Coach’s Candor: Scott Nagy


Editor’s note: Scott Nagy will enter his 16th season as head coach at SDSU. Fresh off his first winning season since entering Division-I, we caught up with Nagy to get his thoughts on a recent bracket prediction, recruiting, and the Summit League conference next season. 

Q. A bracket released by ESPN college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi has SDSU in the NCAA tournament as a 15 seed next season. What was your reaction upon seeing that?

A. I think it shows that our players work hard and they’re starting to get recognized a little bit – I think that’s about it. We’ve come a long way from four or five years ago and now we’re starting to get recognized that this is a pretty good basketball team and certainly there’s expectations that go with it. There’s a reason that we have expectations and that’s because our players work hard.

Q. Spring recruiting season is underway. You picked up Nate Wolters a couple years ago during the spring signing period: How important is the month of spring recruiting to next season and in the near future?

A. It’s everything. When you don’t have talent, you have to coach really hard and when you do have talent you don’t have to coach really hard. It’s the most important thing that we do. We’re in a situation right now where if we added nobody we’d have a pretty good basketball team. But certainly for depth we need to add some weight and add some size to our team. The last three years we’ve had really good recruiting classes and part of that has to do with the fact that (during that time) I’ve had a full staff of assistants and that’s helped. It’s the most important thing we do in terms of winning and bringing in good basketball players because you’re a good coach when you have good players and you’re not when you don’t.

Q. Fans of the team may have questions about replacing guys like Clint Sargent and Dale Moss, how difficult will it be to replace that productivity?

A. People were concerned with Garrett (Callahan) and Kai (Williams) too and Anthony (Cordova). You always have kids that step up in a role and fill it and the expectation of them become the expectations of the guys that left. Every year you lose good players and if you’re doing your job you replace them with good players and we’ve done that. We certainly feel like the guys that were behind Dale and Clint will do just fine filling their spots.

Q. Your season has been over for about two months now, what do you take from the 2010-11 squad reflecting back on it?

A. We took big steps again, in terms of even the previous season with winning more games and being a better basketball team. It’s the best offensive team I’ve ever coached; it’s one of the worst defensive teams I’ve coached. And that’s the difference. If you look nationally at our numbers offensively we were one of the best teams in the country and you’re talking out of 350 teams, but we finished fifth in our league. The difference is we have to be better defensively. We’re going to be good offensively again next year, we won’t even worry about that. It’s ‘Can we improve defensively? Can we become more physical? Can we be a better rebounding team?’ because that’s what will take us to first.

Q. A conference-dominating team like Oakland loses some key pieces to their team next year. How much more wide open does this potentially make the Summit League next season and who do you think will be the favorite?

A. Oral Roberts probably, if they have (Michael) Craion healthy, will be picked to win it from just about everybody. They had a first team all-league selection sitting out and they’re going to recruit good players on top, so they’re going to be picked to win it. I think Oakland returns some very good basketball players. We have some teams that really took a hit, and Oakland took a hit in terms of the people they lost but they’re very serious about being good and they return good players and they’re going to bring some, but I think Oral Roberts, without question, will be picked to win it.

Q. Where do you see your team?

A. My guess is we’ll be picked third as I look at it. Third or fourth. I would bet Oakland is picked second.