Denker heads into his 2nd season as the head coach of the Colorado
State Rams. He led his team to a 21 win season and to the finals of
the WNIT. He was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:
1) I was checking out your bio, and I noticed in your coaching career
that you jumped from being an assistant high school coach to an
assistant at Idaho St. University. This seems like a large jump.
Could you explain how you broke into the college coaching ranks?
was coaching the Oregon BCI team, which was the best team of all-stars
in Oregon at the time. We won the Oregon City End of the Trail
Tournament and I had several players get scholarships. Ted Anderson
of Idaho State was looking for an assistant coach and approached me
about it. I jumped at the chance and am thankful to Ted for the
2) CSU has won 16 consecutive games at home, in Moby Arena. I know
all teams pride themselves on winning at home, but what do you think
gives you such a great home court advantage?
CD) Several things. Our
crowd is the greatest basketball crowd going. They cheer loudly
and support our team, but they also understand good basketball from
both teams and appreciate good play. We also get large crowds
and our outstanding arena (Moby Arena) is a loud building. Our
team, like everyone, feels better at home and plays with a lot of
confidence. Finally, we have awesome cheer squads and pep band
and they create a tremendous atmosphere for us to play in.
3) You guys will lose 4 starters and 5 seniors from last year’s
squad. This is a huge chunk of experience to make up for. Will next
year be simply a "rebuilding" year? Who do you think will step up and
fill the slack?
certainly be young. 9 sophs/frosh on our roster of 12. So our youth
will be the key, as they improve, learn, and become adjusted to the
level of play, we'll perform better. Consistency could be a problem
but we'll certainly work to stay consistent as coaches and throughout
practices. We never think rebuilding year, we think winning
championships and post-season play. We'll do the same this year and
work as hard as we can to achieve our goals. We are excited about our
young kids, our signing class was ranked 24th in the nation and we
think they will all have a chance to play and help our team.
4) Do you think there’s enough high school talent in Colorado, to
build a national championship caliber team from in-state recruits? Or
do you need to expand your recruiting base, such as this year, where 3
of your 5 new recruits are from out of state?
We love Colorado and the girls basketball that is currently being
played here. Solid high school and club coaching certainly helps
elevate the level of play here. However, we'll always recruit
the Pacific Northwest, California, and the Midwest. We have had
tremendous success in Oregon (my home state) and Washington while at
Santa Clara University. Being in California for 9 years helps
recruiting there and we have had good contacts and reception in the
Midwest so far.
5) U. of Colorado had a very solid season last year going to the
Sweet 16. Do you place any extra emphasis on games versus your
did very well last year, Ceal and her staff do a nice job. We always
shoot to beat our rivals in the state and also in our conference the
Mountain West. We played Wyoming 4 times last year, they are just 50
miles from here, what a rivalry that is. We were fortunate to win 3
of the 4. BYU, Utah, and New Mexico are also rivals of ours in this
outstanding conference...6 of our 8 teams went on to post-season play,
so every night is a tough "tournament" type opponent and game.
6) What’s the toughest arena to play at in the MVC? I’d have to
guess New Mexico is the hardest because of the venue and the large
crowds they get.
CD) Yes, UNM
is tough because of the crowds, I think our arena at CSU must
be fairly tough, and I think Wyoming is a tough place to play as well
as UNLV. Vegas gets a decent size crowd and they are pretty loud