home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 25, 2016

Scott Drew

Kansas City, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by head coach Scott Drew from Baylor University. Coach, welcome, and what are your thoughts about the upcoming season?

SCOTT DREW: We've got good news and we've got bad news. The bad news is we lost the school's all-time winning rebounder in Rico Gathers. He's with the Cowboys now. We also lost a lottery pick in Taurean Prince, and he was the number 12 pick to the Atlanta Hawks, and then we did lose our starting point guard, Lester Medford. So when you lose three quality players and three leaders like that, that's the bad news. The good news is from Kansas City, Missouri, we have a great young man named Ishmail Wainright, who is a senior, and he's somebody that is really a special teammate and leader. He's been around and awaited his turn, but somebody that really exemplifies what you want in a leader and a teammate, especially a senior. He's our lone senior. So he's done a good job of passing on to the newcomers, just the grind of the Big 12, and the excitement and everything that goes into playing in the Big 12. So we're excited for the season like everybody out there. Coaches are always happy until you lose the first game. So right now we're feeling pretty good and trying to get better each and every day.

Q. Johnathan Motley, let's talk about him for a second. What intrigues me is the guy was a red-shirt freshman. What did you have to do to convince him to take a red-shirt year? And how has that helped him to become the player he is?
SCOTT DREW: Well, first and foremost, we've had a good track record with red-shirts. You look at Cory Jefferson, he red-shirted and was drafted and he's been in the NBA. Also had Ekpe Udoh transfer, sat out a year and was the sixth pick in the draft. So we've had players who sat out and taken advantage of that time and been able to improve and not only grow as a basketball player, but off the court and academically get off to a good start and spend time with the strength coach.

So, with Mot, he was somebody -- we've had a lot of talented big guys. You saw that playing time might not be there his freshman year. But he wanted to take advantage of the situation and an opportunity to go against him every day in practice but not burn that year.

So he's done that. Up to this point J-Mot's been one of those players that's gotten better each and every year. Very similar to Taurean Prince, somebody who was ranked 25th in the state. Was going to Long Island University, and didn't start until his senior year and ended up being the 12th pick in the draft. So J-Mot's gotten better every year, now we're looking for more consistency out of him. And I think he'll have that opportunity, playing-timewise because he's the man now as far as experience-wise goes. He's had some great games. But now we just need him each and every night. And that's what experience does is it helps you be consistent.

Q. You had a lot of valuable minutes from Al Freeman last season. Could you tell us about his growth as a player over the last year or two?
SCOTT DREW: Well, Al's somebody that came in and was highly touted and got injured. Red-shirted his freshman year, and has really grown as far as just his approach. He came in as a gifted scorer, but I think he's also a facilitator and can pass the ball. I think he's done a good job growing and improving in that. We're trying to make sure he's not just scoring, but also getting his other teammates involved and making them better. He's somebody that had a good summer, has worked hard, and is our leading returning scorer. So we hope and expect big things from him.

Q. You're ready for a March press conference here, good news, bad news. Good news, you make the tournament. Bad news, two years in a row, tough losses, the first game. What are the lessons from that?
SCOTT DREW: Well, we were hoping after the first loss we'd learn the lesson for the second one. That's the beauty of March. We've gone to two Elite Eights and one Sweet Sixteen. So we've had a lot of success in postseason. And we've also lost in the first round the last two years. So unlike pro sports, if not 4 out of 7, it's best in 40 minutes. If you take 18- to 22-year-olds and put them out there for 40 minutes, anything can happen.

That's what makes March Madness so special. That drives your returning players to work that much harder to do better in March. But I also know you can't do better in March unless you get there. And that's the beauty of the Big 12 Conference, the last three years, RPI-wise, it's been the number one ranked conference in the country. And when you get 70 percent of the league in, it gives a lot of opportunities to be successful in conference. Hopefully we can continue to do that, get a lot of teams in, and a lot comes with coaches continuing to do a great job scheduling the non-conference, so the RPI is good when we get there, and you have to win in the non-conference, otherwise it doesn't help your RPI if you don't.

So hopefully we get off to another good start and can continue to put a lot of teams in the postseason. I know fans love watching the Big 12 games because there are a lot of close games and highly competitive. This is my 14th year. Coach Self and I came in together, and I can't remember a year more competitive two through ten. And I think Kansas is a career favorite. But other than that, it's a crapshoot. And that's what makes the league so good.

Q. Coach, I wanted to ask you about your non-conference schedule, it's kind of big?
SCOTT DREW: Yeah, who made that?

Q. Actually, it's good because you're playing a few ACC schools, how big is that for your players to be playing schools like Texas Southern and Jackson State and Xavier and giving those schools an opportunity to come play you all?
SCOTT DREW: First and foremost, really respect their coaches and programs. I know we've had some great games over the years with those schools. So we expect the same and with the non-conference schedule for us, it's great giving opportunities for our players to get better and other schools to come in.

But we really want to play schools that prepare us for the Big 12. We feel each and every year, why the last four years, if you look at ESPN's RPI numbers and you average them, and we played the number one strength of schedule in the last four years going in to conference, or played the number one strength of schedule in the last four years if you average all the years. So big reason is the teams we've been able to play has prepared us for the Big 12, and at the same time, it's great games for our fans to watch.

This year I know not only the schools you mentioned, but second game of the year, you're playing Oregon, who is top 5, depending on what poll. Xavier, top 10, depending on what poll. So lot of quality opponents early on.

Q. Kind of wondering what you were talking about earlier with the league's RPI. There's been discussion among some of the other power conferences to expand more regular season games. I think the ACC is moving up to 20 league games in the years to come. I think other leagues have talked similar. I would think that that would help those teams improve their RPI. I'm just kind of wondering. Obviously, a lot of talk lately with the Big 12 on expanding and not expanding. Just wonder what your thoughts are on that situation, with the Big 12 not expanding and as far as the RPI goes and other leagues go to more games, the effect that will have on this league?
SCOTT DREW: Well, first, I think RPI-wise, definitely playing as many league games as we have has had an impact. And that's why we've been the number one ranked league the last three years RPI-wise.

I think, second of all, the expansion part of it, I know we're excited that we've been able to stay where we've stayed from the standpoint there is no better feeling as a coach or as a team to be able to have a true champion. You play everybody home and away, and at the end of the day, that's equal. That's fair. Not only is it great competition, but you have a proven winner. You can't argue, well, they didn't play so-and-so or they didn't have to play him twice. So you love having a true champion.

As far as the Big 12 goes, I think as long as we continue to have fans, facilities, environments that we've had, we'll continue to bring in the talented players, and hopefully that will continue to make it fun for people to watch our league.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297