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October 12, 2017
San Francisco, California
JEROD HAASE: Certainly excited to be here. And Dorian Pickens and Reid Travis have enjoyed the day here with you guys. Certainly excited to answer any questions.
Quick overview of the season is we're excited. It's a veteran group, for the most part. We've also included five new faces to this year's team, and our ability to mesh that together will be important for the success of our team. Non-conference we've scheduled a big-time schedule with a lot of high-level competition.
So we'll be tested early, but certainly excited to try to prepare ourselves for the conference season. So certainly happy to answer any questions.
Q. (Indiscernible) what kind of attracted you to all of those guys and made you feel like they were players worth bringing into your program?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, with the freshmen class as a whole, I mean, at Stanford we certainly need to look at the academic profiles to begin with. One thing we've talked about with recruiting is trying to find student-athletes that exhibit our core values of invested, tough, and selfless.
We've also talked a lot about versatility. With this class we've addressed the idea of versatility, being able to guard different positions, have multiple skill sets offensively to do some things. So with all of our freshmen, I think that was one of the key things we were really looking for.
Q. What do you think of the conference this year?
JEROD HAASE: I think the conference is going to be very, very good. There is great depth in the conference. Obviously a tremendous amount of talent. When you talk about all the guys going to the NBA and the NBA Draft, you would think maybe there would be a void of talent. But I think the returning guys in the conference, and especially with the incoming freshmen across the conference, I think it's going to be a great year.
Q. What do you think you hope to be most improved this year?
JEROD HAASE: I think as a team, we need to continue to have great guard play. Part of that is we need to shoot the basketball a little bit better from the outside. I think that will continue to open up things around the basket. I think we laid the foundation for the team in a really positive way. But I think we need to continue to grow that as we move forward.
Q. Defensively, what do you want your trademark to be?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, defensively I wanted it to be a primarily man-to-man defensive team that's very active, very disciplined, very tough. But at the same time, as we move forward, I'd like to use that versatility on the defensive end as well with potentially some multiple defenses. We use our length and athleticism to be part of our defense.
Q. When you talk about strength and versatility, is that what you have to do to play against today's offense?
JEROD HAASE: I think versatility is kind of a catch phrase. It's an exciting term. But the way we're talking about it, I think it is important. There are many, many reasons for that. Ball screen defense becomes such a key topic in college basketball today, that you have to be able to play that in a variety of ways, and versatility is a great way to be able to defend the ball screen, defense.
Offensively we want guys to be in different positions. We want our bigs to be able to play out on the perimeter. We want our guards to be able to attack inside. So in all ways, as we're talking about putting a program together, the versatility is a big piece.
Q. You've played in and coached in the NCAA a lot. How much have you talked to your players about that, what it's like and what it means?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, the NCAA Tournament is a dream and a goal of ours for the season. We're not going to shy away from that. We want that to be out there as a goal. I think the seniors right now have not experienced the NCAA Tournament. We've talked clearly that we don't want to hide from that. We want to embrace the idea and put ourselves in position with a tough schedule and hopefully great play to have a chance to play in it.
Q. What are your thoughts on the NCAA schedule as it came out?
JEROD HAASE: Anytime there's big news like that, there is a whole range of emotions. At the end of the day, I think it's going to be an opportunity as NCAA basketball as a whole to move forward and hopefully turn into a great, great positive and build a brand as time goes on. But it was something that shook the basketball world.
Q. There are all these committees -- the Pac-12 Task Force, and NCAA Commission. If they asked you to speak in front of them, is there a change you would advocate for? I'm not sure you've thought about this.
JEROD HAASE: That's a great question. The best way to move forward? I mean, candidly, if I had all the answers right now, I'd feel them out, and I would say I've been trying to take in all the opinions and all the different things as well. Not trying to make any rush to judgment, but trying to find the best possible solution to move the game forward. I really am. I don't know that I have any concrete answers to be able to provide.
