With the beginning of the 2013-14 basketball season just around the corner, the Kent State basketball programs met with members of the media this past Wednesday to discuss their outlook on the season. On the men's side, 3rd-year head coach Rob Senderoff was joined by this year's captains: senior Mark Henniger and Darren Goodson and junior Kris Brewer. Here is some of what they had to say....
|Head coach Rob Senderoff|
"We're looking forward to the season starting a week from Friday. For a basketball fan, this is a great time of the year. I think our kids are ready to start it up soon. Our coaches are, and hopefully our students and fans in the community will be there with us starting next Friday."
What the starting lineup looks like for opening night:
"These 3 guys are returning starters from last year. There are still some decisions to be made regarding the other 2 spots, although I’d say I’m 90% sure with both of them. But more importantly, the rotation behind them is still very much up for grabs. It changes day-by-day. This isn’t like football where the starter gets most of the reps and the backup rarely plays. "
Expectations of a more balanced offense this season:
"We played 4 games in the Bahamas this summer, and we had nobody average over 13 points and 7 guys that averaged 9 or above. I think there’s certainly more balance than last year’s team. But at the same time, guys have to step up."
Overall versatility of the this year’s team:
"Kris (Brewer) can play at any of the perimeter positions. He’s most comfortable playing the point because that’s his position. K.K. Simmons has received a ton of reps at the point in our practices. Devin Carter is very comfortable with the ball in his hands. So there’s a lot of versatility around the perimeter, and even up front. Melvin was strictly a center last year. I think the way that we’re playing and the things that we’re doing I could play any combination of frontcourt guys, including Marquiez Lawrence whose been playing well as of late."
Expectations of his 3 captains:
"I’m not expecting them every night to be the 3 best players on our team, but they need to lead our team every night whether it’s going well for them or not going well for them.
Darren has to be a facilitator and score when the opportunity arises for him. I’ve told him many times that I think he’s the passing frontcourt guy in the conference, but he has to go out and do that every night.
Mark has to be our most vocal defender, our best frontcourt defender, he’s got to become a better rebounder, and he’ll get the ball thrown to him a bit more than he did last year. Defensive rebounding is going to be huge for us.
I’ve told Kris this a lot, I expect him to be the best player on the floor most nights that we play. If he’s not the best player on the floor, then he certainly can’t be any worse than the 3rd-best player on the floor.
The defensive ability of junior guard Derek Jackson:
"He’s got great anticipation skills. He’s got great feet. He’s active. And it’s a priority for him. Kris (Brewer) could be the best defensive player. He’s biggest, most athletic, fastest guard in the league."
The improvement of senior forward Mark Henniger:
Mark’s been much better than last season. He’s more confident in the post and just a more confident player. This is the most he’s weighed at this point in his career. He’s at about 230 right now. And he’s always dropped down, but now he’s been pretty consistently at 230.
Keys for success this year:
"Unselfishness is going to be important because I don’t know that we have a guy that will average 17 points per game like Chris Evans did for us last year. Everybody has individual goals, so sometimes you have to take a little bit of a backset to your individual stuff for the team stuff. I think we have a very unselfish team this year. We also have to play with a defensive mindset and a rebounding mindset. We’re not very big. Darren starts at the power forward spot, so to speak, and we don’t have a big wing like Chris Evans. We have to defensive rebound as a team, positions 1-5."
|Senior forward Darren Goodson|
What he wants to be known as this season:
"I just want be able to step up when the team needs me. Whether it’s being vocal in the game or getting a bucket or and 1, I want to be that person they can go to."
What he learned from focusing on being more of a distributor late last season:
"I saw that my passing helped somebody else get a shot. To see Dev Manley or Randal knock down a wide open shot, it got the team up to play defense. Becoming more of an unselfish player helped my game out as well. When I see the lane open, defenders have to stay with guys because they know I’ll pass it, and it helped me get to the hole easier."
|Senior forward Mark Henniger|
His improvement in the offseason:
"Last year, I got more playing time so I got more experience in the league. I think that helped my confidence out. Just being in the weight room more was really big because I could play more how I want to play when I got stronger. This year, I was here all summer long and was lifting all of the time to get stronger."
His role on defense this season:
"It’s more of a focus this season. As one of the team leaders, I should be one be one of our best defenders on the court."
How he can contribute on nights he's not at his best:
I just want to be the leader out there and be vocal. I have to get my teammates going and have them on their ‘A’ game.