Sac State Sports had a good interview last week with the head coach of the Hornets, Brian Katz. Here are some of the most interesting points from the interview.
Q: What makes this year’s team different from last year?The team is experienced in Katz system, but not necessarily all that experienced out on the court. They lost a lot of guys to graduation, transfer, or just otherwise leaving the program, and it does not leave them with a ton of guys with valuable game experience.
A: One, experience. We have nine guys back, we’ve never had a team this experienced at Sac State. When you get really good at the mid-major level it’s all about experience. We finally have some three-year guys. Our players are better. Our chemistry and our leadership have improved and last is our schedule.
If you are an optimist, you read it as 9 guys back who have been in the system before. If you are a pessimist, you read it as 9 guys back, but most of them weren't good enough to crack the rotation before this. We will see.
Q: In order to have that kind of year that you want to have, what are the things that have to get done on a daily basis?This is a lot of coach speak, but Sac State will need to excel in those areas to win a lot of ballgames. They don't quite have the firepower to match up with the top tier of the conference, but things could break their way if they can execute offensively and always give top defensive effort. The separation is not that large that they couldn't contend for a spot in the Big Sky Tournament if they can do those things.
A: I think it’s taking pride in all the little things. Big things are made of little things. Anything, any detail left unchecked can become a big deal. If your screening starts to slip, then pretty soon guys can’t get open. If your transition defense starts to slip, then pretty soon you’re giving up baskets you shouldn’t be giving up. At this level all the players are good. You must be able to execute and you must be able to counter.
Q: What does the conference look like this year?Agreed with him here. As I have been saying, I have Weber State and Montana 1 and 2, and then things are wide open. There is a lot of opportunity for everybody else to make a move up the ladder.
A: I think there are two teams that are clearly 1-2. If you’re going to be objective, on paper it has to be Montana and Weber State 1 and 2, and then everyone else is fighting for 3-9. I couldn’t even begin to make a prediction on 3-9. But 1 and 2 are clearly better. Now, do they play better? The game’s not played on paper and it’s not a video game.
For Brian Katz entering his fourth year, this will be a big season. He has not had a lot of success in Sacramento, and he needs to show some progress this year or slowly the calls will start coming for his dismissal. We wish him the best of luck.