Chat with Drew, Ford, Anderson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, we'll celebrate the start of the 2009-10 college basketball season when three Big 12 coaches stop by to chat. Oklahoma State's Travis Ford, Missouri's Mike Anderson and Baylor's Scott Drew all will be here to take your questions.
Baylor will be the first of the three teams to start its season when the Bears play Friday. Oklahoma State begins its season Saturday, while Missouri begins play Nov. 17. Ford will start the chat off at 11 a.m. ET, followed by Anderson (11:20) and then Drew (11:40).
Send your questions now and join the chat Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (10:41 AM)
We've got the Big 12 coaches coming in to chat today, starting at 11 a.m. ET! First up will be Oklahoma State's Travis Ford!
Buzzmaster (10:50 AM)
Travis will be here in 10 minutes!
Buzzmaster (10:58 AM)
OK everyone. Get your questions in. We'll get started here with Travis Ford in just a few minutes.
Travis Ford (11:02 AM)
You use the early part of the season to try and form the identity of your basketball team. Especially for our team this year when we have six freshman and one transfer player, we're trying to just learn each other, learn the system. We're not striving to be great right now. You want to be great in February and March. You're trying to win every game, but you're trying to improve your team.
Frank (Oklahoma City)
Coach Ford-how do you replace Byron Eaton?
Travis Ford (11:04 AM)
We've got right now three different players that can play the PG position. But no one will replace Eaton. It's tough to replace a four year starter. What our new PGs can do will be different from what he did and still be effective. We asked Eaton to win games for us. Our PGs this year will be more distributors, getting us into the offense. We're not going to ask too much of our PGs this year. We want them to keep down our turnovers and get assists. We've had way too many TOs in our exhibition games. But it's all about learning with freshmen. But it's never easy to replace a four year starter.
Jeremy (Lowell, IN)
Travis, what are your goals for this season? Go Cowboys!
Travis Ford (11:06 AM)
Our goal right now, has changed a little bit, get our freshmen to learn our plays. We've had to scale back a little bit. Seriously, we think that we're a team that by January or February we could be a dangerous team. We've been hit badly by the injury bug. Last night we had three of our top 7 out. Once we get healthy, we hope we can compete at the highest level. We know that the Big 12 will be the toughest conference in America. We just want to be able to compete at the highest level. It will be some trying times this year and we've been talking to our players on how to handle adversity and what we learn from that will determine a lot of the success we do have.
What do you think it will take to get your team to the NCAA tournament?
Travis Ford (11:07 AM)
I think this year, because of how great the league will be. I think we'll get 7-8 teams at least into the tournament. You better win some games non conference wise. You'll have some teams that go 8-8 in conference and get in. You need to take care of things in the non conference games. Teams can't get too down when they lose and too high when they win because our conference is going to be that tough this year.
What are they keys to a successful OK State season?
Travis Ford (11:09 AM)
The first key is definitely getting production out of the PG spot. A high number of assists and low turnover ratio. Right now, we've got to get healthy. That will be a big key. Then, we've been struggling shooting free throws. That has to improve. We're going to need our veteran players to be great leaders and be the back bone of our team and our freshmen to improve every day.
OK State has a good basketball history. how do you go about selling that to recruits?
Travis Ford (11:10 AM)
That's exactly what we're doing. We're selling the tradition of OK State basketball. We have two national championships. Two Final Fours. We have one of the best arenas in the country. Some of the best fans in the country. These are all tools that we use. There's no place like Gallagher-Iba Arena. We have the most supportive fans anywhere. We have great facilities. Some of the best in America. You add all the great traditions and the fun style of basketball. These are all things we sell in recruiting.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Coach, what are your thoughts on all the SEC hype as the best conference in football? Personally, the Big 12 is probably the toughest conference top to bottom in my opinion. Does the talk ever get to players and does it get players going a little more when they face an SEC team?
Travis Ford (11:12 AM)
I know the SEC does have good football and the Big 12 does as well. I don't know a whole lot about football. All I do know is that OK State has one of the best coaches in the country in Mike Gundy. We have one of the best facilities in the country. But when you start comparing SEC football to Big 12 football, I'm probably not the one to ask. But if you ask me about Big 12 basketball versus SEC basketball, the answers easy. We reign on top of that.
Who do you believe is the best team in your conference?
