Nov. 15, 2012
By Dustin Carlisle
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (1-0) will host NAIA Benedictine-Springfield University (0-5) in the home opener at SIU Arena on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
Head coach Barry Hinson met with the media on Thursday to talk about the game with Benedictine and the recently announced recruiting class.
Q: "How has your team handled prosperity?"
"Well, we won't know that until Saturday night. Do you realize that Saturday night's game, which is only our second game, will be the last game we're favored in for the rest of the season? I've never had a team like that. So, after Saturday night's game, were going to be the underdog in every game we play from that time on and that's an unusual situation to be in. I don't know how we're going to handle the roller coaster situation until we've actually gone there, and I'm telling you I am not Nostradamus, but it's coming. I told my staff this morning the thought for today's practice is to practice like we just got beat, because if we even as a staff or even as fans take anything for granted, we're really going to set ourselves up for disappointment. So, there is going to be a burning desire for us to get better."
Q: "How well have they practiced this week?"
"Well, we have only practiced once. We got back Tuesday. We came back immediately after the game so we could go to class and we gave them the day off because of NCAA rules and also for academic reasons. We had a decent practice yesterday. Not great, but it was a teaching practice and a stop and go type of practice. We are all ADD, including the head coach, so it's hard to stop and go, but it was a decent practice. Not anything I would put on the marquee board."
Q: "What does getting Dantiel (Daniels) back mean for your team?"
"I think he makes us better as a team. He is going to drive us nuts defensively, because he's got nowhere near the athleticism or the east-west quickness that he needs right now. He could not guard anybody on the floor, because he's just not ready to put tension on that groin. At the same time though, just having him down on the low post and being an offensive threat helps us, and I'll tell you right now, we are not going to be nervous when he is at the free throw line. I think you're going to be amazed at how much this young man has improved. We've worked with him a tremendous amount. I've told him you're going to shoot air balls, you're going to miss free throws, but we are not going to have that young man going to the free throw line and everybody holding their breath, and when he makes one cheering, because it's not fair to him to put pressure on himself as well. Believe me, he's got a mental block right now about that right now, and I think we've made major strides. So, I think people are going to be impressed with the improvement he has made on the free throw line."
"You know what, I don't know. I really don't. I think what we will do is play him off and on, but we can't let him sit very long. If we do, we risk the injury with cold. So we have to make sure when he's out of the game, we put him right on the bike, and that's kind of a problem on the road. We have to make sure we can have a bike on the road like we did at New Orleans. We would have played him at New Orleans if we felt like we actually had to have him, but when it comes to our players, I am extremely cautious when it comes to their health."
Q: "How important is it for you to get off to a good start Saturday?"
"I think it's always important to get off to a good start, but it's not as prevalent as what you have to do on the road, because when you're on the road, you're by yourself. When you're playing at home, you got a crowd here that if you don't get jump-started, believe me, I have only been here for two games, but I know our crowd will jump start us if we don't get started. I'm curious to see what kind of crowd we have. I don't think we will have quite the crowd I would like to have, but I think when we come back after Thanksgiving break when we play Fresno State, I will be extremely disappointed if this place (SIU Arena) isn't three quarters full."
Q: "How much have you worked with them on conditioning this week?"
"You know what, conditioning for us is practicing. I don't like blowing my whistle and have guys run up and down. I can do that. I want those guys running up and down with a ball in their hand passing and guarding at the same time. I think that's how you get into shape. You practice and play to get into shape. Conditioning has not been a factor for us with our team as a whole. Its only been a factor for the guys returning from injuries. It will take Dantiel two weeks. I don't think Dantiel will be able to play more than a three-minute stretch. Now, depends on what happens if there is a foul, dead ball, and timeouts then the three minutes can be stretched out to six minutes.
Q: "What do you have to do to cut down on turnovers?"
