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 23, 2019

Shaka Smart

Kansas City, Missouri

SHAKA SMART: Super excited to be here. Our guys have been working their butts off in practice. We finally got a chance to play against somebody else the other day in a scrimmage.

We're certainly excited about November 5th when we open up.

Our guys ended the year really, really on a strong note last year, winning our last five games. That's some momentum we've worked to build on in the off-season. I have three guys up here with me today, Jase Febres, Matt Coleman, and Courtney Ramey. They're going to be the foundation of a lot of the things we do, being our back court.

We got three new players, Will Baker, Kai Jones, and Donovan Williams, who we're very excited about. They're very green, but very talented. I think they can impact our team in a positive way.

The key for our team is going to be just building a higher level of consistency than we've had, which I think our experience will help us with.

Q. Could you update us on Andrew Jones, what role do you think he might be able to play this year?
SHAKA SMART: He's doing really, really well. He practiced with us all year last year, but was still in the process of receiving periodic treatments. At times he would have to have what's called a PIC line, which is a permanent IV in his arm, even during the season. That didn't really allow him to play last year.

Completed both semesters, did really well academically. He was with our team throughout the year, was with our team all summer. Had a couple more treatments that he underwent over the summer.

Andrew is such a competitor, he's out there working his tail off in workouts even with that PIC line in his arm. But his last treatment ended in September just before we started practice, so it was really, really good timing just from the standpoint of him being able to be full go with our team, with our guys in practice as we got started on September 24th.

His plan is to play this year. He's definitely played well enough in practice to be a guy that gets significant minutes for us. Actually led us in scoring the other day when we had a scrimmage. We're excited about the progress he can make.

Certainly there's an understanding that he still has to continue along the process that he's on. We don't want to put any type of pressure on him to be exactly right back where he was before he got diagnosed. We really believe he's going to be able to help our team. He's a terrific shooter, can put the ball in the basket and he has great experience.

Q. When you look back at last year, especially some of those tougher games, what are the things you think you did last year that you have to correct to get the positive outcome?
SHAKA SMART: Well, I think that our team is going to go as our back court goes. Obviously we've had younger point guards the last few years. We have more experience at that spot than we've had. Hopefully that will really bode well for us this season.

Matt Coleman and Courtney Ramey are guys that had very good seasons at times last year, but we just have to be more consistent.

One of the plays that Curtis was showing up here a little earlier when he was going through his officials review was against Baylor at Baylor. That game is a great example. Matt and Courtney played really, really well throughout that game. But as a team we didn't close it out. They were able to come back, force overtime and beat us.

Those are the types of games that if you want to compete to be at or near the top of this league, you have to win those games. You've played well enough to put yourself in position to win, now you just got to bring 'em home.

Q. In the back Matt was talking about Coach Hudy, what her past experience being brought into the team has meant. What do you think she's brought so far, just changing the mindset in any way?
SHAKA SMART: Been terrific. She's as good as anyone there is in this profession. She really is able to connect. The things that she does mentally and physically with the players, with performance, which that's truly her job, that's all of our jobs, is to get our guys to perform the best they can in a game situation.

That's been probably the best part of what she's brought to our program, is again the combination of what she does with the guys mentally, the ways that she prepares them, and then also what she's doing with their bodies.

She has a very, very different philosophy in terms of strength training and performance than our former strength coach. I think there's a lot of different ways to skin a cat, but obviously she's had phenomenal success over the past 25 years as a strength coach. We're really excited to have her at Texas.

Q. What, if any, changes with the extended three-point line have you noticed? Do you think that will have a big impact?
SHAKA SMART: I'll tell you one little thing, but it's obviously significant. Our game is such one of possessions. I think early in this year you're going to see a lot more guys stepping out of bounds on the side just because there's less space over there. There's literally less than three feet on the sideline where the three-point line is. That's been a big emphasis for us in the off-season.

Last year playing in the NIT, we played with those experimental rules, so we got a little bit of a taste for it. I don't think you're going to see teams shoot less three-pointers. I think people will shoot as many or more. The question is, are they going to be as effective shooting from out there.

From what I've seen from our team, I think we have a chance to have a really good shooting team. I like the fact that the three-point line is moved further back because it does force the defense to guard another foot and change further away from the basket, which hopefully opens up opportunities to drive and throw the ball inside.

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