletes. I can’t make any statements about them. “The NCAA knows me very well. I know them very well. So I don’t have time to deal with them and I hope they don’t have time to deal with me. That is the only way I can answer that.” PLAYER-BY-PLAYER EVALUATIONS
“Watching him run, I’ve never seen anybody who could run and have the stamina that he does. I was very impressed with his conditioning program and his weight program. He had dedication. He can bring something to the table. We need all of our guys to bring something.”
“Last year, he was a guy that one point we didn’t know if we were going to redshirt team. By the end of the year, he was the most improved player on our basketball team. He was probably one of the better defensive players on the basketball team. We know that T.J. had a great freshman year and we are hoping that he will continue and grow and be a solid contributor.
“He got hurt last year. He is the type of player that is a kamikaze-type basketball player. We will have a fast forward style He fits that type of situation for us. I expect a lot from Brandon. He is our junior.
“He got a chance to play some this summer, but not a whole lot. That experience was good for him. We know that he is probably one of the most gifted athletes on the basketball team. He has quickness and jumping ability. He can shoot the ball pretty good. Brandon would be the type of player with our playing scheme that would fit in perfectly with the time we can give him. “We are so thin and so short, we don’t want to make these guys spend so much time on the floor. He has a little history of a shin problem. We are hoping that will hold up for him, because the expectation is so high for him.
“Blake is a kid we caught late in the year. He was the story where you go look at somebody and he catches your eye. You keep watching and he keeps catching your eye. I don’t know if he will be a Pat Bradley per say, but he has the things I enjoyed watching him do. At 6-6 he can create his own shot. He was a great passer. He has a pretty good touch with the basketball. “He has a personality that will fit our team. Sometimes you fit people; his personality is so good. I think the world of Pat (Bradley). I think this kid is just like him. I think eventually in our system he will become a good basketball player.”
“I really believe that Jason has got to step forward. Jason has picked up some weight and we have to get some of it off of him. He is so much stronger now. He is a little man and a little bull looking guy. He didn’t look like that when he was here last year. Pat was here and some freshman come in and just bide their time. “Now he is looking around and saying I have to play. Jason has to play. He can shoot the basketball and he is going to have a green light to shoot the basketball, because he can do it. “He used to be just happy to be here, but now he has to pay to be here. I think Jason is ready to go. I’d like to get four or five pounds off of him, but we can do that.”
“I just think he can be an outstanding basketball player. He played well at the start of the season, but after Christmas I thought it took a while for him to get it going. Then going back down the stretch, he stuck it back in again. “If he can put those two stretches together it will be something. I’ve never had a guy come of the bench and make all-tournament team (Top of the Classic). Teddy has those kind of attributes. “He came here about 6-2 and he is probably a good 6-4 now. He has matured a lot. One year makes a big difference. I enjoy being around Teddy Gipson. He knows what to talk about. He is a guy that runs the floor well and attacks the basket. He can left or right on you. He has a lot of things going for him.”
“Dionisio is a hard-working Derek Hood with probably a little better jump shot. He can’t out jump Derek, but not many people could. When you start trying to pattern him after someone, Gomez is a workaholic. He is like a Derek Hood. “He has to bring a lot. He is probably the only kid on our team that sat on that bench last year and saw what kind of talent we have to go against night-in and night-out. “I guess when you stop and think about all the kids we have from a size standpoint, he is it. We have to get him ready.
“I think it is all in front of him. He is very strong. His style of play will be a little different, because he will have to speed it up even though they played up-tempo basketball. “He is not a Corliss Williamson by any means at this point. I think Corliss had more to do with his high school having to win every game where Alonzo had peopled around him. Therefore he didn’t have to do the things Corliss did. “I think in time he could remind you of Corliss. Because he is powerful, knows how to use his body and is a workaholic. Those are the kids that you can always find room improvement. That is what Lane brings to the table.
“I’ve been following him ever since he was little boy, to be honest with you. Charles played at Midland, Texas the high school coach of my oldest son Bradley and Notes at Snyder. I’ve known about him for a while. He was probably one of the best freshmen in Texas and then one of the best sophomores. “Of course has a junior he took them to the state championship. Charles’ attributes are that he can shoot the basketball. He can get on a roll and wear it out. He is not what you would call a pure shooter, but he is a good shooter. “He is tough kid. He is a Kareem Reid with speed. He can’t get to the basket like Kareem could or do the fancy things. That’s not his style. His style is to pull up and shoot it or get around you. It’s basics with him. “I really like the fact that he has a chance to grow and be a very good basketball player in our program.”
“Chris is our team captain. What an amazing story Chris Walker can tell. He walked on three years ago then got ruled ineligible because of a test score. Then he retook the test passed it became eligible for half of season. “I’m so proud because he went through all that. And now in my estimation, he is the best basketball player on our team. When you look at the guy that can do the most for us, Chris Walker is the guy. “Last year down the stretch, Chris Walker may have been the best player on the floor. He did everything. He could rebound. He was a good passer. He could score for us. He guarded. Our press was better with him in the game. What a story!
(Style of play)
“Our theme this year will be put it in fast forward. I try to explain to our guys that there are teams that play up-tempo basketball and there are teams that think they play up-tempo basketball. “If you put the game in a recorder and put it on fast forward, that is the type of basketball that we want to play. It’s a quick tempo. There will be a lot of mistakes made.
“This little basketball team here, you look at them size wise we aren’t very big. They probably remind me of the runt teams I’ve had. I have a lot of fun with these teams too. The expectation is that boy where are all his players. Some times the big players you have may not fit the little guys. “I don’t think about what we don’t have. I see what we have right here and I’ve got to go to work with it. I’m excited about that. The expectation I have is more important than the expectations of fans and media. That is what I will tell my team.
(Will lack of numbers hurt because of style of play)
“We are going to play them all. We are going to talk about it everyday. We are going to put it on fast forward. We are going to get conditioned. When you are at fast forward you are going to make some mistakes. But I don’t want to die with every pass, every turnover and every shot. “What I want to get away from is some of that expectation. Last year if Pat Bradley didn’t 18 or 20 points, we were in trouble and everybody knew what. If Derek Hood didn’t get 10 boards, we were in serious trouble. Everybody knew that. If Kareem Reid didn’t shut the guards down and have about 10 assists and 14 points, we were dead. Everybody knew that. “This team here, I don’t see anyone that we will have to do that with. We can do some things by committee. We might not have one guy that averages over five rebounds, but if we have 11 guys that average five rebounds, we have a pretty good basketball team. “I’m excited about that, because last year at this time I told my coaches that we have to set up an offense where Pat can get 15 or 20 touches. I’ve never coached that way. You can only coach with what you have. “I’m back to the other way. I don’ t care who takes the shot, just make it. Or we will get somebody else in there to try and make it.
“I’m going to have to have some patience and my assistant coaches are going to have to say some patience. I think it is going to be fun. It better be.”