Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dribbles & bits: VCU's Marlene Stollings

Getting to know VCU head coach Marlene Stollings

You took a Winthrop team that had gone 13-18 the previous year and led them to an 18-13 mark. VCU won 19 games last year. So, can we put you down for 24 wins this year?

I'd love to be talking about 24 wins at the end of the season! Honestly, each situation is different, and we've had some big (personnel) losses... But if we're sitting down at the end of the year with 24 wins, I'd be happy with that.

You scored a ridiculous 3,514 points in high school. And as a coach, you preach offense, offense, offense. Did you become the coach you wanted to play for?

I think I am (laughing). That's one of the first things I told my players, that I'm a player's coach.

Seriously, describe your playing style.

We like to get up and down the floor, shoot the 3 and put points on the board .Now we certainly value defense, and that's something that gets lost in the media version of what we do. And it's not a chaotic style; it's a structured style. But we definitely like to get up and down. And I think it's a style fans like to see.

It also sounds like a style that could use a nickname. Have one for it?

If you have a name for it, we'll use it. We're actually working on a one-word catchphrase, like (men's basketball coach) Shaka (Smart) has with "Havoc." I have a competition with my staff to come up with one. The winner gets a prize. But yeah, we're open to suggestions.

We saw somewhere where, when asked how you're going to deal with all the graduation/transfer losses, you said something like, "You can't worry about who's gone. You can only worry about who's here." Well, who is here? Who's going to surprise us?

Well, we've got three freshmen that I think are going to surprise some people, and maybe even start. Jessica (Pellechio) can flat out put the ball in the basket. Daisy (Adaeze Alaeze Dinma) is a tremendous athlete who can score. And Janni (Janniina Koivunen) is someone who can also shoot, from the post positions. She's got that international style. Of the returners, players like Daphne (Adebayo), Robyn (Hobson) and Carleeda (Green), played some minutes in the past but will have the opportunity to play a lot more now. And then there's Robyn Parks. I expect her to more than double her statistical output this season (6.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg).

People take stock of presidential administrations after the first 100 days. By our count, you've been on the job 123 days (actually, more like 130 or so now; we had this talk several days ago). So, how would you sum up the first 123 days?

Super-exciting. It's definitely been a whirlwind, but we've kind of gotten to a point where we can breathe a little bit. But it's been great because VCU is an incredible place, and the atmosphere here is unlike any place I've ever been.

Excluding places on campus, what's your best spot you've discovered so far in Richmond?

Joe's Inn. Wendy Larry is our new associate commissioner in the Atlantic 10, and I had a talk with her and she told me about it. I think there are two of them. You gotta check it out.

You taking care of our ol' pal Niki Dawkins?
She's taking care of me! She's my right hand. You know, I played for her at Ohio State, so we have like a 20-year relationship. Yeah, she's taking care of me, and I'm looking out for her, too.

What do you remember about the night you went for 69 points in a high school game?

I remember being shocked after the game that I had that many points. People laugh about that now, but honestly I had no idea. I just wanted to win the game.

How 'bout the time you splashed 10 3-pointers against Wright State?

Same thing. I knew I was on that night, and I knew I'd made a lot of shots. But not 10.

Offensive teams typically have to be in superior physical condition. Was it a shock to your players' system when you made 'em run so much?

It's definitely an adjustment, because they're moving at a pace and rate they're not used to. Everything we do in practice, every drill, has a fullcourt mindset. But they'll adjust relatively quickly. They came to me in pretty good shape anyway. And from Day One to Day Two of practice, I've already seen the improvement.

Finally, complete this sentence: After watching us play this season, I hope people leave the arena saying -

They work extremely hard and they're fun to watch.

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