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Notes On Brad Underwood’s Big 12 Media Day Press Conference



Brad Underwood spoke with the media on Tuesday at Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City. I took notes on what he said.

Opening Remarks

• “I’m excited. Looking forward to the 2016-17 campaign. We’re 18-19 practices in and I’ve been very, very pleased with the complete buy-in. I think our players have accepted the change and are very committed to trying to establish a culture that we want to have every single day. Now we’re a week away from our first exhibition and we’ll find out that process plays out.”

• “When you’re in the best league in the country and you’re in a league with arguably the best coaches in the country, every single night’s a challenge and I look forward to the personal side of that in challenging myself.”

• “I’m very, very excited to be a Cowboy and very blessed to be in Stillwater, Oklahoma.”


How much of Oklahoma State’s heritage and tradition was part of the appeal for you?

“A lot! I’m an old-school guy from the standpoint of the tradition means a great deal. I still get goosebumps, the hair on the back of my neck stands up when I walk into Gallagher-Iba Arena every single day. I did not get to know Mr. Iba. I got to visit with him briefly when I was at Kansas State with Jack Hartman, but I know what a great teacher, what an innovator of the game he was. To stand on Eddie Sutton Court every day, there’s 806 wins there with Coach Sutton, two Final Fours, Coach Iba won a couple national titles.

That’s pretty important. I’ve always said Gallagher-Iba is one of the elite basketball arenas in all of the country. That excites me – getting that crowd going, getting that fanbase. We have an extremely educated fanbase – that excites me. As a young guy growing up in McPherson, Kansas, and understanding those ‘Saturday Game of the Week’ in the Big Eight back in that day and then getting the opportunity to play in those arenas and to go back as a coach in those arenas, this is very special for me.”

• You’re one of four coaches in this league that has a K-State background. What will it be like coaching against K-State?

“I don’t want to say I’ve thought about it very much. It seems like a long ways away, and yet I know it’s right around the corner. I have great, great memories of my time in Manhattan. When I left Kansas State with Frank (Martin) to go to South Carolina, and after being with Bob Huggins there for a year – Bob brought me back – we left Kansas State with our head held high. I’m sure it’s going to be emotional. It’ll be different from the standpoint, I’m used to walking in the tunnel and hanging a right. Now I gotta hang a left.”

• What’s been the biggest challenge the first few weeks?

“You’re trying to establish your culture. I’ve been very fortunate; our guys are both-feet in. They’re committed to understanding how hard you have to work, understanding the nuances of a new offensive and defensive scheme. All those things take time, but I think understanding each other’s personalities. It’s the first time they’ve been around me an extended time frame. I think those little things are all part of it. But, I’ve been really excited. I’ve been really pleased. We’ve got really good kids. We’ve got really good guys who are trying every day to be very successful.”

• What has an experienced guy like Phil Forte brought to the table?

“I don’t know how any coach could be any luckier than what I am to have a guy that works so hard every day at his craft. There’s a guy who shoots 600 balls a day. No matter what our practice schedule is, this guy works. He’s committed and dedicated his life to be the best he can be at it.

“He’s going to break our 3-point field goal record and I think he’s going to have a great year. His leadership has shown our young guys how to do things. That’s helped me tremendously to establish that culture. We have a group of freshman that I’m extremely excited about. Part of that reason is because of Phil and the work he’s shown them how you have to be successful.

“Phil Forte means a lot to me. To have a 5th-year senior, to have a guy who’s had the career he’s had, I want more than anything for him to have the senior year he’s very deserving of.”

• Your thoughts on the Big 12 Tournament, and the decision to not expand the conference?

“Kansas City’s one of the greatest basketball cities in America, and I believe that. It goes back to me, as a young person in Municipal, going to the NAIA tournaments, sitting there all day and the last game at midnight. The excitement – there’s nothing like it.

“The fanbases all coming together and what’s been done in this city with Power and Light in the downtown area makes it so special. It makes it a great place to be – not just for the players and the coaches – but for the fans. I think the one thing the Big 12 Tournament does is it shows the tremendous pride that each of these institution’s fans have for their school. In regard to the expansion, I believe in our commissioner. I believe in our leadership wholeheartedly.

“Being very, very new to the conference, I’ll be honest, I’ve just kind of taken a back seat, so to speak. I’m not versed enough in all the things that are going on. I’m excited about our members. We have a great, great league and we don’t have to play second fiddle to anybody.”

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