UAB Basketball Teams Host Media Day

UABSPORTS.COM
UABSPORTS.COM

UABSPORTS.COM

Oct. 15, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB men's basketball head coach Jerod Haase and women's hoops head coach Randy Norton previewed the upcoming 2013-14 seasons at Tuesday's Media Day in the Green and Gold Room of Bartow Arena. 

Joining Haase and Norton were UAB men's basketball players Jordan Swing and Fahro Alihodzic, along with women's basketball players Chelsee Black and Ashley Grimes

UAB women's basketball tips off the season with an exhibition game on Oct. 28 against Georgia Southwestern. The Blazers' men's basketball team begins the season on Nov. 3 in an exhibition contest against Milligan (Tenn.) College. 

For more information on the UAB basketball teams, follow the Blazers on Twitter (@UABAthletics, @CoachJerodHaase and @UAB_WBB) or on the web at www.UABSports.com. 

Men's Basketball Head Coach Jerod Haase

Opening statement…
“This year has been a little unique with the rule changes. We have our foundation set with our attitudes and philosophies. Practices have been good. Our guys have had great attitudes. They are pushing themselves hard. There is a level of talent and depth this year that is exciting. There are a lot of guys competing for minutes and competing for playing time. We are looking forward to the first game.”

On the newly renovated locker room…
“The locker room is a huge deal. Our locker room is absolutely gorgeous right now. The guys have done a great job of keeping it pristine. The whole attitude around our program right now is doing everything first class. Whether it’s how we practice or going to class, doing things the right way and being presentable in everything you do is important. The quality of life of our students is very important to me, and our locker room is second to none.”


 

 

On expectations this season…
“We do have high expectations. There is a lot of positive energy around the program. Through my entire college career at Kansas, I lost 13 games. We lost 17 games last year. I don’t like to lose. I’m not used to losing. Our guys are very aware of that and they don’t like to lose either. UAB has a very proud and successful history in basketball and we are trying to build on that to make this a great season. The level of commitment has been very good.”

On defensive goals this season…
“Our defensive field goal percentage has to improve. Allowing opponents to shoot 45 percent last season is way too high. We have put a lot of emphasis on the defensive end as far as being tough, playing without fouling, and we have also adjusted some other things to limit the other teams from shooting so well. The first practice this fall, we didn’t do much offensive work. We focused on defense and made sure the guys were bought in to the defensive end of the floor. If we want to be a big-time team, we are not going to be able to outscore everybody, but we are going to have to guard people and be willing to do that.”

On the confidence level of this year’s team…
“I think we are very confident. Our expectations are high. We have five seniors coming back with experience, but we have some new guys coming in who will add some depth as well. One of the challenges this fall is getting everyone meshed together, and so far that has been very good.”

On the returning experience of this year’s team…
“I would label us as an experienced team. We have five seniors and six newcomers, but only three of the newcomers are freshmen. The other three are from junior college and will be juniors on the court this season. They have played at very high-level junior colleges, so they have that game experience.”

On the new teams in Conference USA…
“The conference is changing. As far as I’m concerned, there have been a lot of positive steps taken as a conference. We are adding a lot of teams that have a tradition of great basketball. However, I don’t know a ton about the new teams because the focus has been on our guys.”

On his team’s philosophy this season…
“There are basic foundations that you want to stand for every year. We are trying to be a team that plays very fast, that is fun to watch, and that runs up and down the court with high energy. That is something that I hope all of my teams have. There is a level of toughness to be able to play fast, to be able to sprint down the floor every time and play unselfishly.”

Women’s Basketball Head Coach Randy Norton

On preparing for the first game… 
I think the biggest thing is we are trying to implement our system. We like to play fast. I know last year they didn’t average a lot of points so we’re playing a different type of offensive system. We’re trying to get our players to run at all opportunities and to be aggressive. Defensively, we love to press. Right now, we’ve got two of our presses in. We have our full-court run and jump as well as our 2-2-1 zone press.  We’ll also have a half court defense where we let our players get out and get after opponents.”