"In our defense, two of the factors for our turnovers were guys who have never played a college basketball game and one that had not played in a year and a half. I think that had a whole lot to do with it. You take those scenarios out and we're pretty level about where we were. That was also a game that was really a wild game. If you remember right, there was not one dead ball. I tell you what, that's really hard to throw a bunch of young guys in right off the first game and have to go through that, but to do that and still win by 17. The most impressive stat that we had is we won by 17 points on the road with 28 turnovers. That's an unbelievable stat. That's the most turnovers I have had on any of my teams in 32 years."
Q: "Do you expect Benedictine to press the whole game?"
"They have shown the press and they've shown the press trap. Hopefully we will be better prepared than what we were at New Orleans."
Q: "Can you share a little bit about your recruiting class of 2013?"
"We ended up signing five young men. I am very excited about that. I think when you sign a recruiting class what you want to do is you want to get a blend. You want to get a blend that helps you not only as basketball, but also off the floor academically. We felt like we helped that. We've got two junior college players and three high school players. This is one of the things I told our staff when I first got here. We want to recruit players who now how to win and who have come out of programs where they've won. Two guys at Three Rivers Community College that in my opinion has the greatest junior college coach of all time -- Mike Balogun from Western Hills California that plays for one of my very best friends who I went with at Oklahoma State. Hunter Gibson also out of Three Rivers Community College who played at Putnam City High School Oklahoma, which is also a place that has won state championships over and over. Jordan Martin comes from the St. Louis area at Hazelwood Central High School and comes from a winning program there from a well-coached school. KC Goodwin is out of Memphis, Tennessee that is playing on a nationally ranked really good team and also plays for another good high school coach. Then Sean O'Brien out of Mundelein High School up in the Chicago area that has a winning program. When I throw out all of those intangibles I think that's a pretty good blend. Now, are they the answers to all of our questions? Absolutely not. The three freshmen coming in will have to get used to our system. The two junior college players are going to have to get used to our system. They're going to have to buy in on what we do and when we get those guys around here in June, it will certainly help us."
Q: "How does that add up by adding five players with only three seniors?"
"I know how you guys work. This is all I'm going to tell you. As a fan and as the media you're going to have to trust me that I know what we're doing. I was hired to turn this program around and we're going to do that the right way. Not only did we sign players for 2012 to 2013, we are also thinking about further than that for the 2013 to 2014, 2014 to 2015, and the 2015 to 2016 range. If you let me worry about the math and you guys cover the guys we sign, you, me, and the fans are going to get along really well."
Q: "Who is the best offensive player out of the five recruits?"
"I don't know that. I hope they're all good offensive players. I mean we certainly signed guys that have good offensive skill sets, but I don't want to over-hype these guys. I have never seen a recruiting release that says we signed an average class. I don't want to put any expectations on these players, that are unfair to those guys. We evaluated them. We evaluated them very hard and watched them play many times. We watched them on film and we made phone calls to high school coaches. We talked to principals, counselors, and advisers. We talked to administrators. We do our background check on every one of these young men, but you never know. You jut never know, but I like our recruiting class. I really do and I think they are going to make us better. I don't think you have a recruiting class where you just go in and just say `well we signed a bunch of guys, but I don't know if that will make us better or not.' I don't want to sign anybody that doesn't make us better."
Q: "Is it important for you to sign somebody from Illinois?"
"It's real important for me personally, because I want to sign somebody from Illinois, I want to sign somebody from the Oklahoma area, and I want to sign somebody from the St. Louis area. I really want to sign somebody out of Memphis, I want to sign out of Nashville, I want to sign somebody out Indianapolis, and I want to sign somebody out of eastern Kentucky. I think that's important to us."
Q: "What's kind of position are you looking for next year for 2013 and 2014?"
"Well, I think when you see our need right now, we need perimeter players that can shoot and we need big guys. I didn't think we would have to recruit any of our big guys, but because of what's happened with our injuries, we just thought we've got to add more depth to our rotation at the pivot and we think we are going to have to do that."