Oct. 11, 2007
PRESEASON PRESS CONFERENCE With basketball practice beginning Fri., Oct. 12 at 7 pm for the Gamecocks (closed practice), Thursday Coach Odom and select players met with the media.
The following are some of Odom's quotes followed by the players quotes as well.
Head Men's Basketball Coach Dave Odom
"We do know more about our incoming freshman and our transfers and our basketball team at this time of year than we have over the course of time.
"I told our team this morning in closing that only when their pain for losing matches my pain for losing will we turn this team and this program into the direction and reach the status that it deserves. I really truly believe that. That may be the biggest problem of our team this year. We have so many new guys, that they would have trouble understanding the pain that, we that have been through last year, have felt for so long. We have to share that pain with them so that they understand exactly where we need to go.
"We do have a new team, but we do return experience."
"Devan comes in with a passion to help our program go forward and reach the heights that I have talked about.
"When you look at what was lost, you say `how can you possible replace all of that?'. We have seven newcomers. Three are transfers and four are freshmen. I have always felt as you look at any basketball team that teams play at the pace of the point guard. The point guard, in most cases, controls the tempo of the game.
"When you look at this year and you look at a Devan Downey, if I am right, that the team plays at the speed of the point guard, then I will tell the rest of the team: `You better get in gear or the ball will be shot before you get down there'.
"I believe that a lot of the speed offensively will be spurred by the way we play defense. I would expect our defense would go back to two, three, four years ago when we were trapping and pressing more. We now have speed at every spot, quickness at every spot, more size at every spot."
"I believe that Branden Conrad will be able to go in and run our team without too much difficulty and with a fair measure of effectiveness. One of the weaknesses in our basketball team last year was the inability to defend or rebound the basketball in the wings. We lost that last year and could not fill it with those that we had.:
"Brandis Raley-Ross started well last year, and like most freshman do, they get to the SEC season and it's a little more than they thought. He suffered in the SEC season. He has worked hard in the off-season and is a much better player. He is going to demand some time because of his play in practice. That is good because now we don't have to leave Zam Fredrick out there for 38 minutes either."
"You talk about Dominique Archie, I think clearly he is our top returnee from last year. I think he had a fantastic freshman season. He is our leading returning rebounder. Is he a fixture in the starting line up? I think he probably is. I don't mind telling you that I will make every effort I can to move him to the perimeter 70 or 75 percent of the team. I think he is the most experienced post player we have. I know he is a good defender and he will work hard. He is one of our best two or three leaders on the team. He has grown up as a person and a basketball player. I am very proud of him. He is easily our best athlete. I think he is the best open shooter we have on our team."
"Mitchell Carter's freshman season was a loss. Since last year, I spent more time with him than any other player on our team, trying to help him move his game forward. I told him: `you are the most drilled player in the country. You've gone through every drill there is. Now it's time to play. You've got to play.'"
"To put the entire load of responsibility on those three guys (transfers) because they are good and experienced is not necessary. I heard a coach I respect say several years ago `in basketball, if a player couldn't contribute as a freshman, didn't start as a sophomore, then he wouldn't be much good to you as a junior or a senior.' I was thinking about that this past weekend. We have four freshmen on our basketball team. Three of which I think fall into that category: Sam, Mike and Austin. Trevor is our fourth freshmen and he is very good, but he is faced with a different obstacle or two.
"We have three freshmen who are athletically talented enough to play at a high level in the SEC and win. We have three freshmen that are not afraid at this point. They are not afraid to win and they are not afraid to lose. They will lie it out there every single day. They have been well coached in high school and they come inn with the passion to succeed at the University. I expect them to play regularly, and possibly even start."
"Our season will be determined by how we do in the SEC. One of my goals this year is to improve our SEC record. A good avenue to getting toward that improvement is how we play at home. Last year we did not play well at home. We must play much better, much more confidently, at home. We must do that. It will be a big emphasis to get that done."
Men's Basketball Players Dominique Archie "I am very excited for this team this year. They might be young, but they all work hard. They are not afraid of anybody. Since they have been here, they have all stepped up to their level of competition. The level of excitement is really high. Last year we had some people who didn't believe we could do well. This year, everyone really thinks that we can go far."
"The freshmen have shown some signs of greatness. They all play very well. Every single one of them has different strengths and weaknesses, but I think everyone of them can come in and contribute to the team."
Zam Fredrick "Right now I'm real excited to play. It's a new team all the way. Last year they did what they did had a few injuries that held us back a bit. This year we have a lot of bodies. Everybody is hungry
"We just want to win. We won some games in the past, but I think everyone wants to get to the NCAA Tournament. We've talked about competing in the SEC and hopefully get first or second."
(on his father, Zam Fredrick, who led the nation in scoring during his Gamecock career): "My father was a good player when he played here. I want to leave my own mark. I want to be known as my own guy with my own name. Talk about what he did and talk about what I did, not about us together. We're a different person."
Devan Downey "I think we have so much more talent. We are so deep this year. This year with us being so deep, somebody can get that five or six minute breather.
"The team, everybody has the same goal: we want to get to the NCAA Tournament. We owe it to the fans and us. We have been working hard. Our number one goal is to get there. When we get there, we'll worry about other things."
On my role: "I think leadership and putting confidence in my guys and showing them that I believe in them. We didn't encourage each other last year too much. I am going to be that guy, when you're down I will pick you up. I want to show my teammates I believe in them and care for them.
"I think the point guard should be the man in control. You call the plays and you have to see everything for your teammates. He is like the quarterback. You have to see everything and know where everyone is supposed to be
"SEC is very tough. I have told the guys, we really have to be ready to play. The guys are so big and strong. Every body is good. Every one can beat anyone on a given night. You have to come to play every night.
Dwayne Day "We have more bodies and our deeper in every position. That is what we didn't have last year. We probably had only 8 guys who could step on the court and play, this year we have 15.
"It's a big deal when guys go out and go as hard as they can and then to be able to get a breather. It is excellent. It is making everybody better. Everyone is competing.
"The team this year we are not going to accept losing as well as we did last year. This year it's going to be a lot of anger going around if we lose games.
"I want to become a leader. I have to work on my future right now. Stay positive, keep God first and do what I have to do each day. I am taking every day as a blessing. I come out and play hard. I want my teammates to come out and show what they have."
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