Blogger So Dear: How much do you believe your coaching staff's success as basketball players helps you as a coaching staff?
Danny Manning: "We're the only staff in America, I believe, that has over 40 years of professional basketball playing experience. The only staff in America, I believe, that has two first round draft picks. We're fortunate in the sense of having those experiences. We're at a point where this is what we want to do. We have a chance to share a lot of the things that we learned along the way, and do it in an environment and a setting that we want to be a part of. There are so many kids in our sport that want to play the professional game. You got three guys that did it."
BSD: So that sounds like a pretty major recruiting pitch.
DM: "It's not the end all, be all, but I definitely think it's something that people should understand. Three of us were good enough to play 10+ years professionally. There's some things we can help you (recruits/players) with. A lot of times to know the road ahead you ask those coming back, and we're definitely guys who are coming back."
BSD: I noticed a lot on offense that you utilized a stretch four, whether it be Dinos or Darius Leonard. In your initial press conference you emphasized paint touches, and I know you have Devin Thomas and you can still get plenty of paint touches in a 4-out. Is your ideal offense one that has two true post players?
DM: "Versatility. There's a lot of different ways to skin a cat. Even though Dinos was a stretch four, Darius was a stretch four, that created more driving lines and opportunities to get into the paint, as opposed to having two offensive players with their two defenders. That's four guys in the paint. Stretching the floor with a post guy that can guard on the inside, but can step out and be comfortable away from the basket is a very valuable asset to us. If you look at the Final Four (Kaminsky, Winslow, etc.) That's just kind of how our system is devised. As we continue to evolve in our system, we'll continue to get better, and as we continue to recruit young men to fit our profile we'll get better."
BSD: So really a stretch four is more ideal for your system.
DM: "Not necessarily. It just depends on the game. I like versatile pieces. I like guys that can play a lot of different spots on the floor, play a lot of different positions. That just goes with the game. I go into a ball game and everyone on our roster that is healthy enough to play needs to be ready. A lot of it is going to be flow. A lot of it is going to be foul trouble. Some of it's going to be injuries, some of it's going to be who's going well that particular night. Having the versatility to play a lot of different ways is what we want to have for our team."
BSD: You have three 2015 signees in Bryant Crawford, John Collins, and Doral Moore. They are two bigs and a point guard. When you were recruiting those players were they positional needs or was that let's get the most talented players we can bring in here?
DM: "All of the above. Recruiting is a very unpredictable and illogical science. It changes every moment somebody makes a commitment to another school because somebody drops off your board so to speak. We feel really good about the three guys we have coming in. We know that they're going to have an impact from day one and they're going to make us better."
BSD: I know you cannot comment specifically about the 2016 recruiting class, but do you know about what size you want to take for the 2016 recruiting class?
DM: "It could be anywhere from four to seven guys. you never know. If you look at analytics, almost a player and a half transfers from every university. Over 400 transfers. You never know."
BSD: How difficult is that with regards to transfers? How difficult is that if you think a player is going to stay and then he leaves?
DM: "We're not in any different situation than any other coach out there. You try to bridge the gap the best way you can, but you can only control what you can control. It is what it is. We live in an era of a multitude of transfers and you have to navigate it the best way you can."
BSD: What are your staff's goals for the offseason?
DM: "Get better. We want to help our young men to continue to develop as players and people. We want to continue to put ourselves in situations to evolve and develop as a staff. That's what it's all about. We're constantly in a state of becoming. That's during the season, that's in the offseason. You can always learn. You can always develop. You can always get better."
BSD: Do you have any known notable non-conference games? I know we have the Maui Invitational.
DM: "We're going to Maui. We're going to LSU. Arkansas is coming to us. The affiliations: ACC/Big Ten, ACC/Atlantic 10. Whatever they end up doing. The Skip Prosser Classic is something we're talking about. We will eventually get to the point where they're back on the schedule. It's definitely in the works. Richmond has been talked about as well."
Many thanks to Coach Manning for taking time out of his schedule to meet with Blogger So Dear. I hope you all enjoyed the interview. Time to start following the recruiting trail.