In a recent interview, KU men’s basketball coach Bernie Driscoll discussed the upcoming Golden Bear season, including how his team will cope with the loss of three seniors, what their goals are and their biggest challenges are and how he thinks the team will live up to last season’s success.
The Golden Bears finished last season with an impressive record of 18-9 overall, with a win percentage (%) of .667, and were even better against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) teams, who they held a 15-7 record against (.682%). Driscoll’s team saw great success on the home court as well with an 11-5 record in front of the KU faithful. The Golden Bears saw the 2011/12 season end in a thrilling 99-91 home loss to East Stroudsburg University in the first round of the PSAC Championship tournament.
Coach Driscoll was quick to attribute a majority of last year’s success to seniors Devin McBride, Nate Edwards and Eric Brennan, saying that they had established roles on the team and that they knew, going into the season, that they would be the guys that the game came down to in the final minutes. They each lived up to their roles, with Edwards finishing the year as KU’s 22nd 1,000 point scorer, McBride leading the team with 20 points per game, and Brennan finishing not only as the team’s top rebounder, averaging 9.3 per game, but also leading the team with 11 double-doubles.
Given the fact that the three seniors are no longer with the team, with both Brennan and McBride signing overseas contracts, Coach Driscoll knows that the team will mostly rely on young talent this year. The Golden Bears picked up eight freshmen over the off-season and Coach Driscoll plans to use them.
“Three are starting so they better be good” he said. “They are the more physical ones and they can grasp the team concepts.” Coach Driscoll also said that it’s his team’s philosophy to pass young players through and let them mature, just as Brennan, McBride and Edwards did, so they too can establish their roles on the team. “We’re expecting a lot out of them,” he said.
One key player that Coach Driscoll will be watching mature into a new role is Micah Fraction. Fraction is stepping into his senior year, a year in which he will be expected to show leadership, something he hasn’t displayed well in the past.
When asked if Fraction will be able to mature and step into a leadership role despite the fact that last year alone he displayed several instances of immaturity, Coach Driscoll answered simply, “Well he has to. We don’t have any choice.” Coach Driscoll went on to talk about how he believes Fraction and the entire Golden Bear team will mature greatly over the course of this season. Due to the fact that the team has to develop chemistry again, he said, “I think we’ll be much better in January than November.”
As always, Coach Driscoll is very optimistic about the success his team will have this year.
“We start out every season with the goal of winning the PSAC,” he said. He went on to say, “I’m very fortunate to be coaching this team with this coaching staff,” and finished by saying just how “neat” it feels to be at KU with a great group of guys.
By Nicholas Carson