The Redbirds struggled to a 9-19 record last year. But
fourth year head coach Porter Moser is confident that
Illinois State is set to
rebound in 06-07. With some new incoming talent, added
depth, and more experience, Illinois State could be a serious
player in the MVC.
Looking ahead, what should we expect to be the strengths and weaknesses of
this yearís team?
PM: We are deeper at the point guard than we have been
the last couple of years. With the addition of Boo Richardson
and Dom Johnson we have really upgraded ourselves at that
position, while also adding depth. With those two and the other
guys we have signed and the guys we have coming back we are
definitely going to be able to increase the tempo.
felt defensive was a strength of ours last year and that the
guys really bought in to what we wanted to do defensively. We
just couldn't score. Hopefully with the added depth at the
point, it's going to make other guys better and will allow us to
put the ball in the hole better and get some easy baskets.
have a lot of new faces and the league is veteran oriented.
With 75 percent of the starters back in our conference, we are
going to face some teams that have been together and won
together. We have to come together. With that many new guys,
we are going to have to wait and see.
CHN: Fans often just see what happens during the games, but
talk about which of your guys deserve more credit for working
hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders off the
PM: Greg Dilligard is one of our leaders. Behind the
scenes, he has the right mentality for a captain. Heís pushing
the players when the coaches arenít looking. Ronnie Carlwell is
the same way. Ronnie doesnít get the minutes on the court like
Dilly, but his attitude, enthusiasm and work ethic is always a
CHN: Discuss the incoming guys for a bit. What type of
players are they? Who will make the biggest impact?
Because we have a number of newcomers, I donít really want to
single any one individual out. I just know as a group they are
going to have a huge impact starting with Boo at the point. He
really knows how to play and really knows how to lead. During
his first week on campus, the whole team has already started to
gravitate towards him. He just has those type of leadership
qualities. He makes the right decisions and can definitely push
Johnson gives us a ton of depth at two spots. He can play some
point and can play some combo. He comes from a great program
defensively and can really guard.
Anthony Slack is a long 6-foot-8 rebounder. His scoring really
improved during his second junior college season. Heís getting
stronger and is definitely going to come in and help us with
some scoring and defense. Heís a great shot blocker.
then our two freshmen, Osiris Eldridge and Bobby Hill. Both
come in eager to work and get after it. So, I think as a group,
they are going to impact us tremendously.
CHN: How hard will it be to replace
the outgoing seniors?
PM: We always put Dana
(Ford) on our opponentís best offensive player. Dana really
bought in to scouting, and defensively he was long and able to
get some steals. We always tried to put him on the other teamís
best guard. That is something that we are going to have to
find. Who is going to have that role to guard Nate Funk, Jamaal
Tatum, Sean Ogirri or Blake Ahearn? Thatís going to be
something that we will need to find.
I think that Dom Johnson could be that
guy. I think he can really lock up defensively. He has a
strong, compact body and I see him being that guy.
PM: Is there any one guy we should expect to take their game to an even
higher level this season?
think that Dom Johnson could be that guy. I think he can really
lock up defensively. He has a strong, compact body and I see
him being that guy.
CHN: What other coaches really helped you reach the level of
success youíre at now? How does their advice and teachings
still help you to this day?
PM: Obviously my mentor was Tony Barone. Having
played for him and coached with him for seven years, I was with
him 11 years and now his son, Brian, is on my staff. Coach was
always very detailed-oriented and very well prepared. He always
coached with a passion. Thatís the way I played when I played
for him and thatís the way I worked when I coached under him.
As a head coach, I try to be passionate about the job and
passionate about impacting people. He was always on me at an
early age, to be a student of the game. A lot of times young
coaches grow up in this day and age and itís all about
recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. But you hear some of the
coaches from his era and they talk about how many camps they
worked and how many clinics they worked. A lot of young guys
now skip that stage. They get hired to recruit and hired to
relate to the players. They donít spend the time learning the
game. Coach was always on me about doing both. We would work
clinics and pro training camps and we would talk about
basketball a lot. I think that really benefited me in terms of
learning the game.
also worked one year with Wimp Sanderson and he had a huge
impact on me with his game preparation and his game strategy.
Heís won a lot of games in his career and I feel that I was able
to really take a lot from him.
CHN: Realistically, discuss what your goals
and hopes are for this season.
PM: If we can come together with the newcomers
and the veterans, and really buy in, play together and work
together Ė I think great things are going to happen. It is
always a question with a lot of new guys, but I have a lot of
confidence because all of our new players are from winning
programs and they know what winning is about.
Both Roberto (Fortes) and Levi (Dyer)
really came on strong at the end of the season last year, while
(Brandon) Holtz, Mike (Vandello) and Dinma (Odiakosa) got a lot
of minutes as freshmen. Plus, (Greg) Dilligard is coming off
his best season and we are looking for him to improve on that.
My hopes and expectations are that we could be very good, if we
Good luck this year coach.
PM: Thanks. Don't forget to check out the final
Porter Moser Basketball Camp on July 17th.