COACH PATTON: I should thank the coaches for making my job a lot easier this season. If we are going to finish 12th, I can play a little bit more golf and learn how to fish or something. Seriously, I think our guys are working extremely hard and so far I don't believe I have seen a 12th-place team in our practices. We will wait and see what happens.
Q. Ricardo, I assume all your guys now know each other, but have you seen enough of them to be able to tell how many of those guys are going to be part of your regular rotation?
COACH PATTON: I would say out of the eight guys, eight freshman, probably five of those guys will play major minutes. And we have some guys, even though they are young, they have a degree of maturity that I really like.
Xavier Silas is a guy that really stands out. His father, James Silas, played in NBA, and the San Antonio Spurs just retired his jersey last season. It is obvious to me that his father has prepared his son for the next level. In my mind he is probably better than Richard Roby was at the same stage.
Jeremy Williams is a young player, 6-8, out of Memphis, Tennessee. His high school team went 39-0 last year. They were the sixth best team in the country, high school-wise, and he is a guy that will make a difference.
We have a young man by the name of Jermyl Jackson-Wilson who sat out last season for us after transferring from Ohio State that I think people are unfamiliar with that has been a great surprise for me and is doing a nice job.
But in saying all that, the guys still have to go through and they have to gain some experience. Hopefully in our non-conference schedule, which I think is a good schedule, it will prepare those guys for the grind and the physical play and the speed of basketball at this level.
Q. You addressed a little bit what I was going to ask. I was going to ask how quickly you thought the freshman could adjust and make an impact and how far along they are. And beyond that, when you made your opening comment, were you a little bit taken aback and feeling a little irate at being picked 12th? Did it bother you?
COACH PATTON: About the 12th place pick? No. I can understand that really. I think any time a team is as young as we are in those positions, I can see where you would think that they may not fare as well. But we also have some guys that I think understand what it takes to play in the Big 12.
Richard Roby certainly understands what it takes to compete at this level. Dominique Coleman has done a terrific job for us and is a guy that came to us last year from a junior college. We have moved him off the ball a little bit and enabled him to go back to what he did in junior college that made him successful and that's to be more of a scorer for us. Jermyl Wilson that I mentioned earlier was at Ohio State as a freshman, understands what big-time basketball is all about. And then Marcus King-Stockton has done a nice job for us.
At our point guard position, we will probably start a freshman between Dwight Thorne and Kal Bay. Both of those guys have shown the ability to bring something just a little bit different to the floor and both of those guys will play major minutes for us. That's difficult at times to ask the freshman to come in and play at this level right away, particularly when you have to face a guy like Jarrius Jackson, who I believe is arguably the best point guard in our league. But I think we will be better than most people think at this point.
Q. Ricardo, one thing everybody has been talking about and asking about this morning is the changes in the league, six new coaches. I believe you are the last original Big 12 coach, the last guy who was here for the inaugural season.
COACH PATTON: Is that like last of the Mohicans?
Q. Major survivor, I guess. Has it been kind of what you would think it would be, or just looking around, are there any changes that you have noticed that maybe surprise you?
COACH PATTON: Well, I just think it was very unusual for a league such as ours to have as many changes as it did last season. But I think it also speaks well that there are other coaches in other conferences that would love to coach in the Big 12. This is a fantastic league. All the guys that came into the league had success at their previous places, and so I think it is an exciting time for our conference. I think that the media attention that that will bring to our league this year will just add to the Big 12.
Q. Along those lines, do you think that those new coaches will change the style of play or do you think that they will have to adapt to maybe the Big 12 style that more established coaches have kind of instilled already?
COACH PATTON: I think guys like Bobby Huggins won't change the way he believes he ought to do things. His teams have always been known for playing extremely physical. They certainly like to extend their defense. He is getting some great commitments from players across the country. And so I think what you will see more than anything is just maybe the talent level pick up at Kansas State.
When you think about Mike Anderson at Missouri, you will see teams that resemble the Arkansas — the old Arkansas style of play. And so it will be different in that way. I think those guys will do that until they can't do it any longer. And so maybe we will have to make some adjustments, but quite frankly I think the biggest adjustment will be when we play a Missouri team because that will be a little bit different than any other style of play. Playing physical, Big 12 has always been physical. And so that won't be a big change.
Q. Ricardo, did you have a talk with the team about your contract situation? Did you bring it up? Does it trickle down to the players and how are you handling it?
COACH PATTON: No, I don't think it should trickle down to the players. The first part of your question, yes, we have talked about that. And what we have said is that we are not going to talk about that. I don't think that my contract should be the players' responsibility. And as I mentioned to you earlier today, I have said to Mike Bohn, our athletic director, I am at peace with who I am, I am at peace with the job we have done and I am at peace with leaving the University of Colorado, if that be the case.
So with that being said, I don't think that I want to coach under any type of pressure to try to save my job. I don't want to put that type of pressure on my players. I certainly don't want to live with that type of pressure. And I think when you can be at peace with the three things that I mentioned, then I think it allows you to go out and coach and have fun and enjoy your kids, and that's what I plan to do.
Q. Coach, I know you have only had a few practices so far. How are you having to approach this year in practices with all the new guys, whereas, last year every one of those players knew what to expect coming in?
COACH PATTON: One of the things we tried to make sure of, I have made it mandatory that my staff get out of the office. We practice through the week at 3:30 in the afternoon. We made it mandatory that before that practice, the entire staff, they have to leave the office and get out and get lunch or do whatever. But I want them to come to practice every day energized and ready to teach, because that's what having a young group of guys requires is a great deal of teaching. And we want to make sure that we are not distracted in any way with anything other than the job at hand, and that's just being good coaches and leaders to our young men.
Q. Ricardo, you mentioned that Xavier has learned some things from his dad. Can you come up with some specifics that he might have picked up just being around the game?
COACH PATTON: One of the things that's very noticeable from a coaching standpoint is when you get young guys, you try to teach them to play basketball in an explosive position and catching the ball low, particularly when they are coming off of screens. Coming off screens, more shot ready. He has that already and that's very difficult to teach. Most guys play basketball too erect. If you notice guys at the next level, they all play with a low center of gravity and he really does that extremely well.
Has a great mid-range game. I think too many times guys only believe that there is a three-point shot or there is a layup. Well, there is some basketball floor in between both of those. I think he understands that. He has a great mid-range game.