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Brad Underwood On Game 1, Hammonds and The Importance of OSU’s Fanbase



Yesterday Coach Underwood spoke to the media for about 10 minutes on Game 1, rotations, the Cowboy fanbase, and the Hammonds Hot Seat.

Opening Remarks

• “Game One! I think it’s an important time of year. I think our players are excited; they’ve gone through the month of 30 practices, of beating each other up, now it’s time to get out and see what we can do. I’m excited.”

• “I’m looking forward to seeing where we’re at. Campbell poses some different situations and some problems. They’re a team that’s very similar to us in that they’ve got a nice group of veterans and they’ve got a group of guys that are new. It should be fun – it should be exciting.”

On position-less hoops

Shine and Carroll both play the “2”. What are your ideas for rotations? “I think our positions are pretty much interchangeable. When you look at our wing spots – I think you could add Lindy, I think you could add Thomas Dziagwa, you could throw Phil in there. We may play a lineup where we have Brandon and Jawun in there, so – Davon Dillard – I think they’re interchangeable.

“I’m excited about Tavarius because I think he has a chance to be an elite defender. He’s learning our system, he’s learning how to play, he’s got great length, he’s a very high IQ player. Jeffery plays so hard every possession. Their games are a little different and I like that. I don’t like guys that are ‘copycat’ players. So, I’m excited about both those guys. We need them to be consistent – they’ve all had their moments in games in the past – I need consistency from them.”

On what he wants people to remember the Underwood era for

“I hope it’s about togetherness, toughness…I don’t worry about those things. You’ll find with me, I’m really simple. Seriously, I’m thinking about the two o’clock practice, how to get them better today. We weren’t great yesterday. We have to be better today. All that other stuff is stuff I don’t think about. Maybe I should, but I don’t.”

Is there unknown going into the year?

“I think there’s a ton of unknown. How do we handle adversity? How do we handle a road game with a packed house? How are we going to handle a team that has an imposing shot blocker? There’s a lot of unknowns from the basketball side of things. But, I also think there’s a certain level of comfort. I think I know that most nights we’re going to play really hard. Yet, there’s some of the basketball stuff – we’ve got to go through it first to figure out and see how we’re going to adjust.”


On fanbase importance

“We can’t do this without them, and that’s plain and simple. This is one of the storied basketball programs in the country. It’s had two of the greatest coaches, teachers in the history of college basketball. It’s been labeled as the ‘Rowdiest Arena in America’ – the ‘Loudest Arena in America’ – however you want to label that.

“Those are all things we should be really, really proud of. I’m not getting that back by myself. To me, the students are the most important thing. We’re here because of the students. Making them a part of this? Absolutely. I want them to feel like they have ownership in everything that we do. When we win – it’s because of them…and it’s something they need to feel passionate about. They need to come into this arena two hours every night and have fun and create a memory that lasts a lifetime.

“We need our alumni to come back. They all have great memories of this building. One thing I found out when I toured the state is so many great memories have taken place in this building. Let’s continue that. I believe in this place, I believe in this building, I believe in our fans – we have the best basketball fans in the league, they’re educated, they get it – and we’re not doing it without them.”

On Leyton Hammonds’ importance

“Every bit as important as [Phil and Jawun]. He’s a guy I think could have a breakout year for us. He’s been arguably as good as anyone we’ve had in our early practices, our early scrimmages, our exhibition. He’s become a very strong leader for us. I put tremendous value on him. He’s playing terrific – shooting the ball well, he’s a hard matchup, he’s got a chance to be a guy that can guard multiple positions. So, I’m a big, big Leyton Hammonds fan right now.”

Have you been on the Hammonds Hot-Seat yet?

“I have been on the Hammonds Hot-Seat! I spent a little time with him in Kansas City and we…we had a little fun together. It’ll be fun when that finally gets released.” This needs to be released now!

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