The Sports Information Department sat down with head men’s basketball coach, Brian Galuski, to get his insight on the upcoming season. Here is what he had to say.
What have you gotten out of your pre-season practices so far?
With eight returners and ten newcomers, we have a lot of work to do to get ready for the season and I think we are heading in a positive direction. We are getting the new faces to mesh well with everyone and working to get everyone on the same page. If we can get everyone to buy into our philosophy by the first game, we will have accomplished something.
How many first year players have you brought in and can any of them make an immediate impact?
We brought in ten new players this season and all of them have a chance to make an impact in some way. I believe Donald Anderson will give us a stronger presence on the wing this season, while Brian Thomas and John Johnson will increase our post presence. Also, freshman Tracy Jester is tall, long and athletic and has the ability to do some great things for us this season. Hopefully, the maturity of the older guys will push us over the top with some of the skill we have added this season.
Your first game will be an exhibition with UNC-Greensboro, what do you hope to take away from that game?
First of all, it is a great experience for the players. To play in a Division I venue, which is local, and to get that media coverage is very exciting. The game will be a good measuring stick for where the team is and how far it has come in over the pre-season. I expect to see hard work and intensity and we are going in trying to win the game.
You lost your leading scorer and leading rebounder from last season, how will you look to replace them?
We have Damian Dixon coming back, who could be an All-Conference player, and his leadership will be magnified this year. If he can step up and play big for us, we are going to do well.
You are returning eight players from last season’s team, will their chemistry help push the team forward?
I am excited about our ability to lead and create chemistry with Dixon, Chakiris Moss, and Andre Porter returning in big roles for us. One of the most important things is that all of the returners know their roles and a combination of that and our leadership will help with the chemistry among the new guys.
The team finished 12-15 last season and lost in the semi-finals of the conference tournament, what are your expectations for this season?
We were in a lot of close games last season and we want to make those games wins. We have the players to do it this season, so if we can stay healthy and build the chemistry, we can be competitive in the league.
Your team was “streaky” last season, winning and losing games in large chunks. What do you think can be done to make the team more consistent?
When you look back at those games, you sometimes just have to be fortunate. Close games can go either way, but you have to find a way to grind it out and get the win. Whether it’s making a late basket or making a stop, you have to find a way to win those games.
What is your biggest strength heading into the season?
Defense. We have athleticism, quickness, and length and we are going to use that to our advantage. Offensive production will come with time, but we are preparing for the season with a defensive frame of mind.
Can you give us some insight into what fans can expect from your team this year?
The fans can look forward to exciting defensive play and a team that goes out and fights for every game. When the fans are done watching, whether we win or lose, I want them to say that the team played hard, left it all on the court, and were competitive