Categorized | Sports

FRIDAY CONVERSATION

Editor in Chief Andrew Vogel and Voice Staff Writer Jason Weingardt sat down and spoke with Steve Moore, the menís basketball head coach.

AV: As a coach, you have a gauge for your teamís talent. At the beginning of last year, without so many key contributors, did you honestly think that you could achieve the level of success that you ultimately did?

SM: Early last year, I really believed we would improve a lot as the season went along, but I didnít know how much. I didnít know whether we would win the conference ó we improved a lot. You have to start with Ian Franks í11 ó it was incredible how much he improved. To go from JV [his first year] … to being the leading scorer on our team and first-team all conference. He gained a lot of confidence, and I feel like that was the number one key. Along with the addition of some new players that were very talented and adjusted to college basketball, in Justin Hallowellís í12 case, and to our system, in Nathan Balchís í11 case. Those two guys really made great strides.

AV: This year, the team is ranked No. 9 to start the season. The team spent most of last year unranked. Does this team have the potential to be significantly better than last yearís?

SM: The rankings are good for the College ó it gets our name out there ó recruiting and our program. It definitely heightens expectations. Our players are always going to have that, no matter what. It does motivate your opponents, thatís the negative thing. It gives coaches the ability to motivate their players and say ìLetís knock these guys off.” However, we like being ranked and having high expectations. Whether we can live up to them, I donít know.

AV: Typically, Wooster has run an up-tempo game. This year, you have a different set of personnel. Two years ago, you could run the transition game very well with James Cooper, Brandon Johnson, Devin Fulk and Marty Bidwell all on the floor ó it was pretty much a track meet. This year, you have more depth in the front court, where in past years, youíve had more depth in the backcourt. Where before youíve been built more on speed, this year youíre built more on size. Are you going to change your philosophy at all?

SM: For many years, way back, we were a half-court team. In the late 90ís and early 2000ís, we started to speed up some, even then we were still kind of a combination ó a fast break team with a good inside game. In 2003 Bryan Nelson was the National Player of the Year as a post player. After he graduated.

We still had some good post men, we had a really good inside game. Starting in 2005 and 2006, we were not as big of a team. We were faster; our best players were on the perimeter. For four straight years now, weíve been perimeter-oriented. We believe we can get back to having a better post offense this year.

JW: What is Brandonís status?

SM: He missed last year with a torn ACL, having it repaired at the end of the summer. He was playing basketball and re-tore the same ligament in the same knee. Fortunately, it happened earlier in the summer and his surgery was in mid-June. He worked really hard on his rehab, he did not get discouraged and his legs are strong.

AV: Last year, the most improvement you guys couldíve made was on the glass. You had one true post presence in Wickliffe; this year youíve got three of them. How much improvement can you guys make there?

SM: Having the post offense will allow us to put a lot of pressure on the other teamís big men, getting them in foul trouble and getting to the foul line. We want to get to the foul line more this year, and we feel like getting the ball inside will help that, and will help us get even better shots from the perimeter ó weíre going to have to develop that as time goes along. We have to be patient.

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