STARKVILLE – Officially one week from the 2022-23 season opener, Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Chris Jans had an opportunity to meet with the media leading up to Monday’s practice at Humphrey Coliseum.
2022-23 Mississippi State Men’s Basketball Quotes
October 31, 2022 – Media session
Head coach Chris Jans
Q: What do you know about your first opponent in Texas A&M Corpus Christi?
CJ: “I know they’re going to be very fit and well prepared. I have a great relationship with their head coach, Steve Lutz, and he comes from a great coaching pedigree. He’s done a great job since coming to Corpus Christi.”
“I know they’re excited about their program. They’re coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance and they’ve got all five starters back. It’s not the smartest game to host as your first in the contest, but that’s the way the cake crumbled broken. They’re going to be really good defensively. They’re going to play man-to-man. They’re going to play a tough, hard-nosed old school defense. They’re probably good on offense, too. I haven’t gotten that deep in them yet, it starts this week. I know my staff has a pre-scout ready, and I’m anxious to open up the laptop.”
Q: Do you have a good idea of your set rotation, or is it something that will play out in November when your team plays a couple of games?
CJ: “Like we talked about last week, I like to wait as long as I can. Even throughout the year, we’ll play top ten against each other [in practice]. At least we have in the past and plan too much during the season. We’ll see how it goes this year, but I prefer them to go against their counterpart or top ten players just to keep getting better throughout the season.”
“At this point I have a pretty good idea of at least three or possibly four [starters]. I’m a bit up in the air about another location. You’ll have to wait until Monday to see who it is. I don’t want to give up any information.”
“As far as rotations, it’s still up in the air. We still have a lot of guys fighting and fighting for minutes. We’re really straight on practice and video. They know there’s competition and they know they’re being evaluated every day. It’s increasing prerequisite for us in practice. We’ve got a whole week to try to nail it. It’s just going to unfold the way it does. I can’t predict who’s going to be better and who’s going to produce when the lights come on. Some people cringe when it’s their time, and some people rise to the occasion. We’ve got to see who gets the most of their minutes, and then they’ll get more.”
Q: What area would you like to see your team improve on still?
CJ: “When we’re fresh and we’re feeling good, we play pretty hard and we defend pretty well. We’re still not as good as where I want to be in terms of getting the ball back offensively or defensively. We have too big of a drop off right now with how hard we play from when we’re fresh and first coming into a scrimmage, game or practice versus when they get a little winded or distracted. Sure there’s going to be a drop off. It’s human nature; I care I don’t know how athletic you are. We’ve got to find a way for all of us to play at peak performance if you will when we’re a little tired or hung up in practice or scrimmage.”
“There’s no time to warm up, if you will, they have to be ready to go off the jump. That’s probably where we are right now; just being more consistent with our effort and our attention to detail defensively. Certainly, our recovery is something we’ve always prided ourselves on. Right now, I don’t think we’re recovering at the level we should.”
Q: How has the team meshed and come together from a chemistry standpoint so far from your point of view?
CJ: “It’s always interesting to see it develop. Every season they have a different personality for our team. Of course, when you’re new, you’re more curious to see how it develops, or not, in the worst case scenario. It’s pretty good .They like each other where I sit, [though] I can’t speak for them.”
“I think I’ve said this before in another interview or press conference that one of my litmus tests is always to see when practice is done if they’re hanging around either the practice field, the hump, the locker room or the practice room just to be with each other. About guys is heading out the door as soon as the buzzer sounds or we break down, that’s probably not a good sign. Obviously some guys have to rush to a tutor, class or what have you, but I thought earlier in the season they showed signs of that where the camaraderie that everyone is looking for. They were hanging out, talking to each other, just laughing and joking about training or giving each other a hard time about who won that day. There’s been pretty little of that, and it’s all been good natured; I like the atmosphere that we has given up on us.”
“There were a couple of times when I was watching the scrimmage tape where some of the guys weren’t as engaged when they weren’t in the game. That’s going to be addressed individually today, talking about how important it is to be a good teammate. I always tell them, if you’re on the court, you don’t want ten guys sitting back with their legs crossed watching you play and not supporting you. You know how good it feels when you’re out there, and the teammates you’re grinding with every day gives you their support on the bench, even when they’d rather be out there. We need some conversations with a couple of guys about that, but I think that will change quickly. We’ll see, a lot of things will develop as we start play these games.”
Q: Will you have butterflies coming out of the tunnel for the first time?
CJ: “I don’t know if I’ll get butterflies or not. I hope I do; it’s a fun kind of feeling. You do it long enough that you don’t get them as often anymore. I know I’ll be excited, and I’m going to be anxious just like you are and hopefully our fan base is to see who you are and how we’re going to play. Again, how I’m going to feel, you’ll have to ask me a week from tonight around 9 o’clock.”