CAA Media Day Quoteables

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Towson coach Pat Skerry meets with reporters at the 2013 CAA media day. (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Towson coach Pat Skerry meets with reporters at the 2013 CAA media day. (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

Here in Baltimore for CAA men’s basketball Media Day, where Towson, Drexel and Charleston were picked 1-2-3 in the league’s preseason poll. This page will update throughout the morning/early afternoon with quotes from the league’s nine head coaches.

Matt Brady (James Madison)
On the teams’ trip to the NCAA tournament last season: “I thought we caught some breaks that everybody caught last year. It wasn’t as if we weren’t injured, and it wasn’t as if we got breaks that other programs didn’t get…I just felt that we weren’t snakebitten too much last year.”

On Andrey Seminov, who missed last season: “I think what he lends to us is an older guy who’s been through the wars, so to speak, and won’t let some of these freshmen get affected by being on the road and being in difficult circumstances, facing a deficit. Hopefully those leadership things will show themselves with his play this year. He’s certainly a talented guy, and when he’s shooting it well he’s as good a shooter as there is in this conference.”

On his two forwards from Philadelphia: “We thought when we got [Yohanny] Dalembert that he was going to be a guy that could compete to start right away, I think he is a guy that is going to compete for minutes. The good news is that [Rise Academy’s] Taylor Bessick, who started eight games for us as a freshman last year, has made a jump in terms of his competitive spirit and rebounding the ball. I don’t envision a way for those guys to be on the court together, so they are competing right now, two guys from Philadelphia competing for minutes at the center position. I think as I forecast this team down the road, there will be opportunities for those guys to play together but that’s probably not this year.”

Bruiser Flint (Drexel)
On officiating expected to call more hand-check fouls: “This year was the first year I ever showed my kids the [NCAA] refereeing video. So you talk about it a little more in practice, but I wanted them to see it from the officials’ standpoint, where somebody other than me is telling them ‘you can’t put your hands on the guy.'”

On those fouls potentially benefitting his offense: “Yeah, yeah, because teams really played us physically. That was the way they sort of stopped us a little bit, ‘let’s hang on these guys and hopefully the referees don’t call a lot of fouls and they don’t go to the foul line.’ So it’ll help us but we’re a physical defensive team too, so it’s a give-and-take on both ends.”

On his freshman forwards: Rodney [Williams] is probably a little more ahead than the other guys. He’s probably more ahead than all of the freshman. It always takes freshman at least a year, we just want them to be in the vicinity of where they’re supposed to be at [defensively]. If they can do that then they can pull it off. Rarely do you have a good defensive freshman…Bashir Mason is probably the only guy I’ve ever coached as a freshman who was ready to come in and play defense the first day.”

Buzz Peterson (UNC-Wilmington)
On replacing All-CAA First Team forward Keith Rendleman’s rebounding: “In all the years I’ve been coaching, I’ve never had anybody like him. You just don’t teach that, he just had the knack to finding the ball.”

On Alabama transfer guard Ben Eblen: “The biggest challenge for him has been he’s gone from someone who wasn’t getting his name yelled at every day to someone who’s getting it called every day. It was an adjustment for him, but he likes the challenge. He wanted this, he wanted to go and play where he could play significant minutes and enjoy that senior year, and that’s why he graduated early where he could transfer and play right away his senior year.”

Monté Ross (Delaware)
On his offense changing without Jamelle Hagins: “I think we’re going to have to adjust some. It won’t be the dribble-drive offense, but we’ll adjust it, we’ll have to open up the floor a little bit more, we won’t just be pounding it inside like we were able to do.”

On Mississippi Valley State transfer Davon Usher’s adjustment: “Soon after he committed to play for us, he called [senior guard] Devon [Saddler]…and he said ‘look, I scored a lot of points at MVSU, but I’m not here worried about my points, I want to win.’ And now that’s preached sometimes, but when practice starts it’s not displayed. He absolutely displays and feels that way, that’s how he plays, and when you have a young man like that on your team, it’s a recipe for success.”

On his freshmen: “I think the one that’s probably ahead of the other other is [J.P. McCaskey alum] Devonne Pinkard. He’s 6-6, from Lancaster, can really, really shoot the ball. He’s been good.”

On potentially starting a four-guard lineup: “Probably every day we do something different. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Pat Skerry (Towson)
On the high expectations for his team this year: “With expectations you’ve got to have a heightened sense of responsibility. The deal is if you’re picked first and then you don’t come in first, you didn’t meet expectations, but you do want them because you want it to mean something to your staff, your program, your administration, your student body, your alums. I want it to mean something every year and I think we’re on the verge of doing that.”

On freshman John Davis, a Neumann-Goretti grad: “John Davis eventually could be an all-conference guy in this league, he’s a lot more skilled than I thought. He’s got a couple older guys in front of him but he’s as tough a guy as we have, he’s going to be really, really good. He has that Philly toughness, I’m really excited about him.”

On the CAA Tournament coming to Baltimore:” I’m pumped up that the tournament’s coming down to Baltimore, Baltimore’s a wonderful city, I think people are going to realize it. The fact that there’s 400,000 CAA alums in this area I think could make for a really special basketball atmosphere and if this is done right, Baltimore’s a sports town, they’ll catch onto this thing if it’s done the right way and March Madness could be special, we’d love to be a part of it, that’s why we do this.”

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