USC Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes
Oct. 11, 2005
On being at USC-
I am excited to be getting back to practice. It has been about 18 months since I had a team. We inherited a group of four players from a last place team in our conference. Our hope is that they benefited from the year of experience they gained.
What he's done since taking the job -
I got the job and started recruiting. You have to have at least 10 players to practice. We had 36 evaluation days available and we used them all. I don't know how we'll do and I don't know that much about our team yet. I know to match the success of the football program we would have to put in 23-hour days. That's the standards we've set and I welcome the challenge.
I'm so sick of eating Quarter Pounders with cheese and running airport to airport. I was gone 71 of the first 77 days on the job (recruiting) gone all of July and most of September and October recruiting. Things are falling into place now.
On his plans -
The blueprint we've established for this program is what Billy Donovan did at Florida. He won 12 games his first year, we hope to do more than that the first year. I'm not going to sell this program short. If you are not talking to the freshman and sophomores now, your're falling behind. We're trying to think big picture. One thing that is constant is that they (our recruits) have all won big where they were. We'd like to put together a team where they don't know how to lose.
On the Galen Center (opening for next season) -
My shoes are covered in that dirt. We take all the recruits over there and paint the picture. What the arena does, I would say is equals the playing field, but it does more than that. I think this is going to be special. They wanted it to be the Taj Mahal of arenas and have described it as the best arena west of the Mississippi and I would say that is accurate.
You talk to former Trojan coach Bob Boyd? -
My mentor was coach (Don) Haskins. When I got my first job, Haskins told me not to hire slick 'salesman-types,' but people that know how to coach and Bob Boyd was one of those. He had just stepped down and I hired his coaches (at Idaho). I value his views of the game and guidance and direction. He tells me what he thinks.
On being known for having good defensive teams -
Anybody in the Top 20 has to have a mixture, but certainly to win you have to defend. Our team finished last in points allowed in the conference last year and we have to turn that around. We want to fundamentally improve and you (have to play defense), but you have to score in this league to win. We want to play up-tempo, play smart defense and play hard. I think people will respond to teams who play hard and give it their all. Our players haven't missed one class date yet, and we are very proud of that, too. This team will win it's share of games this year.
On Carroll's success in college, compared to NFL (maybe the same for him) -
I don't know about that. If Pete had the best in the NFL, he would have won there. I can't speak to the past, but I'm excited to be here. In the NBA, you don't really practice much. I'm really excited to get on the floor. That was a great education for me...no regrets. I knew if it didn't work out well, I could return to the college level and this is a great place to return to.
On the New Orleans tragedy -
I have not been into the city of New Orleans. I've been as close as Slidell and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I was with my mother for 11 days as she fell and broke her hip. The devastation is there for everyone to see. A lot of my former players from the University of New Orleans are now 32-36 years old now and a lot have lost jobs, homes and they all have called. We are trying to help them out. People can't forget what they are going through. (New Orleans) is an amazing city with its food and architecture and culture. The biggest thing they may face now is the depression.
Did you feel there was a lot of pressure in taking this job with the timing and everything -
(It) put an enormous amount of pressure on me, but at the same time I felt for Jim Saia (last year's interim coach). He was thinking long term with everything he did. We are going to benefit from his starting Nick and Gabe. When we began recruiting 119 of the top 120 players in California were taken as were five of the top six rated juniors. We made four long term and two short term (commitments) and said come in and prove it to us. I think we've done fine, given where it was. We really must be looking toward building a national championship team. I see the vision of what they are trying to do here.
GABE PRUITT -
Difference with the team compared to last year's -
As you know the team is very young. We have chemistry and are excited to play again. We are close. The atmosphere is better and we spend a lot of time together (as a team). Last year is behind us and we are ready for a fresh start. Off the court we didn't spend a lot of time together, the seniors did their own thing and the freshmen and sophomores did their own thing. Even after practice (now) in the dorms, we do things together.
On Coach Floyd -
All the talk has been positive. We are all getting excited to play, want to get started. We have heard a lot about defense. I am excited to get started . It is a fresh start, a new season.
What it is like for Nick Young and you this second season? -
A lot better. We have a year under our belts and have been in the weight room a lot this summer. Also, our confidence is a lot higher. We know what it is like to play in the Pac-10 now. This year is completely different from last year.
On taking on a new role as a sophomore -
A couple of players have come up and asked for advice. They do look to us as leaders and we will try and do our best.
On having a losing record his first season -
It is a lot different, I'm not used to losing. My whole high school career we lost six games. I don't regret my decision (to come to USC). I always wanted to come here. That was last year. I'll do what I can to help turn the program around.