November 6, 2003
Throughout the 2003-04 basketball season, GoLobos.com will be conducting "Ask the Coach/Player" sessions with different Lobo men's basketball coaches and players.
Below are answers to some of the questions you submitted to head coach Ritchie McKay over the last two weeks. Don't forget the Lobos exhibition schedule continues on Saturday, November 8 with a 7 p.m. game against Team Ezybonds, a professional squad from Australia. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the UNM Ticket Office or by calling (505) 925-LOBO (5626).
Q: Coach, where do you see this team three years from now? Scott (San Diego, California)
A: "Scott, considering the fact that we have 13 players returning from this year's team, a good 9 or 10 the following year, this is a group that is going to assist in bringing the Lobo's back to being a championship contender year in and year out."
Q: Last season a focus was placed on zone defense. Do you see the Lobos playing more man-to-man this year? What are your thoughts on the zone defense? Senor Scrats (Albuquerque, N.M.)
A: "I think zone defense needs to always be a part of your scheme if for not any other reason than you get a chance to practice against it on a daily basis. Last year, we had some undermanned guys thus we tried to do everything we could to keep the offense off balance. I see us playing some zone but primarily we will be a man-to-man team."
Q: Coach McKay, Do you see (junior forward) Alfred Neale becoming a defensive stopper for you as well as a 3pt scorer off the bench? (Grants, N.M.)
A: "Alfred Neale will certainly make an impact, he has the athleticism to stop any position, one through four, and I also think he is a very adept three point scorer. Whether or not he comes in off the bench or starts is still to be determined."
Q: Coach, who do you feel will be the emotional leader on this rather inexperienced team? Rob (Albuquerque, N.M.)
A: "Rob, I think our seniors are providing good leadership. Both Ryan Ashcraft, our captain, and Javin Tindall are doing a good job. Mark Walters has really been good for the young guys. I like what we have done so far and I think our leadership will help us continue to grow as a team."
Q: Will Mark Walters exhibit the same explosiveness and quickness that made him one of the team's best defenders and rebounders? What can Lobo fans expect from him in terms of his athletic ability after his knee injury? Jay (Albuquerque, N.M.)
A: "Jay, Mark is doing a great job trying to return to his form of a year ago. He's really been dedicated and committed to rehabilitating and I think once he finishes that process he will definitely be a player of impact for our team."
Q: Can you describe what offensive strategy the Lobos will apply this year and what changes will be made when (junior forward) Danny Granger and (junior guard) Troy DeVries become eligible at the end of the fall semester? Dan (Albuquerque, N.M.)
A: "Dan, we will be a true motion offense team this year. We just basically want to take advantage of one-on-one match-ups that are created through our motion. Having Granger and DeVries will just enhance our offense because of their scoring abilities. I think last year we ran more stuff to Ruben Douglas because of the year he was having so we will look quite a bit different in terms of our versatility."
Q: How good is Ryan Wall and do you expect him to contribute this year? (San Antonio, Texas)
A: "Ryan Wall has had a great preseason for us we expect him to be a major contributor to our success this season. He is quick and talented and a very unselfish player. He could really make a difference in our play."