Entering his 11th season, Pat Douglass is 11 wins away from becoming UC Irvine's all-time leader in wins. Reaching that landmark should be a foregone conclusion for a team that won 15 games last year and is projected to finish in the top half of the league by many sources. Coach Douglass was nice enough to take part in CHN's Preseason Interviews Series:
Collegehoops.net) Based on what you saw last year, what's the biggest improvement your team needs to get to the next level?
Pat Douglass) We need continued improvement in the assist-turnover ratio.
CHN) Are you settled with your starting lineup? Expect any particular battles for the open spots?
PD) We have four returning starters but this a new season and everyone needs to play at their highest level of performance.
CHN) It might be hard to pick out one, but who is the most talented player you've ever coached?
PD) Jerry Green at UC Irvine (Ed: Green was Big West Player of the Year back to back in 01 & 02)
CHN) Talk about one or two guys that stand out as being underrated contributors to your team's success?
PD) Darren Fells in the post is a three-year starter who needs to be consistent and establish himself as a premier player.
CHN) What do you think will be the hardest game on this year's schedule?
PD) All of them but probably away games against Texas A&M, South Carolina and Utah.
CHN) Realistically, what should the fans and media expect from your team this year?
PD) We play a challenging non-conference schedule but still should be ready to compete for a top spot in the Big West Conference.
CHN) Anything else coach?
PD) We are excited to be playing in the first Anaheim Classic sponsored by ESPN and Disneyland over Thanksgiving weekend. This tournament provides great television exposure and strong competition locally that enhances our conference and UC Irvine. Fans in the area have a great opportunity to watch some top-level college basketball. We are honored to be the first Big West school invited to participate in the eight-team tournament.