Oct. 18, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's head basketball coach Ed Conroy and his team held their annual media day at the Hertz Center on Thursday prior to closing out the first full week of practice.
Conroy, who enters his third season at the helm of the Green Wave, returns the 2012 Conference USA Freshman of the Year Ricky Tarrant. Tarrant, a sophomore guard, was recently named preseason first-team All-C-USA.
Tarrant is joined by junior forward Josh Davis and senior guard Jordan Callahan who also both started all 31 games during the 2011-12 campaign. Also back is senior forward Kendall Timmons, who started 16 games last season before suffering a season-ending injury.
Other Letter winners returning include senior guard Ben Cherry, junior center Kevin Thomas, redshirt junior center Tomas Bruha, and sophomores Jay Hook, Lotanna Nwogbo and Tre Drye. Last season's Max Keenan (Jr., G) and Josh Birchfield (So., F/C) will join incoming freshmen Louis Dabney, Marc Eddy Norelia, RaAnthony Sanders and Kajon Mack.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 Tulane men's basketball season will cost $500 for floor seats, $250 for reserved courtside, $125 for adult baseline, $50 for youth baseline and $300 for the "Family 4 Pack" which includes 2 adult and 2 youth tickets. For additional information, contact the Tulane Team Shop ticket office in person on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information is also available over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
Ed Conroy TRANSCRIPT
"As far as the program goes, we are fully in the Hertz Center. We've got renovations going on in our game venue. We were able to take a trip to the Bahamas in the summer. Our players and anyone around our program feel the commitment, and that's exciting. When you talk about personnel, we have some familiar faces, and that's a luxury we haven't had much the first couple of years. On top of that, we have nine guys that weren't available to us for conference games last January and February: between injuries, [Ben] Cherry, [Kendall] Timmons, and [Tomas] Bruha, then the red shirted guys in [Max] Keenan and [Josh] Birchfield, and then you have four freshmen. Nine faces along with some returning guys that you're familiar with as far as [Ricky] Tarrant, [Josh] Davis, and [Jordan] Callahan. It's exciting. And then you add in the NCAA regulations as far as being able to work with your players ahead of time. We feel like we've been able to put a lot of things in and maybe be ahead scheme-wise where we would have been the first two years. But the biggest part of that is the competition. Because we have the numbers, we have a little bit more depth, most guys know what's already going on the practices just have an air about them. Every day the guys are strapping it up. It's really meaningful; they're battling for minutes, they're battling for time, they're battling to see if they can't make us a stronger basketball program. It's been probably as enjoyable a fall and first starts to practices as I've been around."
On renovations at Fogelman
"I don't know the extent of everything and it's certainly going to be in phases. I know that it's going to have a new look between the ceiling going back to the original ceiling and new seating throughout. As we go through phases, I know there will be some stuff done with the lobby and the look in general from the seats on the floor and the scorer's tables, things like that."
On keys for team this year
"I think there's a couple. I think first and foremost, this team increased height, increased experience, a toughness about them. We have to be a better rebounding team on both ends of the floor. All of those things are factors. I think Josh Davis was asked to do an awful lot last year and did very well, averaged almost a double-double. But he was kind of a lone ranger on the boards in some regards. Kendall Timmons in my mind is one of the better rebounding guards in the league, and we lost him. (Tomas) Bruha was doing a good job on the boards, and we lost him. Other guys stepped in to those spots and got some experience. Now with a year under their belts playing at this level, they need to step up in that regard. I think we've had a great summer building up our bodies, understanding how important rebounding is. That would probably be the number one key on both ends of the floor."
On health of team and three road out-of-conference games: Georgia Tech, Nebraska, and Alabama
"I think those things go hand in hand. How healthy are we going to be? Everybody's who's taken the floor today is 100%, if you ever are that in college basketball; there are always nicks and scrapes and things like that. We're healthy. Can those bodies hold up over the entire season? We think so. We're certainly going to manage that. They were pretty serious injuries: [Louis] Dabney with ACL in high school, Timmons with an Achilles, Bruha with an ACL, and Cherry with an ACL. Those are things you still have to manage as you go through so that they can hold up. I think we will be, and I think with that increased depth, that gives us a much better chance of withstanding whatever the season throws our way. We know there's going to be some adversity; we know there will be missed time for one reason or another with different guys. But we have increased depth, hopefully that'll allow us to go on the road where it's so tough in college basketball. I think all five road tests for us, before we get into conference play, are going to be just that, extreme tests. You have the three you mentioned, then you say go to the Barkley Center where we have some great fan support up in New York: great venue, part of a triple header. We play Hofstra from a good league. Then you go out west to play San Diego from the same league that Gonzaga, St Mary's, and BYU are in. All five road tests, I think will really stretch our team and tell us what we have before we head into league play."
On UNO and LSU not being on schedule
"I would say that I know both coaches well at both schools and we've continued to talk. Obviously UNO, in their transitions, we have played them since I've been here each of those years. I'm sure that will probably continue in the future. And LSU, the same way. We've had conversations; hopefully we can get a series started at some point. We'll see when it works for both programs. I think those things will be good for our program and we look forward to those challenges."
On possibility of having a winning record in league
"I think this team, if we can rebound the basketball like we talked about, there's going to be a lot of competitive, close games. We've got to step up at that point to the free throw line and knock down free throws; we've got to rebound the ball throughout the game, and another big key to that is: who is going to step forward on a consistent basis? Between Ricky Tarrant, Josh Davis, Kendall Timmons, Jordan Callahan, Tomas Bruha, those types of guys, we need to keep asking: are those guys going to step up and lead the way for us? That's one of our focuses here in the preseason is execution in special situations and time and score, and that toughness to find a way to get over the hump and win. I think from that standpoint, it's going to be exciting to watch this team as we develop. I think prospects are good."
On importance of having finisher and if they have one
"I think we have several guys that can take on that role. That's one of the exciting things about coaching this team. I think you can point to moments where all of those guys have stepped up in tough situations. I don't think there's any doubt if you've watched us last year. You said did Ricky step up and try to carry us at times? No doubt. Bruha when he was healthy, I thought we went to him down the stretch of the games we had him. Timmons has done that throughout his career. I think it's more of a matter of if those guys can do it, can we find the right chemistry within our team to execute it in a game situation with them all on the floor? As for its importance in college basketball, it is really important. Even the last two years, I think we've been shorthanded at times, but we found a way to be competitive in games. We didn't turn that into enough wins on a consistent basis to be competitive in the league standings, but we were competitive in games. That next step is a tough one; it's one that you have to be really committed and tough minded. We've talked a lot to our guys about it and that's what we're focusing on: let's finish possessions with rebounds, let's finish games with that execution and that tough basket."