At OVC Media Day, I sat down with all 12 men’s basketball coaches coaches. Here is the entirety of my interview with Jacksonville State head coach James Green.
CB: The postseason ban. What’s the mood around the program knowing the postseason isn’t an option?
JG: I think we’re so far removed from that news, until the postseason, it probably won’t enter into our minds real strongly until closer to postseason time. I think our biggest challenge is, people forget about the practice limitations. And that has a bigger effect on your team’s success than really being down from the postseason. Obviously, we’re really disappointed, because of the history of us working to get to the point to get into the tournament, and we won a game last year. So our guys that are presently there are, obviously, that was one of their goals to be able to further in the tournament. That’s a damper. We know that. But the biggest part, from my standpoint, is the lack of practice time. Right now having to take two days off, and the effect that has on us early in the year.
CB: Just how large of an impact do you think the practice restrictions are going to have on the floor? Is that going to be the difference between wins and losses?
JG: We hope it won’t, but actually today is our first day of practice. So you consider we’re probably 10 practices behind everybody. From a strategic standpoint, it’s a little bit challenging to figure out whether we need all of our out-of-bounds plays in, do you need to do press offense earlier, do you need to work on zone more earlier? It’s those type things. It could but, again, if we can survive early, and get some confidence, then I don’t think it will be as big a factor. Our guys should stay fresh.
CB: Last year you made your name with defense. You were a hard nosed defense, but struggled to score at times. I know you haven’t had a lot of time to evaluate this team yet, but do you think that team will be as good defensively or better offensively?
JG: Well, I hope we’re better defensively just in case we’re not any better offensively. *laughs* I think the one thing we could probably be better offensively at is having a better understanding of how we can score, and sticking to that even though we won’t be a great scoring team. I can pretty much promise that. But we may understand more how to get into open floor situations and get some easy baskets there. Can we get to the free throw line and come up with more points at the line? Things of that nature. I think we needed more points off of defense although I thought we were decent defensively. If we can get out in passing lanes and do some things there and maybe press a little bit more and come up with points there, I think that it will take a little pressure off of our half court offense.
CB: Who do you really want to see step up on your team? Who really needs to have a standout year for you to compete against the OVC?
JG: For us to be really competitive in the OVC, all of our guys have got to step up. *laughs* We don’t have one guy we can get on their shoulders. But obviously we need Nick Cook, a guy I thought made a lot of improvement from the beginning to the end, and Ronnie Boggs, I thought was terrific at the end of the year. Those two guys I think are really key. And of course Brian Williams has been very solid, and we can keep him getting better. Tarvin Gaines was a guy that could make baskets, and who’s a little bit shaky ankle wise right now, but if we can get him back; I think we’ll score by committee.
CB: With the divisions the way they’re set up this year, you still get long trips to Morehead and Eastern [Kentucky], but fewer long trips up to the northeast part, do you like how the divisions are set up?
JG: I think so. You could argue a couple this way or that way, but it is what it is. I think our side is pretty good right now. I think, obviously, with Murray and Austin Peay being on the other side, they’re probably the teams with the most tradition over there. If you look at our side, I think it’s balanced, I think it’s pretty solid.
Here is Green’s OVC interview also from Media Day: