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October 17, 2007

Mike Anderson


PETER IRWIN: We're now joined by Coach Mike Anderson, from Missouri.
MIKE ANDERSON: Well, it seems like it was yesterday when we were at Oklahoma City and it was I guess my first opportunity to be before you. So now here we are. Like I said back then, we're a work-in-progress. But I'm excited about this year, going into year two. Why? I think having an opportunity to get a bit more familiar with my basketball team, and they get familiar in terms of what I'm wanting to do. I think now we get to year two and I think it gives us footing to get started in the right direction.
So I'm excited. We have a lot of guys returning. That's good, and bad, because the same guys from last year, but at the same time hopefully they have become better basketball players. When they become better basketball players we can make our basketball team a lot better. We definitely are going to be an improved basketball team with the schedule that we have. It's a very, very exciting schedule. At the same time a very, very challenging schedule. But we are excited. We're working extremely hard. We have a couple of guys that have been bumped up and banged up a little bit. But as a whole I think our guys are working extremely hard.

Q. Do you think your transition will be a little easier the second year in the conference than it was last year?
MIKE ANDERSON: That's the thing, with non-conference schedule. It's a great question, because with non-conference schedule it's going to get us a little more ready. Last year we weren't as prepared because when you get into the -- I call it the famine -- the intensity goes to another level. We started off 0-4. I thought we had it going there, once you get that deer in the headlights out of the eyes. But I thought as the season progressed we got a little better. We will build on that. So hopefully this non-conference schedule will get us prepared for Big 12 play. I think one of the things I learned coming in that on any given night you've got to be prepared to play, no matter where you go, whether it be at home or on the road. And I think that's the urgency our guys have to play with from I think day one with this schedule.

Q. Talk about the transition DeMarre Carroll has in the program?
MIKE ANDERSON: I think DeMarre is a guy that transferred from Vanderbilt, he's played at that level and I think sitting out a year has created a hunger in him. I think he's going to be hopefully to this basketball team, I think an aggressive nature. I thought one of the things we didn't do well, we didn't -- our initial defense was pretty good, but I didn't think the second line, I think he gives it, he's quick on the floor. And maybe his presence can trigger some other guys, such as Marshall Brown, Leo Lyons, Darryl Butterfield. And not only that our guards, it can get contagious, when you talk about aggressiveness. The way we play you've got to have aggressive players.

Q. You talked about some of your starters and mentioned a few names. Talk if you would a little bit about the depth of the team and some of the key guys that are coming offer the bench?
MIKE ANDERSON: I think that's going to be important to our basketball team, is the depth. Hopefully we have much quality depth, when you talk about this basketball team. I talked about a guy like Kalen, we had an unfortunate incidence that took place this summer. And Kalen Grimes is no longer on our basketball team. So now it could be a problem, but at the same time I look at it as an opportunity for some guys to really step up and emerge. Vaidatos Volkus has been the guy sitting in the wings waiting to get an opportunity. What does he bring to the table? That remains to be seen. A guy like Leo Lyons, now he goes from being a guy that was coming off the bench, sort of our 6th man, now he's in a different role, how does he respond to that. Those are a lot of question marks about our basketball team.
DeMarre Carroll, what kind of impact does he bring? You've got to remember he's just coming in. I'm sure there's going to be some rust there. But what do they bring to our basketball team. Justin Safford, a freshman, he's going to be going into the fire. He doesn't know it, but he is. What does he bring to the table? I think those are a lot of things that we look for in our basketball team.
Marshall Brown, I'm expecting more things out of Marshall Brown. This is his senior year, and I think the sense of urgency has to come on him. He's been playing in the Big 12 three years. So hopefully it can be a situation that he can get consistent and have one of those years where he can break out.

Q. Kim Mulkey talked yesterday about how it elevated the Big 12 when you win a National Championship, which is something the men haven't done yet. Do you think that the Big 12 needs to win a National Championship to gain any final measure of respect in the eyes of anyone?
MIKE ANDERSON: I tell you, I think you look at the teams and coaches, I think it's going to happen. It's going to happen probably sooner than you think sometimes. But I think nationally, I think the Big 12 is respected, it's a very good league. I think with the influx of new coaches in the league, new styles. You're going to have enough teams, and you get teams in the tournament, it's going to happen. It's going to happen real soon. You look at a team like Kansas this year. Last year they were creeping towards that direction. They have most of those guys back. There's a team that when you get to tournament play, and I can tell you that, you have got to have some things fall your way. You've got to be good, No. 1, to be there. But at the same time you have to have some luck to fall your way, as well. Things just got to fall right. But you never will get there if you're not in it. I think that's going to be the key, hopefully, get more teams in it, that helps your chances.

Q. Bill Self said he thought you guys might be a surprise team to watch out. Do you feel you can sneak up on a couple of people?
MIKE ANDERSON: I don't know about sneaking, I think we're going to be a team that hopefully improves and gets better each and every day. I thought our guys, for the most part, in every game they were in the games. We didn't do a good job of finishing it, but hopefully we learn from that.
Experience, to me, is your greatest teacher. I think going through that year with this basketball team, it taught me a lot of things, and I'm sure as well as our basketball team. So now they have an idea in terms of when you talk about up-tempo basketball, when you're talking about the pressing, when you're talking about trusting one another, they have an idea about what I want to do. And so to be honest with you, we're going faster this year. I want to take the tempo up another level. And hopefully that's going to be a sign of our guys picking up on the things we want to do.

Q. Can you talk about what you learned from your experience last year between this league and the prior league that you came from?
BILL SELF: Well, I think No. 1 is, top to bottom, every night you've got to be able to go in and you've got to perform. I think all the teams, they have very good players. When you look at a team like Baylor, Baylor is a very, very talented team. We played them I think two games right there going down the stretch. And you can see from one game to the next game, they're a very good basketball team. Any team in this league -- Oklahoma, we had to fight tooth and nail against the Oklahoma team. It doesn't matter where you go or who you play, you've got to bring it each and every night. In Conference-USA it was in transition last year. The first couple of years I got there it was probably one of the -- I think one of the up and coming -- it was the league, when you talk about Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, DePaul. And of course last year it was in transition. So it's quite a difference when you talk about my last year in Conference-USA versus the Big 12. And also you have a guy in this league last year named Kevin Durant. Thank goodness he's gone.
PETER IRWIN: Best of luck to you. Have a great season.

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