October 17, 2007

UT assistant Russ Springmann talks Texas hoops

The Longhorns recruited the most talented basketball player ever to sign with the Texas program two years ago when Kevin Durant inked. Assistant Russ Springmann was the lead recruiter for Durant, but not only did Coach Springmann get Durant, but also D.J. Augustin and Damion James in the same class. Coach Springmann sat down with Orangebloods.com to talk about the up coming season.

What are the areas you thin the 2007-08 team has to improve to take the next step and be a better team than a year ago?

I think the first thing is defensively. We have to be a better defensive team and there is a lot that goes into that. We have to do a better job containing the ball. Staying in front of the ball consistently. We have to do a better job of covering each others backs. Making sure we keep the ball out of the paint as much as possible whether it's on a drive or on a post feed. We have to rotate better in help side and then at the end we have to do a better job of making a physical blockout and chasing the ball.

In just evaluating where we were the weakest defensively last year and truthfully in addition to those things, I would say our transition defense needs to improve too. As great as we were offensively running, we probably gave up too many easy baskets to teams in transition. Collectively, we have to become a better defensive team and a better rebounding team.

Last year, you guys were a perimeter oriented team for the most part. Which guys need to step up and give the team a two feet in the paint presence and what style do you see the team playing?

I think we really do have a versatile team. We can play as a fast paced offensive team as we did last year, which is what I think we will do, but I also think we can put a line-up on the floor that will allow us to have a power line-up and go after people inside.

I'm excited to see what we are going to do because to have that type of versatility makes us a very dangerous team. It allows us to match-up based on who we are playing, not that our offense is going to change, but we can go to a power package is we are playing a team we think we can take advantage of.

I don't know what is going to happen with Gary (Johnson). If we have Gary, Damion and either Dexter or Lexi (Wangmene) or any big guy that has a post presence, Clint Chapman, those guys are three, four and five and you have D.J. And Justin or D.J. and A.J. on the floor. I think we are going to be an athletic team. I think we are going to be able to get out and run because the opposite of that is you can play D.J., A.J., Justin, Damion and Gary as a line-up if you choose even though it's a smaller team, you are going to be tremendous in transition and we would be very athletic defensively. I think we'll be able to play some different ways and it's going to be fun to see from Friday night until the night before we play our first exhibition game November 2 just who is doing what and that leads you into what you need to do.

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