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COLLEGE HEAD COACH: PREVIEW Q&A's

College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

shawn@collegehoops.net

September 22nd, 2006

 

Southern Utah Head Coach: Bill Evans

 

Coming off a disappointing 10-20 season, long time Southern Utah head coach Bill Evans has hope for optimism in 2006-07.  The Thunderbirds return four of their five leading scorers and Evans has a chance to substantially add to his SUU all-time best 193 wins.

 

Shawn Siegel (CHN): What will the strengths and weaknesses of this yearís team to be?


Bill Evans (BE): It appears to me that we will be more athletic than we have been in the past. I think this will be one of the most athletic teams Iíve coached since Iíve been here, from the point to the post. I also think weíll be a pretty good shooting team, I donít think weíll lead the country in 3-point percentage like we did last year but weíll be a decent shooting team. It appears our major strength will be or athleticism, however.

 

Iím concerned not so much about depth but we donít have very much size. We do have one big kid but we take a big drop from 7-1 to 6-6. Our post guys with the exception of Brad [Kanis, who is 7-1] will be 6-6 and our wings will be anywhere from 6-4 to 6-6 again. We donít have a lot of size. Our point guard is 5-10, our off-guard is 6-0; from there we get bigger. Secondly, trying to incorporate at least 3 new starters into our lineup will be a challenge as well; we have quite a few new guys.

 

 

CHN: Talk about one or two of your guys that stands out as being an unheralded leader and contributor?

 

BE: Steve Barnes was an honorable mention all-league guy last year, which surprised me a little bit, not because he didnít deserve it Ė he unquestionably did Ė but because he hasnít received a lot of respect even though heís been in the top-two in the league in assists and in assists-to-turnover ratio each of the past two seasons. Iím not sure Iíve ever had a guy work as hard as Steve has since the end of last season until now in the weight room to get stronger and better. I think heís an underrated offensive player, he shot over 50% from the floor (.506) and from the 3-point line (.500) last year; my challenge will be to get him to take an open shot when he gets it. Heís a pass-first, shoot-second guy and he has a good temperament for the [point guard] position. Steve is incredibly strong for his size. Heís so quiet that sometimes he doesnít direct, vocally, like I would like him to but heís a guy kids will follow because of his work ethic and the way he approaches the game. He does all the things leaders do.

 

 

CHN: How will you deal with the losses of your graduating seniors?

 

BE: I think Rand [Janes], Nate [Janes] and Esteban were all program guys, very loyal, very hard-working, very unselfish. Everyone talks about playing for the right reasons, and all three played for the right reasons. On the other hand Henry [Uhegwu] was very productive, more of a scorer, and a good teammate, losing all of them will be a blow. They were all high-character guys who werenít concerned about their numbers or themselves but were concerned about the scoreboard.

 

Who is ready to take their game to the next level?

Besides Seve Barnes who I discussed, I anticipate Justin (Allen) will have a much better year. He is one of the most athletic players Iíve coached. We need to get him to be a more consistent defender; heís a good defender but if he can be more consistent on that end of the floor he can be a difference maker

 

 

CHN: What should we expect out of the incoming players. Who will make the biggest impact?

BE:
 Itís hard for me to say because one of the young men I think will have a real impact I havenít ever seen play in person, but based upon what Iíve heard, Swaney Cooper (6-4, 210, Jr, F, Cleveland, Ohio, Highland CC) is a very talented, athletic player who will really help us. Nuru (Nurudeen Adepoju, 6-5, 195, Jr, F, Lagos, Nigeria, Daytona Beach CC) is a hard worker who shoots the basketball well. I like Orlando [Griego, 6-7, 210, Jr, F, Durango, Colorado, JC/Cochise CC] and his ability to lead, heís also very tough, both physically and mentally. Both Tate [Sorenson,6-7, 215, Jr, F, Altamont, Utah, JC/College of Eastern Utah] and Kael [Pope, 6-9, 200, Fr, Wendell, Idaho, just returned from LDS church mission] possess the same toughness qualities. Brad [Kanis, 7-1, 240, Jr, C, Irvine, California, Lane CC] has size but itís still to be determined how he will adjust, how they all will adjust. I like them all and am excited to see how they will fit in.

 

 

CHN: Are you pretty well settled with your starting lineup? If not, what should be the biggest battle for a starting spot?

BE:  We have more than one home game in November and December, which is a plus right away, and weíre excited about that. We have 14 home games, which is more than weíve had the past few years and anytime you get to play at home itís a positive. Our schedule is tough again though. We have Washington from the Pac-10, Utah and BYU from the Mountain West, Boise State and Idaho from the WAC, Denver from the Sun Belt and Weber State from the Big Sky a couple of times as well as Utah Valley who was one of the best independents last year. Our pre-season schedule is plenty tough and our league is always tough.

 

 

CHN: How does this year's schedule compare to recent seasons in terms of difficulty?

BE: We have more than one home game in November and December, which is a plus right away, and weíre excited about that. We have 14 home games, which is more than weíve had the past few years and anytime you get to play at home itís a positive. Our schedule is tough again though. We have Washington from the Pac-10, Utah and BYU from the Mountain West, Boise State and Idaho from the WAC, Denver from the Sun Belt and Weber State from the Big Sky a couple of times as well as Utah Valley who was one of the best independents last year. Our pre-season schedule is plenty tough and our league is always tough.

 

 

CHN: Realistically, discuss what your goals and hopes are for this season:

 

BE: Goals and hopes are two different things to me. I hope we go to the NCAA tournament and win a bunch of games. Our goals are to continue to be a team people respect, not only in our league but out of our league as well; to do things the right way; to bring in good kids, continue to graduate guys, play within the NCAA rules. We want to work extremely hard and be as good as we can be. I donít have any hard and fast goals as far as number of wins but if you do the other things, do things the right way, wins and losses take care of themselves.

 

CHN: Thanks Bill.  Good luck.

 

 

Don't forget to check out Southern Utah's 2007 Camps:

 

Team camp: June 11-14, 2007, Southern Utah University campus, Cedar City, Utah

Individual Camp: June 4-7, 2007, Southern Utah University campus, Cedar City, Utah

 

More 2006 College Preview: Head Coach Interviews

 

 

 

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