Coach Eric Musselman on Kobe and Razorbacks


We walk into your back. I really delighted to welcome in coach. Eric musclemen from the University of Arkansas. Huge win over the weekend and the big twelve challenge a lot of very impressive. Wins as Arkansas seemingly Back again rolling along some wins earlier over a VALPO Georgia Tech Indiana and a nice run. We we had a guest on few minutes ago covers Kentucky instead the atmosphere At Fayetteville last week when the cats were there was as crazy as any He has witnessed in a very long time coach. First of all. Thank you very much for being with us. And congratulations educations on all you've done. No it's not over but It's quite a start. Thanks so much for having me on Paul really appreciate it before I talk about the razorbacks Certainly grew up the the son of an NBA. Coach you've Treistman head coach in the NBA and an assistant Elsewhere I just the whole world is you know is is mourning the death of Kobe. Brian and we were all interested in your thoughts on spectacular. Life had you know the I was fortunate to work for the Los Angeles Lakers and I was the head coach for their d league team. One Night I came out of the practice facility. We had played a game or games. Were we're actually in the Lakers practice facility. There was only one car in the parking lot. It was Kobe. Bryant's I went to my car. He rolled down his window. Said coaches or anyone else in the building. It was about eleven o'clock at night ten thirty at night. Whatever I said no just the security guards in there and he goes okay? I said Kobe what you could've come in there. You know I was the only we went in there for the last forty five minutes the last hour and he said No. I didn't want anybody in the building when I go in there to shoot in. His focus was incredible. His disciplined as a player was was incredible and just think about the competitive nature of him and just such a sad sad day for the entire basketball community yesterday. Eh and coach. You've lived that life And understand it but You know for such a big league. it just seemed like such such a small family Yesterday when this news broke will it really is. I mean when you think about the impact because when you're either playing in the League or coaching in the League or referee Rian in the League. You have so many stories. I mean there was one night where we had a defensive game. Plan the first quarter we were going to force koby has left the second quarter. We're going to force him to his right right and then he came up right before the third quarter is going to start and he said hey coach what are you gonNa do now play me straight up and then there was. There was a little bit of a pause and he goes. That ain't GonNa work either. Good luck with that. So you know He. He had a personality and just to see since he's retired the relationship that he had with his family. Okay and how much a part of his daughter's life was really really cool but a tragic tragic day for for for the basketball world and certainly for all for all the people that were on that helicopter. Certainly appreciate your thoughts on that. I do want to concentrate on the razorbacks because Your fan base. So we could see it Saturday And we've seen it all year are really excited Just overall thoughts on. I know it wasn't going to be easy and it's not over yet. I don't I know there's a coach. The season has a long way to go but just talk about the journey so far. Yeah we had a great non conference in it and it was kind of like you know the crowds kept building and building. We you know we lost one game in our in our non conference slate had three True Road Games and then once we got to. SEC play the the momentum and the crowds were sold out every weekend the Kentucky atmosphere. I've I've been a part of basketball for really long time. Having been a partner party with with my father. When he coached at the University of Minnesota and they had sellouts there in nineteen thousand seat Arena Williams arena? But I don't know if I've ever seen a crowd with so so much energy and enthusiasm as what we saw when we played Kentucky here and We had a great crowd for our Tcu game as as well and You know the momentum is just continues to Kinda grow and it's been really really need to be a small part of of our fans enthusiasm and at this point Records or maybe a little bit. Deceiving your record is pretty pretty good but there is such a gauntlet Head How do you feel the razorbacks? Our position for the month of February and obviously march will really Paul like I mentioned we. We did our job and non conference and now we're in conference play and it's the same everywhere whether it's big ten. SEC ACC every conference game is really really hard. And there's so many games that come down to the last two minutes and really it's going to be you know. How can we close games? Can we keep road games. Close and give ourselves a chance chance we have a major deficiency on the on the rebounding part of the game and and and we continue to try to figure out a way to overcome that whether it's with three points shooting pace of play right now. We lead the country in defending the three ball. And we have to do that. Because of how small we we are on the interior interior but We feel good where we are right now but we know that there's so much basketball to be played and really you can throw out what's happened right now because because there is still a large portion of of conference play still to be determined as a coach everyone