bleedCrimson.net will be interviewing Aggie men's head basketball coach Marvin Menzies throughout the 2008/2009 season as the Aggies take aim at their third consecutive WAC championship. This week talked with Coach Menzies about the road victory at Hawai'i, the first round matchup and team preparation for playing a noon game.
bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the game against Hawai'i this past Saturday. I thought you generated about as much momentum as you possibly could out of that game heading into the WAC tournament this week.
Marvin Menzies: Yeah, I would agree. We went to the island and basically had a plan in place to prepare the guys in the way of a business trip in terms of understanding exactly what we were there to achieve and having a purpose to the schedule that was conducive to that and it went well. Obviously we got the result we wanted and hopefully that'll propel us into the type of play we need to have in order to be competitive and win on Thursday.
bc.net: You had talked all week about wanting to get a better defensive effort out of your team and you got that, holding Hawai'i to a 32% field goal percentage and also forcing 21 turnovers and getting 13 steals. What were you pleased with the most in your defensive effort?
MM: I think the way we guarded the ball was a big plus for us and off the ball the kids were very in tune with their spacing and their gapping and we got some turnovers that led to some easy buckets for us. I think that our defense really got us going offensively playing the way we did in the gaps.
bc.net: Rebounding aggressiveness was also something you talked about, they were able to get 34 rebounds, 17 offensive, was that just a byproduct of them missing a lot of shots or is it still some things you'd like to work on?
MM: It's just stuff we need to clean up but there were a lot of missed shots obviously. We did a great job of challenging the shots and that aided in their shooting percentage being so low but nonetheless you've still gotta block out then complete the play. It's still an area we need improvement in and hopefully we can keep playing and keep improving.
bc.net: Thursday you have the rematch with Boise State, talk about that game and how eager are the kids to get out there and redeem themselves the last game against Boise State?
MM: They're all in good spirits, I feel like the Hawai'i game set the tone for that. They seem to be pretty focused and understanding that the task in front of us is gonna be daunting having lost twice to Boise already this year. It's gonna be a tough game for us and I think their attitudes are in the the right place and their focus is in the right place and hopefully the results will show in the win column.
bc.net: How much do you as a coach believe in the notion that it's tough to beat a team three times?
MM: I think statistically it's pretty accurate but I think every game rides on its own merit and it's something you can look at when it's all said and done but going into the game you can't really worry about what's happened in the past other than learning from the things you might want to do differently. Probably all you can gain from the previous games is film footage of things you need to work on.
bc.net: You guys play the first game of the day, is there any difference in your preparation for playing a game that early considering the WAC doesn't play very many early day/afternoon games during the regular season.
MM: Our preparation is a little different. We're practicing earlier, we're getting them up earlier just to get their bodies in a rhythm for waking up early and having some consistency so that they have some energy and pep in their step for a noon game.
bc.net: The All-WAC honors were announced and Jahmar was named to the First Team and surprisingly Wendell McKines didn't get anything.
MM: Jahmar earned it and it was clear he was the best offensive player in the conference. I was disappointed that Wendell wasn't able to receive any accolades in the realm of the conference voting. I just didn't quite understand how you can average a double-double and play so well in conference and not be voted to the All-Conference team. I know that there were also some other good players on the Second Team especially, but there were guys that hadn't accomplished what Wendell accomplished and they were given the nod. It's partly due, I'm sure to the overall win and loss record. Had we finished in third by ourselves or maybe finished in second, then I think perhaps Wendell would have received something in the WAC voting but fortunately or unfortunately a lot of times the teams that finish higher in the regular season, their players will get the nod. So being tied for third probably didn't help him at all.
bc.net: How personal did Wendell take it and how personal would you like him to take it?
MM: Well we hadn't really talked on it much. It's something that doesn't have a lot of bearing on anything other than your ego. It's not going to hurt him or help him with his professional ball when he's done playing here. It's not going to help him or hurt him with us winning the next game. He's going to be consistent and he's going to play with the same effort and energy that he always does. We'll just look forward to lacing them up on Thursday and seeing how it all shakes out.