MEN’S BASKETBALL – Tony Bennett Summer Check In

Coach, when you look
back at the last three games of your season,
how do you won them, you watched them on the replay? What do you think
when you watch them? Yeah, it’s a little different
when you watch them. You’re like, man, this is close. It feels a little
more nerve wracking than when you’re in the moment. In the moment, you’re
just, as I’ve said often, you’re just kind of thinking,
all right, what’s next and processing it. But just added to how sweet
the championship was and how– just made for great
TV, and I think why people said it was such
an enjoyable tournament. And obviously for us
to win those three games in that manner
showed great resiliency from our guys, great
poise, and good fortune. How do you think the new
rule changes will affect you? Three point line a
little bit further out? Reset on the offensive rebound
for only 20 second shot. Yeah, I think a lot of guys– it’s whatever it is. It’s at the top of the key, it’s
a little more than the corners, shoot such a deep ball that
it won’t affect all of them. But there are a number of guys
that the edge of their range is the current three point
line, and they shoot their toes to that line. So it might separate
some of the shooters. When they moved it back
the first time in college, I think that for a year
or two the percentages dropped a little bit
and then they caught up. I don’t if we’ll see– I don’t know yet, actually. You know, for Ty and Kyle
it wouldn’t have mattered. I know that, but
they’re not here. Now I think they’re
keeping the lane the same. I think maybe you’ll see a
few less threes going up. I don’t know if they’re trying
to establish post-up game more. I’m not quite sure
how it will play out, but in time, I don’t think that
bit will matter range wise. But initially, it could be a
little bit of an adjustment. And then the reset
of the shot clock– as long as you’re aware
of it, that’s the thing. And so I don’t think
that’ll be a major change. This Top 100 camp has
been here for 10 years. The coaches have never been
able to be a part of it. How does that change
what you do being able to host it and be out there
when these top elite players are here this year. I don’t think it changes a
whole lot from Thursday at 2 PM to Friday at 2 PM,
now they’re going to allow coaches to just
get another evaluation. These are some fine
players that are here. And to obviously be a part
of this and observe it, you’ll watch it. But you’re going to
see coaches all over. I’ve heard there’s going
to be 300 plus coaches. It’s just one more opportunity
with the recruiting rule changes this year, this is new. So we’ll watch a lot of the
guys we’ve been recruiting, maybe you’ll see some more. It’s a short window. And then we’re on to the
new changes in the rest of the end of June and July. So again, get a few
more looks, and get to see some of your
coaching friends, and that’ll be about it. Have to imagine it was a little
different walking into practice yesterday with
all the new faces. Yeah. The group has changed
a lot, obviously, since the end of
the season, so how do you evaluate where
the program’s at? No, it’s an exciting time. I told that when I talked to
the guys when they all got here. It was first exciting, and
I was thankful to welcome the newcomers– guys we’ve been excited about
having joined the program. And then the returning
players, I just challenged them to lead well. Because it is– it’s
a different group– we lost some terrific
players, but there is an excitement and a challenge
in OK, now we start again. And the summer is a time where
their first week they’re just getting established with classes
and the lifting schedule. And then we’ll do some
skill development sessions. So it was just good
to see the guys, and you can’t beat
being in the gym. That’s the part
of it that’s good, and we’ve got a few guys
that aren’t here yet because they’re playing
for their countries in the world champs. Cody and Big Poppy,
Francisco, they’re playing for Australia
in Argentina. And then the young man
from Marquette, Sam Hauser, will be joining us in the
third session of summer school. Then we’ll have everyone
there, and that’ll be exciting. But it’s always good to be with
the coaches and the players on the court. And yeah, I actually
had to speak with one of our former
players moms, and I said, it’s different–
it was Ty’s mom. Said it’s different
not seeing Ty– Jack’s been with me for
five years, Ty– that’s just kind of that
natural progression where you’re not seeing the
guys that you’re used to seeing, and it’s, like said, just
the evolution of things. And, again, a new group is in
now, and we get some good ones. Mamadi’s decision to come back– the way he played towards
the end of the season. How much of a lift
does that give just knowing all the new pieces
you have to deal with? Right, you know there’s–
you’ve heard me say this a lot. No substitute for experience,
and Mamadi’s experience is so important. He’s a really good
player, and I’m hopeful that his getting the
opportunities to go and work out for some teams, and be
in a couple of combines, that he can use that, learn
from that, and come back and really help lead this team. Help the team have a great
year, and better his own game, so the fact that he
came back was great because he really played well
for us in the NCAA tournament, and all year. I said it at the
start of season, Mamadi was an X factor for us. And I thought he really did a
