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 Ohio State's Thad Matta.
Thad Matta On Big Ten Media Day
COACH MATTA: Well, I think this full season is a big milestone, I think in a lot of ways. I think from the standpoint of our basketball team, there's a lot of unknowns. No seniors, one junior, all freshmen and sophomores. With that said, I like the demeanor of this basketball team. I like the energy of this team. I like the attention to detail. There's a lot of things you guys want to ask about in terms of who they are. We're still in a learning process. Eight practices in. But I'm very excited to take this team and have this team for a few years and should be exciting.
Q. With all the new rule changes -- and you mentioned just having such a young team -- does that benefit you in any way being that maybe they don't know any other way to play college basketball?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, I think so. It's funny you say that, because we're even a step further or a step back because we had a situation where I had two freshman that didn't move until the ball hit the rim. I said, "Hey, timeout. This is not high school. When the ball releases, you can go into the lane now." So in terms of the block charge and timeouts and all that, we're not quite ready for that yet. We're still learning the old college rules, if you will. I think for those guys it will be -- they're learning on the fly, and so I don't see that being much of a problem for them.
Q. Many people have characterized this as a rebuilding year for this program. What do you have to say to those people?
COACH MATTA: Well, I think that there's probably a lot of truth to that. And I think from the standpoint of, you know, usually when you're a team that doesn't have seniors -- you have to have a good amount of seniors; we've only got one junior, and we're going to have to rely heavily on our young class. In terms of rebuilding, I think that's a good thing because that means our program has been at a pretty high level. You've got that confidence. But I -- I kind of like the standpoint of the unknown with this team. And we're trying to use that to the best of our advantage in terms of getting our guys to appreciate things that they have to do on a daily basis to have the chance -- because when I talk about the rigors of college basketball and what we have to face in our non-conference schedule we're going to face in the Big Ten, you know, they have, kind of, the proof of that evidence. They have to go through it. And like I said, they seem eager to do it.
Q. Just talked about, obviously, you've got a young team. Eight practices in, I just wonder how it's challenged you so far as a coach to practice with some of these new faces, how it's gone and how you feel it's changed you as a coach?
COACH MATTA: I think we've had to slow things down a lot. I've always been a coach that we practice extremely fast. There's not -- I would say we don't practice real long. But it's always been from one thing to the next to the next to the next to the next as far as we can go. With this team, we've really had to slow the process down. We've had to break down more in terms of getting the concepts down defensively as well as offensively. But the good thing is there aren't a lot of veteran players who know how it used to be so they're going right in line.
With that said, I've been very pleased in terms of where they've been. You know, we had -- after a day off, we kind of had a bad practice, which happens with a young basketball team. But they knew it and hopefully we can get that corrected.
Q. Jae'Sean Tate took positive steps during his freshman season, was a little bit consistent in the latter half. What do you expect of him as a sophomore?
COACH MATTA: Well, I think a lot of people forget that Jae'Sean was out for six months before the season. And you know, he's been healthy. Got a sprained ankle right now, but he's been healthy for the most part all the off season. And I think he's made tremendous gains in terms of just his overall game. There's -- there was areas that we talked about that he needed to work on, and what I've seen to this point, he's done a good job with it. Jae'Sean is a fierce competitor. He's a kid that's accustomed to winning at everything that he's ever done, and he's come to the realization that he's got to be a big-time part of this team and he has to play with great consistency. And he wants to.
Read all of BTPowerhouse's preview coverage for the 2015-16 Big Ten season here.