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October 15, 2015

Andy Enfield

Jordan McLaughlin

San Francisco, California

ANDY ENFIELD: Good morning, it's great to be here once again. We're very excited about the upcoming season an excellent trip to Italy in August. We took our foreign tour. Just a great experience for our team, team bonding, played four games over there, and gave us a head start on the season.
We have everyone returning from last year, we're the youngest team in the country at least of Power Five conferences, so it's nice to have returning players. We also added two freshmen that will help us tremendously, given our size and length. They're 6'10, 6'11. And it's nice to have the gentleman next to me, Jordan McLaughlin healthy again. He had surgery in the off‑season to repair both shoulders and he's playing excellent basketball. So we're excited and take your questions.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. Jordan, how difficult was last season, just dealing with some of the struggles that come with having such a young team? And what did you learn from that experience?
JORDAN McLAUGHLIN: It was definitely difficult coming from high school to college. You're not really used to losing so many games. But we really competed in all the games that we were in, and we fought hard all the way to the end. Our inexperience showed. I feel like this year with the experience we had from last year, I think it was a learning step for everybody from last year.

Q. Coach, what are the challenges that come with coaching a team that has that amount of youth? What were some of the difficulties attached to that?
ANDY ENFIELD: When you have 18 and 19‑year‑olds playing against 22 and 23‑year‑old upperclassmen, it's difficult with the physicality. We were pushed around, literally last year because rebounding was a weakness. Sometimes we'd be in position and just get pushed out of the way and they'd go get the ball. We competed, we played hard, the other thing was the decision making, I think especially take Jordan as an example. Jordan's had the ability to watch a lot of film, watch the better point guards around the country and in the NBA, how they, a lot of kids come out of high school and they're more one dimensional, they're talented, but more one dimensional. So our decision making not only from our guard position, but also our front line, when to take a shot, when to pass the ball, when to penetrate, or just general decision making in the game of basketball.
Then I think the third thing is their skill level. Their skills are unrefined when they walk in the door. They work on them as freshmen, but that off‑season between freshmen sophomore, and even sophomore, junior year, I think is very, very important to develop as a basketball player. So we're hoping with an excellent off‑season all the players will put on between 5 and 12 pounds of muscle. Even our two freshmen have put on weight since June when they started school. One has gained 12 pounds. So we feel we've made improvements in all three of those areas and that will help translate into more wins this year.

Q. Jordan, can you talk about with the group, a lot of the guys are back from last year. What have you seen physically or skill‑wise as opposed to last year?
JORDAN McLAUGHLIN: Everybody's mentality is exactly the same. Everybody has been pushing really hard. We want the best out of everyone. Everybody complements everybody, and we get the best out of each other by pushing each other day‑today. Everybody's mentality has just changed.

Q. You had a quote and you have an ideal that you want to play fast. My question is what are the things from recruiting and just strategy without giving up all the information that you're trying to instill now another year into the system as you try to progress that ideal of playing fast?
JORDAN McLAUGHLIN: Well, that quote was from two and a half years ago off the record in practice when I was making a point. It wasn't intended to be any disrespect to anyone else. So the fact that you bring that up, I forgot about that. We play in a very good league. We have excellent players. Teams are really, really good that we play against. We play our particular style. We play an NBA style, a very fast pace, but also we try to spread the floor. Our players are more accustomed to that we've also recruited to that style of play. But we're trying to win basketball games and whether we have to speed it up or slow it down, we don't care. So we have an idea of how we'd like to play. But at the same time our players, what I just talked about with their decision making and their skill level. Doesn't matter what system you have, you have to make good decisions. You have to have a certain level of skill and go produce and perform when the lights turn on. So that's what we're striving for and working every day to be better at this year.

Q. For all the reasons you mentioned with all the players that are returning, one year older now, do you feel this is the year you start to make a move in the Pac‑12 standings?
ANDY ENFIELD: We're not making any predictions. Our goal every day and every week is to be a better basketball team. Our staff is working extremely hard to be better coaches. As Jordan said, our players have made a commitment, and we understand how good our league is and the teams we play. So we're not here to say we're going to win a certain amount of games. We're just trying to do our best and improve.

Q. Coach, you talked extensively about the increased experience, and you still only have one senior. So there is still room to grow in that category. When you're recruiting these kids and when you came to USC, did you pitch to them that it would be a process, and it would be two, three years to get to where you want to be, and do you feel like you're on the trajectory of the process that you promised yourself then today?
ANDY ENFIELD: When we recruited guys like Jordan who was really our first guy I went to see when our staff got the job, he was the first recruit I went to see. He was a very talented young man from Southern California, and we gave them the vision of the future and an opportunity to come in and make a difference and to build a program and to be the reason why USC turns the corner and becomes an excellent basketball program, and we knew we were in for a challenge as a staff.
But they've taken that challenge, and we've had two very good recruiting classes. We feel our young players are the right players to do that. It's a big responsibility to do that, to play early in your career. And you get exposed at times because a lot of these players have played too many minutes or more minutes than they would have if they were on, say, a top 25 team when they walked in the door. But that's what we gave them, that opportunity. And that was our vision for them. We knew as a staff we'd have to put up with a lot of freshmen and sophomore mistakes, which we have, but they're on the right path.
We feel great about our young men. They're not only excellent and talented basketball players, they're just really good people. They're a lot of fun to coach. They walk in the gym right now and just enjoy being there. They have the highest GPA in U.S. basketball history last semester. So for them to succeed academically. They're great in the community. They're great on campus, and now they need to go out and be great on the basketball court.

Q. What role will the 30‑second shot clock play in that mission?
ANDY ENFIELD: We really don't pay attention to the shot clock. We try to score quicker than 30 seconds. I think there will be some adjustments, maybe some pressing or some zones, to take time off that. But it really doesn't affect what we're trying to do offensively. It may affect us defensively at times if we do try to take time off from a defensive standpoint. But I'm all for it. I think the game needed to be sped up. 35 was a little long. I think 30 is probably the right‑‑ I don't think we're ready for the 24 yet like the NBA, but I think 30 was a great compromise.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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