Q. Is there something that you've been rattling around a little bit, though? Something you've leaned toward?
JEROD HAASE: I will say this, and obviously this is an easy answer because I'm at Stanford. But I love being at Stanford. But the idea of education, I think, is a powerful deal. That's one thing that's not being talked about maybe for good reason. The idea of all the other ideas that are out there, and I think they all have -- all are valid in their own ways. But the college education is a real thing, and I think there is great, great value in that. I'm really proud of being the coach at Stanford and, when we recruit a young man, to be able to say: Hey, can you get a degree at Stanford, and that's going to serve you well as time goes on.
I do think throughout all these conversations rarely do we have people talk about the value of a college education and all they can gain from that. And that is something that, again, I'm proud of being at Stanford, but all these universities, I think that's a powerful part of the puzzle as well.
Q. Tara mentioned yesterday that recruiting is so different at Stanford. But you've been out there with the demands. It's such a different process. What have you experienced now going into your second season?
JEROD HAASE: I think a year later I'm much more comfortable with what the Stanford culture is, what the recruiting process is. It's been a learning experience for me.
And while there are challenges to recruit student-athletes to Stanford, there are so many, so many positives. One of the things I talked about with recruits is if you want to go to a place that fits you. But as a coach, I want to go someplace that fits me as well.
I really feel like Stanford's a good fit for me. I'm really proud to be the coach. It's exciting for me to recruit Stanford because I believe in the mission. I believe in the academic piece of it, and obviously playing basketball at a high level as well.
Q. Any thoughts on the one-and-done?
JEROD HAASE: The one-and-done, I think it poses some challenges, certainly. I think one of the things that today's environment is going to do is put people in a room, including the NBA and colleges and people in all sorts of different backgrounds, which I think is going to be positive.
Somebody asked me a couple months ago about one-and-done. For the most part, Stanford's not a place where we're going to attract one-and-dones. If that's the goal, Stanford's not going to be attractive. People come to Stanford to get their degree and play basketball at the highest level.
I don't know. I think the ideas have been floated out there from let kids go to the NBA right out of high school. Should they stay two or three years? I do think that for the vast majority of student-athletes, you hope they get that degree and hope they do stay to get that degree.
Q. Mainly it's been coaches wrapped up in the F.B.I. investigation. In what ways is the head coach responsible even in cases where they may not have direct knowledge of what's going on?
JEROD HAASE: In Stanford I take great pride in fostering compliance and working with our compliance department. I think my staff would answer today, and months ago and years ago, that we want to do everything we can to be compliant with the rules.
I do have an understanding that I am responsible for the basketball program in Stanford and making sure the assistant coaches and everybody around the program are doing the right things.
Q. Do you think it's impossible for you to know everything? Just talking about agents, shoe companies, runners. Do you think it's impossible for a head coach to know everything that's going on with his program?
JEROD HAASE: I don't know if you're going to know every detail of every player and every person, but I think you can be vigilant in trying to find out and knowing those details. Holding your staff and players accountable for being transparent throughout the process. Making it clear that as the leader of the program what your expectations are.
That's one thing I try to do as much as I can with my staff. Players know what the standards and expectations are, and they have a responsibility to live up to that.
Q. (Indiscernible) working on establishing a culture and code words -- not code words, but key words. A year into it, where is this group? And the ones you've had already, you've had some injuries, but, you know...
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, 18 months into this, or whatever it is now, we have talked a lot about culture and the ideas of invested, tough, and selfless.
When I look back at year one, certainly the wins and losses are not what I want it to be. But when I look back at year one, I do think we've laid a strong, strong foundation to be able to move forward right now; that the core values are taking route.
Not that it's perfect or we're exactly where we want to be, but I think we've done a good job laying that foundation.
Hopefully as year two unfolds, we can talk about success in a lot of different ways, and one being, hopefully, wins and losses.
Q. I think your team is one of the most interesting, not because I went to Stanford, but because you have an interesting mix of veterans who have been around the block a couple times, but also a great influx of youth. I want to know, how do you navigate that as a coach? Your expectations for some of your best players as seniors is pretty high. But you have freshmen who you're going to count on who don't know anything about anything about the Pac-12. How do you navigate that as a leader?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, it's interesting, Doug Drabik gives me all the stats and we talk about how we're one of the most experienced teams in all of college basketball. But we have five new faces in the program this year, and we're going to look and rely on them as well.