Travis Ford (11:14 AM)
I think Kansas is probably the best team with Texas right there next to them. I think those are the elite teams in our league. You could probably throw them in the hat with either one of them. They have great talent, great depth, great coaching. Those are the two elite in our league. Then you have a bunch that are very good, top to bottom. I think the Big 12 is the best its been in years. A lot of polls that you see says that the Big 12 will be the best conference in America. You have Colorado which will be improved and very good. Iowa State. There are teams that might not have been good last year, but will be improved. Oklahoma will be very good. Baylor will be very good. Missouri. Mike Anderson does a great job. I think we have a chance to be very good. Kansas State has a great team. I think the Big 12, I don't know if there's a close second because of the depth and talent in our league.
Tim (Oklahoma City)
Coach, who is a better shooter, James Anderson or LaceDarius Dunn?
Travis Ford (11:15 AM)
Obviously, I'm biased, so I'm going with James Anderson. But either one of those guys, if you have a last seocnd shot, you're safe with either one. He's improved from last year. He's quicker, more athletic. We think James Anderson is one of hte best players in the country, not just the Big 12.
Travis, I remember you when you played for the Maroons. Why did you choose Missouri originally rather than UK?
Travis Ford (11:17 AM)
UK at the time had four point guards on the team and Missouri only had one. I saw the chance to come in and play right away. That's what I was looking for was a place I could play right away. I was recruited by some great assistant coaches at Missouri and they had a bigger need at the time than Kentucky.
Travis Ford (11:18 AM)
Please follow and support the OK State Cowboys this year. We'll have a fun and exciting year. James Anderson will be one of the best players in the nation. Watch the Big 12 it's one of hte best conferences this year. A lot of NBA players and a lot of great teams. There will be a lot of teams still standing in March.
Buzzmaster (11:18 AM)
Thanks for chatting Travis! Next up is Mike Anderson!
Buzzmaster (11:21 AM)
Hang on folks. Coach just took a call.
John (Columbia, MO)
Coach Anderson, how big of an impact will sophomore Kimmie English have on the Tigers this season?
Mike Anderson (11:23 AM)
Hopefully he'll give us a guy that gives us some points. He has a tremendous opportunity to step in that position and contribute. Not just with his scoring, but with his athletic abilty.
Rodney Butler (Sedalia, Missouri)
How does it feel to have Mike Anderson Jr. on your staff, and do you think he will follow in your footsteps and become a coach too?
Mike Anderson (11:24 AM)
Being a father, I'm real proud to see him grow into manhood, from a young boy to a man. Coaching is something he wants to do. I think he has the right temperment. He's finding his way. I'm proud and happy for him.
Coach, you revitalized the Missouri program last year. What do you expect out of this season?
Mike Anderson (11:25 AM)
You always want to improve upon what you did the season before. We had a special year. With that being said, I just want us to come out and compete and be the best team that we can be. Hopefully that puts us in a position to be where we want to be in March and April.
Ted (Kansas City, MO)
Coach Anderson...Come into my living room, recruit my son, engage my wife & I. Why is Missouri the place for my son?
Mike Anderson (11:26 AM)
I think first of all, if you send me your boy, I'll send you back a man, who's ready to go out and be a productive citizen. The basketball will take care of itself. Of course, getting the education and degree is important to Mike Anderson.
Blake (Boise, ID)
Coach Anderson, how many minutes of the "40 minutes of Hell" do you team will play per game? (In past years you have joked it was more like 20 minutes of hell.)
Mike Anderson (11:26 AM)
I think we get closer. So I think we may be 33 "Minutes of Hell" and 7 minutes of what the hell are we doing?
Gary (Kansas City)
Mr. Anderson, with the loss of 2 huge players and a role guy do you think you can meet or exceed the success of last year and the expectations, and does it make you a little mad that your team didnt get any respect in the preseason national polls or big12 predictions?
Mike Anderson (11:27 AM)
Polls are what they are. Someone's opinion. It's not where you start, it's where you finish. I like our basketball team. Although we did lose some very good players. But this team will find its own identity and hopefully play the same style of basketball that last year's team did.
Coach A, how do you assess your team and the Big 12 as a whole this year? MIZ ZOU!
Mike Anderson (11:28 AM)
I think the Big 12 is one of the best conferences in the country from top to bottom. Two teams could be Final Four teams today, Texas and Kansas. But there's a conference schedule to be played as well as a non conference schedule. A lot of things will take place. I feel our team will be a team that will be in the mix when its all said and done.
