Here’s part of what new Louisville coach Chris Mack had to say about his team at Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Media Day:
Q. Chris, you’ve seen quite a bit in your collegiate career. What has been your impression over the last couple of months in terms of the change in leadership in Louisville?
CHRIS MACK: I think it’s been a positive one. I think so much has been talked about our program over the last year, two years, that hasn’t put Louisville basketball in the greatest of light. But the players I have on our team and the ones in the locker room that I coach every day are high-character guys, and guys that I’ve really enjoyed coaching and being around. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I think they’d be the first to tell you.
But I think the willingness to improve, and the willingness to learn has been really good, and it’s been a very enjoyable ride so far, and we’re looking forward to a very productive season in one of the toughest leagues, if not the toughest league in all of the country.
Q. Athletic directors talk about having a 100-day plan when they take the chair administratively. Did you have a 100-day plan? Did you have a 120-day plan? Was there a process of months or weeks that you had going into it?
CHRIS MACK: I had a one-day plan, and that was figure out what I needed to do that next day. You know, you get thrown so many different things and you’re trying to do them all at the same time. From hiring a coaching staff to learning personalities of your players and their families, just learning your way around the city and the school, and who you need to lean on. So there’s a ton of stuff that’s thrown at you.
It’s old hat in a way, because it’s what you did at your previous stop, but it’s in a whole new place. So it’s been a quick transition. The six months have flown by. But it’s been a great one at the same time.
Q. Chris, your first year at Xavier as head coach was my first year at ESPN, and of course I was in the A-10 at that time, and got a chance to know the DNA of your teams very well. How much offensively and defensively, and I know you may not have the personnel that you had established at Xavier, but how much of your offensive and defensive philosophies should I plan on seeing this year?
CHRIS MACK: Well, I’d like to think that defensively we’d be very similar. You know, we brought the same belief and the same style of play and the same terminology that we used at Xavier all those many years because it’s what our staff’s most comfortable with. I feel like you can win on the road with that style. You can win against the best teams with that style. It relies on being together. It relies on communication. It relies on toughness.
Offensively we’ll be a little different than Louisville teams in the past. I think offensively a good coach puts his players in the best position to be successful, and, a year ago if I would have taken Louisville basketball, I would have probably coached offensively a little different because of the personnel they had.
But we’re not last year’s team. So we don’t have a plethora of five-men. So we’re going to have to be a little unique with how we play. I think our guys are getting better every single day. As long as we play the right way, and by that, I mean playing together, making the correct decision, making the correct pass, I think you can be successful offensively.
But plays from one year to the next will be tweaked and changed just depending on who we have on our team and what they do well.