The ability to mesh that together will be really important for our team to succeed. I think it comes down to a lot of things that we can do as a staff, how we can implement the staff and structure and practice and how we can make sure everybody develops as a team.
But I think a lot of it falls on the shoulders of the captains. We have three captains this year with Michael and Reid and Dorian, and we are asking them to shoulder the responsibility of playing well themselves, to make sure that the older guys do their job, but then really embrace the younger guys and make sure that it's all inclusive and not a division between the new guys and the veterans; that it's one group. I think we've made good progress so far.
Q. Of your young freshmen, who has maybe surprised you the most? Maybe not the biggest name coming in, but somebody who is a lot better than you thought than even when you recruited them?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, with the incoming guys, we're, needless to say, very, very excited. They do offer that versatility. Isaac White from Australia is one that, as we look at him, hasn't gotten the accolades as the other guys. But when we look at our team, two things that we desperately need and are looking for are toughness and shooting. When we look at Isaac, he's got a great deal of shooting. He's a capable shooter from the outside and tough as nails. That's not to say the other guys aren't impressive in their own ways, but he's been exciting.
Q. How about Reid? Do you think that Reid gets the respect, maybe, that he deserves when he's been healthy? He's been one of the most consistent performers, not just in the Pac-12, but in college basketball in general.
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, with Reid, my level of respect for him is off the charts. I can't speak on behalf of everybody else, but he's a tremendous, tremendous college player.
I think people often look at college players and start projecting what are they going to do in the NBA as opposed to let's look at what he's doing in college right now. Just because he's not as long or tall as a prototype, NBA-type player doesn't mean that he won't be effective down the line playing at the next level.
But I tell you what, right now, in college, he's sure a ton of fun to coach. He's really developed his game as well. As effective as he's been, he continues to work on his shot. He continues to work on putting the ball on the ground. People have talked about how good he looks and did he lose weight, has he slendered down? He still weighs the same amount, but he's becoming more and more efficient. He's running like a perimeter player, but still has the beef and strength to hit people inside. So he's been a joy to coach, and a tremendously disciplined person.
Q. He went from a 40-something percent free-throw shooter last year to high 60s last year. Is he going to be high 70s this year?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, with his free throws, the jump from two years ago to last year was tremendous.
Q. Pretty impressive.
JEROD HAASE: It was incredible. I do anticipate his free throw percentage, for example, jumping up another 10%. The work, and when you look at him shoot now, habits have been formed. He continues to tweak and improve his shot. But it goes back to his self-discipline to be able to get that done.
Q. You guys have taken off-season -- I guess you'd call them retreats the last couple years (indiscernible) the Euro trip. Is this something different that you guys do in the preseason? What's been your goal with these retreats?
JEROD HAASE: Well, at the quarter system, we start so late that we're able to have a little bit of time before school starts. So we've gone on a couple different retreats. So the point being teamwork and team building and laying the foundation of the kind of things we are doing for the season. So it's great when they first come back.
Summer, we continue to work on skill development. We continue to put the time in the weight room. But once we come back in the fall, we want to push the reset button and say: Here are our goals and objectives. Here's how we're going to achieve them. As a staff, here's how we're giving the game plan of how this season is going to go. It's their job to try to execute that game plan the best they possibly can. So that's kind of the initial stages of implementing that game plan.
Q. Is there an activity that stands out to you as being specifically memorable, from, say, this trip to San Diego?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, we went to San Diego and had a wonderful trip. There were a number of experiences that I thought were really good. The most impactful for me, probably, and I would think for some of the other teams, was the National Cemetery. We went at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. and spent some time, kind of reflected back. We talked about appreciation.
And that was one of the things that I wanted to make sure our guys understand is that life is pretty good. You get a Stanford education. You have a staff that cares about you and tries to do things the right way, that's invested in you. You have teammates that care about you and that are going to battle for you. We need to appreciate all the great things that we have. I thought that was really a powerful moment for our team.
Q. I understand you went to the football game. Were you still in the stadium when the lights went out?
JEROD HAASE: We had left just before that, thankfully. That was kind of a bizarre end to that game.
Q. Have you seen Dorian's shoe collection?
JEROD HAASE: I have not seen Dorian's shoe collection. I've heard rumors about it, but I have not seen it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports