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October 11, 2018

Jerod Haase

San Francisco, California

Q. Wanted to ask you about the length of your team. I remember you saying there's six or seven guys that have 7-foot wing spans and just kind of how that kind of plays into your philosophy recruiting-wise and kind of the team you're trying to build at Stanford.
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, at this point, we do have a team that's long and fairly athletic. It's been a priority in the recruiting the last couple years to recruit skilled guys that have length. We do have long wing spans and fairly athletic guys. I think our philosophy of how we're going to play really fits in with that as well.

Defensively, we're trying to be as disruptive as we can without just going crazy and giving up layups and that kind of thing. We're trying to be disruptive and play fast. Last year when we got into the conference season, we were playing up tempo and getting out in primary and secondary breaks. I think with our length and athleticism and skill, that's a priority again this year.

Q. How many guys is it exactly that have that wing span?
JEROD HAASE: I think it's either six or seven guys that have 7-foot wing spans or greater.

Q. And how much of a nod is that to kind of the way the game has progressed with respect to the NBA?
JEROD HAASE: I think the game in general is long and lean, athletic, but it's also been proven time and time again there's a lot of different ways to play and be successful. This fits in for how I want to play and kind of the vision for the program.

Q. How do you process the loss of someone as good and important as Reid, and what was that whole experience like?
JEROD HAASE: With Reid, obviously, he's moved on, and it's not something that took a lot of processing once he made that decision, the team especially, but -- well, everybody moved on quickly. And we've developed a game plan and talked to guys about their individual roles and what we need to do to move forward.

Obviously, he and Mike, Dorian, we had a lot of pieces last year that were experienced that were, in general, very big, strong, physical guys, and we're going to have to evolve as a team, evolve as a program, but it's something we did so very quickly.

Q. Health -- I mean, obviously, that's been something that's been really hurting your program. How different is this going into a year relatively healthy?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, it's always having guys that are healthy and getting the guys on the floor is goal number one certainly, from a strength coach, to how we develop practices to how we're developing the whole big picture here is important. And one of the goals is that we can develop some depth that you can hopefully absorb foul trouble, absorb injuries, absorb any kind of hiccups as we move forward, but trying to keep the guys healthy is certainly a priority.

As we get into the season, especially into the games, teams that are healthy are certainly going to have a big advantage.

Q. 6 of the 12 schools in the league have been implicated in some form or fashion in the federal investigation. Does that concern you about whether you're playing on a level playing field in the conference?
JEROD HAASE: In terms of the investigation and the trial right now, I think it's always a goal -- to be honest with you, for all the times that we're out on the road and talking to coaches, there seems to be a priority -- and I know from my own standpoint, yeah, you do want an even playing field. That's certainly the goal when they talk about the Rice Commission and all the steps that are put in place right now, I think it's with the intent that we always have an even playing field, and how it all plays out will be interesting.

I do think moving forward with everyone, with that in mind, is important.

Q. Have you been paying attention to kind of what's been coming out of there?
JEROD HAASE: Certainly. I think within college athletics you're always trying to be well-versed and that kind of thing. Right now it's just a wait-and-see approach as things unfold, but I am optimistic. I'm an optimistic person. I do believe that at the end of this, that it's going to be a really strong product. College basketball is going to end up in a good spot. That doesn't mean that anything perfect. Just like any business or industry, it's not perfect. But I do think with the right people in place, the right goals in mind, we're going to get to a place that's going to be really, really positive.

Q. So you like what came out of the Rice Commission?
JEROD HAASE: With the Rice Commission, I like the fact that we're trying. And I'll hold judgment in terms of every date or every camp or every AAU tournament and see how it plays out. The one thing I do like is -- we don't have all the answers, but I do like we're trying to be proactive and aggressive to make it into the best situation we can.

Q. Last year, a few injuries, K.Z. not available, so the start of the year was slow. Now, with everybody healthy, how do you get your guys to understand the importance of every single game no matter if you're playing out of the country, out of state. How do you get them to understand it's not just conference play, but every game matters and it will be judged at the end of the year?
JEROD HAASE: I think one of the characteristics of our team is we're very, very young, and I hope not a defining characteristic as we move on through the season. But one thing that's a positive, when I look in their eyes, I think they believe in me, they believe in our staff, and when we deliver messages, right now it's resonating with them. But we do need to make sure they understand it's not an AAU weekend with eight games and you go on to the next one.

It's understanding that every game, every practice, every possession impacts the program, and having a sense of urgency and an understanding of how important every situation is in building the final product. So that's a message that's trying to be delivered every day, and how much is sinking in, time will tell.

Q. With Reid gone, there's a big void there as far as production. You have some people there, but are you playing with the lineups in practice every day, and which lineups do you really like that you look at and think, man, this is pretty cool, this is going to be different, this is going to be tough to defend?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, right now we have a group of individuals that are very, very versatile, and collectively that adds to even more versatility. We can get out there and have a team that is very, very small and athletic and quick, kind of 1 through 5, all positions that are out there, and we can have lineups that are extremely long and lean. The versatility piece has been fun, and we are tinkering with lineups and what works best together. And as we're doing this too, each individual is trying to showcase what they can do and how they can provide to the program.

So I'm not going in with a set idea of this lineup or we have to have a traditional two-man or three-man or four-man or five-man, it's more: What are our best components? What are our best ways we can put this all together? And that will be the final product. So I think we do have some ability to be flexible as a staff, and the players need to understand right now that their production and their ability to do the things we ask will be important for their playing time, and more importantly, to our team's success.

Q. You go from a senior-dominated team to a sophomore-dominated team. You'll have to counter -- I know it's kind of your first recruiting class is that sophomore class right now. You'll have to rely on them more this year.
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, of the 13 scholarships, 10 are underclassmen. It's a young group, not only the sophomores, but the freshmen, and the freshmen are going to be relied on a fair amount this year. The growth process is what's going to dictate our season. I do think we have some talent. We have lots of reasons to be optimistic. But how quickly can we grow up and learn the lessons? I think last year we saw that to a certain extent, that we did have some older guys and some veterans, and with the young guys and how that all meshed together, and it took a little bit longer, and we certainly did have some other issues and injuries and guys that weren't available in the nonconference. But our ability to grow throughout the year will really impact our team and really define who we're going to be.

Q. Coach, one last wing span inquiry. Just curious who has the longest wing span on the team and do you know what that is?
JEROD HAASE: I will get back to you on that. I think we have a couple guys that are 7'2". I do think -- I mean, Josh, Keenan, K.Z. I'm trying to think -- I think we have -- I think 7'2" is the max, though.

Q. Coach, you talked about wanting to focus on the defensive lot in the first couple weeks of the practice session. If you had to give a grade, how do you feel it's going?
JEROD HAASE: Defensively, I think we've certainly spent a lot of time. The grade right now would be a B. It's probably an A in terms of throwing a lot of information out there and trying to learn quickly. The execution is probably about a C in terms of being able to get it done right. And then as long as we have the intent as an A, I'm pretty confident we're going to get to where we have to get to.

Q. Do you feel like you're on schedule?
JEROD HAASE: Yeah, it's hard to give a defined schedule for these guys. In terms of the Xs and Os, I do think we're on schedule. Actually, in terms of the growth and development, kind of collectively as a team and having a young team grow up, I think we're on schedule, but that's a vague, vague question with a more vague answer right there.

Q. So you've been working with a different combination of guys in practice so far. Who stood out to you thus far? With those different combinations.
JEROD HAASE: A variety of guys have had different off-seasons. The freshman, Cormac -- Ryan's been really good. And Bryce Wills has been fantastic. I think he's had a great ten days coming in right here. For a freshman that's physically -- a young freshman, he's very physically gifted and strong defensively. The old guys, obviously, we're sitting here saying the old guys are sophomores, and that is interesting. But we pretty much know what to expect from them. Their attitudes have been great. Part of it too is understanding their roles, and obviously guys like Daejon and K.Z. and Josh Sharma, who have been around, we want them to take more leadership roles.

But as we talk about that as well, it's not going to be their show. It's not going to be hey, we're going to build the team around you guys. It's going to be their job to incorporate what they do within the team concept.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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