June 20, 2012
By Tyler Wooten
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University men's basketball head coach Barry Hinson met with the media prior to Wednesday's individual workouts at the SIU Rec Center.
Q: "Talk about how these new rules for the summer work and how it helps you out."
"We wanted a Band-Aid when we first got here, and the NCAA actually supplied it for us. It's a great opportunity for us because it gives us a chance to see guys in a mode that we normally don't get to see in during the summer time. The NCAA gets so much criticism, but this is one of the moments where the NCAA ought to have a slap on the back because they did the right thing. Supervised workouts, you can go twice a week or three times a week, however you want it. We chose to go two one-hour segments a week. The other six hours will basically be spent in the weight room with strength and conditioning."
Q: "Is strength and conditioning a point of emphasis here at the start?"
"We've had a lot of points and a lot of emphasis to do since I've been here, but certainly, to me, like I told a local radio station today, it's like building a house. We're literally on the ground floor and we gotta get the foundation set. I told our guys we got 54 days to change our culture. I think this was an opportunity for us to use the summer time as best as we can to establish what we want to do and what we feel like is the mainstay or staple of our program right now going into the fall."
Q: "What has the team reaction been? It seems like it may have been a culture shock to some of them."
"It's been an eye-opening experience for about 11 guys. It was for 12 guys, but one guys' eyes were wide-open so much that he decided to quit. It's been, I don't want to call it shock-and-awe, I just think it's a new way of doing things. Hopefully, this is something that will become second-hand. We're the only species that can't figure out how to do something naturally , it just doesn't come that way, so we're trying to create a habit that we can."
"No, we've made no strides in shooting whatsoever. We've had two workouts and the biggest thing for us is to develop an offensive skill-set that is conducive for us to play, inside and out. It's gonna take us a lot of time. Probably the best analogy I can give you is that we're going back to grade school. We're in our first grade primer, we're gonna teach our guys how to shoot, what to do, and we're gonna change some things. You'll hear me yell out certain things today that will just be constant, over and over, because we're not a very good shooting basketball team. We gotta change that."
Q: "Are the incoming freshmen already here?"
"Incoming freshmen are here. They've done a good job and all of our guys have done a good job. Our attitude has been great, the effort's been good, you'll be able to judge that today. We're really enjoying it."
Q: "Do you think Desmar (Jackson) can help you scoring-wise?"
"No question he can help us. By what I can see through our individual workouts, he's got a chance to be one of our better offensive players."
Q: "What does the departure of Harry Whitt mean for the depth of the frontcourt?"
"It hurts our depth, it hurts us dramatically depth-wise, so now we have three guys. So now, with three big guys, you've got sickness, injury, suspension, or whatever can creep in and you're down to two or one. Certainly it causes us some issues, but it is what it is, we gotta deal with it."
Q: "With this happening now, does this change any offensive or defensive philosophies since you are going to be thin on the front court?"
"I don't think I'm to the stage now where we want to change what we do offensively or defensively. I don't think we're quite there, we're not in a panic mode yet. Certainly we can't have any more defections and we can't have anybody else ineligible or leave. Certainly that would be a dramatic hit to us. But at the same time, if it happens it happens. We'll figure out a way to deal with it. Everyone always wants to know how you're going to play offensively and defensively, but this is my standard answer: we're gonna play whatever we can do to win the ball game. Whatever best we can do defensively, whatever we have to do offensively, that's what we're gonna try to do."
Q: "What are you going to do with the open roster spots now? Are you actively recruiting?"
"You're always recruiting, always. Will we sign someone else? It's a great possibility. Will we sign someone just to fill a roster spot? Absolutely not. If we sign somebody, we feel like that person or persons will be able to help us in the future. We're not just gonna sign to put people in a spot."
Q: "Are you looking for any walk-ons?"
"Right now we are really looking at the walk-on. Never said that before. I've been in coaching for 31 years. I don't think I've ever actively said, 'We are really looking at walk-ons.' We've always had tryouts in October after the season starts, but I think this year we'll have walk-on tryouts most likely within the first two weeks of school. We've got to get somebody that can come in, and there is no doubt in my mind whomever we decide to get with a walk-on, I can see them making a contribution, whether it be now or in the future, but I can see it happening."
Q: "Did you have any idea how bad the situation was here?"
"They say when you buy a house you're supposed to have full disclosure. Did that answer that question? I've been asked that question a lot, and this is the only way I know how to answer it: I don't know about anything that happened in the past, I really don't know how to handle what happened in the past. The only thing I know how to handle is what we do each and every day. And certainly there's been a period of time, and even Sunday was a period of time, something has walked into my office or there's been an announcement or there's something happened that we've had to deal with. But what're you gonna do? You gonna take your ball and go home? We're not like that. It is what it is, we'll handle it, and this is what I tell people all the time: whatever we're gonna do, we'll do the right thing. And even though we have great challenges here, whether they be on the court or off the court, we're certainly gonna handle them."
Q: "What types of relationships are you building with recruiting? How are you reassuring recruits and parents in the face of past negativity?"
"I think this is how you handle recruiting: you have to touch on the tradition of this program. This program went to seven-straight NCAA tournaments. This program went to two Sweet 16's literally a few years ago. I think you've got to talk about that. And everywhere I go, everybody is still excited about Saluki Basketball. We have what we call Saluki Nation, and we certainly want to sell that. People in this local area love basketball. They not only love it, but they know it. I know that because I thought I hired four assistants, but I think I have 4,000 assistant coaches. Going to all these caravans and socials, I've got a lot of assistant coaches. I know people love basketball in this area, and that's what we're trying to sell right now. We have a lot of roadblocks and challenges right now, but Coach (Dean) Smith taught me a long time ago at North Carolina: accentuate the positive. That's what we're gonna do."
Q: "What offense gives you the best chance for success?"
"We're gonna play offense like we did at Kansas. We won't change what we do, we won't change in any way, shape or form. We may put guys in different positions, but we will play offense exactly how we played at Kansas."
Q: "The NCAA's APR report came out today: do you anticipate any penalties this year?"
"I hope not. That is certainly on our radar screen. The APR report that comes out today will not be positive, but at the same time the things that we're doing right now are to remedy that. I hope that we have positive news come out later, but we need summer school now in order for those positive things to be made."
Q: "Now that you've been here a few months, what's your perception of this area and how they've accepted you?"
"This is what I can say, and I'll look right into the camera and say it: I'm from southern Illinois. I live in Carbondale, Illinois, and I don't mind telling you guys that I'm really happy about that. So the perception is now, when you see me or you see people in our community, you're talking about us. I don't know any other way to do it. I just met with a group full of high school coaches today and I just said, 'I'm one of you.' I'm no longer an outsider, this is where I live. I got the house to prove it, matter of fact I got a couple bills to prove it, too. I'm from Carbondale, Illinois. I'm a southern Illinoisan, and I can't tell you how happy I am to make that statement."
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