There's one thing
Discuss all the
incoming players for a bit. Who will make the biggest impact?
Dean Keener: We
will have six newcomers - 4 freshmen, 1 junior
college transfer and 1 four-year transfer. It's hard to
predict the future with freshman. Terrance Carter was a
JUCO All-American at Southeaster CC and has a chance to be
an impact player for us.
CHN: How will you deal with
the graduation of the seniors?
We lost 3 seniors. No one person will replace that
experience, but our sophomore group is primed to become very
good - Juwann James, Kyle Swanston, Joe Posey, Lew Lampley
and Colbey Santos.
do you expect the strengths and weaknesses of
this yearís team to be?
DK: The strength of this years team will be
will also have big guards/wings relative to our league. A
weakness will be senior leadership. We will not have a
senior on roster.
CHN: Talk for a moment about which of your guys deserve more credit for working
hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders off the
DK: Juwann James was the CAA Rookie of the year. He
very optimistic player. Kyle Swanston is one of our hardest
workers and should have a breakout year.
CHN: What coaches have helped you reach the level of
success youíre at today?
DK: I have been fortunate to play and work for
coaches. My high school coach, Jim Maddox, was the first
to play a role in my basketball development. Other such as
George Raveling, Bill Foster and Paul Hewitt really touched
my way of thinking.
CHN: What type of goals have you set for this season?
DK: As we continue to build this program, we look
good things. We are excited about the foundation that has
been laid and hope for good year.
CHN: Thanks for your time Dean.
1) Itís often
hard to engage in honest introspection, but what should we
expect to be the strengths and weaknesses of next yearís team?
Our strengths this year should be great
quickness and speed on the court. Potentially, we can have an
outstanding defensive team with (7-0 junior center) Steven Hill
(145 career blocked shots) in the paint and (junior) Gary Ervin
at the point, and our inside game should be strong.
Our major weakness is compensating for the
loss of two great scorers in (junior) Ronnie Brewer (18.4 ppg)
and (senior) Jonathon Modica (16.1).
2) Fans often just see what happens during the games, but talk
about the players on your roster that deserve more credit for
working hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders
in the locker room:
Steven Hill (3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 blocks) is the most
underrated player on our team. His value on the defensive end is
enormous. He brings it every day in practice and heís very
consistent. We expect him to step it up on the offensive end.
Charles Thomas (9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .520 FG%)
is an unsung hero. He hustles all the time, takes charges and
3) Discuss the incoming newcomers. Who do you think will make
the biggest impact?
All of our newcomers have to make in impact, on the perimeter
especially. Gary Ervin (transfer from Mississippi State), with
his experience in NCAA Tournament play, is a key. Sonny Weems
(6-6, 200, 15.7 ppg) had an exceptional junior college career
and won a national championship. Patrick Beverley (34.0 ppg) got
a lot of attention late and blew up. A guy that has been under
the radar screen and will be a solid contributor as well is
Stefan Welsh. Michael Washington (6-10, 230) has the most upside
of all the kids coming in.
4) How hard will it be to replace the outgoing seniors? Who is
ready to take their game to the next level instead?
I donít know how you replace the guys we lost. We had three
1,000-point scorers (Ronnie Brewer, Jonathon Modica, Eric
Ferguson). Thatís a heavy load. It canít fall on the shoulders
of one or two players. I think we will have to be a different
team. Our inside guys need more touches and they need to be
5) 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?
Two coaches have really influenced me. A lot of the things we
do are similar to what Tom Izzo does at Michigan State. Jim
Larranaga (George Mason) has been a good sounding board for me.
Weíve continued to stay in contact with each other (Heath was
his assistant at Bowling Green).
6) Realistically, discuss what your goals and hopes are for this
I expect our goals to change throughout the season. We have a
lot of short-term goals. In the off-season, we want to develop
chemistry and toughness, and become highly-conditioned. We want
to do well during the non-conference portion of our season. We
want to be strong and protect our home court, and develop a
winning mentality on the road. We want to be in the NCAA
Tournament. We want to win the league. As we go through the
season, weíll identify where we are and set new goals.
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