The Big Ten's annual media day was held this year on October 15th and all the Big Ten coaches and selected players were able to give their thoughts on the upcoming season and their respective teams. It's a very exciting event and signals the official start to the college basketball season.
BTPowerhouse will be posting the various transcripts of each coach's statements to the press. Including below is the transcript from Purdue's Matt Painter.
Matt Painter On Big Ten Media Day
COACH PAINTER: We're excited, like everybody else, to start the season. It's tough to really try to build on what we did last year, but also the injuries, make improvements but also be healthy. I want a really good shot to be really healthy. Keep our fingers crossed. Just trying to get better through practice and competition without injuring ourselves. We have a lot of big bodies and we try to be competitive. We play without our hands on the perimeter and really try to get better each day through competition. I think we may be able to do that you know just excited about returning all of our guys except John who was unbelievable for us and unbelievable for our program and just his work ethic, the way he went about doing his business -- Rapheal Davis, A.J. Hammons, these seniors that we have returning are going to have the best years, I'm excited for them. We have to go through some things and we have some struggles, but I thought we had a great conference last year after a very average Non-Conference season. So look to have that.
Q. Hey, Matt, I guess, what are you looking for from A.J. in terms of what does he need to improve on? What's the key for him?
COACH PAINTER: I think this is consistent. I think that is the most important piece about him. His motor is something that's always going to be questioned. He has the ability to be a better sprinter. Just challenging him to have that complete season. I like our team. You have somebody that can affect the game on both ends, you know, when they go, play well, and help everything -- erase mistakes. He's going to change some things.
Q. Coach, obviously there was a round of rule changes last year and there's another one this year. Did you feel like the -- and I know the transition for everyone, officials included. Did you feel like the officiating from that standpoint was consistent throughout the year? Or how long do you think that it will take for these new rules to really be ingrained in the game?
COACH PAINTER: Right. Well, I think it just depends on what rules you're saying. There's a lot of changes this year. But you know, last year -- you have to just stick with it. Whatever they're going to do, they have to have some of the togetherness as a unit, an officiating unit. If they're going to call post on the perimeter in the middle of November, you've got to be able to do that in the middle of March. Sometimes I thought that a lot of times that happened.
And so what we're searching for, the coaches -- what the officials are searching for too -- there's a varying ages in experience in officials. The reason I say that is if you officiated for 30 years, you're set in how you officiate versus someone who is just up-and-coming and officiated for a couple years. So they have to get everybody on same page. So it's like coaching. There's a lot of different ways. You're going to listen to a lot of different coaches that are very successful, but they're going to do it a lot of different ways. There's different ways to be successful.
But when you do officiating, everybody has to be on the same page and do it the same way. So when you say to an official on a Tuesday for an explanation on something that's the same on Saturday and you get two different answers, that's frustrating for a coach at times. So we'll see. I don't really have an answer for that. They have to get on the same page and be able to officiate it the way they're saying they're going to officiate it.
Q. Coach, Vince Edwards played a lot of floor last year. He was a small-ball type guy. With the addition of Swanigan and with him being a passer, and just a flexible, versatile player, how excited are you in terms of just in terms flexibility in general with your lineup and being able to play him at 3 and 4?
COACH PAINTER: Vince Edwards is very versatile. Watching practice from last year, he's probably the most improved. Not improved -- but his body is better, he's showing more athleticism, the ability to defend multiple people really) -- he can rebound the basketball; he can pass the basketball. He's very intelligent. And then his skill level. He had a slow kind of releasing shot that he worked on, more (indiscernible) shoot guy right there, being able to play off the bat. But he's somebody you can put all over the court. We're excited about a lot of people are talking about him. I think he can make a good jump.
Q. Hey, Matt, I know it's very early. Big Ten projects very strong this year, you know, 5, 6. Can you tell us your thoughts? I know it's early.
COACH PAINTER: I think, you know, a lot of it is dictated in non-conference. It's difficult. We've been able to come down the court and focus in and work our way through the conference season like I talked about earlier. Staying focused is going to be real important. I think you have 14 teams, those teams are vying for a lot of -- you don't get a lot of spots in the NCAA tournament. Last year, I don't think -- we had 7 teams. We're supposed to have an up year. So it kind of -- you know, does that mean we can get more teams? We hope so. We hope so. But it's a talented league, and if I say one name or two names that pop out, then I got to say more. There's so many good teams in our league. And it's very difficult to beat them anywhere.
We're just excited for this team. I think when you see how good the -- you step up. We all have to do our part, Non-Conference, to put ourselves in competition. Because when you have a conference season, you're just going to -- it's going to, you know, go after each other and it's going to be tough. You're going to have some teams 8 and 10 and some 7 and 11 that are really good basketball teams. And I think that kind of shows you what those teams will do; they have to have goodseasons to be able to be in the mix and get in so you can have 7 or 8 teams.
Read all of BTPowerhouse's preview coverage for the 2015-16 Big Ten season here.