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    TLL.com Womens Moderator Lobo2x53's Avatar
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    TLL Interview with Mike Bradbury, 2018

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    Joe: Congratulations on 25 wins last year. For two years Iíve been hearing you say ďIf you play the right way, you will win the right number of gamesĒ. Looking back, youíve now had two months for the emotion to calm down and see with a little more objectively. Was 25 wins the right number?

    Mike Bradbury: I think it was. It was maybe a little different way to get there than I thought. We just got off to a torrid start: we won a lot of close non-conference games. We won at the buzzer to Marquette; basically at the buzzer to Navy because we went into overtime. It seemed like everything bounced our way and we were playing well. We won every 50-50 game. So I donít know if I thought we would have been 12 and 1. So then we get to the league and it was the exact opposite. All the 50-50 games, all the nail biting buzzer games, it seemed like we lost. Or at least we lost more than we won. We did win one late in the year at Fresno that was a close one, so we did win some. We didnít get all of them like we did in the non-conference. So to answer your questions, 25 was probably the right number--we just got to it a little differently than I would have expected. I would have expected a 12 and 6 or 13 and 5 conference record but probably a 9 and 4 or 10 and 3 non-conference.

    Joe: Looking ahead, this summer looks a whole lot different than last summer. You lost lot of experience. How does that affect the way you use the summer and the pre-season?

    Mike Bradbury: It affects it a lot. We have actually started this spring, even though none of the new players were there. We started getting the seven returning players acclimated on how we are going to do things differently. Getting their mind-set right, their attitudes right, those kinds of things where when the new ones show up there isnít any divisiveness. Everybody is on the same page and the returning players are going to help the new ones. As crazy as it sounds, we actually started that before they got here. We have been talking with the new ones on the phone about some of those things. So yes, it is going to be different. We are going to have a lot of new people, but we arenít going to be overly young. Jaisa is a senior; Nike McClure is a senior. Aisia Robertson is going to be a junior. Those are all people that are going to play a lot. Then Madi played every game and by the end of the season she played 30 minutes in every game. So sheís be a sophomore. AT played in almost every game. Itís not going to be just a bunch of freshmen out there. There will be some new faces, but all those people have played in some big games before.

    Joe: There is another thing that is noticeably different. Looking at the roster, youíre are bigger, it appears youíre faster, and you lost a lot of 3-point shooters.

    Mike Bradbury: All of those would be accurate. Weíre bigger; weíre more athletic; weíll rebound it better. But, you are correct, any time a team loses a Tesha and Alex, thatís significant in 3-point shooting. The good news is we got used to it without Alex the last 9 games. Laneah stepped in and made shots, Madi stepped in and made some shots. Weíll miss Laneah, too. Madi is a good 3-point shooter; Jayla, the freshman from Missouri, is a good 3-point shooter. Jaedyn De La Cerda had a great spring; sheís a tremendous shooter. Although you havenít seen her do it yet, Quincy, another freshman, is a great shooter. I think we have it, itís just that itís unproven. Thatís what Iím banking on.

    Joe: Given all that, you talked about making some changes. What kind of changes to you expect for next year?

    Mike Bradbury: I think you will see us play very similar to the way we played. I just think weíll be bigger. I think we will be more equipped to play some of the bigger teams that used to beat us up on the boards last year--like the UNLVs, those kinds of people. I think we are more equipped to battle them on the boards. I think that will be the difference. There wonít be like a style difference. As we continue to build the program, we will be a little bit better. Thatís what I hope you will see.

    Joe: As far as schedule, I know there is nothing that you can do about the conference schedule, but you have said several times, the pre-season schedule has not been what you would like. Hopefully, this season you had a whole lot more control over it.

