Q&A with Rick Majerus

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What are your goals for this season?
I would hope that number one goal is academics. It’s most important that they move that agenda forward and culminating with graduation. The second goal would probably be to improve their culture of basketball in their lives. You have to look at practices and the challenge as something to do because you want to do it, and not because you have to.

Why did you come out of retirement for SLU?
I like to practice and I felt like I could still coach. I also really value the education here.

What made the SLU program appealing?
The proximity to my mother, mostly. I also value the Jesuit education and tradition, and I like Father Biondi. I respect him, and I believe that we have some similarities. I think that academics have to come first. This season is going to be challenging, but the new building will help position ourselves in the right place.

How will the new arena impact the program in the future?
We’ll get a greater response from the students; I think it will be convenient for them and will be conducive for creating a good atmosphere. The tickets will be hard to get, but I trust that it will sell out in a year or two. The arena will be a good rallying point for alumni and staff and there will be a myriad of personalities that will interact there.

What are you focusing on at this point in the season?
Right now we’re learning a whole different system, and we’re trying to run the ball more, getting the ball inside more and playing the post and greater precision to our offensive execution.

Roadblocks this year?
We’re already fourth of the way through season, and I think the unfamiliarity with each other is still there. Also we have no real true point guard. We lack height, and we lack depth and scholarship players to compete against each other. There is little experience in this system, and hopefully we can overcome that with passionate play and unselfishness in terms of ball movement and screening.

What is a successful season in your eyes?
Hard to say exactly what makes a season successful, but I suppose it would be one in which you gave a good effort in practice after prioritizing your academic agenda-that is the most important thing to consider.