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October 24, 2017

Chris Beard

Kansas City, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Texas Tech Coach, Chris Beard. Coach, welcome and your thoughts about the upcoming season?

CHRIS BEARD: It's an exciting time of year for offensively us involved in college basketball. We're looking forward to this season. We like our team. We have a unique roster. We have five seniors which makes us one of the oldest teams in college basketball, most experienced. We have seven freshmen on the roster, too. So it's been interesting to say the least. We're excited about our schedule this year, playing a tough schedule, so much respect for everybody in the Big 12. So hopefully this will prepare us better than it did last year. Practices are going well, relatively healthy right now. So looking forward to being a great part of college basketball.

Q. Chris, you have the seniors and the freshmen and other newcomers as well. How does that work chemistrywise?
CHRIS BEARD: Our chemistry is a work in progress. Started this summer where we had 100% in our summer workouts, the only exception was Morrow who was playing for his national team in Italy. So I guess it wasn't quite 100%, I am not a math major. But it starts with our senior leadership. Those five guys have done a great job taking those guys underneath their wings and showing them what college basketball is all about but certainly our chemistry is a work in progress.

Q. Talk about Zach. Do you think he's an under-the-radar guy when it comes to recognition?
CHRIS BEARD: Not anymore. When you are first team all-Big 12 guy, there is no more under-the-radar. Zach has been working hard to get his skill level to match his athleticism. I've been really impressed with him, it started last year as a junior getting things done individually, being recognized as an honorable mention-type guy. Kinda went through the NBA process this spring and summer which I fully supported. I want all our guys to have all their dreams come true and certainly Zach is a guy that I think has the chance to play in the NBA one day. After he got that input, decided to come back to college. He had a great summer and he's looking to continue that this fall. We look for great things out of all our seniors and certainly Zach is on top of that list.

Q. Of all the guys you have, Odiase is the most intriguing who flashed great potential a couple of years ago and then he got hurt. Where is he on the come-back trail and do you expect him to be as big of a component as he should?
CHRIS BEARD: It's exciting. We're excited to have Norense back on the active roster. I think he has a chance to be one of the better players in the Big 12. I would like to have give Coach Smith credit for what he did with Keenan and Norense in their career. We're trying to finish the story strong, but personally I think Norense should be one of the best stories in college basketball. Here is a guy who has endured a lot of injuries. He is the definition of perseverance. He's a great stat. He takes care of his life on and off the court and I think he's the kind of guy that represents college basketball. In all my years of coaching he's probably embraced the rehab process more than I've every season, and he actually improved his body during the time that he couldn't play basketball which is hard to do. But I think when you guys see him here in a couple of weeks when we get on the court you will be pleased with the way he looks and he's stronger than every. We're looking for a great year out of Norense.

Q. Coach, if you could speak to the improvement Keenan had. He had 183-pointers, sophomore year and last year a better percentage. What have you seen and what were the challenges that you spoke to for him to improve that?
CHRIS BEARD: Keenan is our guy. I've never been more excited to coach a guy his senior year than I have Keenan. I give Starks and Tubby and those guys credit for developing Keenan his first two years, and I'll give our staff credit for taking him as a good player who played a role to one of the better players in the Big 12 last year. But above all I will give Keenan more credit than anybody because he's the one that's put in the time. He's been disciplined on and off the court. I think the thing I have seen from him the last few months is a different level of maturity and discipline. He's not a vocal leader, he's not a Tim Tebow kind of buy, but he's a quiet leader and he takes care of what he's supposed to do and he's stretching himself getting out of his comfort zone trying to be a more vocal leader. When you are recognize the in this league as a preseason player. I think he's honorable mention. That speaks for itself, and I think Keenan has a chance to be one of the better guards in all of college basketball this season.

Q. You were mentioning your seniors. You look at the preseason first team and they're all seniors. I'm wondering, the college basketball game so much today gets, you know, so much talked about freshmen and one-and-done kind of kids. What does it say about this league that it is able to develop four-year guys and bring seniors who can contribute at a high level?
CHRIS BEARD: I think it's a unique year for the Big 12. I think we should be really proud of that. I think one of the things it says it talks about the great coaching in this league for these guys to develop over the course of their careers and be first-team all conference players in the best league in college basketball speaks for itself.

I think the story still is about the players. College basketball is about the players not the comps, in my opinion. These are guys that have worked extremely hard and I'm glad to see Keenan and Zach get some attention but I would I put Justin Gray and Norense and Tommy and Niem and our other order guys in that same class. I think it has a potential to be a special year especially at Texas Tech because of our seniors.

Q. Coach, you and Jamie Dixon are the newest coaches in the league. Did you guys know each other or what were the challenges the first year and what kind of a job do you think Jamie did his first year?
CHRIS BEARD: I've known Jamie. I was head coach at Fort Scott Community College. He was an assistant at Pitt. He did a great job of recruiting some of our guys. He's one of the most respected guys in our industry. He's a real guy. Jamie hasn't changed over the years even though the title and the shirt and the paycheck has. Specifically I wasn't surprised at all at TCU's season last year, got good players and a great coach. I think the attention they're receiving this year, being ranked high in the poll and things like that is deserving. But there is no one I have more respect for than Jamie.

Q. Coach, as you look at recruiting in the state of Texas, between you and Jamie obviously, and Texas and Baylor and A&M. What did you find about that when you started that first year to try to get out there?
CHRIS BEARD: Well, I've always known about the talent in Texas. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the state and play for two Hall of Fame coaches Mike and Terry Priest. I'm proud of my background coaching at different institutions? Texas. I'm proud of my background and my relationship where high school coaches and junior college coaches. It used to be a little bit of a surprise early in my career we could sneak a guy out of Texas, but now it it's no secret. I think the best coaching and the best talent is in the state of Texas. So it is certainly an identity in our program and we're proud to have guys like Jarrett Culver and Zhaire Smith that we think are going to be great players for us.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, best of luck for the season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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