Ken McDonald talks Hysteria and the upcoming season

13 10 2010

Western Kentucky basketball coach Ken McDonald spoke with the media this afternoon about Friday’s Hilltopper Hysteria event, as well as the beginning of practice for the 2010-11 season.

Here are some snippets.

On Friday’s Hilltopper Hysteria event:

“I love it and it’s an exciting time for the fans and obviously a time where you know basketball is right around the corner. We’re starting practice, our players are ready for practice and I think our coaching staff is ready for practice.

“The whole basketball operation is getting underway in full swing … it’s an exciting time and a great way to start us off.”

On building chemistry with a team that features so many new faces in new places

“I think it’s work, but it’s also opportunity. Our guys are looking at it in that kind of positive light. There’s a lot of guys that can play and there’s a lot of them at each position.

“But we need to come together and realize the common goal – it’s all about team and commitment to the cause of what we’re trying to accomplish in the end. … I think chemistry is great right now, but a lot of competition goes on over the next three or four weeks, and I think that’ll help develop some chemistry and some bonds. The next four weeks are crucial, we have a lot going on and we’ll have some bumps in there but I think everyone’s really excited.”

“You’ve got seven newcomers and there’s a completely new level of intensity, expectations and workload – a lot of new stuff for a lot of new guys. You have to be patient and understand that it’s a process. We want to hit base hits, we’re not going to hit a home run the first day – we have to chip away, come together as a team, understand how to work and what goes into winning. We have to get back to the kind of defense that it takes to win and also have the mentality that we’re going to come at people in waves. We’ve got enough talented players that could see action. All that has to happen in a short time. But we’re excited about it.”

On what fans might be able to expect from this year’s group

“The athleticism is at a good point where we can compete defensively. I’m really excited about the possibilities of our defense. There’s a lot of new faces, but I think the speed of this team could be a plus and translate into some good defensive possibilities.”

“I think the leadership from the returning players, even guys that sat out like (Juan Pattillo), I’ve been impressed with him realizing that his senior year is coming up. And then you’ve got returning guys like (Steffphon Pettigrew and Sergio (Kerusch) coming on – looking into their eyes and hearing them speak, they want a special senior year. Even though we had some success last year and won 21 games, there were some very disappointing aspects. Not making the tournament, not winning some games we should have and not showing the fans what we were made of. You sense that from the returning players and I think they’ve helped get the newcomers into the mindset that what happened last year isn’t acceptable, it’s not the standard that we’re going to set and we have to change that. We change that with our energy, our effort, our togetherness and how competitive we’re going to be.”

“(Pettigrew) has been a leader by example and I think he’s lending himself more vocally. Juan has been impressive vocally and he’s very competitive also. Sergio is coming out of his shell and I want the new guys to come along also. I think our new (point guard) Ken Brown has a good voice and is willing to say what needs to be said at times. We’re learn a lot about that over the next couple weeks, but I think this is a more vocal team than last year.”

“We’ve got a lot of different personalities. You always have concerns about managing the chemistry. If you look around the room there’s a lot of guys at each position, and you’re always looking around the room trying to find out where the minutes are going to come. … We’ll see over the next couple weeks who’s good under pressure, who’s the best and who’s the most consistent. There’s a lot that will happen (early), but they all get along. There’s no black sheep and these are guys that I think really like each other and understand the task at hand.”

On what the focus of this group needs to be early during practice

“We’ve got to really focus on what’s right in front of us even though we are building toward the end of the year. We’ve got such an impressive and aggressive schedule that we really have to take care of business every night. There’s a chance to win every night and to lose every night. I want to focus on improvement. I want our standards and core values addressed and respected each day. I want us to take care of business every day at a high level. Will it take us some time? Absolutely. Will we have some bumps in the road? Most likely. But our focus needs to be on improvement and getting better.”

“We’re going to hold everybody accountable, we’re going to be tighter, we’ve got a lot of learning to do. We’ve definitely tightened up in every area, you re-evaluate how things are done all the time – you’re constantly trying to improve and we’ll do that as a staff every day. You learn from mistakes and success, we’ve changed some things. We’re paying more attention to little details and understanding that every detail is important.”

McDonald also said Wednesday that he expects to have a tryout soon for potential walk-ons, and that there could be as many as two players that the team keeps on the roster for this season.

Hilltopper Hysteria begins at 7 p.m. Friday at E.A. Diddle Arena.




2 responses

13 10 2010

Great work Nick! WKU fans REALLY appreciate the job you do!

14 10 2010

“We’re going to hold everybody accountable…”

So what’s that mean? Somebody will be walking the plank?

Any clues to the pick up games how they look?

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