Joplin: Allen Pinson could be big key for UT RocketsWritten by | |
Entering his 10th season as UT Men’s Basketball Coach, Stan Joplin has the second-most coaching wins in school history, is tied among MAC coaches for longest tenure, has three MAC West Division titles and three NIT postseason appearances.
Despite the success, some are rumbling: Where’s the MAC Championship, and where’s the NCAA Tournament bid?
Joplin discussed the upcoming season with Toledo Free Press.
TFP: What goals has the team set?
Joplin: Something we want to do every year is win the West Division, get into the MAC tournament and get into postseason play. The NIT isn’t the NCAA Tournament, but we think it’s still postseason play. The football team, they go to the Motor City Bowl, and that’s not the BCS Championship. We look at it like there’s 117 teams in football, about 325 teams in basketball. So a third of the teams in basketball go to postseason play, and half the teams in football go to postseason play. We think it’s really huge for a school like us, or any school from the Mid American Conference, to go to the NIT. We think that’s huge, and probably bigger than what teams in football do.
TFP: Is there a player who could surprise us?
Joplin: Allen Pinson could be a big key, because Allen is very talented. He can do a lot of things: he shoots the ball from the outside, he can run like a deer, he can rebound at times, but he gets down on himself, and now he’s got to show his maturity and be the type of player he’s capable of being.
TFP: For the second year in a row, your team is picked to win the MAC West. What have you learned from last year’s preseason hype that you can use this year?
Joplin: Our players have to keep their heads out of the newspapers; you can’t believe everything you read. Just because they picked you first doesn’t mean that every team is going to lay down and roll over for you.
TFP: With Rocket Football Head Coach Tom Amstuz recently receiving a contract extension, have you had any talks with the administration about extending your contract?
Joplin: My agent is going to do that. I don’t know exactly where it is so we’ll just have to wait and see.
TFP: Does coaching in the last year of your contract add any pressure?
Joplin: No, I just think that you don’t worry about that; you just do the best job you possibly can. Our graduation rate is really good, I don’t think one player has gotten into trouble or been arrested or any of those types of things. Six of the last seven years we’ve been first or second in the West Division and two years we were in the NIT. We want to continue to improve, and that’s one of our goals for this year.