Fran McCaffrey: I think you should have it. I think you always worry in this league, going back to one of the previous questions, do you have enough of a bounce? Everyone wants to play a small role these days. It’s good to play on a small scale because you’ll shoot a lot because you’ll shoot 3 seconds. But can you recover effectively day and night. This is the challenge.
Payton Sandfort is really a good revolution. Tony Perkins is really a good rebel. Conor McCaffrey is really a good win. Philip Rebraca is really a good rebel, Chris. Patrick was solid. It should get a little better, and it was. He’s really focused on that.
If you’re going to play on a smaller scale and deal with that variety you’re referring to, we can’t all draw the ball and hit 3s. Someone has to bounce the ball, sometimes you have to go back and get it and you have to limit the other team to one shot if you want to take the quick break.
I say this all the time: We can run on brands, but we prefer to run on bugs.
s. Have you seen or think you will see tangible positives from Keegan Murray and the impact he can have in the NBA?
Fran McCaffrey: Yes. I would definitely say. It’s a little different now because there are more factors involved in the hiring process. I think a lot of people look at Keegan and say, wait a minute, his high school rank was 347 and he was the fourth pick in the draft, he got into a system where he was allowed to showcase his entire skill set and develop confidence in a system that was successful.
This will always pay off on the career path. Young prospects, especially anyone in the 6’7″ to 6’9″ range would be excited about it.
s. Talk about the challenge Kris is facing this year, overcoming comparisons to his brother and possibly a few other challenges.
Fran McCaffrey: I think that’s a very fair question. I just wish people would judge him – we’re watching Chris. Chris plays with us. We are all fans of royalty. We love Keegan and hope he’s this year’s rookie. We are very proud of him. He was the best player in the summer league. Top scorer in the game last night, his first match. We couldn’t be happier for him, but he’s not here – Chris is here, and it’s Chris’ turn.
I think it would be great for him. He will miss his brother. These guys were incredibly close, but we need him to do a lot of different things for the basketball team to be successful, and he’ll have that opportunity. It’s on a big stage. He can take it out of the glass and push it himself. He can shoot 3 seconds when he wants. He can continue when he wants. He will be there most of the time unless he is in serious trouble. Like I said, he was really good at that defensively. I was really impressed that he was in the right place. I’m excited for him. I think he’s excited about that, too.
s. Defensively your team has made great strides in the last year; Do you think they can take another step this year?
Fran McCaffrey: I think we can. We have the ability to do this. We can press the ball. We can be in the traffic lane. When you start looking at defensive numbers, it comes down to rebounding because if you give up second shots, it’s usually a high percentage shot. It’s an offensive rebound kick, open 3, it’s an offensive rebound kick and it’s a high percentage shot.
Your team’s shooting percentages and efficiency in terms of point production will decrease. But if you put them in one, and we hit the ball and get our defense back, we can get everyone under the ball and connect, switch, not switch, how we play, ball screens, all those things are great, but you have to get the rebound.
s. What have you seen from Josh Dix so far?
Fran McCaffrey: Well, I like it. Baby, we’ve all seen how severe his injury was. Not many people come back so quickly. He was really smart and hardworking in his rehabilitation. He was not in a hurry. It was hard for him in the nine weeks we were here in June and July that he didn’t have a chance – he was on the field but he was really 1 on 0. On September 1, he started playing 5 on 5, and hasn’t missed a minute of practice since. He’s had some great days of training where he’s been absolutely amazing, and there have been some days where he’s clearly learning, but he looks good physically.
s. When you look at recruiting, the name, image, and likeness likely have more power to reshape men’s basketball than any other sport. Have you noticed challenges in this area, and if so, what are –
Fran McCaffrey: Well, I think the challenges are — I mean, I think everyone in this room knows what the challenges are, because it pays to play. This is not what it was meant to be. I’ve been adamant that the transfer gate rule is a bad one, especially in terms of name, image, and example, because that’s where pay-to-play comes in.
There was never an error in the rule before. It was not a punishment. I’ve said that before. I am an example. I moved. If you transfer, you will not lose any eligibility. You get a year of lift, you get another year’s chance to become a student, double major, and start your master’s degree. You are in school for an extra year. There is no negative there.
But declaring every college basketball player to be a free agent is foolish, and that’s what they did.
s. We hear about new firewalls for the Transport Gateway and the NIL. Do you know anything that will come down?
Fran McCaffrey: I don’t. I do not see anything. Hope you are right. I do not see it.
s. A lot of college basketball is at the top, and the top players are new five-stars or transfers. A lot of good software like yours uses or has development plans. Not that one is right or the other is wrong, but what difference do you feel with a program like yours with the development program?
Fran McCaffrey: Well, I hope that when you recruit someone — not everyone is great the first moment they get here. There was no such expectation. When I first got into this, you’re supposed to be good and then get better. You look at Luca (Garza), he’s been good in his freshman year. Obviously, he was just under 12 points per game. It’s not like anybody thought, boy, this guy would definitely be National Player of the Year two years from now, but he was because he kept working.
You put him in a system, you watch a movie with him, you help him in the weight room, you develop skills with him, and that’s the culture, that’s the building of the program. This is what we keep trying to do.
I think if you do it this way and treat your comrades the right way, they will be less likely to leave. We’ve had some guys leave, but it wasn’t a mass exodus like it has been in some places.
I think our department and coaching staff are really cognizant of making this a tremendous experience for our players across the board, whether it’s academic support, how we feed them, how we travel, giving them every chance to succeed.
But if you train them right and you’re honest and transparent, I think most kids we bring in — I’ve always said the first thing I see in hiring is character, so if you recruit characters, then they’ll behave in the right way.
But there is an expectation that there is a lot of money in there, and hey, it’s nothing personal, but I can get X number of dollars elsewhere. Those days have come for some players and certain programs. It’s not like their prospects are demanding it, but they are somewhat expecting it, and then all of a sudden it’s shown, well, I’m going to jump on it.
I think we have to keep working hard and be competitive in the nothing market, as we have been. You have been very active in this field. Everything is new to each of us. But I want my comrades to know that I’m out there fighting for them to help them be in a position to benefit from what I think is a really good rule of thumb, which is nothing, until our men benefit from their name, image and likeness.
I’ve said this publicly before and I’ll say it again today. I wouldn’t give a bunch of money to a high school kid I wouldn’t give to a player who actually played for me. I will not do that. This may be stupidity in the long run. We might lose a man or two. But if we get to the point where we pay our kids a lot of money and then we can give the same money to that other person, well, we’ll do it then.
This happened in the spring and summer of the guys we were hiring. This is the world we live in. Things change. A lot of you have been doing just like me for a long time. But a lot of changes over the time I’ve been training.
A lot of them are really good, and some of them maybe not so good, but let’s be honest; We just signed a $7 billion TV deal and the NCAA Championship was a billion dollar TV deal before that. So it was inevitable that players would share a portion of that revenue.