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October 24, 2017

Bruce Weber

Kansas City, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We are ready to begin with Bruce Weber from Kansas State. Coach, welcome and your thoughts about the upcoming season?

BRUCE WEBER: I said that getting in the NCAA Tournament and winning the game, it was great for our program. A nice reward for our seniors, but I think more than anything else it was a great motivator for our younger guys. They have had a great taste of that and we have had a great off-season. They've come to work. Great leadership even though we don't have -- we have one walk-on senior. We don't have any seniors on scholarship, but that junior group, the three guys that are here today, Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade have done a great job of leading and pushing our guys and being great examples. It's been a good group. We have had bodies, we have had a lot of injuries the last few years and fans, sportswriters, people don't care about it until as a coach you're involved with it and you only have eight guys at practice and you can't get much done. This year, right now with walk-ons we will have 15, 16 guys and you get to go at it in practice, which makes it much more fun for the coaches. I think it's going to help our level of competitive spirit and I really am excited about our group.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach?

Q. Barry said a few weeks ago he feels like this is becoming his team. Do you feel like that's a fair statement?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah, he watched Wes last year kind of take over the team and they were kinda "boys" they hung out a lot and Barry saw how important it was to have somebody be the verbal leader, not the example but also say the right things and be the motivator at the start of practice Barry is talking, at the end of practice he's talking, and in the locker room he's talking. He's in the gym as much as anybody.

He's kinda relished that role, which is -- as a coach it's good to have somebody that will be verbal like that. It definitely helps us.

Q. Bruce, did you have a reaction when you saw you were picked eighth by the coaches?
BRUCE WEBER: It doesn't bother me. Hey, we gotta do what we have to do. I feel good about our team. A lot of times, whether it's coaches, media, whoever, they go by stats and who did what last year and a lot of times not only stats but where people ended up, in the standings. So we can use a little bit of it as a motivation. We talked about even back in the summer when some of the stuff started coming out, but all we have -- we have to be prepared and come to work and take care of business and I think we will be fine.

Q. Bruce, where do you think you're going to get rebound this gone year and how much of a concern is that? Also, how much of is it a concern retaining Dean Wade?
BRUCE WEBER: There is no doubt that's the emphasis this spring. If you look at the past we have lost our leading rebounders, Justin Evers Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson. It's a concern, and Saturday when we played an exhibition game against Missouri State, I thought it was good for us, we had some trouble at times.

So I think it was good for our guys to go, now all the things we've talked about, the block-out, five guys getting to the glass, defensive glass and having people hit the offensive glass. All the things we have talked about is backed up in that game. We have it on film. Now when we go through it in practice and drills they will take it more seriously.

Dean's gotta become -- he had seven the other day in 20 minutes. I think it should be a goal of his to be a double-digit rebounder. I think that would be a positive. I think he's capable of it. His physicality of strengths, his jumping, his athleticism has greatly improved. But we have to get some out of the other guys, the guards have to be rebounders, Coach Frazier, when he played for me at Illinois he was our be point guard and second leading rebounder and he's really talked to our guys about that. Having those -- Barry could be, he's big-time on the steals, one of the leaders in the country and in the league. He could also do the same thing on the defensive glass with good activity. It's something we're addressing and I hope it doesn't become a factor of us becoming really a good team.

Q. Bruce, you mentioned the exhibition game and it was against another DI team and when you play exhibition it's usually against a lower level. How much did you get out of that and the fact that a lot of people are talking about this is a good thing that college basketball is doing things for charity? Would you like the NCAA to give teams an option maybe instead of secret scrimmages to do an exhibition game where it's for charity?
BRUCE WEBER: I actually just said something to Coach Self about it. They had a game here, unbelievable success raising nearly $2 million for a great cause. We didn't have quite the amount of money; but, one, it was a good game for us. We played a team that's one of the favorites in the Missouri Valley. They have a lot of seniors. Our guys -- we had to come to play. We played everybody. We made sure the 8-13 got to play against each other, and, you know, I thought our minutes were good and yet we were competing trying to play.

The other thing I brought up to Bill was now with thirty days of practice over that six-week period, I think it's -- it would be a good thing. I actually proposed it to the Big Ten several years ago to have -- I know it's important for the Division II guys to have the opportunity to play us and I appreciate that, but to have the closed scrimmage against Division I. But now to have an exhibition game and do something good out of it, I think it's a positive thing. It was good basketballwise and raised some money and hopefully it helped some people out.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Have a great season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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