Last week, I sat down with Tubby Smith for 30 minutes. Exactly.
I asked him a lot of questions. I wrote about his views on the University of Minnesota's practice facility/resources situation last week. And in Monday's paper, I published the bulk of his responses to some of my other questions.
But that's not everything. Due to space limitations, I couldn't fit the entire interview into two stories.
Here's the rest of the Q&A (Well, not exactly. I'm holding onto some stuff for another story):
You've talked about changing your offense next season and possibly playing faster. Is that still the plan?
"We’ve been one of the top three scoring teams in the league up until last year, when we were next to last. … We were No. 1 defensively as far as defensive field goal percentage. We were one of the best in rebounding. I think we were No. 1 in rebounding. And yet, we lost 12 games, the most losses we’ve had and the lowest we’ve finished.
"Obviously, we need to score better. Without Devoe [Joseph] and without Al [Nolen}, you really don’t have the facilitators. Devoe was a guy who could score and facilitate. Al was a guy who could facilitate but he was really starting to score. He had scored in double figures in four straight games until he broke his foot. We only averaged about 64, 65 points a game. We want to score more, so if that means playing faster … [Getting] better offensive players, that’s the first thing."
What are your goals going forward and what will it take to achieve them?
"Well, we've done that. We've gone out and signed guys like Joe Coleman who can take the ball off the bounce. I thought that's what we lacked. But we’ve helped ourselves in recruiting. We’ve gone out and gotten the Ingram kid, Andre Ingram and Andre Hollins, a point guard. [Maverick Ahanmisi is] going to be a pretty solid point guard but we needed to get more depth. And I think point guard is kind of overrated to some degree but if you play the style … We’re thinking about going to a two-guard offense instead. But it’s hard to do in the middle of the season. You don’t have to enter the ball to the wing, you just pass it to [a player such as] Rodney [Williams] up top, play a high-post type offense. We’re going to dabble in some of that as well to take some of the pressure off the point guard."
So Andre Hollins, who's more of a combo guard, can play point guard for you next season?
"He’s done it. I’ve watched him now. He’ll be effective at it."
Do you think you'll finalize your contract extension in the offseason?
"I’m sure. We still have plenty of time. I think extensions are only to send a message to recruits. Otherwise, most people work from year to year. It hasn’t happened for me for a long time at this level. ... They've already offered an extension, it’s just a matter of working out all of the details"
Do you expect any changes with your staff?
"You’re hoping and praying that guys get an opportunity to be a head coach some day or improve their status or their lot in life, whether it’s financially, just a change. But they’ve got a pretty good situation here for our assistant coaches. So unless they’re getting head jobs, which they’ve been involved with. A couple of our guys have been involved with some head coaching jobs or at least applied for some … but nothing serious."
Do you plan to make any changes to your staff?
No, not at this juncture.
Are you going to move your foundation to the Twin Cities?
"Yeah. We're involved now with some folks that we just met with. We’re planning on having a golf outing, an auction, a dinner to get started in September. People will be hearing more about it. It will be in September. I’m working closely with my home club there, Edina Country Club, to have it there. But we haven’t finalized all of it. So that’s part of the foundation. The foundation has always been in place. ... We’re just starting to move the headquarters here. But we’ll still have our foundation portion in Kentucky as well. When you do things, you make a commitment. And we had a seven-year commitment in Kentucky to fulfill some obligations there. So we have about two more years of being there, so we can really concentrate on generating revenue to help the needy and do our part in this community with our foundation. That’s where we are now."
What's the status of both Ralph Sampson III and Trevor Mbakwe?
NOTES: I talked to former Gophers center Jonathan Williams at an AAU tournament in Eagan Saturday and Sunday. Williams and former St. Cloud State standout Brett Carmichael, who played at DeLaSalle, started the Minnesota Lockdown AAU program this year.
Williams works in marketing with a firm in Bloomington. But he's passionate about building Minnesota Lockdown.
Williams played in Uruguay for a little while after college (he graduated in 2008), but he said the money wasn't worth the time he had to spend away from his family, which includes a daughter, so he came home. That and the drama of basketball in South America were problematic, he said. Williams said he was frequently chased home by wild dogs roaming the streets of his neighborhood in Uruguay.
-- Williams also told me that former Gophers guard Lawrence McKenzie is rapping under the name Mac Irv. You can find him on YouTube. He's definitely serious about it, based on his YouTube tracks.
-- The Gophers won't make the 2012 NCAA tournament, according to Joe Lunardi's Way Too Early bracketology on ESPN.com. Lunardi put the Gophers in his "First Four Out" category. But he's assuming that Mbakwe will leave school. That's unlikely so an updated evaluation will probably place the Gophers in the field of 68.
-- Future Gophers wing Joe Coleman played with the Howard Pulley Alumni team in the Howard Pulley Jamboree Sunday. He said he's ready to go next season.
I think he has the tools to succeed at the next level. He's athletic and explosive. And he's very competitive. The latter will be one of his greatest assets in college. Just a really determined player.