    Mike Bradbury: Yes, itís better. Itís tough, but I think weíve got it set up a little bit better. We are going to play good teams in that obviously. We have Oklahoma, the return from when we went out there last year. So we have good teams on it. I like it. We are going to release it as soon as the pre-season NIT, which I think is in mid-June, gives us that bracket. I just didnít want to do it now and a little while later have to turn around and do it again. I like the schedule, itís especially challenging early. We play at Houston over Thanksgiving. Then we come home and play Oklahoma right after that. Prior to all of that, is the pre-season NIT. Right after Oklahoma is New Mexico State. So those first six or seven games are going to be really tough. We have to do it, because we have been about 500 or just under 500 on the road since Iíve been here. We are going to play four true road games in the non-conference. I think we need to play some. I donít think we played a road game until the first or second week of December last season. We were 10 and 0, which was really great, and I donít know if it makes a difference, but we are going to play some true road games.

    Joe: You mentioned playing in Houston at Thanksgiving.

    Mike Bradbury: Yes, playing at University of Houston. They are really good, they were 50 or 60 in the RPI. Thatís a two-fold game. One, we want to play a game in Texas, and two, we want to play a good team. They were willing to play and they will return to us next year. It might be a series we continue. They are really good.

    Joe: Looking at the roster preparing for this interview, one thing I subconsciously knew, but it hit me more visibly: you have been here under three years now and you have successfully recruited seven transfers. Whatís different between recruiting a transfer--both in terms of what you look for and how you recruit them?

    Mike Bradbury: When we take a transfer, we expect them to make an immediate impact. Ideally being an all-conference type player, or at the very least a significant contributor. Thatís what we look for in a transfer. You also recruit them differently. The recruitment period is a lot shorter so it happens a lot faster. We have had a ton of success in my twelve years as a head coach in taking transfers and having good results with them, so we will continue to do that as the opportunities arise. We consciously work the transfer wire. That is something that we pay attention to a lot. Now a days, up to 50% of all athletes transfer, and if you are not willing to change with the times and have half of your team be transfers, then you are going to fall behind.

    Joe: Looking within the Conference, itís not just here. Colorado State has a bunch, Nevada has a bunch, and from what you are saying, this is a growing trend?

    Mike Bradbury: Itís just going to keep getting bigger. Boise State just got one from Oregon; San Diego State just got one from Oregon State; we got players from Washington State and Iowa State. Itís the way it is. I would consider us upper mid major. I would consider us the highest non-power five level. When you are at this level, I think you have to get high level transfers.

    Joe: Do you reach out to them when you see that they are transferring or do they tend to reach out to you?

    Mike Bradbury: They reach out to us.

    Joe: What makes you attractive to them?

    Mike Bradbury: We have had success. We have transfers that are pros. People know those things. You look at Tesha Buck: immediately comes in and is an all-conference type player. I think you will see the same thing with Aisia Robertson, and Nike is a player of the year type player. We have some others that will be sitting out like Bridie from Iowa State and Naj from UTEP. You wonít even see them playing until the next year, but those four are all are high level players.

    Joe: Speaking of Tesha and Cherise, both of them obviously want to continue playing. Any info on them?

    Mike Bradbury: I think both of them will play overseas. I talk to Cherise almost daily. I talk to Tesha every week or two. The overseas things get started a little later. They may get information August or September when they are going.

    Joe: With the 2018-19 roster basically set, the next big question is the new assistant coach.

    Mike Bradbury: Itís done. Simone Denim was our video person last year and she is our new assistant.

    Joe: What will her functions be?

    Mike Bradbury: Same as everybody. The way we do our staff, everybody does everything. I want them to be well-rounded and when they get a head coaching job or they leave here, they are not just a recruiter or not just a practice coach. Sheís younger so we will teach her everything.

    Joe: What else would you like to say?

    Mike Bradbury: Iím excited. You could tell I was excited about last year. I knew our talent level was way different from year one. Iím equally excited or more excited about this coming year. This yearís team has the potential to be the best one. Thatís what we are shooting for and what we are hoping for. I think we have them all here academically so Iím looking forward to it.

    Joe: Thank you.

  2. #2
    Its Mr Lobo Lair to you loboray's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe, nice interview. Coach appears to be a very personable guy and should be fairly easy to get talking about his program. Just makes me all the more excited for the season to begin.

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