has different methodology in terms of looking at the season whether it's the first part of the non conference and then obviously breaking up what you have to deal with in in the arduous road of the SEC. H- How do you game plan in it back in the off season as you look at the schedule and and what's it like once it gets going. We'll really Paul but we do as soon as the schedule comes out is is I huddle up with a a couple of our staff members that have been with the Nevada. We go game by game win. Loss win-loss just kind of try to figure out what that number would look like for us us at the end of the year right now. We're plus one on what we had done earlier. We don't we don't share that with anybody but but we you know the the goal of everybody not really before you even step on the floor for non conference is how do you get into the big dance. And how are you part of March madness and there's so much to to be played Still and so much to be determined But again it all comes down. I think in conference play. How can you win win the close games because almost every night? You're you know it comes down to those last three or four minutes of a game. It seems like just as a casual fan. I'm watching all the Games on Saturday. And I'm like going consultee. Make a free throw. I know coaches wonder about wonder the same thing don't they there's no question free throw becomes number one free throw attempts become a big part for each team but then converting free throws become a huge part especially in close close games and we've actually improved as a free throw shooting team although we dipped a little bit sense conference play a started. But there's no question all the little things limiting your turnovers in conference play converting so you're free throws not having live ball turnovers. All those things become really really important. PEDESTRIAN QUESTION ABOUT FREE THROWS I. I know it's easy for me to just sit at home with popcorn In in my feet up saying how come how come. They can't make free throws they've been doing this their whole life but explained to the audience. It is why it's not so easy under the under the gun. Well I think one pressure you know anytime you step up to the line. Depending on the time the score of the game fatigue fatigue could play a factor if a guy's played thirteen or fourteen straight minutes and then he goes to the foul line that can that can have a little bit of impact on it whether there's a dead ball prior to you stepping up to the foul line just as you hear a field goal kicker. Mike get iced as a free. Throw shooter get ICED But a lot of it comes down to mental toughness. I believe from the foul line. And then obviously some guys are just better better foul shooters based on rotation and and then it really becomes important that you have a routine every time you step up to the foul line as well coach. I I know that you you knew what you were getting into. And for someone who has coached coach in the NBA. And obviously you're run a couple of years ago and the NCAA. Tournament was epic I I don't need to ask you. How tough the SEC Zia's but we're we're we're you surprised by anything you've seen so far as league play has Got Underway I. I don't think so Paul I mean I knew. Do you know I came back from the from the League meetings in Florida and my wife said how did it go and I said well I looked around the table and I'm gonNA write. This coach has been to a final. Oh for this guy's been to X. Amount NCAA tournaments and then. I said you know somebody in this room is gonNA finish last place. And there's a lot of great coaches in in this league. There's a lot of talented players. You know I kind of knew what I was getting into. I mean spent one years and assistant coach at at Lsu. But I'm I'm such a well coached league and a team that's or league that's full of athletic players that play with with great intensity and that's the one thing. Is You know every night that you play you get somebody going hard. And and there's no gimmes and and that's to be expected at a power five conference and especially at conference like the SEC. Finally I I know what you said about looking at the at the schedule and we won't push you anymore on on what you what you saw the razorbacks finishing but how do you define success in year one You know I think as a competitor anywhere you're at whether you're in the mountain west or you're in the SEC. Want to try to make tournament. And if you don't have that as a goal you know. You probably shouldn't be coaching having said that you know we are realistic that we were predicted. preseason to finish eleventh. We didn't have much respect coming into the season and and there's still a lot of basketball to be played. I mean there's a lot of teams with that three in three record and so every game's important and the one thing that we've done a really good job of Paul just kind of taking one game at a time. I know that's coach. Speak but we really maybe more than than than the four previous years. Since I've been coaching we really have just said. Hey let us worry about the next forty forty minutes on our schedule because this roster does have deficiencies especially from a height standpoint and we dealt with a little bit of small injuries of late as well also. We just need to worry about. How can we play and compete against South Carolina on Wednesday night? Great to have you on. And congratulations on the success. Success Hope soon. Thanks for having me

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