On if he has a target number of points he would like his team to average… 
“I’ve never really focused on that. Our philosophy is that every game we get off the plane or bus pressing. We want teams to spend their entire week preparing for how we are going to play them. We give teams a lot to prepare for. As far as scoring a certain number of points, typically we have been in the top 10 in scoring and top 10 in 3-point shooting. That just gives you an idea of how we like to play.”

On the talent level of this year’s team…
“By the first team workout, I realized I have never coached a team that is this athletic and quick. They fit our style of play perfectly. The players work hard on defense and they love to run. They will just get better and better with that, but when they are out in the open court it’s really hard to guard them. The players are not selfish, and the ball movement has been outstanding for this early in the season.”

On the difference between UAB and his last season at Missouri…
“Last year at the University of Missouri we had a team that was primarily a 3-point shooting team and what most would consider undersized in the SEC. Defensively, we really had to clog up the lane area and offensively, we had a lot of threes. Our team this year is more balanced. We can shoot threes, but they are also able to get to the rim which provides us with a lot more diversity in our shooting.”

On leadership roles within this year’s team… 
“We have our two seniors, Ashley Grimes and Karisma Chapman, who are both second team all-conference players from last season, and they are two good players to build a team around. They have provided great leadership and have that experience in Conference USA. Then, Chelsee Black, our point guard, has been better than I even imagined. In fact, we just had an individual meeting before this about point guard responsibilities. Those three have been outstanding for us. Our post players will be really good as well. We have several post players that are getting better every single day – Kayla Anderson, Dy’man Webb, Brittany Winborne and Khoria Newman -- all have played really well.”

Men's Basketball Senior F Jordan Swing

On the new locker room…
“It’s great. It gives the players a place to hang out. It keeps the guys together. It definitely helps morale.”

On the newcomers…
“All six of the new guys came in and stepped up. They started out struggling a little bit, but it is tough to adjust to the Division 1 level. They all came in and got with Cory (Schlesinger), our new strength coach, and really worked on their bodies. On the court, they did a great job in the offseason of getting prepared for practice.”

On the difference in his game this season…
“I want to be more aggressive and a leader on the court this year. Knowing that this is my last shot, I want to make this a great year. I haven’t had a great year yet in my career, team wise.”

On the team’s focus this offseason…
“With the days they gave us in the summer, we have really been able to work together as a team. We have worked on our offensive philosophy and our conditioning. Being able to sustain our style of play is hard and that is why not every team does it. You have to be really in shape and cannot let fatigue affect your play during the game. We will be ready to go.”

On difference in coach Jerod Haase’s second year…
“This is my first time in college having the same coach for two consecutive years. For me, it is a lot easier knowing what you are going to get. Coach knows what to expect out of me and I know what to expect out of him, and it is comforting.”

Men's Basketball Senior C Fahro Alihodzic

On the biggest difference from last year…
“Coach (Haase) knows what to expect from us and he knows what he has in us. He has brought in some of the players that he recruited himself. We can do some big things this year.”

On the confidence level of this year’s team…
“Our confidence level is really high. I am playing as confident as I ever have. Everyone’s expectations are high this season. We have been playing well in practices and scrimmages. The guys have been playing at a high level.”

Women’s Basketball Sophomore G Chelsee Black 

On the upcoming season…
“I’m really excited for the season. We have a lot of returners coming back, including two all-conference players, Ashley Grimes and Karisma Chapman. I’m looking forward to being the starting point guard. I know it is a lot of responsibility, but practices have been going really well. We’re bonding more as a team and Coach Norton and his staff have been phenomenal to us. We’re all looking forward to a great season.”

On the new offense…
“At practice we have been working a lot on transitioning and making sure we don’t have to work as hard offensively. If we can push the ball and get it out, more points will come. Hopefully more steals and easy layups will follow with the press we have.”

Women’s Basketball Senior G/F Ashley Grimes

On the upcoming season…
“I’m excited this year with the new coaching staff and seeing where their style of coaching will take us.”

On the team’s mission…
“We all want to be great, mentally and physically. The team is really focused on helping each other and getting better each day.”

On the biggest difference in style of play compared to last season…
“We are more selfless. We look to share the ball more instead of just shooting. Also, we get up and down the court a lot more in comparison to last year. Our team has more weapons offensively this year.”