Standing at the podium, speaking to reporters at DU basketball’s media day, men’s coach Joe Scott spoke about three things: discipline, youth and execution.
“The more discipline you have the more responsibility you get. When you combine responsibility and discipline, comes freedom. That’s when you can get creative”.
Scott spoke in a calm manner on Tuesday with the media; he did not use that same tone with the players at practice an hour before, stopping each play by running, jumping and screaming about every little misstep on the court.
For Scott, the only way to make sure his team can stand up to adversity is to put them through it himself.
“Ultimately, what it comes down to is having them understand the demands the games place on you, and with me having a very young team, I want our team to approach it as you have to be the type of player that likes it when it’s hard because that’s when you know when you are good.
“Reason why is because it will happen in every single game at some point of the game. How you respond to those type of situations is how I approach it in practice every single day. Putting those demands and placing it on them, and that is why I come with so much intensity day in and day out.”
When asked whether Scott’s tactics might act as a deterrence to young players and recruits, freshman Bradley George said absolutely not.
“Not at all, my high school coach was just as intense. The difference is, the reasons behind it. Every step every move must be done with a purpose and type of precision that only he knows. That is the difference, and if we get on board, I am sure that he will put us in the right places.”
And for DU basketball fans, that’s the exact type of mentality you should be hoping for from a young player.
Of the 17 players on the team, 13 are underclassmen, making this one of the youngest programs in the country.
The youth movement seems to be the theme of the season, but don’t tell that to freshman forward Thomas Neff who played high school basketball in-state at Arvada West High School.
“Even though we are young, I think we play as an older team; we play very maturely, thanks to our coach. And I don’t feel as if our age will affect how we play. I think we play really well with the team that we have, and we are looking forward to giving our all each game.”
There are only three seniors on the team, and the youth behind them only makes their roles as leaders more significant. As with every young team, there will be growing pains, and some will seem insurmountable. It’ll be up to coach Scott and his upperclassmen to act as solutions to the Pioneer’s problems.
Senior Bryant Rucker understands that.
“As a young team, we are going to have lapses, but the seniors have to take control of that because we have been there. We understand we will have spurts that we will play well and some where we will play bad. The positive thing that will have us prepared is everyone is willing to learn, grow and get better each and every day.”
For a young group, it appears as if they have it all figured out. It may seem unorthodox to some, but for Scott, he says, “It’s a good crazy.”