Coach, what would you say is the biggest win of your career to this point? The NCAA win over Kentucky?
Mike Anderson (11:29 AM)
All wins are big to me. I've been a head coach for 8 years, but every win is a big win. Some stand out more than others. But when you look at the Kentucky win, that was a big win at the time. The run we had this year in the conference tournament and the NCAA run. But I look at all games as big games.
mr.anderson,what is the great thing about being a big 12 coach???
Mike Anderson (11:30 AM)
There are a lot of great coaches. You get a chance to pit against great coaches. It's a great league. If you do well in your league you have a chance at a national championship.
Chris (Columbia, MO)
With your up tempo style of play what kind of drills to run in practice?
Mike Anderson (11:31 AM)
We do a lot of full court drills. A lot of one on one and two on two building up to five on five. We do a lot of scrimmaging in practice. Our guys are learning on the job.
Matt (Montgomery City, MO)
Hey Coach, How do the post players look this year? Do see much offense coming from the post?
Mike Anderson (11:32 AM)
That's a big question mark right now with our basketball team. We might be doing it a bit differently than last year. but I feel that we have four guys capable of stepping up and giving us what you need from the 4s, rebounding, being good defensive players, slashing to the basket. I think our guards, we have plenty of depth there.
Hey Coach, I'm bringing my boys down to see their first live game, any games stand out that we could afford?
Mike Anderson (11:33 AM)
As I told our fans, every game, you come watch the Tigers, you'll be entertained. It will be fun, fast, exciting winning basketball. I think we've created a great atmosphere. Our fans and students make the atmosphere a fun and entertaining one in the arena.
Coach, last year we went 18-0 at home, how important is it to have such a dominant home court advantage?
Mike Anderson (11:33 AM)
We've hopefully created an atmosphere that is great for college basketball. I think our guys really feed off of that atmosphere. Packed house, fans are engaged. I think we've created an atmosphere where teams fear coming in there.
What non-conference game are you and your team looking forward to the most?
Mike Anderson (11:35 AM)
One of the bigger games we always play every year is the bragging rights game with Illinois. They've pulled it out and it's a game with an NCAA atmosphere. There are 11,000 Missouri fans and 11,000 Illinois fans. With our team trying to find its identity there will be some games that stand out. Georgia coming in. There will be some non confernece games that stand out.
Eric (The Woodlands)
Coach, could Coach Drew or Coach Ford beat you in 1on1?
Mike Anderson (11:35 AM)
Hi coach, other than scouting how much basketball do you get to watch or want to watch?
Mike Anderson (11:36 AM)
I'm a big college basketball fan. I watch quite a bit. I'm a real big fan, but at the same time I want to watch movies to get away from it at times.
Mike Anderson (11:36 AM)
Thanks for the questions. Stay tuned to the fastest 40 minutes of basketball. Go Tigers!
Buzzmaster (11:36 AM)
Buzzmaster (11:37 AM)
Next up is Scott Drew of Baylor. Get your questions in now!
Coach Drew, not to take away anything from your other recruits, but would you consider Perry Jones to be the best player the program has ever landed?
Scott Drew (11:43 AM)
He's the highest ranked player to ever sign at Baylor University and definitely has the potential to be the best player to ever play at our university. Remember some of our other greats include Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson, Michael Williams, Terry Teagle, David Wesley, Brian Skinner, etc.
Coach, Do you think it is important for your team to get off to a fast start this year to build some confidence for your young squad?
Scott Drew (11:44 AM)
I think every year you want to get off to a fast start. HAHA. At the same time, I think this team will continue to improve throughout the year. That's exciting for a coach because at the end of the year is when you want to play your best basketball.
Michael Grady (Midwest City, Ok)
Coach Drew, why do you think we are picked so low in the conference? I realize we lost a lot, but looking at whom we have returning with the addition of Udoh, I think we are being overlooked. Maybe that's a good thing.
Scott Drew (11:45 AM)
I think it's a tribute to the seniors that we lost last year and the great contributions they made to our program. Normally when a team loses over 50% of their scoring, rebounding and assists people think they will be down. Now the challenge will be for the new guys to step up and make sure we don't stay end up down.
Coach Drew - congrats on the great signing day! Do you expect the results from today to influence any other recruits?
Scott Drew (11:46 AM)
Most definitely for the future. Whenever you get a player ranked nationally as high as Perry Jones, it brings national attention to your school, which is a great thing.
