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October 22, 2013

Rick Barnes


COACH BARNES:  Good morning.  Glad to be in Kansas City.  If you're awake and got any questions, I'm ready to take them.

Q.  If you're viewed as the hunter or the hunted, is there any difference in the way you approach a season?
COACH BARNES:¬† Well, I think at the start of every season if you really have a passion for what you're doing, you're going to‑‑ in your own mind you're going to put the onus on yourself and your players and figure out that you'd think that you could find a way to get things done.
I guess when it gets down to the motivational part of it, I guess there's always more pressure when you're being hunted.  I've learned too that I think it can work for you as well too.  The one thing if you're being hunted, you know you've got to be ready every single night, and that alone prepares you for what you need to do in every aspect.
On the other hand, if you're hunting somebody, you better be prepared too because you know those opportunities are there, and you've got to be ready.
But I think really the key to the whole deal is everyday preparation and that you go about each game in a businesslike way, and you realize that college basketball, a 40‑minute game, and we've seen it throughout our lives that anything can happen.
I just think it's about your daily preparation, and I don't like the clichés of one day at a time and all that.  But you do have to worry about today.  You have to be prepared for a lot of different things as you go with the injuries.  I guess, if you can get your guys to understand the fact that regardless of what the situation is, if you're in it together, can you find a way to get things done.

Q.  If you look at the roster, where's the scoring going to come from this year?
COACH BARNES:  I think the players that have returned have all improved a great deal.  We're expecting a lot from Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes, and Javan proved a year ago he's capable of putting up numbers.  That's been a big thing with our improvement and our older guys coming back, and we're really excited about our younger guys because of the way they really embrace the work ethic that's been laid there for them from the older guys.  I look at it as a team.  I do think that Javan and Cam and Jon Holmes all have proven that they can put points up for us.
Right now probably a little more concerned about our defense with these new rules.  It's a different game.  I think it's going to be great for college basketball.  I think these rules have been great.  I think they should have been a long time ago.  It's really hard for the defense.  In the last two weeks we've had to really think long and hard about how we're going to play without fouling, because we've worked hard at trying to get fouled.  Drive the ball, put pressure on the rim.  I'd like to see them take the rules a little bit further.  It's going to be really difficult to pick up a charge.  So with the defense being there, I wish they'd put the rule in where you cannot go up and take it off the rim.
The one thing I know we can do with this group is protect the rim, but these rules have made it a little bit tougher.  Right now I'm a little bit more concerned about that side of it probably than the offense.

Q.  Coach, once the kinks are worked out, so to speak, will these rules improve the game overall?
COACH BARNES:¬† I think it will.¬† I think it's going to be a lot more‑‑ you're going to have to move.¬† You're going to have to move the ball.¬† You're going to have to move people.¬† I think zone can make a big comeback.¬† For a lot of people there are going to be a lot of teams that will go back to the pack line defense.¬† Because if they call the rule the way it's going to be called, it's going to eliminate contact on the perimeter.¬† It's really almost going to be really hard to pick up a charge.¬† Because the rule is once you gather yourself to take off, the guy's got to have legal guarding position.
We actually had three charges that I would have thought‑‑ we had a scrimmage Saturday that would be charges, but the referees called blocks.¬† When you looked at it on the camera, it was right.¬† I think obviously we need more scoring in the game, movement, but I'd still like to see them go to the NBA lane line.¬† I'd like to see them‑‑ now with not being able to take charges, I'd like to see them let guys go up and take the ball at the rim.¬† Snap it off until it goes in.¬† Love to see them lower the shot clock to 30 seconds.
I'd really like to see us play the international rules.  I think the game should be a universal game, and we need that.
But I do think it's going to be a drastic change in style of basketball if they enforce that rule and call it like they say they are.

Q.  How difficult is it to prepare for a player like Marcus Smart with all the things he's capable of doing?
COACH BARNES:  I think the thing that he's most capable of doing is he's a tremendous competitor.  I think as a coach, you know, you always talk about competing with your players.  I think that's a tremendous talent.  I've always said hard work is a talent.  I think a competitor, someone that really has that burning desire and passion to win, it's hard to come by.  He's got a will about him where not only does he compete the way he does himself, but it's what he's done for his team.
I think he single‑handedly changed the entire Oklahoma State program in terms of the way he brought a level of intensity and toughness.¬† But when you look at him, he's one of those guys that I think is going to do whatever it takes to put his team and himself to win games.¬† So it will be interesting this year when you think of him being a strong player, a hard‑nosed player.¬† I think a lot of guys this year as we adjust to these rules, but what Marcus has that you've got to love is the fact that not only does he bring it every night, he has a way to take a team and really rise their intensity to another level.
I think that's what great players do.¬† Not only do they do what they do every night‑‑ again, when you're being hunted, as he has been and will be, the fact that there's a lot of pressure, I don't think people realize how hard it is to score 15, 16, 18 points a night when you know the other team is game‑planning for you and you're able to go out and still do it every night.¬† That's tough.
Then when you also look at guys on like that that have the ability to make their teammates much better, because they understand there may be nights when they get double teamed that they're going to make the right play to make their teams better.  Marcus does all of that.  He's a guy that I don't think there is a coach in the country that wouldn't like to have him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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