nice job, so to have him back– we’ve lost enough guys, so
it’s good to have Mamadi coming back, and again, I
think his experience will be very valuable. As he was going
through that process, are you keeping in
contact with him? Are you maybe re-recruiting him? Or are you just waiting
like everybody else is to see what he decides? What is that like
from from your– Well, it’s the new rule
where your underclassmen can sign with an agent, and
then the agent sort of takes care of them in terms
of workouts with other NBA teams, some of the combines,
and no, Mamadi and I talked a couple times,
two or three times. You exchange text messages and
our staff is in communication, but it’s pretty
full on and busy. So as I said, if
it’s used right, I think it’s really good. I didn’t quite
have a grasp of it right away, but as
I see it play out– it’s interesting with the dates,
and it may change next year, I’m not quite sure,
but it’s I think good for the players in that regard. But there are some
positives to it, and I think there’s
some challenging things to it for both the
player and the program. So we’ll see how it plays
out as the years progress, but the communication
is certainly there. But again, if it’s used right,
what invaluable experience. When he was going through it? Was I what? Sweating it out waiting to see
what he was going to decide? Not one bit. No, I just wanted what
was best for Mamadi. With all our guys, I want
them to make a sound decision for their future. And if it’s best– it’s always– to return
for him, to get his degree, to help this team to continue
to improve his, that’s good. If there’s an
opportunity for guys and they so want that
to leave and they can get a great situation,
then if that’s best then I always hope that. This program is
established because of the work of the players that
have done such a great job, and it’s time– there’s a new group with
some good existing players to build it. Every year, every October,
or whenever it is. We’re always talking
this guy got stronger, this guy worked on this. Yeah. With so many new faces,
and just the excitement, is this maybe a more exciting
offseason in a way, kind of just seeing how it
all kind of shakes out? Yeah, I think so. You know, I guess
it’s similar to when Ty, and Kyle, and De’Andre,
and all that group came in. And we the program had lost
some really quality players, so there is more newness to
it and younger guys coming in. And so there is. I think there is an excitement. There’s a challenge there. You know, coming off of
the championship there’s a whole lot of
newness to everything, but it doesn’t change. We have the formula. How we go to work. Again, my message was,
lead well to the returners, and to the whole group it was
is be really humble and work. And if you can understand that
and use it for the eight weeks that most of them
are here, some will come for the last
four weeks, that’s the best preparation for that. And bond. You know, that’s probably
what’s a little different is there’s not as much
familiarity with these guys who’re just getting to know
each other and comfortable with each other. And growing in your
relationship with them. All that stuff happens over
the course of the summer. Though, as coaches,
you’re gone a little more with the new recruiting
calendar, so it’s in and out. So the players and your support
staff are around a bit more. Does Kyle have your
backing on his decision considering he may
not get drafted? Well, who knows. We’ll see. You can’t ever say
on where guys are going to go if things change. But Kyle will always
have my backing, and as will every player
that’s ever played for me. I just want the
best for those guys. What those young men– Kyle, De’Andre Ty, Jack Salt– what they have done
for our program over the years, the
foundation they’ve built, the success
they’ve brought. It’s funny the song we used
at the celebration ceremony, it’s called “Back
Home Again,” there’s a line in it that says here’s
to those who had your back when the world didn’t understand. And we talk about that all
the time with our guys. You are part of
a family, and you have each other’s back always. So all my guys will
always have that. And I’m excited for them
because the draft stuff is one part of it for their
future professional careers, but the next part is
OK, are you ready? Are you prepared? Can you get to a good spot
to advance your career? And then there’s life
beyond basketball that they’ll always be
there form them for. How proud will
you be in New York City when you’re there
when De’Andre is a top 5, top 10 pick. You must know a lot
about the draft, Marty. I tell you, you’ve
got all these calls. You know, for sure. Like I said, I’m so
proud of all of our guys. I could go on and
on about every guy playing overseas, not playing,
but of course, De’Andre has positioned himself, if
appears, on these mock drafts in a really healthy spot. So I think it’s wonderful. Those kids walk across,
young men walk across, it’s a dream come true for them. And then the real work
starts, as you go. It’s fierce. Ask Joe and Malcolm and
Justin and all those. But it’ll be a great joy
to be there with De’Andre. I’m not sure who else
is going to be there. I don’t know if Ty
will be there, Kyle, to be there with De’Andre. I feel pretty good about seeing
him walk across and shake the commissioner’s hand.

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