Brad (Round Rock, Texas)
Coach Drew:After finishing the season so strong in the Big 12 Tournament and the NIT run to the championship game, do you feel there is any carry-over from a confidence standpoint in the returning players?
Scott Drew (11:47 AM)
Definitely ending the season on a high note is always important. The added practice time and game experience and exposure can do nothing but help your program for the future.
Coach Drew, Do you feel this years team has the most potential of any of your previous squads?
Scott Drew (11:48 AM)
Because of our size and length it is definitely different than other teams we've had at Baylor University. Defensively and rebounding wise we have a chance to be very good. And with that potential there is always excitement for what the season can become.
Eric (The Woodlands,TX)
Coach Anderson said he could school you in 1on1. Any truth to that?
Scott Drew (11:49 AM)
I know Coach Anderson likes to play defense, but I don't know how many tickets we'd sell for that matchup.
Pasty P (Austin, TX)
Coach, can anybody in the Big 12 stop Udoh?
Scott Drew (11:50 AM)
Ekpe has a chance to be very good in the Big 12 and I think after the season he will be a household name, barring injury. The great thing about Ekpe is he has the intangibles it takes to be good.
Pasty P (Austin, TX)
Coach, a game of horse between you, Tweety, and LaceDarius. Who wins?
Scott Drew (11:50 AM)
That would be a great game to watch. I know one thing's for certain and that is there would be a lot of deep shots taken and made.
Coach Drew, congrats on another great recruiting class! What kind of impact does getting a player like Perry Jones make on the Baylor program? What role do you see Bakari Turner filling over the next 4 years?
Scott Drew (11:53 AM)
The great thing about Perry and Bakari is that they're very familiar with each other since they both played on the same AAU team. They played for the Sea Wolves and coach Lawrence Johns, and because of that both of them have a relationship in that they bring out the best in each other. I think our fans will really enjoy watching both.
Kareem (Los Angeles)
Coach, cut to the chase, are we going to the dance this year?
Scott Drew (11:54 AM)
We would love to dance this year and some of our players love to show off their dancing ability. But I think, as for most programs, you have to stay injury free and team chemistry has to develop.
Brock (Indianapolis, IN)
The development of Josh Lomers toward the end of last season was a big contributing factor in Baylor's deep runs in the Big 12 Tourney and the NIT. Do you see him continuing to progress this season and being a major factor for the Bears?
Scott Drew (11:55 AM)
Josh definitely was a main reason that we had the run that we had at the end of last year. He's worked hard on his strength and conditioning. We hope he takes another step forward this year. Josh is definitely one of the strongest players in the Big 12.
Coach, LaceDarius Dunn has looked much more explosive this season. Do you think this is the year he starts getting mentioned as not only one of the better players in the Big 12, but the nation?
Scott Drew (11:56 AM)
Lace is one of those players that we expect to take another step forward this season. He's always been one of the best scorers in the nation, but this year, I think he will be able to show his improvement in the other areas of his game as well, defense, rebouding, passing.
Ryan (Little rock)
Where do you see anthony jones working in this year in the flow of the offense?
Scott Drew (11:57 AM)
Anthony has really had some great practices this year as he continues to gain strength and consistency to his game. He will definitley impact our team with his size length and skill set. He definitely has all the potential in the world.
IS defense going to be more stressed this year?
Scott Drew (11:58 AM)
Defense is stressed every year, but sometimes it might not be the strength of your team. This year, with the added size and length, hopefully we will be more efficient on the defensive end.
Kristen (Allen, Texas)
Coach, what is your opinion on the strength of the Big XII this year?
Scott Drew (12:00 PM)
The first time the Big 12 has been picked by many of the experts to be the best basketball conference in America. I definitely agree with this. If you look at the returning players in the Big 12, we have as many NBA prospects, if not the most in the country. I think Big 12 fans are in for a real treat this year, as it is the deepest and most competitive the conferene has been. Obviusly, Texas and Kansas are not only top 3 in the nation, but obviously will hold their own in the Big 12.
Scott Drew (12:02 PM)
To Baylor fans, thank you for all your support you've shown our team over the years. Because of your loyalty and support, we've been able to have back to back 20 win seasons for the first time in school history, set attendance records at the Ferrell Center, garner national media attention and be on ESPN 18 times last season (and I'm here at ESPN today to try and get more for the future. HAHA).
Buzzmaster (12:02 PM)
Thanks for chatting coaches!