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Wildcats Host Media Day in Bramlage


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State men's and women's basketball held their annual media day on Wednesday in Bramlage Coliseum. Head coach Deb Patterson addressed the media in the Legends Room and the players did interviews on the arena floor later in the session.

The following is a transcript of the day's activities. 

Head Coach Deb Patterson
Opening statement...
"We are looking forward to a whole new experience with Kansas State women's basketball this year, in regards to who you will see on the floor. Obviously we are transitioning to what was a very successful core of senior players, to a group of exciting, new faces. It is very different but it is also a very good opportunity for our team. We know that we are headed into a conference that is as good as any in America, so we know that the challenge is great as it is every year. But we are very enthused and we have a group of young people that are working very hard day-in and day-out. They are the kind of team that you enjoy coaching on a daily basis, because regardless of what they don't know, they do know how to work hard and bring the kind of enthusiasm that we need. They also know the great expectations that come with representing K-State women's basketball and our university as a whole.

"Once practice started, it was a whole new world. We are integrating in a lot of new players, especially on the perimeter, with Mariah White, Brittany Chambers, and Taelor Karr. Ashley Sweat will be our main returning post player, with sophomores Jalana Childs and Branshea Brown looking to significantly increase their playing time. It is a very young team with a new look. We have a lot of players who have not seen significant minutes in the past that will get the opportunity this year.  We are really looking forward to the energy and the possibilities that a young team will present."

On adjusting to coaching such an inexperienced team...
"It has been a while since we've had this much youth and inexperience playing a major role within our system, so it's going to be a little different for us. I remember when Shalee Lehning, Danielle Zanotti, Marlies Gipson and Kelsey Nelson were coming into the program as young freshmen; they were still a little more experienced than this group is now. We are very young in both the frontcourt and backcourt so that makes it a little more difficult on us. But it has been fun so far because they have brought such great energy and work ethic with them to the gym everyday. They know what they need to improve on and they are very anxious to learn. But I'm not sure if they know what it takes to be successful at this level yet. So it is very, very different experience than what we've had in the past. The more experienced players that we do have are depending on our younger players to step up quickly and play to the level that is needed."

On taking the time to figure out the best starting lineup...
"I think that we could take some time to figure out the concept of who is going to start for us and who is going to play major minutes. But I think it will take us some time to figure out what those younger players are going to bring to this team on any given possession. But with Ashley Sweat, we have a very versatile player who is extremely talented and she is someone who is able to play a number of positions if we need her to. I think that she is best suited to play at the four spot but she is the definition of a team-player and she will do anything to help us succeed, so we approach this season with the thought that Ashley could play a number of positions. Kari Kincaid is a player who played a lot of minutes in a back-up point guard role but I think her true position is shooting guard so I think we are going to play a lot of freshmen at point guard this year. But if things don't go according to plan, we might have to switch Kari back over to point guard. So I can see us having a lot of different line-ups this year, especially with regard to our backcourt. In the frontcourt, we know our rotation is going to be Ashley Sweat, Alina Voronenko, Jalana Childs and Branshea Brown.

On freshman point guard Mariah White...
"She is a tremendous talent. She sustained her second ACL injury early last year as a senior in high school, so she's had to rehab throughout the summer. So coming in, she wasn't prepared physically for the demands of Division 1 basketball, but her heart, mind, focus and other aspects of her game are getting to where they need to be. She is very quiet by nature so we are trying to get her to be more of a vocal leader. More than anything with Mariah, it's about getting her to become more verbal at the point guard spot. She has got a very good package of skills and a good head on her shoulders. She has the potential to be an impact player in this league. It may take her some time to get up to speed physically but she is a very special young lady. I think she has great potential down the road. She has a great ability to get to the rim so I think she will be a fun player to watch develop through the course of the season.

On the difference in point guards that might play...
"I think that Brittany Chambers and Mariah White have both had experience at point guard. I think that Mariah is more of what we think of as a true point guard. She is best when she is coming off on-ball screens, driving to the basket, and she passes very well while penetrating. Brittany is more of a perimeter ball distributor and three-point shooter. Coming off a lot of on-ball screens and driving the ball to the rim really isn't her game. But she has got good tools such as the ability to run an offense. Taelor Karr is also someone who we are looking to play at the point guard position. She is strong and compact. She has a different style of game than Brittany and Mariah, but she brings her own positives to our team. They all compliment each other, but they all have one- or two-dimensional games that we will look to expand upon, so depending on the match-ups that we face and how well they all play in practice that will depend on how we utilize these three players."

On coaching with patience with this team...
"I think that it will take a little more patience. But they really have brought a very strong commitment to competing hard in practice so far this season and as long as we are competing hard, we are going to be okay with the issues that come with inexperience. I think that it is always fun watching young players develop. I think that mistakes are just a part of the learning experience and we are going to make some mistakes because we are young. Patience is a virtue-that's what I tell myself every morning."

On the status of junior guard Kelsey Hill...
"Unfortunately, Kelsey blew out her ACL in practices on Saturday. So that was a big blow for our team because we don't have a lot of experience in our backcourt and she was a player who has been in our program for some time. She had an understanding of what needed to be done to be successful at this level of competition. She hadn't necessarily gotten a lot of minutes but we, as a staff, felt like she was one of the most improved players on our team. So we are disappointed for her. She had worked extremely hard all summer long. So she will be out for the remainder of the season, which is a sad situation."


Senior Forward Ashley Sweat
On having the game on her shoulders...
"I would be ok with that, if it was three years ago I would have been a little nervous. I think that being on different teams that have experienced so many different outcomes, my freshman year we were last place and my sophomore year we won (the Big 12 Championship). I feel more prepared to take on the Big 12 teams."

On helping the incoming freshman adapt to Big 12 play...
"I think that is something that they are going to learn when they are tossed in. It is a lot of the same things that I went through when I was a freshman. They know as freshman that they are going to have to step in. Once you step in between those lines it does not matter if you are a freshman or a senior, you are going to be playing."

Senior Guard Kari Kincaid
On the freshmen...
"I have really tried to talk to them about how special this is and that they need to look at the big picture and that this is a great opportunity for them. Every day they come in and have exceeded my expectations and it is really encouraging."

On potential of having a freshman point guard...
"Personally I think playing point guard is the most difficult position to play at our level and if they are playing point guard that means that they are the best option for us to have. So I am not nervous at all and Coach Patterson trusts them, then I trust them."

Sophomore Forward Jalana Childs
On overall production last year...
"I just need to be more patient and I want to be able to shutdown people on defense because we all know that defense wins games."

On practicing with Branshea Brown...
"We banged every single day; she is way bigger than me so sometimes it felt impossible for me to score and other times I felt like Kobe (Bryant). I think if she can stop me all summer then she can stop a lot of people in our league easily."

On the team's leadership...
"The seniors are the leaders but I try to be as vocal as possible. I do not yell at my teammates but I will if I need to say what needs to be said. If I am getting kicked off the court in practice because the other post player is dribbling in the post, then I will say something about that because it is a detriment to our team."