Q & A with Citadel basketball coach Chuck Driesell

Citadel basketball coach Chuck Driesell is ready to begin his third season with the Bulldogs. (File/Staff Photo)

With college basketball practice beginning today, The Citadel coach Chuck Driesell met with the media recently to discuss the upcoming season, his third with the Bulldogs.

Coming off a 6-24 record last year, Driesell has two starters returning, including all-Southern Conference center Mike Groselle, and four newcomers.

Q: Do you think you have a better team this season than last year?

A: “I think coaches all across the country are hoping for that. Ours has certainly worked hard at it. We’ve got some good returning players with some experience, and some newcomers that I think will help us.”

Q: Freshmen such as Marshall Harris, Lawrence Miller and C.J. Bray got a lot of minutes last year. How much will that help this season?

A: “We have five sophomores who all played quality minutes last year. I can see a difference already between then and now, from a maturity standpoint and a confidence standpoint. That’s something we’ve talked about a lot, having more confidence than we did last year.”

Q: You have a freshman from Goose Creek High School, guard Rae Robinson. Is he someone who can help right away?

A: “It’s early, but he has certainly demonstrated the ability with our guys and compete. He’s a tough young man who was a football player as well, and he doesn’t back down from anybody. That says a lot about a freshman coming in and trying to establish himself.”

Q: Do you think you can find some help inside for all-SoCon center Mike Groselle?

A: “I think so. One of those freshmen who played a lot last year is C.J. Bray from James Island. He has really worked hard over the summer to improve his strength and quickness and conditioning. But there’s really no price tag you can put on the minutes he got last year. He’s much more confident and not thinking as much as reacting, and I think he will help Mike quite a bit.”

Q: What areas of the game does your team need to improve the most in?

A: “No question, it’s defense and rebounding. If you look at your stats last year, because we were so young, it was defense and rebounding. You don’t win unless you are one of the top defensive and rebounding teams in your conference, and we were at the bottom. That’s something we’ve emphasized and talked about and worked hard at over the summer.”

Q: You have a new player in 6-7 Stephen Elmore, the son of former Maryland great Len Elmore. Stephen played baseball at Princeton, but this is his first year of college basketball. Do you think he can help?

A: “I do. He’s in a unique situation as a fifth-year senior who has never played with our guys. He came in this summer to work with them, to get to know them and to learn the system and learn to play. But he has the will power and the desire, and he’s got some skills.”

Q: Looking at potential lineups, you have some guards in Harris and Miller and frontcourt players in Groselle and Bray. It seems like that 3 spot on the wing is a question mark.

A: “It is, and it’s pretty wide open. We have two freshmen who could fill it in Matt Van Scyoc and Quinton Marshall. Both have demonstrated they can play immediately and have shown some confidence and skill level. That’s an open position for us and an important one. That’s hurt us in the past, because we need to be able to defend and rebound there, and we haven’t been able to get that the way we’ve wanted to.”