Change Of Pace, Part 2

Change Of Pace, Part 2

In part one of our interview with Coach Tyndall at media day, he talked about the transition to Southern Miss and the challenges he's been facing. He also talked about his expectations for the season. In part two, we look more into the team itself and how Coach Tyndall sees the individual players fitting into his scheme.

At media day last Wednesday, GoldenEaglePride.com was there to talk to Coach Tyndall about the transition to coaching at Southern Miss.

In part two, we dig deeper into looking at the team itself. With only 4 returning players from a year ago, there is a challenge of finding chemistry quickly.

There is no lack of talent, however, and as Coach Tyndall is quick to point out, there is a lot of reason for optimism with the current roster.

"I think the young player that we've been impressed with this year is Norville Carey," Coach Tyndall said when asked about how the young guys are going to fit in right away.

"He's a 6-7 freshman from the Virgin Islands. He's a guy who, to be perfectly honest, would be a year and half away from really contributing. But he's been our leading rebounder in practice so far.

"He's very active and has some range to block some shots around the goal. He's been the one guy as a freshman that we've been pleasantly surprised with."

Returning players are Neil Watson, Jonathan Mills, Cedric Jenkins, and Rashard McGill. Beyond them, Coach believes there are about four or five others who can contribute right away.

"I think it might be a bit soon to know, but right now I think we can go eight or nine deep," he added.

"With some games, we may go as few as seven. I don't see us getting to 10 deep, which is ideally where we would like to be in Year Two and Three.

"We'd like to have the depth and athleticism to play 40 minutes in our pressing, up-tempo style. But this year, I'd say eight would be the magic number."

Finding a point guard to spell Neil Watson is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the young Eagles.

"We really don't have a backup point guard, per se," he said. "Jerrold Brooks will play that position, but he's more of a two (guard). He certainly can play some point.

"Neil's (Watson) a guy who we certainly expect to play a lot of minutes when he gets healthy. We may even try to slide Dwayne Davis over and play some point. So it will be interesting, but it'll give a guy like Deon Edwin, who really hasn't earned a lot of minutes in practice to this point, a chance to play a some minutes and we'll see how he responds."

Even a bigger issue, perhaps, is the size of the front line. Coach Tyndall knows the lack of height will force them to do some different things to make up for it.

"Obviously, it is (a concern)," he said. "That's a weakness of our team. Size in the next recruiting class is very, very important and a priority.

We're a little undersized, but I say this to my team: when we beat Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, we started a 5-11 four-man who played 22 minutes in that game.

"The way we play in our press and our matchup zone, the lack of size doesn't hurt you quite as much as if you were a traditional man-to-man, half-court team."

Making up for size in the middle is the strength and effort of senior Jonathan Mills. Coach Tyndall said Mills will be a guy counted on to push people around in the paint.

"It helps (with the lack of size)," he said of Mills.

"With Jonathan's girth, he's about as wide as he is tall. It helps with his physical nature. We list him at 6-6 but he's probably 6-4. But he's tough and physical.

"Lefties always seem to be craftier around the goal than right-handed guys. He obviously can score some balls and find a way to put it in the goal. So Jonathan's a good player. And again, is size important, yes. But is it the be-all, end-all, no."

The leaders have been clearly established on this team, which is a big plus. In Neil Watson and Mills, the Eagles have guys who have been in the post season and know what it takes to get back.

"I think they have done a good job," Coach said.

"Jonathan is more of a guy who leads vocally and will challenge guys, which I love. Neil leads more by bringing it every day and competing.

"I've talked to Neil about being more vocal as the point guard and actually, the last two or three weeks, I feel like he has started to challenge his teammates and be more of a vocal leader.

"But both of those guys have done a nice job, along with Rashard McGill and Dwayne Davis, who has been a vocal guy and is not afraid to challenge his teammates if they are not going as far as he feels they need too. So I think our leadership this year will be more of a collective leadership than just one or two individuals."

Daveon Boardingham is another guy who Coach Tyndall is counting on this season.

"Boardingham is an intriguing guy," he said. "Some days he looks like he has a chance to be Newcomer of the Year in our league and other days you don't know that he's out there.

"I think that, like a lot of newcomers, have trouble bringing that consistency. You'll find out that I base everything we do on practice. I don't care who you are, if you don't practice the right way you're not going to play. That's just how I do it. You get what you earn in this program.

"Daveon, if could bring the same effort and energy that he brings on those good days, would have a chance to be a starter on our team. But he doesn't bring it consistently, and that's my job to get him to that point where he does bring it every day. He's a good kid. He doesn't fight it. He's just getting used to the intensity level of Division I."

Opening night is coming quickly. Saturday night the Eagles will host Western Kentucky at Reed Green. Coach Tyndall is encouraging all fans to get out and see what the fuss is all about. It is also a FTTT campaign with the goal of selling out the first game.

Buckle up, its going to be a fun ride.

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