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College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

July 11th, 2006


Illinois State: Porter Moser

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.


CHN: 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.


I 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.


We 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 court:


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 positive.

CHN: Discuss the incoming guys for a bit. What type of players are they? Who will make the biggest impact?

PM:   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 the ball.


Dom 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.


And 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?


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.


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.


I 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.

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 come together.

CHN: Good luck this year coach.


PM: Thanks. Don't forget to check out the final Porter Moser Basketball Camp on July 17th.



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