Fresh off a business trip to the Final Four, the new Dons men’s basketball head coach Todd Golden sat down for an interview with the Foghorn.
What style of play should fans expect next year? Modified Princeton, like under Kyle Smith, or something new? (Submitted via Twitter by @NorCalDon)
Todd Golden: I don’t think we’re going to change a whole lot. Mainly because, besides Frankie [Ferrari], really like we have the kind of the bulk of our team returning. We have 10 guys on scholarship coming back. So those guys are really comfortable with the way we played, especially offensively, last year. We made a big jump last year compared to the year before in terms of how efficient our offense was and I think coach [Kevin] Hovde did a really good job of identifying areas to improve and being able to put that on the floor for the guys. So I think we’ll change some little things here and there. But in terms of just overall philosophy and so play I think we’ll be pretty similar to last year.
Kalan K. Birnie: How do you expect to fill [senior] Frankie Ferrari’s role?
TG: It’s gonna be tough. You know he was a very impactful offensive player. What I think we’ll have to do is … we’ll probably play a little less of the ball screen. That’s where he’s best. Which is fine, and I think we have a bunch of ways to fill that void and change some little things to be able to do some things differently. Jamaree [Bouyea] will have to step up, that’s just the bottom line. He’s going to be a very important part of this team moving forward as he has been last year but with Frankie’s absence, he’ll have to step into that role. And I think the guys in the frontcourt, like Dzmitry Ryuny and Remu Raitanen, those guys are going to step up and give us more offense in the frontcourt.
Where are you going to focus recruiting? (Submitted via Twitter by @GenoBlanco1)
TG: That’s a great question. I think we need to continue to recruit the Bay [Area], specifically Northern California, and do a good job there and make sure that there’s not guys in our backyard that are leaving and elevating other programs. So we’ll focus on that as well as the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in Arizona. I think that’s an area that we can kind of hit a little harder. And then what’s going to continue to be key is the international recruiting. I think that’s a great area of focus for us. I think San Francisco is really easily identifiable for a lot of those kids. When we’re going against other programs are continuing to raise their profile, that’ll give us an opportunity to stand out a little bit. When you grow up in Europe, when you grow up in Africa or Australia, you know San Francisco. That’s a top five city in America. Whereas you might not know Creighton, for example — it’s in the middle of nowhere. So for those kids, San Francisco is more appealing. It’s more comforting. It’s more diverse. And so I think international recruitment will continue to be really key for the success of our program.
KB: What new additions are coming to the program? Has Kyle Smith’s departure affected recruiting at all?
TB: We had two guys that had signed their letters of intent before coach Smith’s departure. Both those guys I’ve been in touch with quite a bit since the transition and both are very comfortable and still really excited about coming here to San Francisco. They’re both Australians. One’s name is Ryan Rapp. He’s a six-four point guard and then the other one’s name is Joshua Kunan. He’s a six-foot-nine-inch, basically playing as a four or a three, and we’re excited about both of them. I think they’ll both be great fits for our program.
KB: Where do you see Frankie Ferrari going next year?
TG: I think Frankie is going to have a really good, long career. He’s gonna play some NBA Summer League. I think he’s gonna have the opportunity to play with the [Golden State] Warriors which would be awesome. And he deserves it. He did a great job especially last year leading this team and having individual success. And really building the team’s success as well. And I’m not going to put a cap on what I think Frankie is going to be able to do. He’s proven a lot of people wrong for a long time. We’ll see, I’ll let him write that story. I just know he’s gonna be successful for a long time.
KB: What’s your favorite advanced stat that you use?
TG: I would have to say I really like our lineup data. We’re able to pull from every game what each specific lineup did in terms of their plus-minus. Simply what we were able to score and what we were able to hold our opponent to when they’re on the floor. Obviously, it’s not something that you want to use specifically based on one game because it’s too small of a sample size. But as you build into the course of the season, I would say around six to 10 games, you start seeing some trends that, as a coaching staff, you got to realize and then figure out what are you doing to take advantage or how are you going to counteract you know what the numbers are telling you.