Here are the Lady Topper player comments from today’s WKU basketball media day. We heard from junior guard Chaney Means, sophomore guard Alexis Govan and freshman Kendall Noble.
I personally get the feeling players are saying a lot more of what they really feel this season, which is probably a by-product of the presence of coach Michelle Clark-Heard, who’s told it like it is since she arrived.
CHANEY MEANS, junior guard
Expectations right now: “We’ve had a lot of changes, not only with our coaches, but with bringing in a lot of freshmen and a JUCO. It’s been a lot of change, but it’s been good. They’ve had to grow up really fast, and I think they’ve done a great job.”
What’s different this year? “She expects us to come out every day and bring it. That’s one thing that’s been really good – just how high her expectations are for us.”
Being picked fifth in the East: “We’re going to use it as fuel. Coach encouraged us yesterday by telling us, ‘This is what people think, and we need to go out there and prove that we’re better.'”
On being a leader: “It’s a whole team effort. I don’t feel like all of the pressure is on me in that leadership role. It’s been good for me to talk to the freshmen and let them know how things are. I have experience with that, and I let them know it’s going to be OK. They don’t have time to sit back and learn. They’re coming in knowing they’re going to play and are a huge part of what we’re going to do. I’m just trying to be the best encourager and role model I can be for them, and hopefully they feel like they can come and talk to me about stuff.”
Closeness of team: “We’re closer than we’ve ever been as a team. I feel like it’s really like a family now. We want to hang out with each other and do stuff on weekends. We have that camaraderie, and I think you’ll see that on the court.”
ALEXIS GOVAN, sophomore guard
What’s different this year? “One of the main changes has been the energy level with the program. The energy with us players, the energy around the program – it’s completely different this year. I think a lot of it is thanks to coach Heard. She’s so passionate that it brings out the best in all of us.”
Relationship with Heard: “From the first day she came in, she told us she had an open-door policy and that we need to come in and talk to her because that was the only way we were going to get to know her. We all really bought in and came in all the time. I don’t think she got anything done the first few weeks because we were in there, letting her see who we were. I think most of us feel like she recruited us because our relationship is that strong.”
On the changes in style of play from last year: “We’re not letting our players camp out. Last year wasn’t so much that you could drive and create. It was hard to get in the paint, and I like to get in the paint, so this is fun.”
What did you learn from last year: “Losing isn’t easy. I think it taught me that you’ve got to work to get to where you want to be. It’s not going to just happen, and I think that’s sort of what we thought last year – that it was just going to change. This year, we’re more go-getters. We’re going to go out there and win those games because we want to, not because we feel like it should happen.”
KENDALL NOBLE, freshman guard
Adjusting to college play from high school: “It’s a lot harder, actually. We work a lot harder than I thought we would. Lifting weights and running – we’re probably in the best shape of our life. But we have to be in good shape to play the way coach wants us to.”
On freshmen vying for playing time: “We just try to go out and do our best every day because we don’t have time to sit back and wait for someone else to do it. We have to go do it because we have the opportunity to play. We should make the most of our opportunity.”