Well folks, we've reached the halfway point in the college football season. That can only mean a few things: Big 10 fans from [insert Big 10 school] are clamoring why their undefeated-yet-haven't-played-anyone team is the best, the weather is finally dipping below 90 degrees for a few months, Darren Rovell is still a giant chode, and it's almost time for tipoff on the hardwood.
I have all the takeaway quotes below if you want to see what the coaches and players had to say. Coach Kennedy is clearly more confident in this team than he's been since arriving in Aggieland. You can tell he's much more comfortable with the length, athleticism, and competitive drive from his current roster. Coach Kennedy was also incredibly confident sounding when he mentioned a player that would become eligible in Decemeber, that player being Tony Trocha, which is definitely good news for the post presence of the Ags going forward.
While not an Aggie coach or a player, South Carolina coach Frank Martin definitely gained a lot of Aggie fans today with his statement against any coach that wants to use Coach Kennedy's Parkinson's diagnosis for negative recruiting:
The Aggie Men's and Women's Basketball teams were represented today in Birmingham, Alabama by Billy Kennedy, Kourtney Roberson, Gary Blair, and Karla Gilbert. Videos and recap are below:
Men's Head Coach Billy Kennedy (Video Here)
- We've had a lot of turnover. We're in the process of building a base and we've got 9 guys that we've brought in over two years to build that base.
- Seeing a lot of competing in 5 on 5. We've gotta get them to compete in 1 on 0 fundamental drills and that's a process. We're a lot further along than we have been in the past.
- How many teams in the SEC can say they've been in the NCAA Tournament 6 out of the last 8 years? I came into a situation where we had to rebuild. We've had a lot of turnover in the roster.
- We're in a football league. It's taken our fans a little adjustment to realize Alabama is good at basketball. We're in the process of building rivalries. It helps that the football team has had success.
- The length and athleticism is different in the SEC. The Big 12 is a bruiser league. The SEC is more uptempo. We didn't have to recruit different because I'm from the South and have been recruiting kids from there that fit this league.
- I didn't realize we had the hole we had with some academic and talent level issues when I got the job. I am pleased with where we are at. On paper we are probably a year away from where I want to be. I got a late start since I got the job in late May/June. We won 18 games, we won a game in the SEC tournament. We have 6 new guys (this year), in December we'll have a kid (Tony Trocha) become eligible and we'll have 9 Freshman or Sophomores, 1 Senior, and 2 Juniors. The one Senior is a JUCO kid that played for us last year.
- I think they are going to make some changes (to the way the game is called defensively). Coaches can't pull referees to practice the first three weeks of the year. We're going to learn on the fly and our guys will be a little shocked. I'm going to prepare them for it.
Men's PF Kourtney Roberson (Video Here)
- Everybody has been competing in open gym, practice, weight room, everybody is competing at the highest level even without the coaches in the gym. It shows that everyone is ready to play this year.
- We have a nasty taste because we haven't been to the NCAA Tournament in two years. Myself and Blake McDonald are the only two that have been, and we're telling the young guys we've got to get there.
- Everybody was close when we were going to the tournament. We're bringing that back to the program. It's showing up on the court, off the court, and in the classrooms.
- The talent level is there. We have a lot of guards. Everyone can guard every spot.
- It was hard when Turgeon left and when Kennedy came in. I was battling a lot of injuries. He's looking up to me this year since I've been here the longest. I'm showing the younger guys what needs to be done. I have to look to score a lot and rebound this year. I have to talk on defense and show that I'm a leader.
- The new rules will help because Coach Kennedy is calling fouls on me in practice getting me used to it. Defenders can't guard me like that either so it will help.
Women's Head Coach Gary Blair (Video Here)
- A lot of the coaches in the game are frustrated athletes and not great players. I was a frustrated baseball player that couldn't hit the slider so I had to find something else to do. I love baseball. Being successful now, you have to be a fan of the game first. This will start my 28th or 29th year doing this.
- I'm not a one hit wonder. I've won championships and conference championships and had All-Americans. I want to compete at a high level and I think have something to add to the game. I'm pretty humble with what I can do and what I can't do. The other thing that's made me successful is that I hire very good. Don't ever be afraid to hire somebody smarter than you.
- Remember the penthouse and the outhouse. It's pretty close. It's just up one flight of stairs.
- The balance is coming back to being on top of Women's Hoops. I really believer there's going to be more parity at the top. We've got so many great young coaches in the SEC. The Big 12 still has Baylor and Oklahoma and some great coaches. I think that's what's needed for the game.
Women's Center Karla Gilbert (Video Here)
- Coach Blair has made us be progressively be more successful each year. The key to success is being able to adjust. Every person and every circumstance is different.
- The only difference from the Big 12 to the SEC is really just knowing we made the transition to the SEC and work our way to that title. I really enjoyed the competition.
- When the coach is out of the room, we are all able to have fun and enjoy each other as a team. We can play around, dance, sing, crack jokes. We have a sisterly bond. It's the same on the court. We're able to use that sisterly bond to positively correct it and encourage each other.
- I think you should be watching out for us. It's not trash talk. I'm just proud of my team. We've been working hard all summer and we keep stepping up day by day.