Oct. 24, 2017
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss men's basketball season inched a little bit closer on Monday, as head coach Doc Sadler and junior guards Kevin Holland and Cortez Edwards spoke with the media before taking a team photo on the court.
Below are quotes from Sadler:
"I feel like we are a little bit ahead because of our administration and the opportunity that the Hardwood Club gave us this summer to go on the foreign trip [Bahamas in August] that also allowed us to have 10 extra days of practice. I think we benefited because of so many guys that have not gotten to play had a chance to get some minutes with not only their teammates but also with the coaching staff. After those 10 days advanced us this fall we are kind of in that grind and we have 14 more days of practice and we have a scrimmage this upcoming Sunday and that will give us a better idea of what exactly we are going to be doing. Our depth is not what we'd like for it to be but our guard play is definitely more experienced than we have since I have been here because of Cortez Edwards
, D'Angelo Richardson
, and Kevin Holland getting to play a lot minutes last year due to the extended minutes from last year. We have added two transfers that sat out last year Tyree Griffin
and Dominic Magee
... Eddie is a guy that is in his fourth year but really only his second year because of all the injuries. We are going to have to play those two guys in one spot because neither one is in good enough shape to play together. So, we are going to be running small, especially early.
We moved Anfernee Hampton and LaDavius Draine to that mismatch position and they have picked up on it and with that has come better speed and I am really pleased with it."
On how the "mismatch" position compares to where since-graduated Quinton Campbell played
"Yes, Quinton last year and the year before that was Kourtlin Jackson, it is kind of the way basketball has gone with the mismatch position. It is going to change things defensively and rebounding is going to take a hit but offensively the ball moves a lot better when you have that position in the game. Kevin Holland and Cortez Edwards will get a lot of time at that hybrid spot."
On possible beneficial mismatches with a smaller lineup in the post
"Yes, on the offensive end you are playing more skilled players than sized players and the way we want to get up and down the court, it is a fourth guy that can handle the ball efficiently. It resembles the (Golden State) Warriors' (Draymond) Green. Basketball has gone to a smaller, more skilled player."
On the four position
"It is to get the ball moving and he is going to be the guy that trails so the offense can be faster and score in transition better. With Eddie Davis III and Tim Rowe playing, it will be a little slower but with that comes better rebounding. I believe it is going to help us score the ball better and it is going to let us score easier and we just have to play physically enough to play on the other end. Having given up offensive rebounding, we have to hope our transition baskets will be more efficient and better."
On junior guard Anfernee "Penny" Hampton, who redshirted last season
"Penny can really shoot the basketball. He is a guy, even with his size is a good rebounder. Probably a better offensive rebounder than he is defensive rebounder. With ball screens, like last year when [since-graduated] Quinton Campbell's numbers went up four or five points a game, Penny is a better ball shooter than Quinton but (Penny) isn't as skilled as Quinton, but Penny isn't quite there yet and can be a great defender because of his length and athleticism and isn't afraid to get hit.
On transfers Tyree Griffin and Dominic Magee, who both sat out last season
"When they are sitting out, they are probably a lot better than they are when they are playing because you don't pay any attention to them. Tyree Griffin
is the only player in the room that has participated in NCAA tournament play and it is different and it doesn't just happen. With his experience, he can share that with the team and he can be a leader more so than Dominic Magee
. Dom isn't asked of to be that type of leader because he has never done it before but I will say this about him "he is as good of an offensive scorer that I have coached in a long, long time, I mean from anywhere. He can just go get you a basket which is better than any play you can draw up. He hasn't played in two, really three years, and he is trying to get caught up in 16 practices that he has missed in three years. He can really score and there is nothing like sitting there and not having scored in three or four minutes and he can go get a basket. He has to improve most on his conditioning and has a long way to go to reach that elite level of conditioning."
On junior transfer guard Dominic Magee
"I definitely think that offensively, he's as good a player as I've coached in a long time. He can get you 20 points a game. Something as small as being left-handed really helps him. Guys don't defend that every day usually, so that definitely helps him. The other thing is his mentality. Chip Armelin and Kourtlin Jackson were too, and with Quinton Campbell you had to prod to be a little selfish. We need Dom to score, so he has to be selfish and go get some baskets."
On the positives of the past few years' dealing with inherited NCAA sanctions
"I think more than anything, not so much me, because as coaches you understand these deals and going through them. You understand more than anyone else what is going on. It's difficult. I think it's probably harder on players because they've never seen it and want to play. We have a lot of dudes who as freshmen or sophomores had to play when they weren't ready at all. They probably didn't realize those benefits at the time, but they do now. Really nothing has happened to make me think it's been any harder or easier. The good news is it's almost over. It's going in that right direction because we have some guys who deserve to be playing now when they're playing. Before we had guys who weren't ready to play. I'm talking about guys like Cortez Edwards, Kevin Holland, Tim Rowe and Eddie Davis III. They've been thrown in. Now, you have hope they will benefit from it."
On how set the starting lineup is at this point
"Four spots. Still could change from game-to-game depending on who you're playing. We will go with a small lineup. Depending on right now, four positions right now are pretty solid and the top six is really solid. Depending on who you're playing, you might switch it out a bit, not necessarily by performance but by opponent."
On how the defensive outlook is shaping up
"I've always been a man-to-man coach, and we will continue to be that. We still don't have the depth to play full-court. This team would be a real good full-court team, but we would be worn out. You can only play some guys 29-31 minutes, but we need them to play 34-36. We will probably play some zone, more than we've ever played, and maybe some gimmick stuff with box ones and triangle twos. The good thing is the guards for the most part have real good basketball IQ. To do that, you really need to play off each other and go make plays. For the most part, our guards can do that."
On the schedule
"The schedule is pretty good. You're looking at not just Michigan, but Troy who has four returners off an NCAA tournament team. South Alabama has their best team they've ever had. Florida State and Mississippi State in Jackson, and the South Dakota tournament which will be good for us. It's a competitive schedule. That's the way it is, and I like it. The conference schedule, you have five or six teams that everybody's talking about to fill in the top. Middle Tennessee will be one of the top teams and Old Dominion returns four starters. UTEP is the same and they have a big player in Matt Willms. As I've said all along, when you have as big a league as we've got, your schedule can really determine how your season goes. We play all the best teams in the league twice. You can have a real good team, but you slip up and let someone beat you at home, it can cost you. This league will be more balanced. You'll see teams toward the bottom beat the top two."
Tickets for the upcoming season can be purchased by visiting SouthernMissTickets.com, calling 1-800-844-TICK, or visiting the Pat Ferlise Center on campus during normal business hours.