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Bits from Kevin O’Connor Interview, 8/12

August 13, 2013
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Kevin O’Connor’s views on beautiful women
I think they’ve been beautiful since Adam and Eve, but that’s, you know, that’s in the eye of the beholder…

They might dress differently but, you know, I think, you know, 30 years from now, people’ll be looking at how women dress today and look it at like old-fashioned.

Kevin O’Connor’s new “kiss of death” for this season
You know, staying, trying to stay in the middle, I think, is where you, you know, is the kiss of death for me, and we gave ourselves an opportunity this year to see what we could do.

What we did was have a winning season, which is what, more than half of the teams in the league didn’t have, I don’t believe, or half of them did and half of them didn’t. But we felt like we needed to go to the left…

Now hopefully, these [young] guys, they’ve have earned their stripes, they’ve developed a winning culture,* they understand what it takes, and I think they’re ready to contribute.

* Question for everyone, just out of curiosity: How much would you say the guys learned about a winning culture through getting swept by San Antonio (which I think probably helped the guys learn “what it takes”) and not making the Playoffs at all under Tyrone Corbin?

Was there thought of bringing in a more established veteran point guard than John Lucas III to mentor Trey Burke and back him up?
Yeah. Yeah, there certainly was. And possibly, if there was somebody out there, that we would do that. But you know, we just drafted somebody in the top ten. It’s our responsibility to get this right, which we’ve always talked about.

And we want to have somebody that we’re gonna, [Burke] is gonna get thrown to the wolves a little bit in this respect, and he’s gonna have to come out at the other end of the tunnel.

And you know, John certainly is gonna be able to help. It may be more importantly, was the character of the person that we wanted as the, as that, at that position, rather than the ability of the person. Because we feel somebody that can help him along the way from a character standpoint…to be able to help along those lines.

Plus, John gives us something that’s important to how the league is going, and that’s a shooter.

* I would have loved to hear KOC’s explanation on why it’s the right thing to do to throw Burke to the wolves but it wasn’t the right thing for the other young guys (since he said in virtually every interview last year that Derrick Favors (3rd pick), Gordon Hayward (9th pick), Enes Kanter (3rd pick) and Alec Burks had to earn their playing time and playing them more amounted to tanking.

On the pursuit of Ian Clark
When he, we saw him down in Miami [during the summer league], we said, you know, [his game can translate to the NBA]. So we’ve been on the phone with his agent from that moment on.

We called right after our game, when he made three 3’s against us. We called right after that game and said, “Hey, we probably made a mistake. He’s better than we thought he was. We’d like to, you take a look at our roster. Take a look at our opportunity.” And it worked out for us.

Do you prefer a players’ coach or a coach that has command over the locker room?
I believe you want a coach that has the locker room’s attention when he speaks. I always hear the players’ coaches, and they always seem to do well for about a year and half or two years. But when things start to go a little south, then it’s like he’s too soft or he’s too easy…

I’ll give you a story, a 30-second story…Matt [Harpring] was told by our doctors to play 24 minutes. That was it. When, after he came back from his second surgery. Well, at 24 minutes, there was a minute and a half left in the game, and we were up two.

Jerry [Sloan] took him out. And Matt came by, and he said, “I can still play. I can still play.”

[Jerry] said, “24 minutes, that’s what they tell me.” At 24 minutes, he came out. So Matt got annoyed at it, you know, and sat down. And we get the game in overtime. We had a rookie in the game; we wind up winning the game.

And after the game, Matt came over and said, “Hey Jerry, I’m sorry.” He said, “I was upset. I wanted to play.”

[Jerry] said, “Look, Matt. There’s no question that you’re a competitor, but my responsibility is to your career. And you’re gonna play the 24 minutes what the doctor says, whether we win the game or lose the game. I’m not gonna be accused of hurting your career. The second thing is, when they told me 24 minutes, I wouldn’t care who it was. You were coming out of the game, ’cause that’s what I decided.”

And I think those kind of things are important.

Back to “young guys have to earn their minutes”…No wait, they need experience
Enes [Kanter] has had two years. Derrick [Favors] has had three years. Gordon [Hayward] has had three years. … If you looked at Enes’ first year in the league after the lockout, you would’ve said, “I think Kevin’s an idiot when we drafted him.”

If you look at Enes today after two years, he’s earned the right to be on the floor. I think he, not only will he know what he’s doing, he will be able to compete and succeed.

‘Cause I think a lot of times you get in a situation where you have guys that don’t earn it, that put up numbers on a team that’s gonna be a lottery team again, and you never get ’em into the habits that you want ’em to have.

So, “I got 16 and I got 7 rebounds. What else do you want from me?” “Well, let me look. Your guy got 19 and 8 rebounds.” So that means we’re down three. Now, if you multiply that by the five positions, that means we’re down 15.

So that’s what I’m talking about, as far as that goes, that I think the mentality is gonna be to bounce back because they’ve been through some of this before. …

What we do hope is that these guys understand they are targets now. They’ve wanted this responsibility. They’ve accepted the responsibility. They know it’s coming. Now they gotta react to it. And the only way you can get through this is to experience it.

Will COACH Corbin use the pick and roll more next season with the addition of Trey Burke?
I think Ty played with a guy named Stockton that was pretty good at that. …

So we’re gonna go to this strength of players, but they’ve gotta, we’ve gotta assimilate them into the system a little bit, in what we’re trying to do. You don’t wanna just go pick and roll with him, and you know, leave Enes and Derrick standing somewhere where they’re not effective. You want to put the ball in Gordon’s hands more. …

That’s some of the things that COACH is gonna look at. You know, we go analytics to the nth degree, as far as how many times going right, running the pick and roll, with who is the “four” and who’s the “three,” and everything like that; line up the discussions.

So we’ll do it, and we’ll do it well, and Ty will do it like the good coach he is.

* If Trey Burke is running the pick and roll, why on earth would Derrick Favors be left standing uselessly somewhere? Is it because Corbin is going to continue using him as an iso player?

Take a look at this (the first paragraph is irrelevant to this, but read it anyway because it’s great):

As Favors tells the story, both outgoing Jazz starters Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap called him when they reached free agent deals to leave the team to tell him that the Jazz was his team now, and that in their eyes he was ready to take the mantle of franchise player.

When Favors talks of his new situation he beams, talking about the what-ifs of the new season and how much he is prepared both physically and mentally for the challenge of leading a young Jazz team.

Favors talks enthusiastically about his front court mate Enes Kanter and how prepared he is for the new challenge of starting alongside Favors in Utah. Favors also beams about his new point guard in rookie Trey Burke, gushing about how many pick-and-roll plays he expects to see next season. (Hoops World)

What would you to say to fans about the upcoming season?
Well, I would tell ’em that the next time they have a president, they’ll have a, if the same team starts, they’ll have a 22-year-old, a 24-year-old, a 25-year-old, a 23-year-old and a 26-year-old on the court. So have a little patience. (1280)

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